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The 2023 AKC Diving Dogs Challenge was held in collaboration with North American Diving Dogs on April 2, at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Dogs competed in three disciplines: Distance, Air Retrieve, and Hydro Dash, with a winner crowned in each category.

The competition aired on ESPN2 on April 9, and champions were announced for each discipline.

Distance Jumping

Dogs competed for the farthest jump, which is measured from the end of the dock to the base of the dog’s tail when it breaks water.

Kerri Schreiber
Sapper the All-American Dog won Distance Jumping with a jump of 26’11”.

First Place

Call Name: Sapper

Breed: All-American Dog

Handler(s): Christy Hutson

From: Moyock, NC

Age: 4

Final Jump: 26’11”

Second Place

Call Name: Finn

Breed: Brittany

Handler(s): John Van Allen

From: Hudson, WI

Age: 3

Final Jump: 24’0″

Third Place

Call Name: Piquels

Breed: Belgian Malinois

Handler(s): Missi Roland

From: Madison, WI

Age: 2

Final Jump: 22’9″

Air Retrieve

Dogs competed to knock a bumper of an apparatus, which hangs at the middle of the dock’s width at the farthest distance. The rig moved out in one-foot increments and each dog had two attempts. This year, three dogs tied for second place.

First Place

Call Name: Zara

Breed: Belgian Malinois

Handler(s): Michelle Dudley

From: Ellicott City, MD

Age: 4

Longest Distance: 21′

Kerri Schreiber
Zara, a Belgian Malinois, won in the Air Retrieve Discipline with a distance of 21′.

Second Place

Call Name: Chezwick

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Handler(s): Breck Baker

From: St. Augustine, FL

Age: 3

Longest Distance: 20′

Second Place

Call Name: Bling

Breed: Belgian Malinois

Handler(s): Stephanie Knatz

From: St. Marys, OH

Age: 3

Longest Distance: 20′

Second Place

Call Name: Titan

Breed: German Shorthaired Pointer

Handler(s): Michelle Demler

From: Sheboygan Falls, WI

Age: 4

Longest Distance: 20′

Hydro Dash

Dogs must swim out from the dock to the bumper, located 37 feet from the dock and hung one inch above the water. The dog must remove the bumper from both clips, then swim back to the dock. The dog who does this the fastest, wins.

First Place

Kerri Schreiber
Sonic, a Labrador Retriever, won in Hydro Dash.

Call Name: Sonic

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Handler(s): Linda Macke

From: New Richmond, OH

Age: 5

Best Time: 14.876 seconds

Second Place

Call Name: Yeti

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Handler(s): Dawn Jauernik

From: Jacksonville, NC

Age: 3

Best Time: 15.292 seconds

Third Place

Call Name: Rusty

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Handler(s): Joe Souza

From: Wesley Chapel, FL

Age: 6

Best Time: 15.551 seconds

Get Started in Diving Dogs

If Diving Dogs seems intriguing and you have a dog that loves water, you’re already one step closer to competing yourself.

Like many dog sports, all dogs over six months, including mixed breeds, are eligible to compete in Diving Dogs (other than females in season.) Titles earned through North America Diving Dogs (NADD) will be recognized by The American Kennel Club. To apply, simply complete the Title Application.

The AKC Diving Dogs Challenge participants are making a splash! The event took place February 24-25 in Glendale, AZ. Catch all of the action on Wednesday, July 3 from 7:00 to 9:00pm ET on ESPN2!

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