All dogs must be over 18 months of age or over and fit to take part when entering a competition, as it is such a physical sport and so much training is necessary before a dog can compete.
Types of agility show
Agility Matches are restricted to members of the show society only.
Limited Agility Shows are restricted to members of the show society, or competitors from a certain area, or, limited to certain breeds, or, numbers of class entries, overall numbers of entries or other limited agreed by the Kennel Club. Limited agility shows may have 3 standard progression classes.
Open Agility Shows are just that, open to all who wish to take part and may cap the total number of dogs in a class (the minimum cap/limit is 250 dogs).
Premier Shows are those that hold Kennel Club qualifiers for Crufts, Discover Dogs or Olympia. They will also have standard qualifying classes.
Championship Agility Shows hold a special Championship Class which is divided into three separate rounds. The winner and 2nd placed dogs being awarded an Agility Certificate and a Reserve Agility Certificate.
Agility classes feature 'Jumping' courses and 'agility' courses. Each course features a variety of agility obstacles. However, jumping courses do not require the dogs to undertake the see-saw, dog walk or 'A' ramp obstacles. For more information about the different types of obstacles, visit the Agility Course Obstacles page.
An agility competitor and their dog advance from Grades 1 - 7, Grade 1 is the lowest level and Grade 7 the highest level. Competitors and dogs that are new to agility will be able to enter classes suitable for Grade 1. As you and your dog improve you may be able to progress to the next Grade. There are two ways in which a competitor can progress, the first is progression on wins and the second is through points progression. The how to progress in agility page explains exactly what is needed for you and your dog to advance to the next level.
Other classes that are scheduled at an agility Show may fall under the title of "Special classes." Special classes are classes where 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, Gamblers, Time, Fault and Out, Power and Speed, ABC - Anything But A Collie, Any Sized and Pairs, will be clearly defined in the schedule along with details of eligibility, so you know exactly what to expect when you enter the class. It should be noted that you cannot claim agility Warrant Points or progress from Special classes.
Entering your first agility show
Contact the Kennel Club for a list of shows in your area. We will send you listings of all the shows, with the telephone and address details of the club secretaries who are running them. Most agility shows schedules are available online and there are several websites you can visit including www.agilitynet.com.
As stated on the agility measuring page, there are three different size categories (Small, Medium or Large) for competing dogs. Clubs may schedule classes for one, some, or all of these sizes. Before you enter a show, your dog must be officially measured.
- When you've decided which show you want to enter, download the schedule or contact the secretary of the club and request a schedule (these are usually free of charge).
- Once you have the schedule you will have to select which class or classes you would like to enter and complete the entry form (which is located inside the schedule).
- As a new competitor in agility, you can enter any class which includes Grade one for your height of dog.
- Send your entry form and payment to the secretary before the closing date. Entries usually close at least one month before the show, so you will need to plan well in advance. Entries received after the closing date will not be accepted. There are several online show processors where you can enter online, the schedule will state if this is possible and the relevant website.
Before the show
You will be sent a ring card prior to the show which details the classes you have entered, the number of dogs in the class and your running order for each class.
- Groom and prepare your dog.
- Prepare a show bag containing your treats, toys, leads, water bowls, water, poop scoop etc.
- Remember to take your show passes (if appropriate), schedule and directions.
At the show
- Arrive at the showground/venue in plenty of time to find your bearings.
- It's advisable to 'walk the course' so that you are familiar with the course when it is your turn to compete, but this needs to be done before the class starts. So get there early.
- Keep an eye on the judging and don't miss your class or running order.
- Speak to fellow exhibitors and learn more about agility.