Musical Canine Freestyle is not the normal dog competition; however, it is lots of fun for both the dog and the owner and has been gaining in popularity over the last few years. Musical Canine Freestyle is a relatively new dog sport, being started in 1989. There is no credited founder for Musical Canine Freestyle as it seemed to start simultaneously in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. It is believed that Musical Canine Freestyle was fashioned after the equine sport known as musical kur. The first official musical canine freestyle club was created in British Colombia, Canada in 1991. Over the next few years, more musical canine freestyle clubs appeared in the United States, Europe, and in Japan. Today, Musical Canine Freestyle is primarily enjoyed in North America, Europe and Japan.
There are numerous organizations that regulate the musical canine freestyle competitions around the world. These organizations are World Canine Freestyle Organization, Canine Freestyle Federation, Musical Dog Sport Association, Paws 2 Dance Canine Freestyle Organization, Canine Freestyle GB, and Pawfect K9 Freestyle Club. In the United Kingdom, the dog sport is called Heelwork to Music, and is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC).
Musical Canine Freestyle is a competition where dog and owner dance together in front of a panel of judges and are judged on their style, how well the dog and owner work together and several other things. There are two different techniques of Musical Canine Freestyle, freestyle heeling and musical freestyle.
Freestyle heeling is mostly seen in the United Kingdom and Europe. Freestyle heeling focuses on the canine’s ability to heel in different positions while the owner moves around to the beat of the music. The dog needs to stay close or "tethered" to their owner, any kind of jumping, rolling, weaving, or other kind of trick is not allowed in this style. The judges score on how well the dog listens to commands, how well it heels, and how well the routine worked with the music.
Musical freestyle is commonly seen in the United States and Canada, and it focuses on the dog's ability to do a variety of tricks and how well it listens to the owner's commands. The canine is allowed to move around and do tricks that would not be allowed in the European competitions, like jumping and weaving. The dog can also do the heeling style that is seen in Europe, but the dog needs to do other tricks as well or they won't get a high score. The judges score on how hard the tricks were to perform, how well the canine listens to the owners commands, how entertaining the routine was, and how well the music and routine worked together.
While Musical Canine Freestyle is not for everyone, it is probably one of the most entertaining of all the dog sports to watch. Musical Canine Freestyle is difficult and takes a lot of training and dedication. Any dog, purebred or mixed breed, can participate in musical canine freestyle; however, the more intelligent breeds like Poodles and Border Collies are most commonly seen.