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Doggie Dancing or Musical Canine Freestyle?

by Cindy Hicks - 1998


2018 update: In the 20 years since this was first published, dog dancing has lost favor.  Today we're on the fast track, instant gratification, so much has changed... Our staff thought it would be nice to remember when we had time to enjoy life and the emotional uplift man's best friend still provides -  when we allow it to happen.  If YOU are involved in dog dancing , please let us hear from you. ~ email editor


Within the participants of this entertaining yet demanding sport, there is a wide variance in opinion of what it should be called. As discussion of making this an Olympic event continues, the debate of the importance of the descriptive name intensifies. Some media coverage have used "dogs dancing" to headline and describe the sport in their coverage.


"Doggie Dancing" is considered by some to be too frivolous and demeaning. They believe that the name underplays the intense dog training and choreography of the routines and ignores the dedication to promote a sport that did not exist 15 years ago. Musical Canine frivolous more correctly defines the sport while recognizing the dignity, skill, and unique bond created between the handlers and dogs.


From the first exposure to this sport ( which often results from seeing Carolyn Scott and Rookie perform their routine "You're the one that I want" from the movie Grease ( As you go to the site now, to watch the routine again, be sure to check for the raffles and other fund raising activities which help to pay for a documentary film that is being filmed.


While watching this routine, observe the intricacies of it and the subtleties of masterful dog training.

  1. Rookie knows the movements required and thoroughly enjoys performing them, with his handler.

  2. The movements of the dog and handler are matched to the music, both in rhythm and in lyrics.

  3. The music is perfectly matched to the dog's natural movement.

  4. Carolyn Scott's "costume" is an approximation of Olivia Newton Johns character in the movie.

These are only a handful of the observations that can be made of such a "magic" performance. "Doggie Dancing" trivializes it. To be able to "feel the relationship between this team, is to begin to understand why the name is offensive to some.


The breed of dog, its size, and its personality are as important as the life experiences of the handler, as the dog is the star in this team. When a team performs their routine to a level that brings its audience to tears, "Magic" has been achieved! When it is immortalized on video tape, we can all share that moment!


For now, "Doggie Dancing" or Musical Canine Freestyle, call it whatever pleases you but don't underestimate the drive, determination, training, and creativity that is making it possible. Enjoy the result, and applaud the relationship between the dog and handler teams.


Editor's note: 2017 update, for some reason, the sport of doggie dancing didn't develop.  Since this was published in 1998, Maggie's Waltz video has been removed from youtube, as has the doggie dancing video "Stars over Texas".  The training and skills required seem more than dog owners want to do today.  Perhaps we had more leisure time in 1998? Ask your search engine for "dog dancing" videos.  In 2017 Mary Ray performed at Crufts Dog Show in London as she has previously.  We found it more about obedience work than dancing but here is her link.


On a very sad note, Cindy Hicks has since passed away.  If you are involved in doggie dancing please let us hear from you! email editor EST 1998 © 1711r1801



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