When it comes to dock diving events, all dogs are welcomed. Whether purebred or mixed-breed, diving dogs only need three main traits to compete. They need to be comfortable in water, need to have a love of toys and enjoy showing off in front of crowds. Although dogs can be trained, certain breeds are naturals at these behaviors.
Most retriever breeds are excellent candidates for dock diving, and Labradors are among the top contenders. This breed is often synonymous with words and phrases such as happiness, water-lover and extremely active. They’re strong, intelligent and along with their love to play is an eagerness to please. Labradors were initially bred to dive into cold waters to help fishermen retrieve nets. With their social personalities, they’re good in crowds. They’re a familiar sight at these events, and one of the most popular dog’s worldwide.
When it comes to intelligence, loving personality and active nature, golden retrievers are neck and neck with their Labrador cousins. They originated in the Scottish highlands during the 1800s, when a monarch lord decided he wanted to breed the ultimate retriever. He bred a yellow retriever with the now extinct tweed water spaniel. Their ability to focus makes them excellent guide or assistant dogs, and they are often used in search and rescue missions. Their double coat is naturally water repellent.
German Shorthaired Pointer and English Setter
Sporting breeds such as German shorthaired pointers and English setters are other natural candidates for dock diving. Both breeds are quick, agile and prized by bird hunters for their excellent abilities to retrieve fallen fowl from the water. The origin of the German shorthaired pointer is unclear. However, English setters were initially called setting spaniels. Before firearms were widely used in England for bird hunting, they were trained to crouch down and “set,” so the hunter could throw a net over the birds.
Pit bulls may not be a retriever or a natural water dog, but their fearlessness, high energy and willingness to please makes them excellent sportsmen. Because of the shape and power of their body structure, they’re exceptional jumpers and climbers, and they perform well at athletic competitions. Generally, this breed has a good and playful nature. However, since they can exhibit signs of aggression, before taking them to crowded events that include other pets, they need to be well-socialized and obedience trained.
- United Kennel Club: Dog Events - Getting Your Dog Started in Dock Jumping
- United Kennel Club: Dog Events - Dock Jumping
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Golden Retriever
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the English Setter
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Labrador Retriever
- United Kennel Club: Dog Events - American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the German Shorthaired Pointer
Slone Wayking worked as a professional in the veterinary field for 20 years. Though her interest in animal health led to this path, Wayking initially studied creative arts. She has been article writing for more than a year and is currently working towards her degree in multimedia. Her certifications include business writing and basic web design.