South East and East
South East and East Anglia
Mr C Huckle
South and South West
South and South West
Manager, Canine Activities
Committee Secretary, Working Dog Activities Team
IN THE CHAIR:
Miss L Olden
- Apologies for absence had been received from Miss J Lewis.
OF THE MINUTES
- The minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2014 were signed
by the Chairman as an accurate record.
ASSURED BREEDER SCHEME PRESENTATION
- The Council received a presentation by Mr B Lambert, Health and
Breeder Services Manager, on the progress of the Assured Breeder
MATTERS ARISING/RESULTS OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Amendments to Regulations
- The Council noted that at its meeting on 15 April 2014, the
General Committee approved the following changes to the
regulations, with effect from 1 January 2015:
- Amendment to Regulation H18.a.
(Approval of Judges) - to allow individuals to apply for approval
to award Championship Agility Certificates, without having been
nominated by a Championship society first.
- Amendment to Regulation H(1)(B)3 (Obstacles) - definition of
- Amendment to Regulation H(1)2 - definition of Agility.
Agility Equipment Specifications
- The Council noted that the Activities Sub-Committee had
approved the specimen letter which may be used by show societies
for their contracts with equipment suppliers to ensure that agility
equipment would meet the correct specifications in line with the
Kennel Club 'H' Regulations. The document was now available to
download from the Kennel Club website.
Recognition of Agility as a Sport
- The Activities Sub-Committee had supported the Council's
request that the Sports Council be approached once again to request
the eligibility criteria for official recognition of agility as a
sport so that the option could be considered in the future.
It was acknowledged that progression of such an application would
involve a great deal of work, but the Sub-Committee was of the view
that it would be worthwhile. The Council noted that a report would
be produced once feedback had been received from the Sports
Registered Clubs - Formation of Working Party
- In response to the Council's request to form a Working Party
whose remit would be to try to improve protection for registered
clubs and develop incentives for competitors to support these
clubs, the Sub-Committee had requested a more detailed proposal in
respect of the remit and funding of the proposed Working Party. It
was clarified that a Working Party was defined as being an official
group, funded by the Kennel Club and with minutes taken by the
- The Sub-Committee was of the view that registered clubs must
address problems themselves and the Council agreed that there was
little that could be done by the Kennel Club.
- It was noted that private training clubs had some advantages
over registered clubs in that they could often offer more
flexibility which was attractive to handlers. However, the
cost of attending a registered club was generally lower which made
them attractive to those with several dogs. It was
highlighted that registered clubs had the option of publicising
their services in order to attract new members.
- One major issue was that of a number of registered clubs
ceasing to run shows. Others were continuing to run shows but were
facing financial difficulties due to reduced entries as a result of
competing shows. The Council discussed the possibility of
introducing a new regulation which would prevent two shows from
being held in the same area on the same day. The office confirmed
that no such regulation currently existed but that market forces
were allowed to apply. However a formal proposal could be
considered at the next meeting of the Council.
- The Council was of the view that the Kennel Club should address
the issue of shows being run on a commercialised basis and the
effect on shows run by registered clubs. It was noted that
many Listed Status clubs were running shows, and a suggestion was
made that only registered clubs should be allowed to do so.
It was acknowledged however that this would be a backward step and
the suggestion was not supported.
- It was noted that some research and discussion had been carried
out by members of the Council following its previous meeting but no
proposals had been forthcoming as a result. Those who had
carried out the research were thanked for their efforts.
However it was decided not to proceed with the formation of a
Development of Kennel Club Agility - Formation of Working
- The Sub-Committee had considered the Council's request for
formation of a Working Party whose remit would be to develop a
business case for a results database. The Sub-Committee
considered that the same comments applied as to the request for a
Working Party to discuss the role of registered clubs, and
requested a more detailed proposal in respect of the remit and
funding of the proposed Working Party.
- It was agreed that Mrs Baltes, Mr Cavill, Mrs Croxford and Mrs
Gardner would prepare a paper for submission to the Sub-Committee,
noting that the development of a results database would be a
significant project and would require adequate resources.
Standard Class Equipment - Mr M Bacon
- At its meeting in January 2014, the Council discussed the issue
of the Weaving Poles and some contact equipment sometimes being
omitted in standard classes, and considered the possibility of
enforcing their use in order to ensure that dogs were required to
negotiate more challenging obstacles before being able to progress
through the higher grades. Mr Bacon had prepared a proposal, as
requested by the Council, for further consideration, which was
presented by Mr Huckle. Mr Chandler proposed the amendment
which was seconded by Mr Cavill.
- It was noted that some indoor venues did not allow pegging or
staking of equipment but it was accepted that it was possible to
obtain equipment which did not require pegging.
- It was unclear as to whether there had been a previous
regulation stating that two pieces of contact equipment had to be
used in a standard Agility class. The office agreed to ask
the Library to check, but it was accepted that it would be
preferable to frame the regulation to state that a standard Agility
class should contain all three items of contact equipment.
- It was noted that the proposed amendment allowed for compulsory
equipment to be omitted in the event of mitigating circumstances
which would allow the judge to use his or her discretion in the
case of, for example, extreme weather conditions.
- A vote took place and the Council recommended
by a majority approval of the following amendment:
Standard classes may be scheduled for Agility Shows, as Agility
classes or Jumping classes.Agility classes to include contact
obstacles and Jumping classes when there are no contact
obstacles.All standard classes must contain the Weaving Poles
obstacle. Standard Agility classes must contain the following
elements: "A Ramp", Dog Walk and See-Saw.In the event of mitigating
circumstances (i.e. adverse weather conditions) at a show a Judge,
with the full agreement of the Competition Manager, may alter the
compulsory equipment as deemed appropriate at the time. Any
alteration to the equipment must be reported by the show management
to the Kennel Club within 14 days of the date of the show.With this
proviso classes are defined as follows:
Minimum Ring Sizes for Indoor Shows - Mrs J Gardner & Mr J
- Further to the Council's meeting in January 2014, Mrs Gardner
and Mr Gilbert requested that it discuss the matter of ring sizes
for indoor venues. However research carried out prior to the
meeting had indicated little support from other members of the
Council for a minimum ring size to be specified.
- It was agreed that if a minimum ring size was specified, it may
be necessary for clubs to reduce the width of walkways which could
present a health and safety issue. In addition, such a
regulation may force clubs to abandon their existing venues in
order to find larger ones. The difficulty of finding suitable
venues was acknowledged, and it was agreed that it would not be
desirable to place such a burden on clubs.
- It was accepted that clubs should ensure that rings were of
adequate size to fit in all the equipment but that no change to
regulations was necessary.
- At the Council's meeting in January 2013 it had been agreed
that the office would undertake a review of measuring but it was
noted that due to staff shortages this had not as yet taken
- It was agreed that a thorough review was essential and all
present were asked to give the issue consideration and to advise
the office with suggestions which would be collated and, in due
course, presented to the Activities Sub-Committee. It was
noted that the Sub-Committee would not allow advertising for more
measurers to take place until the review had been carried out.
- One suggestion was that the measuring process should be
redefined as being categorisation rather than measuring, as the
main objective of the process was not to record the height of the
dog but to place it into the small, medium or large category.
- It was noted that a list of measurers was available from the
Kennel Club website but that it may contain names of measurers who
were no longer active. It was confirmed that the list was
under review and that measurers would be contacted by the office to
check whether they wished their names to remain on the list.
HEALTH AND WELFARE SUB-GROUP
- The Council noted a verbal report from Mr S Croxford on the
progress of the Activities Health and Welfare Sub-Group following a
meeting on 21 March 2014.
Minimum distances between jumps
- The meeting was joined by Mr S Croxford and Mr G Doyle
representing the Activities Health and Welfare Sub-Group. It was
explained that the Sub-Group reported directly to the Dog Health
Group but received guidance on the prioritisation of issues under
investigation from the Activities Sub-Committee. The
Sub-Group objectives were quite broad and extended to examining
health and welfare issues relating to Obedience, Agility, Rally,
Heelwork to Music, and Working Trials. Amongst a number of issues
currently under consideration, the Sub-Group had been asked to
prioritise the issue of dogs jumping as an area which merited
investigation. As part of research into this subject a study was
carried out on behalf of the Activities Health and Welfare
Sub-Group at the Kennel Club International Agility Festival in
- This particular piece of research had looked specifically at
the spacing between jumps. Data had been collected on how
dogs jumped obstacles placed at different distances (3.6m, 4m, and
5m) apart, and the results analysed.
- The Council received a presentation from Mr Doyle on the
initial findings of this specific research. The results of the
study were to be presented to a Canine Science conference in July
2014. As the information will be in the public domain it was felt
that the Council should be aware of the content. The findings of
the research will be presented to the agility community in an
appropriate format in due course.
- Mr Doyle explained that the research represented a small but
important piece of work. A small number of studies had been
undertaken previously by other research groups but had been carried
out on small numbers of dogs (11 and 9) and had taken place in
unfamiliar environments for the dogs taking part. The
research at the International Agility Festival had included 95 dogs
which had been assessed in a competition environment with which
they were familiar and comfortable.
- Initial analysis of the resulting data focusing upon the 59
large dogs had been carried out. Further analysis of medium and
small dogs was ongoing.
- The analysis undertaken in respect of large dogs had suggested
that where the jumps were placed further apart, the dogs tended, on
average, to jump over a longer distance, taking off earlier and
landing later. As a result the dog's trajectory was flatter
as the distance between jumps increased. This means that they
were landing at a less steep angle, approximating a more glancing
impact, than a direct impact, which would lessen the impact force
of landing. Further analysis of these results was
- Additionally, the neck, shoulder and back angles were evaluated
at take-off and landing. It was found that dogs have a more acute
neck angle during take-off and landing when obstacles are closer
together. Also, dogs have a more acute back angle when landing over
obstacles that are closer together. For example there was an
average increase of 24 degrees in neck angle when landing after
3.6m, compared to a 5.0 m spacing. This meant that the head
was moved backwards towards the back by a large amount. It was
stressed that the results were averages and that there were
variations in the results for individual dogs.
- It was noted that the research confirmed that the neck and back
angles were different, but did not confirm any potential effect on
the dog, harmful or otherwise, as this had not been in the scope of
the research. It was however suggested that a more extreme
angle had the potential to put the dog into a non-optimal position.
It was emphasised that the information obtained from the research
should be applied with care, however it was probably possible to
say that extreme neck angles were not desirable. Other implications
of modifying the distance between jumps remained unknown.
- The research had indicated that experienced dogs tended to jump
- It was noted that there was a possibility that increasing
distances between jumps could result in a dog moving more quickly,
with a potential health issue where the dog was required to
decelerate or turn for the next obstacle. However, research
had not been carried out which could specifically confirm
- It was acknowledged that jumping was a complex skill involving
a wide range of factors and that caution should be applied when
making assumptions based on limited information. It was
accepted that many dogs competing in agility were collies or collie
crosses, and that therefore much of the analysis had been carried
out on such dogs, although other breeds were also included in the
research. However, a wide range of breeds took part in
competitive agility and it would be important to consider the
implications of variations in the height, weight and conformation
of different dogs.
- The Council discussed the findings of the research and
concluded that there was insufficient evidence at this stage to
recommend a change of regulation in terms of the minimum distances
between jumps. However it looked forward to receiving further
information in due course.
- It was accepted that judges were free to design courses using a
5m distance between jumps without any regulation change being made,
should they wish to do so.
- A query was raised as to whether there were any plans to carry
out research into jump heights. It was noted that the research
presented to the Council had originated as a result of discussions
regarding the way in which dogs actually jumped, and whether they
would jump differently at different heights. The Activities Health
and Welfare Sub-Group had plans to investigate this issue further
but it was emphasised that it would be essential to carry out any
such research with care and that caution should be applied in
setting up new research. Every study had faults and
limitations and it was not possible to completely avoid
these. For example, it may be problematic to obtain
consistent results from a dog required to jump over heights with
which it was not familiar or experienced.
- The Activities Health and Welfare Sub-Group would continue to
investigate this and other issues prioritised for it by the
Activities Sub-Committee, and was working to an agreed
- As part of the ongoing programme of research studies into the
subject of jump heights it was noted that a grant of £7000 had been
secured from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for further research
into jump heights to be carried out by the Royal Veterinary
- Mr Croxford emphasised that the objective of the Sub-Group was
to review scientific evidence relating to the welfare of dogs
involved in sporting activities, but that so far only small steps
had been taken. However, the research was ongoing.
- It was accepted that ongoing research would provide objective
and unbiased data but would not in itself provide specific
answers. It would be a matter for the Council and the
Activities Sub-Committee to draw conclusions and make decisions
based on the information provided from the research.
- It was acknowledged that funding would be required for any
ongoing research. The Council noted that Mr Doyle and his
colleagues (Dr Boyd, Dr Pullen, Miss Birch) had carried out a great
deal of work in their own time and using their own resources.
The Council wished to express its gratitude for this but accepted
that in the longer term it would not be tenable for this group to
continue with their research without adequate resources and
support. It was acknowledged that it would be necessary to
present a strong business case to the Kennel Club for the necessary
funding. Mr Croxford explained that the business case would need
the support and approval of the General Committee of the Kennel
- A suggestion was made regarding the possibility of obtaining
funding from the agility community and those present were requested
to give thought to the matter. It was explained that funding
further research supported by the Kennel Club might be made easier
if the Agility community was also seen to be supporting it
financially. If financial support could be generated in this way it
might be possible to make an application to the Kennel Club Legacy
Fund for matched funding. Commercial sponsorship would also
be a potential source of funding but it was acknowledged that it
would take time and effort to generate it.
- Mr Croxford stated that he would welcome any suggestions from
members of the Council to assist the furtherance of research.
- It was noted that the initial findings of the research were
being presented at a scientific conference and would therefore be
in the public domain. However it was essential that the
findings were presented to the agility community in an appropriate
format and that this would be made available in due course.
- Mr Croxford and Mr Doyle were thanked for their presentation.
The Council was appreciative of the amount of work that had gone
into it. The Council also wished to express its support in the
strongest terms for the work of the Activities Health and Welfare
Sub-Committee, and for the continuance of scientific
Sand and paint surfaces
- The Council was requested to consider whether a sand and paint
surface was still acceptable or whether all contact equipment
should have rubberised surfaces. The Sub-Group had noted that a
sand and paint surface was still used by some clubs but this was
becoming less common, and that many dogs were now used to
- The Council was of the view that although it was preferable for
a rubberised surface to be used at shows, it should not be
compulsory and it did not consider that any change to regulations
Dimensions of dog walk and see-saw
- The Sub-Group had noted that at present the regulations did not
specify a fixed width for the dog walk or the see-saw and that this
may be between 10 inches and 12 inches. The Council was
requested to consider whether it wished to set a standardised width
for both obstacles.
- The Council was not against the introduction of a fixed width
for the dog walk and the see-saw but did not consider there was a
necessity for any amendment to regulations at present.
FIVE YEAR STRATEGY
- The Council noted that the Activities Sub-Committee agreed with
the principle of establishing an Equipment Panel to liaise with
manufacturers and suppliers of agility equipment, and to address
any concerns. Consideration was given as to who should sit on
the Equipment Panel and what its future responsibilities and
objectives should be.
- There was some discussion as to whether it would be desirable
for a representative of one of the equipment manufacturers to sit
on the Equipment Panel, with the representative being appointed
each year from a different manufacturer, to ensure fairness. There
was a view that such a representative would have good information
on developments such as new materials and designs which would
provide a useful input into the work of the Panel. However,
it was also considered that appointing such a representative would
give one manufacturer an advantage over others for the course of
the year and it was agreed that no manufacturer should be
- It was agreed that the Equipment Panel should consist of five
people, all to be members of the Council, and based in different
areas of the UK. It was agreed that the following people should
form the Panel:
Mr M Cavill
Mr S Chandler
Mrs J Gardner
Mr M Hallam
Mr I Mallabar
- It was noted that the Panel should seek professional advice as
necessary. Its objective would be to review the introduction of new
agility equipment (materials used, structure or style) and to act
as a point of reference for suppliers wishing to discuss potential
new innovations or developments. Any contact from manufacturers
received by the Kennel Club regarding such issues would be referred
to the Equipment Panel, and its recommendations would then be
considered by the Activities Sub-Committee.
- The intention was not for the Panel to be pro-active in
examining issues relating to equipment or for it to investigate
concerns raised by members of the public, although it may be asked
to address concerns raised by members of the Council. It was
not thought that it would be necessary for meetings of the
Equipment Panel to be held, but that its members could communicate
electronically or by telephone as necessary.
PROPOSALS FROM SOCIETIES/PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS
Proposed Amendment to Regulation H(1)10.e. (Competing)
- Mrs McShane presented the proposed amendment, which was
proposed by Mr Hallam on behalf of Mrs C Keith. It was seconded by
- Mrs Keith wished to draw to the Council's attention the fact
that there was currently no stipulation which prevented handlers
carrying training aids, leads, and toys whilst the dog was under
test although it was custom and practice not to do so. The
regulation was currently worded to state only that food should not
be carried in the hand or given to the dog in the ring.
- The Council agreed the principle of the proposal but did not
consider that the wording should allow the judge discretion to
allow food or toys in the ring, however it did wish to make
allowance for those handlers requiring the use of a mobility
- A revised amendment as follows was proposed by Mr Gilbert and
seconded by Mr Chandler, and was recommended for
Regulation H(1)10.e. (Competing)
Food shall notExcept for mobility aids, nothing shallbe carried
in the handorwhile the dog is under test and food shall not begiven
to a dogwhilstin the ring- elimination.
- It was noted that at Limited Shows, in Special Classes, silent
toys may be carried. It was agreed that the office would formulate
an equivalent amendment to Regulation H(1)(D)9.e. for consideration
by the Activities Sub-Committee.
Proposed insertion of new Regulation H(1)(B)5.(22)(Marking)
- Mrs McShane proposed the amendment on behalf of Mrs C Keith.
The proposal was seconded by Mr Mallabar. There was currently no
regulation which prevented handlers traversing over, under or
through any piece of equipment. Mrs Keith suggested that the
amendment was required to ensure that there was better
clarification for judges and in the interests of health and safety
for both the dog and handler. Mrs Keith's view was also that the
insertion would also ensure better consistency in judging
- The Council noted that putting a hand through the weaves, for
example, to assist a dog, was not considered to be traversing.
- It supported the proposal and by a unanimous vote,
recommended approval of the following
Insertion of new Regulation H(1)(B)5.(22)(Marking)
Handler traverses over, under or through any piece of equipment
Proposed Insertion of new Regulation H(1)(B)1.a.(9)
- Mr Huckle proposed an amendment to the above Regulation on
behalf of Mrs Rawstorne, who was of the view that jump poles of a
single colour tended to blend in with the background making it
difficult for the dog to adjust its depth perception when
attempting to negotiate the hurdle. This had led to a concern that
as a result some dogs were not able to assess the position of the
obstacle correctly and were consequently at risk of injury. Mrs
Rawstorne suggested that if the poles were of two contrasting
colours this would assist the dogs' ability to perceive the depth
and placement of the obstacle and would thus prevent potential
injuries to dogs.
- The Council noted the contents of a paper provided by Mr
Croxford on behalf of the Activities Health & Welfare Sub-Group
on this issue, for which he was thanked. It accepted that
there was no evidence to draw a conclusion as to whether colour or
contrast was relevant to the ability of a dog to perceive an
obstacle clearly. The proposal was not seconded and therefore
no amendment to the Regulations was recommended at this stage,
however it was agreed that the issue should be referred to the
Activities Health and Welfare Group for further advice.
Obstacle Positioning within Course Design - Mrs D Hedger
- Mrs Hedger, an individual, had requested that the Council
discuss the positioning of obstacles preceding contact equipment
which could cause the dog to ascend the piece of equipment at an
angle. Mrs Hedger considered that it had become an area of concern
for many competitors, especially since the introduction of
rubberised contact surfaces where it was perceived to be safer to
have angled approaches towards contact equipment because the dogs
had a better grip.
- It was accepted that the issue of the placing of obstacles was
already covered in the judging education programme and the Council
reiterated that this would continue to be the case. Should
competitors have concerns regarding the safety of a course
such concerns should be reported to the show management. If the
matter is not resolved then it should be noted in the Incident Book
and further investigations carried out by the Kennel Club if
- The Council was not of the view that there was a necessity for
a change of regulation regarding the positioning of obstacles.
Review of Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers - Mrs D
- The Council was requested by Mrs Hedger to discuss the
possibility of regulating the safety and design of agility
equipment supplied by equipment manufacturers. Mrs Hedger's
dog had fallen from the dog walk and was caught under the hind leg
by one of the securing nuts, resulting in the dog undergoing soft
tissue surgery. The Council noted the circumstances of the
accident and agreed that the matter should be referred to the
Equipment Panel for review.
Restricting Grades within Combined Classes - Mr K Smith
- Mr Smith, an individual, requested that the Council discuss the
possibility of restricting standard combined classes to a maximum
of four grades. It was his view that a standard combined 1-7 class
caused difficulties for the judge in setting a course design
appropriate for the level of test, and that it was also difficult
to set an appropriate course time that would be effective for dogs
in both the lower and higher grades.
- The Council discussed the suggestion but was not of the view
that there was any issue arising from combined classes, and it did
not consider that there was any necessity for restrictions to be
placed on the number of grades which could be included in a
INTERNATIONAL AGILITY FESTIVAL
- The Council noted a report on the arrangements for the Kennel
Club International Agility Festival, due to be held on 7-10 August
- The Council noted that the number of entries for the Large
Championship class had exceeded the number allowed for any one
judge in a day. The Sub-Committee had agreed to the
appointment of a separate judge for the large Jumping class as it
was considered to be an exceptional situation. It was
accepted that a judge accepting an appointment to judge a Jumping
class under such circumstances would remain eligible to award
Agility Certificates later in the year.
- The Council's views were requested on the wider issue of the
numbers of dogs competing in a Championship class. After a brief
discussion it was agreed that a formal proposal to cover this issue
in the future would be brought for consideration at the next
meeting of the Council.
- The Council acknowledged that there were a high number of dogs
reaching Grade 7 resulting in high entries in Championship
- It was noted that this was a complex issue meriting detailed
consideration and it was agreed that the matter should be discussed
further at the next meeting of the Council when any further
suggestions could be considered.
- The Council noted a written report from Mr Laker on the
Performance Weekend held on 26 and 27 April 2014.
- The Council wished to note its support for the work Mr Laker
was doing in managing the British team, and wished the team luck
for the forthcoming International events.
ITEM 11. ANY
- A concern was raised in respect of the change in Regulations
regarding the see-saw and whether this piece of equipment, even
when conforming to the Kennel Club's requirements, could
potentially become hazardous in adverse weather conditions, for
example, lifting in a high wind. It was noted that all equipment
should be fit for purpose. Competitors concerned about safety
issues should log their concerns in the show's incident book and if
necessary any such issues could be referred to the Equipment Panel
for further consideration.
Running under a judge appointed in an emergency
- A situation had arisen at a show where the services of a
reserve judge, who had not been named in the schedule, were
required. The partner of the judge had been advised that he
could not run his dog in the class being judged by his
partner. It was confirmed that this was incorrect and that in
the case of a judge appointed in an emergency, it was permissible
for a dog to be handled by the judge's partner or by a family
- The Council was requested to consider the issue of a water jump
which had caused concern to a competitor at a show. The jump
included a large 'W' shape at either side and there was some
concern that this could be hazardous for a dog which failed to
negotiate the jump correctly and could be injured by the 'W'.
The Council did not recommend that any action be taken.
- A query was received as to whether it should be mandatory at
shows for twelve weave poles to be used at all times rather than
six, in the interests of consistency and of ensuring that dogs
progressing through the classes were capable of negotiating twelve
weaves. It was agreed that the matter could be discussed at
the Council's next meeting, either as a firm proposal or as a
- The collapsible tunnel was discussed in the light of concerns
that dogs were exiting from it with heads wrenched back, falling
over and twisted, and that this represented a health and welfare
issue. It was agreed that there were two areas of the
collapsible tunnel which should be considered, the width of the
entrance and the length of the tunnel and the cloth. Mrs
Croxford agreed to formulate a formal proposal for consideration at
the Council's next meeting.
Training in the ring
- It was noted that at a recent show a judge had allowed people
to train their dogs in the ring. It was highlighted that
although this had not taken an excessive amount of time, it was
nonetheless demonstrating a lack of respect for judges and the
other competitors. It was clarified that all competitors were
expected to attempt the course.
OF NEXT MEETING
- The date of the next meeting would be advised in
- There being no further matters to discuss the meeting closed at
MISS L OLDEN