Dog Sports

Buster (disc dog), owned by Tim Zimmer.  Picture used with permission by Marshall Smith

Buster (disc dog), owned by Tim Zimmer. Picture used with permission by Marshall Smith

There are just too many dog sports to give each their own page.  With very few exceptions, there isn’t a sport that the Belgian malinois won’t excel at.  They are agile, strong, fast, very intelligent, and are very willing to please their handler so this makes the breed one of the best for dog sports.

Dog sports can either be for recreation or competition (or both) and either way is a great bond building experience for the malinois and the handler.  It also helps with the malinois seemingly endless supply of energy (trust me, they can get tired!) and also supplies an important and focused outlet for their energy as well as something to do (a bored malinois is not a good thing in most cases).

While agility and competitive obedience are the most popular, there are many other sports that a malinois can excel at.  Disc-Dog competitions (pictured left) is popular with malinois.  The dog’s speed, size, strength,and accuracy makes the breed a great candidate for this sport.  The (very) short description of disc-dog is that the handler throws a Frisbee out into a field and the dog runs to catch it in the air.  As dog and handler get more experienced with this, additional tricks (flips, jumps off of the handler’s back, multiple Frisbees) are added in.  In competitions teams are judged during the “toss and fetch” where the handler tosses the Frisbee out a certain (or varying) distance and the dog has to catch it (usually as many throws the handler can make in 60 seconds).  There is also freestyle where the toss and catch are choreographed.

Trixie (owned by Jennifer Bale-O'Connell) competing in flyball.  Picture owned and used with permission by Jim Greiser Photography

Trixie (owned by Jennifer Bale-O’Connell) competing in flyball. Picture owned and used with permission by Jim Greiser Photography

Another sport popular with malinois is “flyball”.  Flyball usually consists of the handler and a team of 4 dogs.  The dogs must jump over 4 hurdles (height is usually 5 inches below the withers of the smallest dog but must always be between 7 and 14 inches in height) about 10 feet apart and then run 15 feet to a box with 3 holes in it – in one of the holes (varies) a ball will appear after the dog presses on a plate on the box and then the dog needs to grab it, turn around, and run back to the handler.  If a dog misses a jump or misses / drops the ball they need to start over from the beginning and the next dog cannot start until the previous dog crosses the finish line.  Judging is based on time.