Dogs, too, can be sporty. Nowadays, there are many events like a dog tracking competition where you can sign up your pet. But as much as it’s an exciting thought, Pitbulls won’t fit every event.
Many dogs are naturally alert and active. For some dog owners, they prefer to channel it into something more rewarding like competitions and events.
Aside from gaining the glory of owning a champ dog, it’s also a great way to raise a disciplined and well-rounded canine.
Participating in dog competitions
Joining a dog competition isn’t just about winning medals and ribbons. Above all, it’s about training a dog to perform a certain task. Also, this is a great avenue to build and test the bond of the dog and its owner.
As for Pitbulls, sporting events allow them to socialize by meeting new people and new dogs. It’s also rewarding for dog owners as they get to enjoy all the trials with their pet.
The American Kennel Club, for one, is the leading host of dog sporting events. Each year, they hold around 22,000 events where dogs and their owners can compete and have fun.
But before you explore online dog competitions, here are some terms you need to know:
✔️Exhibitors are the term for competitors
✔️Trials are also the same as competitions
✔️Fancier is a person who’s an avid exhibitor in dog sporting events
✔️Conformation is the term for dog shows
Sporting background of Pitbulls
The sporting history of Pitbulls is rather dark. This breed was initially produced to be used on bullbaiting and dogfighting rings. They were raised to be vicious so they can win violent and bloody sports.
The American Kennel Club and all animal welfare organizations don’t support or tolerate these kinds of events. In fact, dogfighting is a felony offense in all of the 50 states of the United States in line with the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007.
A lot of Pitbulls have been involved in this illegal event which gained them the stereotype of being dangerous and vicious.
But on this day, Pitties are now competing in different sporting events just like other breeds. With responsible dog owning, Pitbulls can grow as disciplined and intelligent canines.
Considerations before joining a dog competition
Remember, competing in these sporting events isn’t just about you but your dog as well. It just makes perfect sense why you should check if your Pitbull is fit for the challenge. This is true for dog tracking competition and other active sports.
Pitties have a natural affinity to athleticism. They love to run, chase, and zoom. Still, you should see if your specific doggo has what it takes to compete in an event.
For example, a couch potato won’t do well in agility drills. It’s all about matching your doggo’s personality to the sport. Below, I’ve discussed how you should choose your pooch’s sport.
Above all, ask for the clearance of a veterinarian. No matter what sport your Pitbull is joining, the doggo should always have a clean bill of health first. Make sure that your pooch doesn’t have orthopedic and other critical conditions.
Pro tip: Join only sporting events endorsed, supported, or hosted by the American Kennel Club and legitimate dog organizations for your dog’s safety.
Requirements to compete
Depending on the sport that you’ll choose, there would be varying requirements that you and your dog need to meet. There are also different terms for online dog competitions. If you are to compete on AKC events, here are the general requirements you need to furnish:
✔️AKC Canine Partners Number – This number is dedicated to mixed breeds or even pure breeds
✔️AKC Registration Number – This will be given to the dog owner after acquiring a registration certificate or a puppy certificate whichever is applicable.
✔️FSS Number – FSS or Foundation Stock Service number are for dog breeds that are still in the process of being recognized by the AKC.
✔️Purebred Alternative Listing – In case you can’t furnish an AKC Registration Number for your purebred Pitty, PAL will be a substitute.
The organizers have the discretion to ask for further requirements depending on the sporting event.
To know more about the requirements, you can visit AKC’s guide on dog sports and events.
Finding the right sport for your Pitty
Each canine has a special set of skills and looks that suit different sporting events. If you’re planning to sign up your dog to one, make sure that you put a lot of thought on choosing the right event.
I always recommend that you start checking the dog’s personality, behavior, and temperament. If your Pitty seems to be on edge and lacking discipline, it’s best to send him to an obedience school first. This will increase its chances of winning or keeping up with the sport.
Once you rule that out, here are some questions to ask your self:
✔️Is this your Pitbull’s first time to compete in a sporting event? Your pet may do well on Rally trials as a start.
✔️Does your Pitbull love running and romping around? If so, the dog may excel in agility trials or dog tracking competition.
✔️Is your Pitty a majestic dog that embodies the epitome of its breed? Who knows, the doggo might be perfect for conformation.
✔️Is your Pitbull an obedient and disciplined pooch? Obedience trials might be its best suit.
✔️Does your Pitty love herding livestock (and even kids)? The herding trial might be its perfect match
There are more sporting events that your Pitbull can join. However, you should know that some events are reserved for specific breeds and skills.
For example, the Scent Work trial is best for doggos with a strong sense of smell. Also, there are online dog competitions that are more ideal for hounds.
Also, you have to consider if your dog is spayed or not. Female pooches that are in season will be allowed to join a sport depending on the event. If your dog is spayed, it can’t join several performance events as well as conformation.
Top 10 dog sporting events
If you’re in the process of choosing a dog sports for your Pitbull, here are some that might suit it well:
Is your doggo determined to run over the tunnels, obstacles, and other barriers? The agility trial will be a perfect match for your pet. It’s a high-paced sport that will put your Pitty’s energy into good use.
The good thing with agility trials is it also trains your dog to be a quick thinker and an obedient canine.
Also, Agility is one of the most popular dog sports in the U.S. with over one million entries each year.
To compete, your Pitbull should be at least 15 months old, has the above-mentioned requirements, and in good health. However, females that are in season won’t be allowed to join.
Check out this Agility Test and see if your dog makes the cut:
For unspayed and purebred Pitties, the Conformation or dog show can be a great choice.
It’s like the beauty pageant of dogs where they are judged based on how they represent the personality and original traits of their breed.
This is done as support for responsible breeding and keeping each breed’s standards intact. If you want to sign your dog up, it should be at least six months old, its breed should be AKC-recognized, and it doesn’t fall on any disqualification faults.
Remember, only unspayed dogs can compete here. Also, only the American Staffordshire Terrier is recognized as the original Pitbull breed on AKC’s registry.
Thinking of joining dog shows? Here’s what you should do:
3. Dock jumping
Dock jumping is one of the sports where Pitbulls are commonly seen. In this sport, the dog needs to jump from a dock to a body of water. The goal is to reach the farthest distance possible. The dog with the longest reach wins.
It’s like the long jump in human sports. To encourage the dog to jump, the owner will throw a toy to the water. There are several variations to this sport which your pooch will love.
If your dog loves swimming, dock jump will be an enjoyable choice of sport. This is also a great choice if your dog doesn’t excel in dog tracking competition.
Here’s how dock jumping works in actual competitions:
Flyball is like a relay game where a team of dogs competes to run along a course with obstacles and hurdles.
The goal is to reach the flyball box that will eject a tennis ball. At this point, the dog is supposed to bring back to its owner with the tennis ball.
Once the dog completed the course, the next dog will go through the same obstacle until every canine in the team finished. The fastest team to finish the drill with the least errors wins.
This sport is great for dogs with obedience, agility, and affinity to play fetch.
5. Herding trials
Herding is a sport for dogs with natural instinct or inclination to herd or collect livestock in groups. Even non-herding dogs can join the competition as long as they can perform the task at hand.
You can train your dog for it so you can increase its chances of winning.
To qualify, your dog should exhibit its herding abilities during the test. Take note that herding isn’t equivalent to aggression.
Right now, the AKC doesn’t allow Pitbulls to compete for herding. But you can watch out as more and more breeds are being added to the list each year.
6. Lure/hare coursing
Lure or hare coursing is a high-octane chase that utilizes a dog’s prey drive. With this, competing dogs should have the ability to run fast and keep an eye on the target. However, take note that the doggo should hunt by sight and not by smell.
This can be a fun game for your doggo.
Since it’s done in a safe and controlled environment, you have nothing to worry about.
A mechanized lure system will be used and not an actual prey animal. Your dog should be well trained to win this sport.
In case your doggo isn’t fit for all the running, chasing, and zooming, you can consider canine freestyle. Unlike other events, this one is a choreographed performance that includes tricks, steps, and rhythmic routines.
Most of the steps used here are zig-zagging, jumping, backward walking, and answering to commands. Any move is allowed as long as it doesn’t expose the pet to danger.
This will take a lot of practice and training. Still, the end result is worth all the hard work.
Take a look at this amazing doggo showing some dancing prowess with its owner:
8. Disc/Frisbee dogs
Disc dog competitions include catching Frisbees thrown by the owner. This is a game of accuracy, discipline, determination, and obedience.
Aside from training your dog to be a great catcher, you also have to be a great thrower. This means that you and your dog will train together to succeed in competing in this sport.
There are different rules under the disc trials. Usually, the field will be divided into different zones where the disc is thrown in different distances.
This sport includes teamwork between you and your dog. The goal here is to finish the course that’s dotted with written instructions that the owner or handler has to follow. Moreover, what your dog should do is respond to your commands and heel properly on your left side.
Rally is a great beginner sport for dogs competing for the first time. It’s also a fun family event where dogs and their human families get to enjoy.
This is open to all breeds as long as you furnish all the requirements imposed by the organizer.
Do you want to join the Rally fun? Watch this video:
10. Obedience trials
For Pitties that are masters of basic commands, obedience trials can be a great pick. It puts your dog’s discipline and intelligence to the test. Also, it will utilize your ability as the owner to control your dog through cues and commands.
This sport is offered by AKC and open to all the breeds on their registry. As long as your doggo is in good health and at least six months of age, you can sign up and start completing the requirements.
From dog tracking competition to a more advanced flyball, each pooch will have a great time competing. What matters is you put your pet’s safety as a priority.