What do you like to do with your dog?
Competitive and Non-Competitive Dog Sports & Activities
Part I – Working with the dog’s natural instincts
As people have more leisure time and dogs are no longer required to work for their living, the natural desire to interact with dogs and to compete has grown exponentially.
Did you know that there are now over 40 different types of dog sports that you can participate in with your dog? A large percentage of them any owner and their dog can enjoy, regardless of breed type or size. Others, such as Schutzhund, herding, retrieving or mushing, require a particular type of dog.
Competitive dog sports that have evolved from centuries of dogs working for humans include herding, field trials, hunting with hounds, earthdog trials, mushing, weight pulling, carting, and lure coursing. Other competitive and non-competitive sports have developed through our interaction with our dogs and the creative imagination of dog owners.
Using the dogs’ natural instincts, humans have developed special types of dogs to help in day to day life. Farmers and ranchers have used dogs for herding their livestock for centuries. Today, herding trials have been developed to show off the talents used daily at home on cattle, sheep and ducks. Dogs have long been used for bird hunting and with the advent of the gun, competitive trials soon sprang up. Field trials are open to all sporting breeds, broken into the different hunting type; retriever, pointer and spaniels. Hound breeds have been used the world over to hunt game other than birds. They usually hunt in a pack, and are well-known for their musical baying as they trail their quarry. Terriers were developed to exterminate rodents, but in more modern times, there are fewer rodents for them to kill. Several groups worked on establishing a ‘go to ground’ program, but it wasn’t until the American Working Terrier Association developed one in 1971 that earthdog trials really began to take off.
Dog racing is an ancient sport, dating back to the Egyptian Pharaohs. Although today dog racing is done on professional race tracks, the average owner can still test his dogs’ speed in lure coursing, terrier races, or weiner dog races. Lure coursing is a sport that owners of sight hounds can enjoy with their dogs. In this sport, dogs chase a lure that is attached to a moving string pulled by a motor. Although other countries had some type of lure coursing even over a century ago, actual lure coursing competition was established in the US in the 1960s-70s. Chances are that terrier racing started out with the “my dog can beat your dog” attitude. There is no record of when it started, but it has grown in popularity, especially in England where terriers are frequently raced at the horse shows. Weiner dog, or Dachshund, races, are a way for people who own Dachshunds to get together and have a fun time with friends and their dogs. It is slowly growing in popularity, with the formation of several Dachshund racing associations, especially the Weiner Nationals sponsored by Weinerschnitzel, with the final competition every December in conjunction with the Holiday Bowl.
Join us next week as we cover the sports that work more with the desire for dogs to work as a team. Be sure to take our poll!