Flyball got its start in the late 1960's and early 1970's, when a group of dog trainers in Southern California created scent discrimination hurdle racing, then put a guy at the end to throw tennis balls to the dogs when they finished the jump line. Subsequently, the new dog sport for dog enthusiasts was introduced in the Toronto-Detroit area by several dog training clubs. After a few small tournaments were held in conjunction with dog shows, the first ever flyball tournament was held in 1983. The North American Flyball Association, Inc. (NAFA®) was established in 1984, when 12 flyball clubs in Michigan and Ontario banded together to guide the development of flyball in North America. Today, with over 400 active clubs and 6,500 competing dogs, NAFA is recognized as the world's leading authority on flyball and the sport's top sanctioning organization.
What is flyball?
Flyball is a high energy, timed, dog sport in which teams of four dogs race, relay style, against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of four hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the springloaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball.
How fast is a typical team?
Team speeds vary greatly. Teams are placed into divisions that will run against other teams of approximately the same speed. There are generally four divisions running in a tournament, with about five teams per division. “Average speed” teams run the course under 24 seconds. The current world flyball record is held by Spring Loaded at 14.733 seconds.
What is the fastest dog for flyball?
Typically Border Collies or Border Collie mixes are the fastest dogs in flyball. Most teams run with a short dog, such as a Jack Russell Terrier. A short dog sets the jumps low so the entire team can move faster. Also, lower jump heights are safer because it reduces the overall impact of jumping over the hurdles.
What breed of dogs can join a flyball team?
Any non-aggressive dog can join our flyball team provided they are in good health and can jump at least 7” safely. All dogs, including mixed breeds, are eligible to compete and earn titles in NAFA sanctioned tournaments.
What does flyball cost?
Turbo Paws flyball classes are $50 for a four-week course (1 hour per week). The tournament entry fees per team (four dogs + two backup dogs) are about $200/per weekend or about $50 per dog. Most tournaments race 40 heats per team, over a two-day period. You will need to pay for your own transportation, lodging, food and t-shirts. Total cost per day of racing average $130 for hotel, race fees, and food. We spend about 10 weekends a year at out-of-town tournaments.
Titles and Points
Each time a team races in a NAFA® sanctioned flyball tournament with a recorded time under 24 seconds, each dog racing in that heat will receive 25 points toward a flyball title; under 28 seconds each dog racing in that heat will receive 5 points; under 32 seconds each dog racing in that heat will receive 1 point; provided that a NAFA® judge is present and at least four teams compete.
Titles and awards are earned as detailed in the table below:
Points Earned RegularTitle Awarded
20 FD - Flyball Dog
100 FDX - Flyball Dog Excellent
500 FDCh - Flyball Dog Champion
1,000 FDCh-S - Flyball Dog Champion-Silver
2,500 FDCh-G - Flyball Dog Champion-Gold
5,000 FM - Flyball Master
10,000 FMX - Flyball Master Excellent
15,000 FMCh - Flyball Master Champion
30,000 FGDCh - Flyball Grand Champion
100,000 Hobbes Award