“Dancing with dogs” is new sport

  • The Kennel Club is to recognise the new sport of “heelwork to music” from 1 July 2002.

    According to Mary Ray, twice winner of Crufts obedience championship, the sport is similar to dressage to music.

    Heelwork to music, as it is known in UK, or canine freestyle, as it has been named in USA, is fast gaining in popularity.

    Mary, who was one of the founders of the sport, began doing demonstrations in the main ring at Crufts in 1997.

    Since 1996, there have been a number of classes around Britain, which now attract around 90 entries.

    “It’s not a circus act. We come up with different moves for the dogs to do, which requires a lot of training as the choreography can be quite difficult to work out.

    “The dogs enjoy it – they are certainly not bored.”

    Mary, who works with her two Border Collies, Quincy and Kizzy, says the sport is suitable for any breed or type of dog as owners can choose the music to suit.

    For more information, visit www.paws-n-music.com or www.dogsinaction.com

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