What is Flyball?

Flyball is a relay race in which a team of dogs and handlers race against another team. Both teams are in separate lanes, each with 4 hurdles and a box at the end of the lane for them to jump off and run back the same way after completing the hurdles again.
By the dog jumping on the box, it will release a tennis ball for them to retrieve and bring it back to the start of the lane.

The winning team is the first to get all 4 of the dogs back over the line without having any faults.

Example of how a flyball course is set up infographic

Example of how a Flyball course is set up

Flyball is at heart a team sport, with teams consisting of up to 6 dogs. From each team, only 4 dogs are then selected to take part in each heat.
The heats are essentially relay races between the dogs, each going one after another for the fastest time.

The 5th member of the team is the “box loader” and whilst they are not running one of the dogs they are critical to the team’s overall performance and have to make sure the ball is ready and in the right place for each dog. They need to know each dog’s requirements in terms of where they prefer the ball to be loaded into the box. As well as have quick fingers to be able to swap and change in between the running of the dogs.

Who can take part?

Most dogs of any age and size can take part as long as they are in good health. If your dog is able and fit enough, then it can play flyball!

Tournament rules require that all dogs must be at least 18 months old before taking part in a sanctioned game. This age restriction is purely to safeguard the dog’s long term health.

Flyball is the fastest growing dog sport in the country and it is also played world wide, using the same rules, in countries such as USA, Canada, Japan, Australia as well as many European countries.

It is a very social sport with most teams opting to “camp” at the various weekend tournaments – resulting in a lively social life for you and your dog.

Who sets the rules?

The rules that most teams in the UK follow are set by the BFA (British Flyball Association) and a current copy of all the rules can be found here.