Since it’s debut in the late 1970’s, the dog sport of flyball has become increasingly more popular. Flyball is a team sport. Each team is made up of four dogs who compete in a relay race.
A flyball course is 51 feet in length and consists of a starting line, four hurdles spaced ten feet apart, and a spring-loaded box at the end that shoots out a tennis ball. The height of the hurdles is set four inches below the shoulder height of the shortest dog in the team. The purpose is for the dog to start at the starting line, jump all four hurdles, step on the box and catch the tennis ball, then run back over the four hurdles to cross the starting line. Once the first dog has crossed back over the starting line, the second dog goes through the course and so on until all four dogs have completed the course. The winning team is the first one with all four dogs to complete the course without errors.
The tournaments are usually set up in either a double elimination format, typically best of three or best of five, or a round robin format, usually best three out of five with the first team winning three heats receiving one point toward their tournament standing. There are a variety of titles that dogs can earn based on the number of points they have. In North America , flyball is governed by the North American Flyball Association (NAFA).