Dock jumping

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DockJumping RJ.jpg
Dock Jumping Dog

Dock jumping also known as dock diving is a dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water.

There are dock jumping events in the United States and other countries such as United Kingdom,[1] Australia,[2] Germany,[3] and Austria.[3]


Dock jumping first appeared in 1997 at the Incredible Dog Challenge, an event sponsored and produced by pet food manufacturer Purina.[4] There are now a number of organizations that run dock jumping competitions in different countries.

In the United States, DockDogs was established in 2000;[5] its first event was at the ESPN 2000 Great Outdoor Games competition.[5]

The Super Retriever Series Super Dock was also established in 2000 and created as a qualifier for ESPN Great Outdoor Games along with the Retriever Trials.

Splash Dogs was started in 2003.[6] Ultimate Air Dogs was founded in 2005,[4][7] by former Major League Baseball player Milt Wilcox.[8] In 2008, UAD partnered with the United Kennel Club (UKC) which added dock jumping as a recognized UKC sport.[7] In 2009, UKC also recognized competitions run by Splash Dogs.[9] Dogs can get UKC titles by competing in dock distance or height jumping like they can in agility, obedience, weight pulling, and others.

North American Diving Dogs was formed in 2014 and offers diving dog titles recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC).[10]

In the United Kingdom, Dash 'n' Splash, which runs competitions across southern England,[11] was established in 2005,[1] followed by JettyDogs in 2007.[12]

K9 Aqua Sports was started in 2014, and runs competitions across all of England and Scotland[13]


The dock is usually 35 to 40 ft (11 to 12 m) long by 8 ft (2.4 m) wide and 2 ft (0.6 m) above the water surface,[14] but may differ depending on the sanctioning organization. Any body of water or pool that is at least 4 ft (1.2 m) deep can be used.[14] The dock is covered in artificial turf, carpet, or a rubber mat for better traction and safety for the competitors.[14] The handler may use any amount of the dock and they may start their dog from any point on the dock when competing.

Official jump distance[edit]

An example of jump measurement

The jump distance is measured, by most organizations, from the lateral midpoint of the end of the dock to the point at which the base of the dog's tail (where the tail meets the body) breaks the water's surface. DockDogs Big Air Discipline measures the distance to the point that the base of the dog's tail breaks the surface of the water.[15] Purina's Incredible Diving Dog event measures the distance to the point that the dog's nose is at when its body enters the water.[16] The jump distance is measured electronically using digital video freeze frame technology or, in some cases, is measured manually by judges.

Each team takes two jumps in round-robin format. The longer of the two jumps is that team's score for that competition. A jump in which the dog's tail enters the water at a point further from the dock than another part of the dog's body is scored using the point of the dog (for example, the head/nose) that breaks the surface of the water closest to the dock. If the dog's strides are off so that the dog starts its jump before the end of the dock, that is a disadvantage, because the jump is always judged from the edge of the dock, not from where the dog leaves the dock. A jump is only official if or when the toy leaves the handler's hand. The dog is not required to retrieve the toy for the jump to count.[14]


A place and send jump
A chase jump

Two different techniques can be used to encourage the dog to jump into the water.

Place and send[edit]

Walk the dog to the end of the dock and or, hold the dog back while throwing the toy into the water. Walk the dog back to the starting point, place the dog, then release or send the dog to go get the toy. This is effective for dogs that are not trained to wait or stay on the dock, especially if they have a lot of speed and can compensate for the lack of lift at the end of the dock.


The dog is placed in a stay or wait at its starting position on the dock. The handler walks to the end of the dock holding the toy, then calls the dog and throws the toy, trying to keep the toy just in front of the dog's nose so they chase it into the water. The goal is to use this method to get the dog at the optimum launch angle to increase distance by getting him to jump up, instead of just out or flat, as with place and send. The chase method is difficult to master. However, if the dog is toy-driven, he can be trained to follow the toy.


There are many divisions depending on the sanctioning organization. All teams are ranked according to how far they jump and are rated against teams within their own divisions for placements. Even small dogs have their own division, "lap dogs", along with older dogs (8 years and older), the "veteran" division. DockDogs also recognizes dogs over the age of 10 with their "Legend Dog" division.

Ultimate Air Dogs[17] Splash Dogs[18] DockDogs[19]
Division Distance Division Distance Division Distance
Novice up to 9 ft 11 in (3.02 m) Splash up to 9 ft 11 in (3.02 m) Novice up to 9 ft 11 in (3.02 m)
Junior 10 ft (3.05 m) to 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m) Junior 10 ft (3.05 m) to 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m) Junior 10 ft (3.05 m) to 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m)
Senior 15 ft (4.57 m) to 19 ft 11 in (6.07 m) Senior 15 ft (4.57 m) to 19 ft 11 in (6.07 m) Senior 15 ft (4.57 m) to 19 ft 11 in (6.07 m)
Master 20 ft (6.10 m) to 22 ft 5 in (6.83 m) Pro 20 ft (6.10 m) to 22 ft 11 in (6.99 m) Master 20 ft (6.10 m) to 22 ft 11 in (6.99 m)
Ultimate over 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m) Extreme over 23 ft (7.01 m) Elite 23 ft (7.01 m) to 24 ft 11 in (7.59 m)
Super Elite over 25 ft (7.62 m)

Notable competitions[edit]


Date Distance Dog Handler Event Location Reference
7 July 2000 22 ft 4 in (6.81 m) Heidi Beth Gutteridge ESPN Great Outdoor Games Lake Placid, NY [20]
8 July 2001 23 ft 1 in (7.04 m) Jerry Mike Wallace ESPN Great Outdoor Games Lake Placid, NY [20]
20 February 2002 23 ft 3 in (7.09 m) Little Morgan Mike Jackson Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show Indianapolis, IN [20]
1 May 2002 23 ft 4 in (7.11 m) Haley John Kline ESPN2 Super Retriever Series Northfield, MN [20]
6 July 2002 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m) Little Morgan Mike Jackson ESPN Great Outdoor Games Lake Placid, NY [20]
7 August 2005 27 ft 5 in (8.36 m) Country Kevin Meese Bass Pro Shops Baltimore, MD [20]
21 August 2005 28 ft 7 in (8.71 m) Country Kevin Meese Big Nickle time Cabela's Hamburg, PA [20]
9 October 2005 28 ft 10 in (8.79 m) Country Kevin Meese Bass Pro Shops Baltimore, MD [20]
30 May 2010 28 ft 11.59 in (8.829 m) Quasi Rande Murphy Super Retriever Series Crown Championship Little Rock, AR [21]
11 July 2010 29 ft 1 in (8.86 m) Smoke Melissa Ness 2010 UKC Premier Richmond, IN [22][23]
29 May 2011 29 ft 7 in (9.017 m) Baxter Tony Lampert Super Retriever Series Crown Championship Little Rock, AR [24]
4 August 2012 31 ft 0 in (9.449 m) Cochiti Diane Salts DockDogs Clark County Fair Ridgefield, WA [25]


  1. ^ a b Cawley, Laurence (26 January 2010). "Dash is UK's doggy long-jump champ". Evening Star (Ipswich). Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  2. ^ Clement, Jessica (5 November 2009). "Remember dock-diving Joey? She's now a world champ". Hornsby and Upper North Shore Advocate. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Home - PRO PLAN Dog Diving by EXOTICA Veranstaltungen GmbH". (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  4. ^ a b "Dock Jumping". United Kennel Club. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Dock jumping a growing sport; Jake is a world-class jumper". The Hour. 19 August 2003. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Splash Dogs Water-Jumping Contest Returns to International Sportsmen's Exposition" (PDF). International Sportsmen’s Exposition. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  7. ^ a b "UAD & UKC, What's the difference?". Ultimate Air Dogs. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  8. ^ Katopodis, Harry (27 July 2009). "Former Tigers pitcher travels with new sport". The Oakland Press. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  9. ^ "United Kennel Club, Inc. Dock Jumping Titles Now Available Across the U.S." United Kennel Club. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Diving Dogs Title Recognition Program". American Kennel Club. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Canine version of the long jump 'taking off' in UK". The Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  12. ^ "Introducing JettyDogs. - the sport to see which dog can jump the furthest... into a pool". The Daily Mail. 5 August 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  13. ^ "K9 Aqua Sports".
  14. ^ a b c d "Regulations Governing UKC Licensed Dock Jumping (Air Dog) Events". Official UKC Rules & Regulations. United Kennel Club. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  15. ^ "2016 DockDogs Rules & Policies". DockDogs Rules & Policies. DockDogs, Inc. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Incredible Dog Challenge FAQ". Nestle Purina. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  17. ^ "2010 Divisions". Ultimate Air Dogs. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  18. ^ "Classes, Divisions and Titles". Splash Dogs. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  19. ^ "2016 DockDogs Rules & Policies". DockDogs Inc. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h "DOCKDOGS WORLD RECORDS" (PDF). Dock Dogs. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  21. ^ "Awe Inspiring". Super Retriever Series. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  22. ^ Pettit, Dixie. "'Air dog' flies to national fame". Ramona Sentinel. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  23. ^ "2010 UK Premier Results" (Microsoft Excel). Ultimate Air Dogs. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  24. ^ "2011 Crown Championship - Super Fly Results". Super Retriever Series. 3 July 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  25. ^ "DockDogs World Records". DockDogs. 3 July 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011.

External links[edit]