Agility: what is this dog sport? What breeds of dogs can practice?

One of the most popular dog sports, agility is based on the bond and the bonds that unite a dog with his master. It is open to all breeds, of all sizes, with or without pedigree.

Agility: the history

Agility was created in 1977 under the leadership of John Varley, a member of the famous dog show Cruft Dog Show. Its objective was to offer the public fun and original shows. The first demonstration was held in London in 1978. Very quickly, the dog discipline met with great success so that in 1979, it benefited from the recognition of the English Kennel Club. Then, it will be recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) ten years later.

Sporty and fun, this activity allows trained dogs to evolve on an obstacle course to highlight their agility. They are accompanied by their master and do not wear a leash. The goal is to pass all the tests by losing as few points as possible and by setting an excellent time. Agility requires quality of execution and harmony. Obedient dogs which have been perfectly trained are the best suited to this sport.

The courses and obstacles

Like equestrian competitions, agility competitions are punctuated by several types of obstacles to name only the wall, hurdles, palisades, seesaw, canvas tunnels, slaloms, long jumps, the tires, the swing and many more. The rules are defined by the FCI which organizes the official championships. This discipline is played around the world and it is not uncommon to find unapproved competitions that allow owners and their dogs to practice just for fun.

Note that to start in agility, it is strongly recommended to approach specialists who can instill the right bases. A good idea is to register in clubs or associations made up of professionals who will come and share the techniques to motivate the dog, teach him to obey and find a good rhythm. If you are lucky enough to have a large garden at home, do not hesitate to create a small course there to train your pooch.

What are the conditions for practicing this dog sport?

It is not mandatory that your dog has a pedigree to participate in an agility competition. However, he must be at least 12 months old. Puppies are refused because this activity requires significant physical training which may tire the animal at a young age and which has an impact on its growth.

For greater fairness, the tests have been organized to accommodate all sizes of dogs. Those less than 37 cm at the withers belong to category A. Category B includes dogs from 37 to 47 cm. The more than 47 cm at the withers are of category C. The dogs of the category D meanwhile are the heavy breeds and the molossoids. According to specialists, all races can participate but it is better to go for the ones that are light and fast. Shepherds, Poodles, Jack Russell and Border Collies are champions in this activity.

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