What is Disc Dog? Disc Dog is an exciting, entertaining, and fast-paced sport that pups and their humans can do together. It is a very competitive sport. Titles are won. International competitions take place every year and the sport draws big crowds. If your dog is trainable, can jump and catch a frisbee and learn trick jumps, this might be just the sport you both need!
Tricks can be as easy as throwing and catching a frisbee or as complicated as incorporating flips, high jumps, jumping over you or into your arms. But, if you are up for the challenge and can get you and your pup to a good- sized space to practice, Disc Dog may become your next favorite pastime. To see a champion Disc Dog in action, check out this video of the winner of the 2015 Huntingdon Beach, CA Incredible Dog Challenge.
Like the other sanctioned dog sports, title holders in Disc Dog can have their accomplishments recognized by the American Kennel Club (“AKC”). You have to earn a medal from UPDog, the group that runs and organizes competitions and events in the US and Canada. They have competitions for simple throw/fetch tricks all the way up to the most complicated moves. Dogs of any breed (purebred or mixed), size, or shape can play and win!
How does a dog get a Disc Dog title?Dogs compete and participate in events and earn points. Points cumulate until a dog earns an achievement, called UPs. Your dog has to receive 3 UPs to apply for title recognition from the AKC.
What kind of titles can Dogs get? UpDog has 10 types of games where dogs can rack up cumulative points that lead to different levels of achievement - Bronze UP, Silver UP, Gold UP, Platinum UP and Unobtanium UP. If a dog earns 3 medals, they can apply for 5 different AKC titles. If a dog earns 6 medals, they can apply for 5 different “Elite” AKC titles. Elite titles supersede and extinguish the lower-level titles on a dog’s record. You can find AKC’s UpDog Disc Dog Title Application here. To find UpDog events, you can use their handy search tool.
Which dog breed is best for Disc Dog?UpDog encourages dogs of all breeds to participate in their events. There will, however, always be people who think some dogs are just better built for the game. Here is our list of contenders based on temperament, speed, and agility. You can read more about the fastest dogs in the world here.
Border Collies and Whippets tend to be the most involved in the sport. In fact, the fist official disc dog was Ashley the Whippet, whose owner took him onto the baseball field at Dodger Stadium in 1974 during a game. Ashley and her owner played frisbee for 9 minutes before they were escorted off the field by security. The crowd was amazed by Ashley’s high jumps and stamina. That is when the sport was born! Ashley went on to become the World Frisbee Disc Canine Champion 3 years in a row. You can watch Ashley’s debut in 1974 here.
How do I get my dog involved? First gather up the supplies and teach your dog to catch a frisbee. You’ll need a few discs, treats, a field and water. There are soft discs designed for a dog’s mouth, like these ones for small and large dogs.
You can learn to teach them to catch a frisbee from videos, like this one. If you want to move onto tricks, you could contact a Disc Dog Club. They can be found throughout the United States. You can search here. You could use free resources, books and DVDs offered by SkyHoundz. SkyHoundz is the organizer of the World Canine Disc Championships. You and your dog could take online lessons with Barkletics Online Disc Dog Academy. Or you could take Disc Dog training with Kirby Mcllveen, a 20x Disc Dog World Champion and certified dog trainer.
The best thing to do is ask around for a good trainer or coach to help your dog learn some basics and see if they enjoy it enough to get competitive!
Even small and older dogs can learn to do the sport. Check out this video!
If you're looking for a less organized activity to do with your dog, you could start a running routine with your pup. Check out our blog post on the fastest dog breeds here!