What is dog Agility?
Agility is a timed competition that tests a dog’s ability to complete an obstacle course following the commands of its handler. Obstacles can include any combination of the following: tunnels, seesaw, bar and wall jumps, weave poles and more. The athletic event requires a great deal of conditioning, concentration, training, and teamwork as courses vary across competitions and participants are not given the course map ahead of event day. Any dog is eligible for Agility, purebred and All-American (mixed breeds) dogs compete in 5 height classes. Agility is judged twofold: time and completion (minus faults) of the course.
What are the course obstacles a dog and handler must master?
- Dog Walk
- Pause Table
- Weave Poles
- Bar Jump
- Panel Jump
- Double Bar Jump
- Triple Bar Jump
- Tire Jump
- Broad Jump
- Wing Jump
What’s the Best Dog Breed for Agility?
Any dog can participate in Agility events across the U.S. including All-America (mixed breed) dogs if they are registered to compete through the American Kennel Club (AKC), AKC Indefinite Listing Privilege Program or Canine Partners Program. Lineage does not need to be known. Spayed/neutered dogs are welcome. To get your dog involved in Agility, visit AKC’s site here.
What are the most common breeds seen 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 Tervuren, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Papillons. All-American (mixed breeds) dogs are also eligible to compete.
How does a dog become eligible to compete in the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster?
The Masters Agility Championship 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 350 dogs entered in this competition and each must already have earned a Masters Agility Champion or Preferred Agility Champion title.
What are the course specifics at Westminster’s Masters Agility Competition?
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 does a dog win at Westminster’s Masters Agility Championship?
Each dog will compete in two qualifying rounds consisting of a Standard and a Jumpers with Weaves courses. The 10 dogs with the lowest combined scores from each of the five height classes will advance to the Championship Round. The 50 finalists will be vying for the title of Masters Agility Champion. The Westminster Kennel Club donates $5,000 to honor the winner of the Masters Agility Championship to the AKC training club of their choice or the AKC Humane Fund.
What are the benefits of Agility training with 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
To learn how to get started in Agility, visit AKC’s website here.