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Flyball

Flyball got its start in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when a group of dog trainers
in Southern California created scent discrimination hurdle racing, then put a person
at the end to throw tennis balls to the dogs when they finished the jump line. The
group decided to build some sort of tennis ball-launching apparatus, and the first
flyball box was born.

Herbert Wagner is credited with developing the first flyball box.The new dog sport
for dog enthusiasts was introduced in the Toronto-Detroit area in 1983by several
dog training clubs.

The North American Flyball Association, Inc. (NAFA®) was established in 1984, when
12 flyball clubs in Michigan and Ontario banded together to guide the development of
flyball in North America.

Today there are over 400 active clubs and 6,500 competing dogs.  NAFA is
recognized as the world’s leading authority on flyball and the sport’s top sanctioning
organization. NAFA, a nonprofit organization, sanctions over 300 tournaments a year
across North America.

Flyball races match two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51 foot
long course. Each dog must run in relay fashion down the jumps, trigger a flyball box,
releasing the ball, retrieve the ball, and return over the jumps. The next dog is
released to run the course but can’t cross the start/finish line until the previous dog
has returned over all 4 jumps and reached the start/finish line. The first team to
have all 4 dogs finish the course without error wins the heat.

Jump height is determined by the smallest dog on the team – this dog, called the
“height dog”, is measured at the withers, then that number is rounded down to the
nearest inch and another 5″ is subtracted to get the jump height (with the minimum
jump height being 7″). So a 13 1/4″ dog would round down to 13″, minus 5″, would
jump 8″. Maximum jump height is 14″.

Flyball Organizations:

Australian Flyball Association
British Flyball Association
North American Flyball Association
United Flyball League International
Belgian Flyball
Dog Activities - Agility, Sporting and Playing
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