Agility is a sport that appeals to all dog lovers – from young people to senior citizens. It has great spectator appeal. Agility is designed to demonstrate a dog’s willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dog and handlers negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.
The AKC offers three types of agility classes. The first, Standard Class, includes contact objects such as the dog walk, the A-frame, and seesaw. Each of the contact obstacles has a “safety zone” painted on the object and the dog must place at least one paw in that area to complete the obstacle. The second is Jumpers with Weaves. It has only jumps, tunnels and weaves poles with no contact objects to slow the pace. The third is FAST, which stands for Fifteen and Send Time. This class is designed to test handler and dog teams’ strategy skill, accuracy, speed and distance handling, however this class is not offered at this event. All classes offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice, Open, Excellent and Master titles. After completing both an Excellent Standard title and an Excellent Jumpers title, handler and dog teams can compete for the MACH – faster than the speed of sound! (Master Agility Championship title.)
In the first year of AKC agility (1994), there were approximately 2,000 entries in AKC agility trials.
AKC agility is available to every registerable breed. From tiny Yorkshire Terriers to giant Irish Wolfhounds, the dogs run the same course with adjustments in the expected time and jump height.
The classes are divided by jump heights in order to make the competition equal between the different sizes of dogs.
The Masters Agility Championship At Westminster
Agility dogs can achieve many titles. Our competition is open to those dogs that have achieved the higher titles and are therefore eligible to compete on a “Masters” level course. There will be 330 dogs entered in this competition.
Each dog will compete in two qualifying rounds consisting of a Standard Agility course and a Jumpers with Weaves course. The 10 dogs with the highest combined scores from each height class will move on to the “Championship Round” consisting of a total of 50 dogs.
All breeds are involved in agility as they offer 5 jump heights. The most popular breeds at this time are Shetland Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervurens, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels and Papillons. All-American breeds (mixed breeds) are also eligible to compete. Dog agility is practiced as a sporting activity that demonstrates a handler and trainer’s skill in working with a dog on an obstacle course. The breed of dog may pose certain challenges in training and handling, but a competitor is not restricted as to type of dog. Therefore, dog agility is a sport for all dogs.
See the full list of Agility Winners.