The 9 Most Bizarre Dog Sports You Never Heard Of

Sometimes, our active dogs drive us crazy. But what if I told you that your active dog was a secret athlete who will only find his balance when he plays his sport.

Sound strange? Consider this-golden retrievers were bred for retrieving fowl in water. Or, that beagles were bred to hunt… Or, that Siberian huskies were bred for pulling sleds across massive amounts of snowy tundra.

Well-they were. And they are aching to do what they were bred to do…play their sport. So here is one easy way of knowing which sport is right for your dog.

Disc DoggingDisc Dog competition

Does your dog like to chase frisbees, catch them and bring them back to you? There’s a sport for that. It’s called disc-dogging and there are regional national and international competitions. These events consist of a series of various frisbee junkies who will retrieve a series of frisbee tosses from long distances and perform all types of amazing feats, flips, and acrobatics in an exhibition of frisbee catching athleticism that is then graded by a panel of judges.

Common Breeds: Border collies, australian shepherd, Jack Russell Terriers

 Ring Sport French Ring Sport

Ring Sport-French/Belgian/Mondio ring features a highly disciplined dog who can bite on command. The dogs that compete require a high prey drive, great athleticism, and Marine like discipline. The competition features canines who heel like magnets but will also switch to defense or attack mode at the drop of a hat under the owner’s instructions. In ringsport, the decoy is protected in a full-body bite suit to avoid injury.

Common dog breeds: Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, German Shepherd

Weight PullingdogPulling

This competition is pretty straight forward and is precisely as the title describes it. Similar to the ‘World’s Strongest Man Competition’, weight-pulling is an individual competition whereby the dog’s harness is attached by rope to a heavy load. It’s strength is tested as each dog is challenged to pull a heavier load in each round. The dog to pull the heaviest load wins. The loads pulled by these four-legged beasts often reaches up to 5,000 pounds (and more).

Common dog breeds: Pit-bull, AmStaff, American Bulldog, Dog De Bordeaux, Neapolitan Mastiff

Dog Sleddingsleddogs

In case you haven’t seen the movie ‘Eight Below’, dog sledding consists of a team of dogs who are attached to a sled and are instructed to pull it in the snow. The conductor (otherwise known as the ‘musher’) carefully selects which dogs will lead and which dogs will power the sled based on athletic ability and mental disposition. The Iditarod is the most famous sled dog race taking place in Alaska annually on a stretch of snowy tundra stretching 1,150 miles long.

Common dog breeds: Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute.

Tracking

Tracking consists of a dog determining the where-abouts of an individual based on their scent. Several factors weigh in on how a dog can determine where someone may have gone. These include microscopic flakes of skin that we shed when walking to personal articles dropped by the quarry. The American Kennel Club hosts competitions for tracking dogs that consists of variable surface tracking which includes tracking on both natural and man-made surfaces and dizzying turns designed to throw off the dog.

Common breeds: Bloodhounds, Beagles, German Shepherds

Water Rescuedog water rescue

The best way to describe water rescue is lifeguard training for your dog. Think Baywatch-but instead of beautiful busty blonds, shredding slobbering Labradors.  In this sport, dogs are challenged to dive into pools, lakes and oceans in an effort to rescue drowning victims and even stranded boats. The activity has proven to be not only a challenge, but life saving. So much so that the Italian coast guard has implemented it into their program. Certification demands the dog tug stranded boats to safety and swim close to drowning victims with rescue cans attached for the victim to latch onto and be escorted back to safety.

Common breeds: Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers

Sheep Herding

These dogs do all the dirty work for the shepherds. And just like a bunch of bored shepherds invented the game of golf, so too did they turn sheep herding into a sport. In competitions, the dogs are required to steer the herd of sheep in different directions according to the shepherd’s instructions and return it to the coral.

Common breeds: Border Collies, Shetland Sheep dogs, Blue Heelers, Australian Shepherds

Earth-dogging

Certain breeds were bred to hunt rodents and vermin underground. And a certain group of enthusiasts decided to turn it into a sport consisting of man-made underground tunnels. In this sport, the dogs are instructed to navigate the tunnels locating live rats based on their scent. (The rats are often safe inside a protected cage).

Common breeds: Dachshunds, Westies, Cairn Terriers, Fox Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier

Dock Divingdock jumping dog

Ever seen a dog jump off a dock into a lake?…there’s a sport for that. Dock diving determines how far (or high) your dog can jump…over water. The sport has gained it’s fair share of notoriety being featured on ESPN. Although these dogs are often not the highest or farthest jumpers, the fact that they land in the water makes it more fun to watch (I suppose).

 

Is your four-legged companion a potential candidate for any of these sports? Let us know in the comments below

David Sidman is a certified professional K-9 trainer with a specialization in training military and Police working dogs. Sidman qualified as an I.D.F explosive detection dog handler and was certified in Police K-9 Training by the Eastern States Working dog Association (ESWDA)

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