Agility 101

What is Agility?

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.

What is the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster?

The Masters Agility Championship at Westminster is open to those dogs that have achieved more difficult AKC titles and are therefore eligible to compete on a Masters level course. There are 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 of the five height classes will move on to the Championship Round. The 50 finalists will be vying for the title of Masters Agility Champion. 

What breeds of dogs will I see at the Masters Agility Championship?

All dogs are involved in agility as they offer five 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 Dogs (mixed breeds) are also eligible to compete.

What can I expect to see at the Masters Agility Championship?

Each of the competitors will tackle a Standard class and a Jumpers With Weaves class in the preliminary round. A Standard class has contact obstacles including an A-frame, dog walk and seesaw. The dog must place a least one paw in the contact zone on contact obstacles in order not to receive a fault. The Standard class also has jumps, weave poles, pause table, and tunnels. The Jumpers with Weaves class does not have contact obstacles or a pause table to slow the team’s forward momentum. This is a very fast course with jumps and weave poles requiring instant decisions by the handler and close attention from the dog.

How can Agility benefit the relationship between you and your dog?

  • Agility training is a great way to build athleticism in your dog
  • Dogs that are properly exercised and mentally challenged exhibit fewer behavioral problems
  • Competing in Agility trials provides many traveling opportunities with your dog
  • Working with your dog in Agility builds communication and shared enjoyment
  • Keeps your dog fit, flexible, and ready for adventure

See the full list of 2018 Agility Winners and the Masters Agility Championship Records.