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Water work as a dog sport

Nowadays, the majority of dogs are pure family dogs, while the original breeding purpose of many breeds is increasingly receding into the background. This is not bad at first, but at the same time it makes it necessary to use the four-legged friends in another way. 

Water work as a dog sport


Dog sport is perfectly suitable for this purpose and offers a suitable discipline for almost every animal thanks to numerous different kinds of sport. While some four-legged friends find their luck with Agility or Obedience, others blossom out with the water work proper.


How water work works as a dog sport, for which breeds this sport is particularly suitable and what you have to pay attention to when training in the water, you will learn in the following. We will also explain to you what is important when it comes to feeding your dog who is active in water work.

Which breeds are suitable for water work?

Basically every dog is suitable for water work. However, not every four-legged friend can swim equally well and not every animal actually feels comfortable in the water, which is why water work is not a suitable occupation for all dogs.


In addition to individual preferences and abilities, the breed is also important in this context. Because some dogs were originally actually bred for water work. 


Of course, the aim was not to make the animals fit for the dog sport, but to get efficient working animals for hunting. Nevertheless, this circumstance is still noticeable today in certain dog breeds through their great love for water.

The following dog breeds, for example, are particularly suitable for water work:

Water work as a competitive sport

Water work offers a lot of variety

Water work is part of the training of some hunting and rescue dogs. In addition to the training of these working dogs, which are used, for example, in rescue operations to search for water or in hunting to retrieve shot birds, water work is also excellent as an occupation in the form of dog sport.


Because water work offers a lot of variety. The possible activities range from retrieving various objects from the water to swimming training and practicing the recovery of drowning people with the help of a lifebelt.

Water work as a competitive sport

Of course you can dare with your four-legged friend also simply in such a way to the topic water work and concern yourselves with it in spielerische way. If that's not enough for you, you can also try your hand at the VDH's water work tests.


In addition to the classic diplomas A to D, these include, for example, two team work diplomas in which several human assistants take part in the examination. The different diplomas build on each other. This means, for example, that your dog must first pass the A-diploma in water work in order to pass the B-diploma. 

In addition, the prescribed minimum age must be taken into account when participating:

  • 12 months for the A-diploma
  • 15 months for the B-diploma
  • 18 months for the C-diploma 
  • 24 months for the D-Diploma 

For the C-diploma it is also necessary that your dog has successfully passed his companion dog examination. Pregnant and lactating animals are not allowed to take part in the water work tests, nor are injured or sick dogs.

How to get started in water work

If you want to try water work with your dog, it is first of all important that he has a certain basic obedience. It is also important that you take things slowly. Do not urge your four-legged friend to go into the water if he does not want this and is obviously afraid of it.


How to get started in water work

After all, water work is about both of you having fun. Not every dog will appreciate this form of activity equally. If your four-legged friend prefers to stay on land, you should look for another dog sport.


Apart from that it is not enough for the water work if only your dog can swim. Because in an emergency, you should always be able to save the animal from drowning and get it out of the water.

Water work and the right nutrition

Water work is a great way to challenge dogs physically and mentally. It is especially suitable for very large dog breeds like the Newfoundland, which were originally bred for water work anyway. In principle, however, all animals which feel comfortable in the water and which bring the necessary physical conditions, get their money's worth.


Regardless of this, it is important that you ensure with the right nutrition that your active water work dog is supplied with all the necessary nutrients in the right amount.

We recommend the following Bellfor products for your sporty four-legged friend:

  • Bellfor Premium PUR Aktiv is our gluten-free dry food for all active dogs. In addition to a high meat and fish content, the food is characterized by digestible carbohydrates from corn and rice as an additional source of energy.
  • Bellfor Fitness Powder is our natural protein powder for dogs. The preparation supplies your four-legged friend with all essential amino acids and promotes the regeneration and the well-being, so that nothing stands in the way of new adventures in the water.
  • Bellfor Soft-Snacks are our cereal-free dog snacks. The tasty treats contain a particularly high proportion of animal proteins and are ideal for rewarding your dog with a species-appropriate snack while working with water.


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