This page gives a brief introduction to International Flyball and Crufts Flyball. More details of each are available by clicking on the respective topic on the left. 


In the United Kingdom there are two types of Flyball sports that dogs can compete in -  International Flyball or Crufts Flyball. There are similarities but also major differences but whichever type of Flyball you watch or participate in, they are both very exciting sports for both handlers and their dogs.


In both types, there are 4 jumps of the same design and with the same spacing between the start/stop line, the jumps and the trigger box, which releases the ball.


In International flyball,

  • there is electronic timing and software associated with indicating which dog has gone wrong;
  • the height of the jumps can be altered to accommodate smaller breeds of dogs;
  • BUT the main difference is the International design of trgger box which is used all over the world;
  • the location of the ball in the box can be changed to accommodate each dog's natural preference and also regardless of its size
  • Competition is all year round with many leagues and competitions


In Crufts flyball

  • the timing is by stopwatch;
  • errors are sorted out by stewards;
  • the height of the jumps remains the same (12" or 30cm) regardless of the size of dogs running;
  • the Crufts trigger box is only used at Crufts
  • Crufts flyball final takes place at Crufts; the associated heats usually occur in the few months before Crufts in early March



Many people aspire to teaching their dogs this seemingly "easy" sport as all the dogs have to do is -

  1. run 51 ft up to the flyball box over four low hurdles
  2. trigger the flyball box so that the tennis ball is released
  3. catch the ball in their mouths
  4. then return over the hurdles and through the finish line so that the next dog in the team (which comprises of 4 dogs) can run up and have a go.


"A Flyball run usually only takes 5 or so seconds to do - so what's the problem? It can't take very long to train a dog, surely!"


Unfortunately this is not the case. It is because the sport is so exciting, fast and is done in close proximity to other dogs that teaching a dog to do flyball can be very difficult to achieve without the dog becoming over stressed (showing symptoms of either confusion, lack of concentration, low mental stamina, and even aggressive behaviour due to tiredness).


Handlers and trainers soon learn that this simple chain of behaviours needs to be taught with great care so that the dog thoroughly understands what is expected of it and can do a flyball run with enthusiasm and speed, without becoming stressed or confused.


This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).


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