Over the past 30 years, the have been many agility-based sports invented and organized throughout the United States and the world. One of those sports, Flyball, is an exciting, fast-paced event that draws thousands of competitors and fans every year. All dogs are welcome to participate in sanctioned Flyball events, and the Miniature Australian Shepherd excels in this event.
The exact origin of Flyball is not known, but it was invented in Southern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s when a group of dog trainers got together to create a hurdle relay race. The sport began to expand when Herbert Wagner appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and delighted the audience. Soon after, the sport became popular in the Detroit/Toronto area as small events began appearing in conjunction with dog shows. In 1983, the first Flyball tournament was held. Then out of the Midwestern group of dog enthusiasts came the sport's governing body, the North American Flyball Association in 1994.
Flyball is a relay race in which four dogs on one team negotiate three small hurdles over a 51-foot long course, and at the turn, the dogs must take a tennis ball from a self-launching device called a Flyball box. In the earliest incarnations of Flyball, it was a person who stood at the end of the course and threw a ball to the dogs! The sport has progressed tremendously in the past 30 years. Not only has the human element been taken out at the turn with the Flyball box, which was invented by Wagner, but also it's been taken out at the starting line. The starting line is now automated, marking the time and when the dogs can take off.
This sport is perfect for the Miniature Australian Shepherd. Not only is it unconditionally welcomed (dogs of any breed of any heritage are invited to participate), but also the breed's athleticism, its temperament, and its intelligence make it a good fit. Miniature Australian Shepherds are speedy, are good at jumping on the run, and the happy-go-lucky breed just loves to play. This is also a good event for owners of the Miniature Australian Shepherds. Because the Miniature Australian Shepherd is recognized by so few breed registries, Flyball gives all dogs a chance to participate in a national event.
There is a wealth of information about Flyball on the Internet. The best ways to learn more about the sport of Flyball, visit the Web site of the sport's oldest governing body, the North American Flyball Association, at www.flyball.org, or visit the Flyball Home Page at www.flyballdogs.com, which has a huge collection of links to Flyball information and organizations around the world.