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Shiva the Belgian Malinois leaped 26 feet and 3 inches during the Diving Dogs competition on ESPN's campus.
Nick Caito / ESPN Images

Dogs are making a splash in this year’s AKC Diving Dogs Premier Cup, which took place on April 2 at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida. This fast action competition is exciting to watch as dogs fling themselves into the water, chasing after their favorite toy.

Held in collaboration with North American Diving Dogs, dogs from across the country competed in Distance and Air Retrieve, with the top three in each receiving prize money.

How to Watch the AKC Diving Dogs Premier Cup

You can watch the Diving Dogs Premier Cup on Monday, May 16 at 9 p.m. ET by tuning in to ESPN2 on your TV or by signing in on any device. The broadcast will be hosted by ESPN’s Phil Murphy, including play-by-play by sportscaster Carolyn Manno and analysis by Bill Ellis.


How Does Diving Dogs Work

While the competition is entertaining to watch, you may be wondering how Diving Dogs works aside from dogs jumping into the water. Like other dog sports, there are a set of rules to determine who wins and why.

The goal is simple enough: Have the longest jump possible. Competitors wait on a 40-foot dock before they run and launch themselves off the end of it to get their favorite toy their owners tossed in. There are two different disciplines dogs can compete in:

  • Distance Jumping: Dogs compete for the farthest jump. The distance is measured from the end of the dock to the base of the dog’s tail when it breaks water.
  • Air Retrieve: Dogs compete to knock a bumper of an apparatus, which hangs at the middle of the dock’s width at the farthest distance. The rig moves out in one-foot increments and each dog will get two attempts at knocking down the bumper at each distance.

Diving Dog teams are comprised of only one dog and one handler, with occasionally one additional handler to help restrain the dog. A handler may use one or two toys to help encourage the dog to jump into the water.

Want to Get Started in Diving Dogs?

If you think your dog would love competing, chances are you’re probably right! This sport is great for energetic, water-loving dogs.

Like many dog sports, all dogs including mixed breeds (6 months and older) 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.

For more information about Diving Dogs and getting involved in your local area, visit NADD. There you can learn more about Diving Dogs events in your area, diving facilities, and how to train your dog.

Related article: Dachshunds Become Unlikely Cadaver Dogs
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