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Information on the types of Agility Classes & Tests

The sport of Agility was first introduced to the UK in 1978 at Crufts. Agility Tests are fun competitions designed for the enjoyment of competitors, and to appeal to spectators. All sorts of dogs can take part. Your dog does not have to be a pedigree, or pure-bred dog, but it must be registered with the Kennel Club on the Breed Register, or the Obedience and Working Trials Register.

Size doesn’t matter either, because there are Agility Tests for Standard Dogs, measuring over 432mm (1ft 5ins) at the withers; Midi Dogs, measuring 381mm (1ft 3ins) and 432mm (1ft 5ins) or under at the withers; and Mini Dogs, measuring under 381mm (1ft 3ins) at the withers.

One important stipulation, however, is that dogs must be over 18 months of age and fit to take part, as it is such a physical sport and so much training is necessary before a dog can compete.

There are many different classes which can be scheduled at Agility Tests. There are Agility classes defined by the Kennel Club which become progressively more competitive as you become more successful and win out of each class; there are Jumping classes which are fairly self-explanatory and do not require the dogs to undertake the sea-saw, dog walk or A frame obstacles; there are special classes which are defined by the show management in the Schedule. In such special classes, either the definition for eligibility to compete is not per Kennel Club Regulations, the marking of the class differs from standard Kennel Club marking or the course design is non-standard. Classes such as these, with unusual names like Helter Skelter, Triathlon, Gamblers, Knock-Out and Pairs, will be clearly defined in the Schedule so you know exactly what to expect when you enter the class.

Whatever classes you decide to go for, they will be at the following levels: Elementary, Starters, Novice, Intermediate, Seniors, Advanced and Open.

Types of Classes
Elementary: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Starter: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Novice: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Intermediate: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Senior: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Advanced: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Mini: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Midi: -   Agility, Jumping etc
Open: -   Standard, Mini or Midi
ABC: -   Any breed but a Collie or Collie X
Junior: -   Under 12s or Over 12s
Pairs: -   Any combination of size or breed
Specials: -   Helter Skelter, Gamblers, Time Fault & Out, Knock Outs etc

Types of Agility Test
There are only four types of Agility Test. Agility Matches are restricted to members of the show society only. Entry to Limited Agility Tests is restricted to members of the show society, or competitors from a certain area, or, limited to certain breeds, or, sizes of dog. Open Agility Tests, are just that, open to all who wish to take part. Finally Championship Agility can now be scheduled with a special Championship Class which is divided into three separate rounds. The winner and 2nd placed dogs being awarded and Agility Certificate and a Reserve Agility Certificate. There are 3 different size categories for competing dogs and clubs may schedule classes for one, some, or all of these sizes.

An Agility Test will have a series of obstacles laid out in a large area called a ring. The Kennel Club allows a combination of 16 obstacles to be used on an Agility course. All measurements given for the following obstacles are for standard dogs. The obstacles for midi and mini dogs are naturally smaller.

These are a maximum of 762mm (2ft 6ins) in height and 1.219m (4ft) in width and competing dogs must leap over the hurdles without knocking them over. The top part of the hurdle must always be easily displaced so that your dog does not hurt himself if he does knock down the bar.

Rising spread jump

This is a series of 2 hurdles positioned closely together, with the first hurdle set lower than the second.

Brush fence
This is another sort of hurdle, again with an easily displaced top unit.

Hoop (Tyre)
Your dog must jump through the hoop or tyre suspended from a frame at a fixed height.

The table is a minimum of 941mm (3ft) square and must be of stable construction with a non-slip surface. Your dog must lie down on the table for a time set by the judge.

Long jump
The dog must jump a maximum length of 1.524m (5ft), clearing a series of low hurdles.

Water jump
A low hurdle may be placed in front of a long jump of shallow water.

Wishing Well or Lych Gate
This hurdle must have a roof to it, and again a displaceable top bar should be used.

Collapsible Tunnel
This has a rigid round entrance with non-slip cloth forming the body of the tunnel which can be up to 13.048m (10ft) long. Your dog must make his way through the tunnel.

Pipe Tunnel
A minimum of 609mm (2ft) wide and up to 3.048m (10ft) long.

Weaving poles

A series of between 5 and 12 poles set at least 451mm (1ft 6ins) apart that your dog has to weave in and out of.

Pause Box
An area 1.219m (4ft) by 1.219m (4ft) on the ground of the ring where your dog has to pause for a period specified by the judge.

‘A’ Frame
An ‘A’ shaped frame formed by 2 ramps with non-slip surfaces and anti-slip slats, that dogs must climb over. There are ‘contact points’ at the base of each ramp, coloured differently to the rest of the obstacle, that the dogs’ paws must come into contact with if penalty points are not to be incurred.

A pivoted plank, minimum length of 3.66mm (12ft), which your dog must negotiate. Again your dog must touch the coloured ‘contact points’.

Dog Walk
A plank approximately 1.372m (4ft 6ins) high, with firmly fixed ramps at either end which dogs must walk over, ensuring that paws touch ‘contact points’.

Cross Over
This obstacle resembles a raised, square table with ramps leading up to all 4 sides. Your dog must go up and down the particular ramps indicated by the judge. Again contact points will be marked that the dogs’ paws must touch.

This article has been reproduced courtesy of Dogs (Correct at time of publication)

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