If your dog loves to tap his toes or shakes her hips whenever you turn on music, then your dog may be a perfect candidate for canine freestyle. This dog dancing sport is becoming more and more popular with dogs and their owners.
Canine freestyle is also popping up at many of the nation’s top dog shows. It is not an AKC-sanctioned event, but many of the AKC members enjoy and participate in this event at shows.
In canine freestyle, dogs master certain movements and then put them together in their own way. Dogs and their owners can add their own creative touches to make their unique choreographed routine. There are about 40 steps that are generally accepted. Both dogs and owners definitely have to be light on their feet and coordinated.
One teacher of a canine choreography class says that any breed can succeed in canine freestyle. Even big rottweilers and Saint Bernards can be graceful. Dogs dance to any kind of music ranging from classical to rap.
Dog dancing is one more way that owners and their dogs can bond with each other. A representative of the World Canine Freestyle Organization is so impressed by the teamwork in canine freestyle that she would like to see the event introduced in the Olympics.
How about a show called “So You Think You Can Dance, Dogs?” or “Dancing With The Dog Stars”?
Canine freestyle got its start in the early 1990s among dog owners seeking one more way to show off their animals. The skill evolved from the musical freestyle event of equine dressage, according to Joan Tennille of the Canine Freestyle Federation. “It expanded the scope of dog training by adding music and choreography,” Tennille says.
A dog-loving group in Canada contributed to the sport’s early popularity. Tennille founded the Canine Freestyle Federation in 1995. Patie Ventre launched the World Canine Freestyle Organization, which now boasts a membership of more than 1,000, around the same time. Carolyn Scott (her act with golden retriever Rookie is immortalized on videos) was among the founders of Houston’s Musical Dog Sport Association. And more groups, including San Antonio’s Family Dog Obedience Drill Team, which hopes to get into freestyle soon, are stepping onto the scene all the time.
Want to see Carolyn Scott and her golden retriever, Rookie, in action? Check out a video of their dancing moves.