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Jagdterrier leaping over an agility jump in an outdoor course.
Zocha_K/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Summer is a great time to get involved in a dog sport! Dog sports are a great way to bond with your pup, continue training, and burn off some extra energy. If you’ve never thought of trying a dog sport, check out this list that showcases a few of AKC’s most popular sports that are perfect for warm weather.


In Agility, you guide your dog through a series of obstacles like jumps, tunnels, ramps, and weave poles. The novice level of competition is very beginner-friendly, and there are lower jump heights available for older dogs or those with previous injuries. Agility is also great exercise for your dog and for you!

Lakeland Terrier running through an agility course outdoors.
©zelenka68 -

Diving Dogs

Does your pup love to swim and retrieve? Diving Dogs may be the sport for your pet! Dogs compete in distance and height competitions, all while jumping from a dock for their favorite toy. These competitions are divided into size categories for the dogs competing, so dogs of all sizes can be competitive. The AKC recognizes titles from the North American Diving Dogs (NADD) organization.

German Shorthaired Pointer dock diving outdoors.
© GoDogPhoto -

Fast CAT

Fast CAT is a shortened version of a Coursing Ability Test (CAT). It’s a 100-yard sprint chasing a lure. Many dogs love Fast CAT, as they are encouraged to run as fast as they can on a straight track following the lure. They can earn points for Fast CAT titles for successfully completed runs! Lure Coursing is for Sighthounds only, but dogs of any breed may enjoy earning CAT and Fast CAT titles.

Afghan Hound running after a lure in Fast CAT.
Mark Baer
Afghan Hound running after a lure in Fast CAT.

AKC Scent Work

AKC Scent Work is a very popular sport in which dogs use their noses to search out specific odors. It is based on the work of professional detection dogs (such as drug dogs). Dogs are challenged to find the odors indoors, outdoors, in containers, and even buried underground! AKC Scent Work is a great sport for dogs who may have mobility challenges, as they use their noses more than their athletic ability.

English Springer Spaniel in a scent work trial outdoors.
©Nathan Brower

AKC Rally

Dogs and handlers navigate a numbered course at their own pace in AKC Rally. Each station on the course has a different obedience exercise for the dog and handler to complete. At the beginner level, AKC Rally competitions are performed with your dog on-leash, making this a great introductory dog sport for new competitors!

207 Butterfield's The Legend Of Zelda CGC TKA. DN67378502. 4/8/2021. Border Collie. F. Breeder(s): Alisha Betterfield. Fable-Darcy. Owner(s): Maite Crespo/Cristiana Crespo. Handler: Cristiana Crespo. Jr. Handler #: 48343523003
Photo by Pix 'n Pages ©American Kennel Club

Virtual Titling Opportunities

Almost every dog will love at least one of these sports because they provide an opportunity to have fun with a favorite person. And they also are a great way for you to meet like-minded dog lovers.

And if you live in an area that is too hot to get outdoors in the summer, consider the virtual titling programs AKC has on offer!

Related article: Tips for Getting Started in Dog Agility
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Agility for Beginners E-book

Are you looking for a fun new activity for you and your dog? Agility may just be the perfect option. In the “Agility for Beginners” e-book you will learn everything you need to know to get started.
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