Games of fetch with the family pet are always a great way to bond, have fun and burn off some energy. For many of us, this is even more fun when a Frisbee is involved, especially if we can get our dog to catch it in mid-air. The truth is it takes a lot of persistence and training.
Clearly, some breeds are better suited to this sport than others, so what are the best Frisbee dogs and can any family pooch learn? Let’s look at the 5 best breeds and take a closer look at why they are so well suited to the game. After reading this article don’t forget to read our article on training your dog to catch a frisbee!
What makes the best Frisbee dogs?
One thing that you will notice about these breeds is that they share some clear similarities in their genetics. They may look like very different dogs on the surface, with years of breeding creating some very distinctive family pets. However, they all come from working stock, and this presents itself in a number of ways.
On one side we have the herding shepherd dogs. Yes, the Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, McNab and Belgian Malinois all come from different places.
However, they are all variants on working breeds that are out to please their master and keep track of stray animals. It is not just a fun game to catch up to a Frisbee and bring it back to their master. There is also a sense of duty and instinctive nature to bring it under control. This is why these three breeds such keen Frisbee dogs.
Does this mean that all working dogs make great Frisbee dogs?
While the best Frisbee dogs around tend to be those that have that instinct to retrieve and appease a master, not all working dogs are built to catch a Frisbee. There are two other elements that these dogs tend to have in common, and why you are a less likely to see Dachshund or Mastiff catching one compared to a Border Collie.
Smaller Dogs Are More Agile
The first is athleticism. The skill of being a Frisbee dog comes in the ability to time the chase and catch the Frisbee in mid-air, rather than simply picking it up when it drops to the floor. The best Frisbee dog breeds have the energy, flexibility and jumping ability to get this just right. This is no surprise to those with lean collies and shepherd dogs that take part in fly ball and other games. Also, it explains why some overly-pampered Labradors can’t perform as well as their fitter cousins.
5) Australian Cattle Dog
The Blue healer or Australian Cattle Dog Make great frisbee catching companions! They are intelligent and agile. Breeders created these dogs to survive harsh climates and have great stamina. They also love to be stimulated and active. They are very attentive to their trainers and learn with the best of them.
Check out the video below of an Australian cattle dog playing catch with a frisbee:
4) Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois may seem like a bit of a wildcard inclusion here because it is not a common breed. However, this smaller, agile cousin of German Shepherd dogs ticks all the right boxes when it come to finding the right breed for Frisbee. All of the factors below relate to this handsome working dog. If you still doubt that a Malinois has the skills, check out this video of Power the Belgian Malinois in action.
Here are some good resources about Belgian Malinois:
3) Australian Shepherd Dog
Much like the Border Collie, and many other lean shepherd dogs for that matter, the Australian Shepherd dog has proven itself as a keen, smart breed. It works well with its master out on the field and in competitions, while also being a loving family pet.
The Australian Shepherd has also won many competitions and has been a popular frisbee dog breed since the 90s. This dog won the Frisbee Dog World Championship in 2000, 2003, and 2014. The following video shows off the great skills of this intelligent breed:
2) Border Collie
It will come as little surprise to see this breed second on the list. The Border Collie Frisbee dog is perhaps the one best suited to the sport because of its genetics, build and desire to please. They are one of the smartest, most loyal dogs around and will play the game for hours on end.
Why is the Boarder Collie a Good Frisbee Dog?
Great question! These dogs are excellent at herding animals and performing many other complicated tasks. These dogs are also agile and light enough to jump high and catch! Some people think these are one of the smartest dogs in the world!
The McNab has been used in most recent competitions from around 2010 or so. These dogs originated in northern California USA and were bred to withstand the tough conditions in the environment such as burs, heat foxtails and rugged terrain. The McNab and McNab mixes won the Frisbee Dog World Championships in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017!
If that’s not enough to earn the top spot on our list of top frisbee dogs then I don’t know what is!
What makes this dog one of the best fribee dog?
Like most frisbee dogs the McNab was bred to be a herding dog. This gives them the alertness and focus needed to learn how to catch a frisbee.
These dogs are also very agile and even called catlike in agility. Not to mention they also run for miles a day in harsh climates to help herd cattle.
Can any breed learn to be a Frisbee dog?
If you have a keen canine best friend that isn’t one of these top Frisbee dog breeds, but you want to try and teach them, don’t give up hope. As long as they have the brains to learn, the physicality to jump and catch, and the desire to please you, they could succeed. Take the time to train them and reward them for their efforts. If they have the art of fetching down to a fine art, game of Frisbee could be the next logical step.
Also, if you have one of these five breeds but aren’t playing Frisbee with them, what are you waiting for?