Dog Sports

Zoe Lin, Staff Writer

When someone mentions sports, the first thing that comes to mind usually aren’t the sports our furry little friends partake in. Although it may sound surprising for some, dogs actually have a long list of competitive sports that they can participate in. 

Dog sports can be categorized into the following categories: herding, obedience, tracking and hunting, agility, and water sports.


Originated in Wanaka, New Zealand, sheepdog trials are competitions that test the herding abilities of certain dog breeds. Typically, these competitions are held with sheep; however, other animals such as cows or ducks may be used as well. In competition, dogs guide the animals through multiple obstacles and are judged on aspects such as flexibility, control, movement, and accuracy of the dog’s work. There are varying scoring systems and requirements for eligible breeds and the number of dogs and sheep, but all dogs work together with a handler throughout all the trials.


Obedience competitions test a dog’s ability to perform a set of obedience tasks when instructed by its handler. During the trial, the dog and its handler will execute a series of predetermined tasks, which will then be scored by judges based on accuracy. Dogs can earn more points if they perform the tasks with increased accuracy and style. 

Tracking and Hunting

In tracking, a dog follows a scent trail to find an item, leading its handler. There are multiple different tracking and hunting competitions, one of them being hound trailing, which involves specially bred hounds racing against each other along a scent trail. What makes this competition different from most tracking and hunting races is that hounds complete the race completely unassisted by their handlers.


In agility, handlers direct their dogs through an obstacle course, which they must complete within a certain time frame. Dogs must make jumps, navigate through tunnels, walkways, weave through poles, and jump through tires, all in a specific order. They are directed by their handlers through the course. The competition is judged on both time and how accurately the dog is able to make its way through the obstacle course.

Water sports

Dock jumping or dock diving involves dogs jumping from a dock and into a pool or body of water, competing for distance or height. The dog’s handler first throws an item into the body of water, and the dog then runs along the 40 feet long dock and jumps off to grab the item in the water. The competition is based on either the longest or highest jump.

“I never knew there were so many different sports for dogs, and I think it’s really interesting how competitive these sports can be,” said senior Helen Zhang. “I was surprised at how obedience can also be a type of sport that dogs can train to!”

Dog sports are an excellent way for dogs to get physical exercise and mental stimulation. It’s also a great way for dogs to bond with their owners. The world of dog sports is a vast one, and there are a wide variety of recreation suited for all breeds of dogs.


Picture Design by Caitlyn Chau