Canine Freestyle: Dancing With The Dogs

Canine Freestyle

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.

8 Responses to “Canine Freestyle: Dancing With The Dogs”

  1. ~Martha~ says:

    I love the suggestion of Dancing With The Dogs on TV. I’d watch it. BTW I will NOT watch the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ one that is on now, they lost me at the end of their first season.
    I do watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’, and love it.

    Either one with dogs would be a “thumbs up” from me!

    Now if my browser would just let me watch the videos. :(

  2. Dog Training News | Dog Training Tips » Canine Freestyle: Dancing With The Dogs says:

    […] Original post by emmo […]

  3. Maureen says:

    As a person who is owned by a Westie, I had to laugh at the photo of the Westie accompanying this story. Based on most of the Westies I know, I think they only way you could get a Westie to participate in dancing is to let him or her lead.

  4. the Asocial Ape says:

    our furkid bunny the dog absolutely LOVES dancing to disco with my wife.

    when one of the disco cds comes up in the changer, buns perks up her ears and starts prancing and highstepping around the house, looking for my DW.

  5. thomas says:

    training a dog for this is a great time for human and pet!!

  6. Dawn says:

    Canine freestyle is loads of fun and the dogs love it! The great thing is you don’t have to be a great dancer (I say from experience!) The best part is the fun you have with your dog! Some times they make up their own choregraphy but that is half the fun.

    P.S. The terrier in the photo is actually a wheaten colored Scottie

  7. So You Think Your Dog Can Dance | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats says:

    […] Itchmo comes to you when called.Sign up for our daily email digest or subscribe in a RSS reader.“Dancing With Your Dog” is not a spoof of the show “Dancing With The Stars. It is a global sport run by the World Canine Freestyle Organization. […]

  8. » Blog Archive » Canine Freestyle says:

    […] a friend for a cocktail who had just been to her Canine Freestyle class with her maltipoo - that’s […]

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