Imagine 70 pounds of wet fur, tail-wagging fun, and experiences you will not get doing any other sports. Add in about 30,000 gallons of water and a dock with a pool and you have Splash Dogs.
Splash Dogs is a nationally recognized dog-enthusiast company that organizes and promotes the sport of canine dock jumping across the United States and is a sanctioning body for dock-jumping events.
In the sport, dogs of any and all breeds and size run down a 40-foot dock, chase a toy, and jump as far as possible into a pool of water. In the Super Air competition, distance is measured from the end of the dock to where the base of the dog’s tail contacts the water. The Super Vertical competition is a high-jump event in which a bumper is suspended 8 feet out from the dock over the water at a height depending on the dog’s ability to jump vertical but starting as low as 4 feet and increasing to over 7 feet. The dog must jump to knock or “catch” the suspended bumper off a super vertical rig. A Super Retrieve competition—a timed jump/retrieve and speed swim back to a certain marker in the pool, with the fastest time determining the winner—was recently added.
Splash Dogs is United Kennel Club-sanctioned, and handlers and their dogs can earn UKC Dock Diving titles for UKC-registered dogs. Splash Dogs promotes good sportsmanship, responsible dog ownership, a family experience, making new friendships and lasting memories, and bonding between two- and four-legged family members.
Breeds participating in Splash Dog event include Dachshunds, Yorkshire terriers, Jack Russell terriers, Newfoundlands, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Belgian Malinois, and many other breeds as well as mixed breeds. That’s part of what is so appealing about Splash Dogs—any dog can do it as long as he or she can swim, has toy drive, and will jump from the dock. There are several different divisions for scoring, depending on distance the dog jumps, the height/size of the dogs, or age group.
There is also a Junior Handler Division for children up to age 16, and in 2015, the Golden Division for dogs 10 years or older was added. A lot of the original competitors of Splash Dogs still compete but have been slowing down over the years. The Golden Division allows them to still compete competitively with dogs in their age and ability range.
The special bond built between the handler and the dog through Splash Dog creates memories that last a lifetime, and Splash Dog competitors every year set—and beat—personal goals and have an amazing time while doing it.
Some of the top dogs in the sport of dock diving hold titles and records in multiple dock-diving organizations and also compete in multiple sports as well. Inde, a 4-year-old female Belgian Malinois from Carson City, Nevada, holds the Splash Dog record with a distance of 28 feet, 10 inches, which was set in 2015. She has competed among some of the top dogs in the nation, traveling all over the United States, and has become one of the top competitors. She has set records in other organizations, including the World Record for the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. Inde has been jumping for three years with Splash Dogs.
Another great aspect of Splash Dogs is that any dog can have an amazing day and take home a blue ribbon. Just recently, Timber, a Belgian Malinois, won the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Western Regionals in Huntington Beach, where the sport debuted about two years ago. Additionally, Rowdy Yates, a Dachshund, recently set the Splash Dog new breed record at over 10 feet.
Not all dogs will jump the extreme distances as the top competitors, but the associated experiences and memories are just as rewarding.
Tony Reed founded Splash Dogs, which is now based in Pittsburg, out of his love for Sierra, his black Lab, after she had such fun competing at a local event in the Bay Area in 2003. Sierra never jumped record-breaking distances, but she jumped with her heart. Many have fallen in love with Splash Dogs and made great friends along the way, thanks to Reed, Sierra, and the adventures they had. Reed unexpectedly lost Sierra in April, but her presence remains because of the organization Reed built for and with her. Splash Dogs continues to expand and shows newcomers and ongoing competitors what the sport is all about: having fun with your dog.
Heather Estes and Michon Mills are active volunteers with Splash Dogs. Estes’ dog Nugget competes, and record-holder Inde belongs to Mills. To learn more about Splash Dogs, go to SplashDogs.com, or call 925-783-6149.
Main article photo by: by lora_313-CC