A dogfight is a close air fight between fighter planes. It often involves turning, climbing, and swirling.
Dogfights started during World War I and World War II when the fighter planes did not have many weapons. Modern weapons such as homing missiles did not exist in that time, and planes could only fight each other with machine guns. Since the machine guns were only useful at close range, the planes had to fly very close together to have combat. Pilots had to fly with many maneuvers to try to not be shot, and be able to shoot the enemy planes. This new type of flying was named dogfighting. Fighter planes made just for this type of flying were sometimes called dogfighters.
In modern air combat, there are many long range weapons that can be used before dogfighting. Homing missiles can be fired much further away from the target than machine guns, and will automatically try to follow the target. These types of weapons make dogfighting less common, but modern planes still have Gatling guns, which are more advanced kinds of machine guns. This is because dogfighting still happens sometimes.