Flyball is the fastest sport on four paws! Nicknamed "Drag Racing for Dogs", flyball is a relay race between two teams of four dogs. Each dog on the team has to jump over 4 hurdles, trigger and retrieve a ball from a specially designed flyball box at the other end of the lane and then return over the hurdles before the next dog on the team has their turn. The catch? If one of the dogs doesn’t complete their run cleanly, that dog has to run again! The first team to have all 4 of their dogs complete their turn successfully wins.

It’s one of the most exciting sports for both competitors and spectators because dogs of all sizes and shapes over the age of 12 months can (and do!) compete.

Spectators are encouraged to clap and cheer for their favourite team, and many of the dogs actually run faster, the louder the cheering! To make it fair for all dogs, the height of the four hurdles is set based on the ulna (top leg bone) length of the shortest dog on the team. This means that dogs with shorter legs jump smaller jumps than those with longer legs. Jump heights go down to a minimum of 7 inches and up to a maximum of 14 inches.

The sport spread to Australia in 1982, first appearing in Perth. It remained a demonstration only sport until 1996, when the Australian Flyball Association (AFA) was formed. Now, the sport is truly national, with active flyball clubs operating in most states.

Over time, the sport has evolved, with changes made to the design of flyball boxes and more modern training techniques used. These updates have meant that the sport has become faster, more competitive and most importantly, much safer for competing dogs.

Orange Roan Cocker in Flyball training

Today, the sport is truly international, with teams competing throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and Australia, each with a similar set of rules. In Australia, the sport is mostly run outside on grass, but overseas, particularly in countries where it gets too hot or too cold to run the sport outside, indoor competitions are held on mats.

Cockers are fabulous pocket rockets and they love Flyball.  If you have a Cocker who loves a lot of fun, and loves a ball, or even if you just think they might enjoy it, why not consider giving Flyball a go.

Contact our Club and we can put you in contact with our members who regularly compete in Flyball - they are more than happy to encourage more Cockers to give it a go.

Contact Details

The Secretary, Cocker Spaniel Club of Qld Inc
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Email : [email protected]