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The newest dog sport to take the nation by storm

Selina Fitzgerald from Hedingham Hounds, 28th March 2019

Hoopers dog sport

Canine Hoopers UK is the latest canine sport that’s taking the nation by storm. Bringing the same momentum and excitement as agility, but requiring no jumps or tight turns - Canine Hoopers is much safer and has no negative impact on the health and wellbeing of our precious pups.

Aside from being a safe and exciting form of exercise for your dog, it's also super accessible for any pet parent. The equipment is cheap, so you can make it yourself in your own garden and it couldn’t be easier to pick up. But best of all, it strengthens the bond between you and your dog. What more could you ask for?

So what exactly is it and who can do it? Selina Fitzgerald from Hedingham Hounds in Essex has some information on this up-and-coming sport.

What is it?

Hoopers originated in America back in the 1990s, before slowly making its way around Europe and eventually arriving in the UK. Canine Hoopers is a dog sport… with a positive twist. Instead of jumps and contact equipment, the course is made up of hoops to run through, barrels to go around and short, wide tunnels to negotiate. Given that there’s no jumping involved, no contact equipment or any tight turns, there’s minimal impact on our pups’ joints and limbs. This makes Hoopers far more inclusive for all dogs, safer and much more accessible than agility.

For an example of what a Canine Hoopers UK event looks like, check out this video.

Who can take part?

The short answer is everyone!

Canine Hoopers in the UK is suitable for almost every dog: from playful puppies to golden oldies. It also works well for those who are naturally less physical or might be reactive. Any dog owner can take part too. As the nature of the sport encourages distance handling by verbal and visual cues around a course, Hoopers it suitable for any dog owners who have limited mobility. The focus is on the dog and handler working together as a team, and the challenge is to build up the distance between the equipment over time.

Canine Hoopers UK rules

You may be thinking, no tight corners and no jumps – is there really much to it? Absolutely! Taking part still requires skill and training on the side of the dog and their handler. You’ll find a comprehensive guide to the rules of this type of show in Canine Hoopers helpful pdf document.

Where can I try Canine Hoopers in the UK?

As Canine Hoopers is a relatively newcomer to the UK, you may struggle to find where to start. Fortunately, getting started with Hoopers couldn’t be easier. To try it for yourself, simply head to the Canine Hoopers UK website, find yourself an instructor and set up those hoops! Hoopers trainers are taught to a high standard and only use modern, force-free training techniques.

Something to aim for too!

While it’s fun with less of a competitive focus, like all good sports, there’s something to win with Hoopers. There are four awards you can work towards achieving. Known as the ‘Good Hoopers Awards’, the four levels are Puppy, Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are also a range of shows and competitions available to attend across the UK, the dates of which are available via the Hoopers website.

If you’re ready to get involved with Hoopers, make sure you have some great food to fuel your dog’s new career as a bonafide Hoopers athlete. Butternut meals are the perfect dish to keep your dog happy, healthy and well-fed before they hit the hoops.

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