On Hulu, Dancing Humans And Canines Compete To Be Top Dogs

Bark if you’ve ever heard of the sport of dog dancing.

The existence of this sport, in which dog owners dance with their dogs in international competitions, is a new one on me.

I learned about this pastime when I previewed a six-part docuseries coming to Hulu this Friday called “The Secret Life of Dancing Dogs.”

The series was produced by ABC News Studios, a unit of ABC News and, therefore, a part of the Disney empire.

A feel-good series such as this one with more or less universal appeal would have gone once upon a time to ABC. But in a sign of the times, Hulu is this doggone doc’s first stop in the U.S. (it premieres on Disney+ in the U.K. and elsewhere this week too).



“The Secret Life of Dog Dancing” revolves around an international dog-dancing competition billed as the world’s most preeminent. Called “Crufts” (named after a famed 19th-century dog showman), the competition takes place every March in Birmingham, England.

The competition draws competitors and their dogs from all over the globe to dance their feet and paws off in an arena with seating capacity of 8,000. The series focuses mainly on seven competitors and their canine companions from the U.K., Hungary, Norway, Canada and Japan.

So, what is dog dancing? It is not dancing in the way, say, “Dancing With the Stars” showcases ballroom dancing. These dog owners are not seen waltzing with their pets.

Very generally speaking, dog-dancing is a kind of dancing in which the dogs are trained (hopefully) to execute moves in response to what their masters are doing.

For example, a dog’s moves might include running in circles around its owner, or leaping over its owner when the owner is down on all fours.

The Crufts competition featured in the show is a female affair. “Mistresses” is a better word than “masters” here since the competitors seen in the show are all women.

Like so many people today, these dog owners really love their dogs. One competitor misses the dog she did not bring with her this year so much that she face-times with the animal every evening.

Nobody calls their dogs “fur babies” in this documentary. Nor are any dogs seen being pushed in baby carriages like here on the streets of New York.

The canine mistresses in “The Secret Life of Dogs” refer to themselves as “owners,” a word increasingly frowned upon by dog fanatics in the U.S. who prefer the phrase “pet parents.”

To many of us who do not own dogs or parent them, dog enthusiasts sometimes seem, well, nuts. But the dog-dancing competitors in this docuseries come across as passionate, not crazy. 

As for the dogs, it is hard to tell what they’re thinking as they “dance” with their mistresses. But from the looks of it, they seem quite happy. 

“The Secret Life of Dancing Dogs” starts streaming on Friday, November 17, on Hulu.

Photo credit: ABC News Studios. Dogs (l-r): Lucky, Freya and Nikita.

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