Dog agility was born in 1977 in England at the Crufts Dog Show. The idea stemmed from the need to keep the audience entertained during the show intermission, and since then doggy show-jumping hasn’t stopped attracting fans.
What does Dog agility consist of?
The dog must get through a circuit made up of a series of obstacles, helped by instructions from their owner, within a time limit set by a judge.
In agility, the owner is in charge of showing the dog where to go, so it is very important for the dog to respond well to certain commands such as sit, lie down, stay, and be able to follow specific hand instructions.
Certain breeds are more likely to stand out from others in agility, simply due to their genetic characteristics.
That said, the key to success in this sport lies in the coordination and nimbleness of the owner (and the relationship they have with their pooch), and as long as a dog is healthy and obedient, they should be a dab hand!
Consequently, it is not unusual to see a range of breeds, including mixed breeds, appearing on the podiums of renowned international competitions.
There are three categories in which your dog can compete, according to its size:
- S (for small dogs) below 35cm at the withers (the ridge between the shoulder blades).
- M (for medium dogs) between 35 cm and 43 cm at the withers.
- L (for large dogs) from 43 cm at the withers, and above.
The obstacles are classified in three categories:
- Jumps: hurdles, panel, spread and tire jump.
- Contact obstacles: seesaw, dog walk and crossover.
- Others: tunnel, collapsed tunnel, weave poles, long jump and pause table.
The benefits of doing agility with your dog (even if you’re not competing)
- It’s a good way to keep both of you in good shape
- You will learn to communicate better with your dog and vice versa.
- It’s a great opportunity for easily scared dogs to gain trust and self-confidence.
- You might get a spot on Britain’s Got Talent.