Groovin’ Good Boy. Watch This Long Dog Get Down With His Bad Self

Introduction

Dog dancing, also known as canine freestyle, has become an increasingly popular activity for dogs and their owners over the past few decades. While the origins of dancing dogs can be traced back to ancient times, the modern iteration of dog dancing emerged in the 1980s as a creative way to showcase the unique bond between dogs and humans.

According to the American Kennel Club, dog dancing competitions and events have grown rapidly, with over 100 competitions hosted annually around the world. The popularity of dog dancing demonstrates people’s fascination with dogs’ capacity to learn choreographed routines set to music. With the right training, dogs of all breeds and sizes can learn to dance in sync with musical beats and cues from their owners.

The Rise in Popularity of Dancing Dogs

The practice of dogs dancing for entertainment has gradually gained popularity over the past few decades. While dogs have likely been trained to “dance” as a trick in past centuries, the structured sport of canine dancing first emerged in the 1980s. According to the Wikipedia article on Musical Canine Freestyle, this modern dog sport first became popular in the United Kingdom and Canada before spreading to other parts of the world.

The specific style of having dogs perform choreographed routines to music, known as “Musical Freestyle” or “Canine Freestyle”, traces its origins to the UK in the mid-1980s. Trainer Mary Ray introduced this style which showcases the dog’s creativity and personality through danced movements like spins, leg weaves, and jumps. As Ray and others began teaching workshops and competing in the UK, the activity spread globally over the 1990s and 2000s.

Competitions and classes for canine dancing have risen steadily in popularity, especially in the US, UK, and Canada. Major organizations like the World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO) and the Canine Freestyle Federation, Inc. (CFF) have helped support growth. The public enjoyment of exhibitions like Crufts and the International Dog Show have also increased interest and participation.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_canine_freestyle

https://www.dancemagazine.com/animals-dancing/

Unique Physical Attributes of Long Dogs

Long dogs like Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and Corgis have several unique physical traits that make them well-suited for dancing. Their elongated bodies and short legs allow them to make dramatic movements and poses that would be more difficult for dogs with a more compact frame. The flexibility in their spines gives long dogs great range of motion to sway, twist, and contort as they dance. Their muscles are built for agility and quickly changing positions.

Having a lower center of gravity from their short legs helps long dogs maintain balance during complex dance routines. Their long backs act as a counterweight for rear-end movements and footwork. The extra vertebrae in a long dog’s spine increases overall flexibility and fluidity of motion. Their proportions give them innate physical abilities to smoothly transition between dance steps.

Additionally, long dogs have a playful and active temperament that lends itself well to dancing. They are eager to learn new tricks and routines. When long dogs enter their excited “wiggle butts” mode with joyful tail wagging, it sparks infectious energy perfect for skilled and entertaining dancing.

Training a Long Dog to Dance

a long dog performing an athletic jump during a dance routine.

Teaching a long dog how to dance takes patience, persistence, and utilizing positive reinforcement techniques. Long dogs have the physical attributes conducive to dancing, with their lean and limber bodies. However, they must be trained through incremental steps to master various dance skills.

According to wikiHow, start by teaching basic commands like “sit”, “stand”, “spin”, and “bow”. Use treats to lure the dog into position and reward with praise and treats when they respond correctly. Work in short 5-10 minute daily training sessions and build on what the dog learned the previous day. For example, once they consistently bow, teach them to spin before bowing.

WagWalking recommends starting dance training by having the long dog walk through the handler’s spread legs. Use a treat to lure them through and reward them once they complete the move. Slowly increase the difficulty by adding commands like “tunnel” and having them repeat the process. Other fundamental dance moves to practice are weaving through the handler’s legs back and forth and jumping up or spinning on cue.

With regular short, positive sessions, long dogs will make steady progress. Avoid pushing them too far too fast, as dancing requires athleticism and coordination. Patience is key, as it may take weeks or months for them to master advanced sequences of dance tricks.

Benefits of Dancing for Long Dogs

Dancing provides many health and wellness benefits for long dogs. Regular dance sessions can greatly improve a long dog’s physical fitness. Activities like learning choreographed routines, jumping, spinning, and bowing all provide excellent cardiovascular exercise that helps strengthen the heart and lungs (1). Dancing also improves muscle tone, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination (2).

In addition to physical exercise, dancing provides important mental stimulation for long dogs. Having to memorize routines, focus on commands, and work closely with their owner gives long dogs’ brains a good workout. This can help prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Dancing allows long dogs to express their natural energy in a positive way.

Dancing is also a great way for long dogs to bond with their owners. Working together to master new moves strengthens the human-canine relationship. Long dogs get excited to spend this special time interacting with their favorite person. Many owners report dancing has improved their dog’s attention, obedience, and engagement. This shared activity provides an outlet for long dogs to receive affection and praise from their owners as well (1).

Popular Long Dog Dance Styles

Some of the most popular dance styles for long dogs include freestyle, heels, and the conga line. Freestyle dancing allows dogs to move freely and express themselves through improvisational dance moves set to music. Dogs may incorporate spins, jumps, bows, and other creative steps. Heelwork focuses on the dog precisely mirroring the handler’s movements while remaining by their side. This tests agility and obedience. The conga line involves handlers and dogs forming a line and performing synchronized steps to a beat. Long dogs’ height makes them well-suited for graceful heelwork and for maintaining choreography in the conga line.

Other beloved styles are slow waltz, foxtrot, and disco dancing. The smooth, gliding motions of waltz and foxtrot complement long dogs’ inherent grace and poise. Upbeat disco music inspires energetic tail wags and funky footwork. Some long dog breeds like Dachshunds and Basset Hounds also succeed at low limbo-style dances that showcase their short statures. Overall, long dogs’ diversity, trainability, and eagerness to please make them adaptable to any dancing style.

Long Dog Dancing Competitions

Long dog dancing has grown into a popular canine sport with major competitions held annually across the globe. Some of the most prestigious events include the Crufts Dog Show in England, the FCI Dog Dance World Championship in Europe, and the Canine Freestyle Dance Competition in the United States.
long dogs competing at the crufts dog show dance competition.

The Crufts Dog Show, hosted by the Kennel Club in Birmingham, England, is considered one of the highest profile dog dancing competitions in the world. The event features multiple classes and categories of competitive dog dancing, including Heelwork to Music and Freestyle. Dogs of all breeds and sizes participate, but longer dogs like Dachshunds and Basset Hounds are popular competitors. Crufts draws top dog dancing teams from over 30 countries. (Inside the extraordinary world of dog dancing – ABC News)

The FCI Dog Dance World Championship is an international competition governed by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. The championship is held annually in different European countries, including Finland, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Only national teams can qualify to compete, making it a pinnacle event for competitive dog dancers.

In the United States, the annual Canine Freestyle Dance Competition is considered one of the premier national contests. Held in different cities each year, the event draws hundreds of competitors vying to be named top dog dancer in various divisions. Awards are given not just for dancing performance, but also for choreography, creativity, and musical interpretation.

Famous Long Dog Dancers

Long dogs have been dancing and delighting audiences for decades. Some of the most famous long dog dancers include:

Rufus – A Wire Fox Terrier who captivated audiences in the 1930s with his smooth moves and ability to dance on two legs. Rufus performed alongside elephants and other animals in vaudeville shows and was known for his charming personality.

Scooby Doo – This animated Great Dane won hearts dancing and solving mysteries with his friends in the popular 1970s cartoon Scooby Doo, Where Are You? His silly shimmies and shakes introduced a generation of children to dancing dogs.

scooby doo dancing along to fun music in an animated sequence.

Wishbone – A Jack Russell Terrier who starred in the 1990s PBS children’s show Wishbone. In addition to portraying classic literary characters, Wishbone frequently broke out impressive dance sequences set to music.

Prop and Bertie – A pair of Border Collies who competed together in canine dancing freestyle competitions in the 2000s. With their graceful leaps and perfect synchronization, they racked up numerous first place wins.

Sting – A Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon celebrated for his paso doble and samba skills. He competed on Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 with his owner and dance partner, Prudence.

These talented long dogs brought national and international fame to the sport of canine dancing. Their natural rhythm, showmanship, and bond with their trainers have inspired many other long dogs to try dancing.

Popular Long Dog Dancing Trends

Long dog dancing has seen an explosion in popularity on social media in recent years, with new styles and moves gaining traction. One of the biggest trends is dancing to popular songs on platforms like TikTok. Videos of long dogs like Dachshunds and Corgis dancing along to catchy pop tunes often go viral. The dogs’ human owners creatively capture their pups bouncing and twirling to the beat.

Choreographed routines are also on the rise. Owners spend time training their long dogs to perform skilled dances set to music. Impressive formations, spins, and jumps are often incorporated. Competition-style dog dancing first emerged in the 1990s, and has now made its way to social media. Some long dog owners even dress their pets up in fun costumes to match the choreography’s theme.

Additionally, long dogs are learning new freestyle techniques like breakdancing and hip hop-inspired moves. Owners mix in head bobs, booty shakes, and fancy footwork to delight viewers. Overall, long dog dancing’s popularity continues to grow as owners find creative ways to showcase their dogs’ energy and enthusiasm set to music.

The Future of Long Dog Dancing

The sport of long dog dancing has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. As it continues to gain popularity around the world, experts predict even faster expansion in the coming years. According to one recent report, global participation in long dog dancing competitions is expected to double by 2025 (https://abcnews.go.com/International/inside-extraordinary-world-dog-dancing/story?id=104582708).

Several factors are fueling this rapid growth. Social media has allowed long dog dancing to reach wider audiences. TV shows and movies like “The Secret Life of Dancing Dogs” have also raised mainstream awareness of this once niche activity (https://decider.com/2023/11/19/the-secret-life-of-dancing-dogs-hulu-review/). As more people discover the joys of training their long dogs to dance, even greater participation is likely.

The future of long dog dancing will also see innovation and new styles emerging. Hybrid blends of existing genres like freestyle and heelwork to music will expand choreographic possibilities. Incorporating props, costumes, and music from different cultures could further enrich the diversity of competitive routines. Some predict even athletic stunts like jumps and twirls becoming more common as dogs’ training advances.

a long dog dancing in a creative costume with props.

While staying true to its roots, long dog dancing is clearly heading in exciting new directions. With growing exposure and acceptance worldwide, this energetic canine sport has unlimited potential for the future.

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