Flyball Introduction




                                         UK COMPETITIONS - BEGINNER COMPETITIONS


It is a relay race between two teams of dogs. There are two parallel lanes for the two teams to race each other. Each lane has 4 low hurdles – spaced 10’ apart and at the far end a spring-loaded contraption (called simply a ‘box’) which holds a tennis ball. Each team has its own lane and comprise of a maximum 6 dogs. 2 dogs are substitutes that can be changed in for subsequent races, but 4 dogs per team at a time run in each race, relay fashion over the 4 hurdles, trigger the box containing a tennis ball, catch the ball and return to the start. The handlers remain behind the start line. They release their dogs in turn and collect them at the end of their run. Each team needs one person whose job it is to load the box for each dog in the team. These BOXLOADERS stand behind the ‘box’ (the opposite end to the start). They can shout to encourage each dog to run as quickly as possible to collect its ball from the box, tennis balls are used for most dogs - smaller dogs use mini tennis balls, other types of balls can be used (within guidelines), sponge balls are often used for tennis ball obsessed dogs. When all four dogs have finished the course (and all have brought the balls back) the race is over, and a winner is decided. During the race if any dog fails to come back with the ball, misses out any jumps or crosses the line too soon – i.e.. before the previous dog has come back - then it is a fault and to complete the race that dog must run again at the end.


Flyball started in America in the 1970’s when someone invented a contraption whereby a dog could press the pedal and toss the ball to itself. A row of low hurdles was added then people formed their own teams and took part in tournaments. This has grown to be an international event. There are competitions in North America & Canada, many European countries, Japan, Australia and of course the UK. In the early years of flyball the emphasis of the sport used to be catching the ball – today SPEED is the most important thing. There is in fact a world rankings list for team speeds which can be found on the BFA (British Flyball Association) site The best recorded time in the UK is 14.53 secs recorded by Tails we Win (UK Flyball League)- WORLD BEST – is 14.18 secs by Katy Kaylor’s Touch 'n Go, we are extremely lucky to have attended a semina by Katy, so she trained our trainers, and has answered queires on videos sent to her! The best times are to be found in America and Canada, but Britain is currently the 3rd rated Flyball nation in the world. Worldwide in 2016 Live Wires best time of 16.13 secs was 6th in the UK and ranked 87th from 1356 teams recorded.


Following a flyball course attended by late Anne Alcock and her husband Geoff , 5 people created Warrington & District Dog Club. Since Annes passing in April 2022 Geoff is the only original member left. The club was set up mainly to run flyball teams, LIVE WIRES were born. The name that was synonymous with Warrington town. In years gone by Warrington, was particularly famous for manufacturing Wire products. The local Rugby League team was even nicknamed ‘The Wires’ – though now called ‘Warrington Wolves’. All our teams have the name ‘wires’ in their title. At first we also used to wear Warrington colours of yellow and blue - which we wear for our Crufts teams now - our UKFL/BFA team colours changed to red and black when the club moved to Sutton Fields.


Most of our members are from Cheshire ie Chester, Runcorn, Warrington, Ellesmere Port & Frodsham but being close to the motorway network M56/M6 and easy to locate we also have members from as far a-field as Wigan, Liverpool, Stockport, Greater Manchester, Wirral, North Wales. Currently we have over 30 members with the large majority taking part in the BFA and UKFL competitions we enter. We are members of both British Flyball Association (BFA) and UK Flyball League (UKFL) running up to 5 teams in open sanctioned competitions. (Teams, dogs & handlers are listed, with photos in ‘Our teams’ on the site). Our top team Live Wires were UK Record holders in 2011 & 2012 and double Champions of Europe and the UK in 2012. They have now won the British Championships 4 times 2007, 2011, 2012 & 2013, runner up in 2008 & 2010 and their best time to date is 16.13 secs (2014). We have 2 or more beginner’s teams and have a number of other young dogs in training who are not yet old enough to compete (i.e., under 12 months old), if you are interested in joining us please get in touch, details can be found on the New Starters tab. We also run teams in Crufts flyball qualifiers - Warrington (Wizzards, Warriors, Warlocks) to try and make it to the NEC finals each March. Warrington Wizzards were runners up in 2010 & 2011 and we won in 2018 and our YKC (Junior team), Warrington Wizkids won in 2012. Many dogs who come to training are border collies which are ideally suited to this sport. However, we have several crossbreeds & rescue dogs, but we also have other working breeds – e.g., Lurchers, Labradors, Spaniels & Terriers - that can be equally as successfull. 


Flyball is the fastest growing dog sport in the UK

There must now be getting on for 200 clubs Nationwide (making up 600+ teams) and these are growing in number year by year. 

Many CLUBS host what are called SANCTIONED COMPETITIONS and invite all other UK clubs to participate. These OPEN competitions take place up & down the country and are mostly held over a weekend.  LIVE WIRES often hold at least 1 competition a year and occasionally preseason friendly event at Sutton Farm, Sutton Weaver.  At one of the Sutton Farm competitions in 2015 there were over 80 teams from various parts of the UK competing.

There used to be far fewer indoor competitions in winter but with the introduction of Tuffspun now take place all year round.

Competitions are organised so that teams are put into leagues according to their best time.  [On the UKFL and BFA websites is a current seeding list for all UK clubs]. Each team will race against all the other teams in their league. There is an alternative format that is becoming popular as well called Double Elimination they use in European events and latterly for the top 3 divisions in the BFA Championships. Often teams have a time trial before being placed in divisions which is then run on a knockout basis with any team knocked out needing to win to have the chance to be reintegrated back in the winning group. Following two losses however a team will be eliminated and will take no further part.


We recommend flyball to anyone who likes the outdoor life and enjoys spending quality time with their dogs.  It is great fun - a very sociable activity.


 Contact us - see the Starter Training page for further details.