Monday, May 18, 2009

What is the Limit?

Wow, the amazing guys at Touch-N-Go just broke into the 14s this weekend with a 14.96. These guys have been chasing this for a long time and I know it will be a long time before anyone joins them. But the question is, when will someone break into the 13s?

Sure, that sounds impossible, but Rocket Relay broke into the 15s in 2001 and Instant Replay broke into the 16s in 1995. So roughly every seven years someone breaks into a new realm that we probably all thought was impossible. So why should the 13s be any different?

There may be a limit to the individual dog's speeds. To run a 13.99, the four dogs would have to average slightly less that 3.50. Jack Jack holds the current world record at 3.62, but not all of the fastest dogs run singles. I've heard that Touch-N-Go's start dog, Chef, ran a 3.61. Personally, I have seen several dogs run a high 3.5. I've even heard a report of a dog that ran a 3.53 in practice. Is it possible then for a dog to run a 3.49? I believe the answer is Absolutely. So in theory, a 13.99 is possible if you can get four of them together on the same team.

There are other factors that led to Touch-N-Go's Milestone. Looking back at the Flyball records, and I wish I had all the lineups, take a look at the breed makeup. Early on, Flyball records were being set by Goldens and Labs. Then the Border Collie came along and dominated the sport. Then Height Dogs were introduced, which lowered the height for the Border Collies. You've had some Malinois and Whippets mixed in. The improvements in dogs obviously was a huge factor. Now look at Touch-N-Go's lineup. Chef, Warrant, Urgent and Raptor are all Border Staffies. The Border Staffie has changed the game. When the first 15 was run, I doubt anyone thought that the first 14 second run would not include a single Border Collie. What's next? Border-Whippets? Border-Coyotes? Who knows, but there is no reason to believe that there will never be another pure bred or hybrid that can de-throne the Border Staffie.

Then we must look at the advances in training. It's amazing to watch Touch-N-Go run, but what is really amazing is that they have so many dogs of that caliber. They utilize six dogs on their A team. Their mainstay, Reflex, wasn't even in the lineup during the record run, and I've seen her run 3.71 about a hundred times. Because of the consistent training for all the dogs, they are able to interchange these dogs. They look the same, they are the same size and build, they run the same, they have similar box turns, they drive like hell and they are tough as nails. Whoever is running good that day will get to run. It's very impressive to see teams like Instant Replay and Spring Loaded who live spread out across the country. Sometimes they don't even practice together. They bring a variety of dogs, Whippets, Mals, Border Staffies, Border Collies, each with different box turns. Somehow they are able to come together at a tournament and run amazing times. Obviously though, they are at a disadvantage. I suspect we'll see more top teams breeding a hybrid litter of dogs, keeping all the dogs, raising them as a team, training them as a team and running them together as a team.

You may think I'm nuts, but in ten years when the first 13.99 is run, remember I told you so!


  1. Has anyone thought about the possibility of a Border/Cheetah?

  2. I remember people thinking I was nuts to ever want to do a Border Staffie. I wasn't the first to think it, I wasn't the first to do it, but I knew the potential would be incredible...

    Long live the Border Staffie!