The U.K. Kennel Club Bans “Extreme” Dog Dancing

British group lays down the law: If you can't dog-dance respectably, there'll be no dog-dancing at all.


The U.K.’s Kennel Club — like the city council of Elmore City, Oklahoma — has banned dancing, according to the Telegraph.

The Kennel Club is the governing body on dog activities throughout the U.K. The city council of Elmore City, meanwhile, are the heartless killjoys in Footloose.

Actually, the Kennel Club only banned “extreme” or “unnatural” dog dancing, which might injure the animals. But I never let the facts get in the way of a Footloose reference.

What is dog dancing? Well, it’s really known as “heelwork to music,” a sport that’s a sort of canine freestyle. It’s officially recognized by the Kennel Club, and there are about 80 affliated clubs that offer dog-dancing activities, according to the Telegraph. It gained immense recognition last year when Ashleigh and Pudsey danced on Britain’s Got Talent, and won. The duo even for performed for the Queen Elizabeth II at Epsom Downs Racecourse in June.

Here’s Ashleigh and Pudsey’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent:


Anyway, one of the things about people is that we’ll often try to do things we have no business doing after watching professionals doing those things. Like parkour. And automobile drifting. And cooking, for that matter.

You can add dog dancing to that list.

Caroline Kisko, the club’s secretary, told the Telegraph that “the rule changes had been introduced in response to the rising number of people taking part in the activity.”

“We know that the more people we get into the sport, the more they are going to have to look to other types of moves in order to make an impact,” she said. “We are trying to pre-empt that. The priority is the dog’s safety.”

Although the Kennel Club as yet to list a set of banned moves, fearing a sort of Lance Armstrong pivoting by dancers to get around those rules, the Telegraph did list the moves that have been “prompting concerns”:

+ The “wheelbarrow,” where the dog’s hind legs are held by the owner and the animal is walked on its front legs. This can damage the dog’s back and pelvis.

+ The “footstand,” where the handler lies on the ground with feet in the air and the dog stands on these. If the animal slipped, it could strain a limb.

+ “Shoulder jumps,” in which the dog leaps from the owner’s shoulders, risking a sprain. This is a favorite move by Pudsey, but Ashleigh crouches over to safely bring him nearer the ground.

+ Walking on front paws, which can damage joints. Walking on hind legs is a problem if done for longer than around 10 seconds. Pudsey’s routine includes short periods on his hind legs.

In my head, Kenny Loggins just released this statement:

Now I gotta cut loose
Footloose, kick off the Sunday shoes
Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees
Jack, get back, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose

We heartily cheer the decision to ban all of these moves, and hope no lonely, misunderstood teenager is currently practicing these moves with his beloved dog in a barn somewhere in full violation of Kennel Club dictate.

Just as fine as the dancing ban, however, is the second edict handed down by the Kennel Club: No goofy costumes for dogs, although goofy costumes are still allowed for their handlers.

“They are allowed to wear a certain amount — perhaps the equivalent of a dog coat,” said Kisko. “But we would absolutely not expect the dog to turn up in a full Father Christmas Claus kit, for instance.”

“We are trying to stop what we would see as demeaning for the dog,” she said.

Hear hear!

Via the Telegraph

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.

Let Dogster answer all of your most baffling canine questions!

Starting at just

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart