MINUTES OF AGILITY LIAISON COUNCIL MEETING
HELD AT THE KENNEL CLUB ON 21ST JANUARY
Mrs Y Croxford, Midlands
Ms J Harker, North East
Mr K Smith, North East
Mr A Dornford-Smith, Northern Ireland
Mrs P Baltes, North West
Mr M Hallam, North West
Ms S Hawkswell, Scotland
Mr C Huckle, South and South West
Mr S Chandler, South East and East Anglia
Mr I McDonald, South East and East Anglia
Mr M Cavill, Wales
Mr D Jolly (Item 8 only) - Chairman, Activities Health &
Miss D Deuchar - Manager, Canine Activities
Miss R Mansfield - Specialist, Working Dog Activities Team
Mrs A Mitchell - Committee Secretary, Working Dog Activities
ITEM 1. TO ELECT A CHAIRMAN FOR THE TERM OF THE
(JANUARY 2016 - DECEMBER 2018)
- In the absence of any other nominations, Mr Cavill was elected
as Chairman for the new term of the Council.
IN THE CHAIR: MR M CAVILL
ITEM 2. TO ELECT A VICE CHAIRMAN FOR THE TERM OF
THE COUNCIL (JANUARY 2016 - DECEMBER 2018)
- Following a ballot, Mrs Croxford was elected as Vice Chairman
for the term of the Council.
ITEM 3. TO ELECT A REPRESENTATIVE ONTO THE
ACTIVITIES SUB-COMMITTEE EFFECTIVE FROM JUNE 2016 - MAY
3. Following a ballot, Mr Chandler was elected as the Council's
representative onto the Activities Sub-Committee for the above
period of office.
ITEM 4. PRESENTATION TO THE COUNCIL ON KENNEL CLUB
STRUCTURES AND PROCEDURES
- The Council noted the presentation which explained Kennel Club
and Liaison Council's structure and procedures. New representatives
were welcomed to the meeting and the role of Council
representatives was clarified.
ITEM 5. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
- Apologies for absence had been received from Mrs J Gardner and
Miss L Olden.
ITEM 6. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
- The minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2015 were signed by
the Chairman as an accurate record.
ITEM 7. MATTERS ARISING/RESULTS OF
- The Council noted that at its meeting on 6 October 2015, the
General Committee approved the following changes to the
regulations, with effect from 1 January 2016:
- Regulation H(1)9.e Appointment of an additional judge in
- Regulation K3.c. Agility Warrants
- The Council was pleased to note the introduction of Platinum
and Diamond Agility Warrants. It was clarified by the office
that points could be claimed only from 1 January 2016 and not
retrospectively so as to offer additional objectives for
competitors to work towards.
Recognition of Agility as a sport
- The Council was advised that the office was in the process of
preparing a pre-application document for submission to the Sports
Council. A great deal of detailed information was required
for the document, and the assistance of Council members was
requested. A copy of the document would be circulated to all
Council members, and their input would be appreciated. Mr
Cavill would liaise with the office in order to prepare the
finalised pre-application, which would be submitted to the Sports
Council as soon as possible.
Proposed Amendment of Regulation H 28.a.(9) (Disqualification
and Forfeit of Awards)
- The Council noted the views of the Activities Sub-Committee
regarding the proposed amendment, which would allow a judge to
judge dogs handled by his or her spouse, immediate family or
resident at the same address as the scheduled judge, other than in
Championship Classes and Kennel Club supported events. The
Sub-Committee had strongly reiterated its original decision not to
recommend the proposed amendment for approval.
Structure of the Council
- The Council had requested that the Sub-Committee consider
reducing the three-year embargo on Regulation changes to two and a
half years, on the basis that a three-year embargo would not enable
it to bring to fruition any proposals made as a result of its
consideration of strategic issues, within a single term of office.
It was noted that the Sub-Committee had accepted the views
expressed by the Council, and clarified that its intention was to
allow it to make recommendations within a single term of
- It was agreed that a review of the grading structure should be
added to the Five Year Plan. However it was accepted that a
considerable amount of work would be involved in carrying out such
a review, and that it would be necessary to give careful
consideration of all of the implications for Agility as a
- The Council had discussed the breakaway tyre at its meeting on
22 January 2015. Subsequently, the Equipment Panel had seen
and approved the breakaway tyre manufactured by Jaycee Jumps, and
the Activities Sub-Committee had approved its use. A Press
Release had been issued on 30 November 2015. On this
particular design, the lower 'breakaway' section of the tyre was
held in place by magnets, and, if hit by a dog, the lower section
would be dislodged. It had been clarified within the Press Release
that should the lower section be dislodged, the dog would incur 5
- It was confirmed that, to date, no other manufacturers had
submitted designs. However, it was agreed that should other designs
be received, these would be subject to the approval of the
- It was confirmed that at present, use of either the
conventional tyre or the breakaway tyre was acceptable under Kennel
Club Regulations. It would be for the Equipment Panel to
discuss, in due course, whether the conventional tyre should
eventually be phased out, but there were no immediate plans to do
so. It was agreed that the matter could be considered by the
Council at its next meeting should other options became
- The Council noted that there was no current Regulation which
required show organisers to ensure consistency of equipment in all
rings. However, it was considered to be highly desirable that
there should be consistency, and should a breakaway tyre be used in
one ring, the same design should also be used in other
- A query was raised as to whether a list of approved equipment
was available for use as a reference by judges and show
organisers. The office confirmed that no such list was
available but that all changes to approved equipment were
publicised within the Kennel Club's Agility newsletter, The
Scribe. It was agreed that it would be helpful for a list of
approved equipment to be added to the Judges Guide to Agility
Equipment which was available on the Kennel Club's website.
The office would make the necessary amendments to the
- It was noted that equipment suppliers were required within
their contracts to supply only equipment which had been approved by
the Kennel Club. However judges were ultimately responsible
for their own rings and should not use any item of equipment that
they considered to be sub-standard or unsafe.
ITEM 8. REVIEW OF HURDLE
- Mr D Jolly, Chairman of the Activities Health and Welfare
Sub-Group, joined the meeting for this item, having been requested
to provide an update on the review of hurdle heights.
- The Council was informed that ongoing research was taking place
via the Activities Health and Welfare Sub-Group and that several
papers had been published. However the process of research was
lengthy and could not provide immediate and definitive answers.
There had been demand from competitors, including the 4th Height
Supporters Group, for hurdle heights to be reviewed, and the issue
had been referred to the Activities Sub-Committee following an open
letter sent to the Chairman of the Kennel Club.
- The main points of Mr Jolly's presentation were as
- There was no evidence available to date which suggested that
the current heights being jumped were prejudicial or injurious to a
- Some dogs by virtue of their breed, size and shape may
experience more difficulties in negotiating a fixed height of
hurdle than others
- The Kennel Club wished to take the opportunity to address
concerns for ALL heights of dog, whilst ensuring that show
organisers retained choice over what they wished to schedule, and
that competitors would have choice of the jump height they
perceived to be suitable for their dog
- There was a need for ongoing research
- Taking into account all of the above considerations, the
General Committee had approved the implementation of a Lower Height
Option (LHO), the main details of which were as follows:
- LHO would be open to all dogs in that height
- To be run in conjunction with any Standard class as defined in
- One class with two heights
- Change part way through to higher/lower the jump heights
- Competitors must run at their entered height
- Height change would only occur once either higher to lower, or
lower to higher
- Lower Height Option hurdle heights must be as follows:
- Small 25cm, Medium 35cm and Large 55cm
- All other equipment to be set as defined in the 'H'
- one set of awards by combining the results of each height
- or may offer separate awards for each height category
- Must be specified on the schedule
- Wins gained at the LHO in Standard classes count towards
progression at Standard height and vice versa
- LHO wins would not count for Championship class
- All Championship classes and Kennel Club supported events would
continue to be run at the current heights of 35cm, 45cm and
- The class listing on the schedule would need to identify which
classes would have the LHO
- The Council was also advised of the amendments to Regulations
which had been approved by the General Committee in relation to
implementation of the Lower Height Option. The amended
Regulations would come into effect on 1 July 2016.
- It was confirmed that a Press Release detailing the changes was
to be issued immediately, together with a Frequently Asked
Questions document which would assist show organisers and
competitors in understanding the changes. The above documents
may be viewed at:
- Following a query, it was clarified that societies may continue
to offer any special classes as previously. The height of
hurdles must be stated in the schedule.
- It was not anticipated that there would be any major
difficulties for show entry processors.
- Mr Jolly was thanked for his very informative
- The Council was of the view that introduction of the Lower
Height Option was a positive step, constituting a good response to
demands from the agility community as it enabled both show
organisers and competitors to make choices as to jump heights. It
accepted that some 'teething problems' may occur, but acknowledged
that the changes had been made in the interests of the majority of
competitors. Potential concerns from show societies had also been
addressed in terms of minimising the changes required to show
administration. The Lower Height Option also allowed for
flexibility in the future depending on the outcome of any further
- The Council wished to record its support for the Lower Height
Option, and its thanks for those who had been involved in its
ITEM 9. REPORT FROM THE EQUIPMENT
- The Council was of the view that the Equipment Panel was making
a valuable contribution to Agility, and that it was necessary for
it to continue its work. It currently consisted of Mr Cavill,
Mrs Gardner, Mr Hallam, and Mr Chandler. Mr Mallabar was no
longer a member and Mr Cavill stated his wish to stand down from
the Panel. It was agreed that Mr Smith and Mr Huckle would be
appointed to the Panel.
- It was confirmed that the Panel would carry out appropriate
investigations into any item of equipment which had been reported
to it as being potentially hazardous or non-compliant with Kennel
Club Regulations. However changes would only be made to
equipment where there was clear evidence that such a change was
- It was agreed that Mrs Gardner, with the help of the Equipment
Panel, would produce a formal document stating the remit of the
equipment panel and the process for approval of equipment.
- The Council wished to note its thanks for the work carried out
by Mr Mallabar as a member of the Equipment Panel. In
particular Mr Mallabar had carried out extensive and very useful
research regarding the collapsible tunnel, which would be discussed
later in the meeting.
- It was noted that that the aluminium wall supplied by First
Contact had been approved for use by the Panel.
- The Council discussed a wall which had been used at a recent
show which had interlocking inserts and uprights. Noting that
the current regulations only stated that a wall should have
displaceable units on the top, it was agreed that the Equipment
Panel should consider whether it was acceptable for elements of the
Wall to be interlocked.
- The breakaway tyre had been discussed earlier in the meeting
(paragraphs 13-16 refer.)
- It was the intention of the Panel to investigate the use of
small jump wings which were being used at some shows. It was
suggested that the Equipment Panel should also be requested to
consider the potential impact of the LHO and the use of spread and
long jumps, and the use of the tyre for small dogs.
ITEM 10. ACTIVITIES HEALTH AND WELFARE
- The Council noted that the Activities Health and Welfare
Sub-Group had met on 2 September 2015.
Dog Agility Incident Forms
- The Council noted that at the above meeting, the Activities
Health and Welfare Sub-Group had discussed the use of Dog Agility
Incident Forms (as used at the International Agility Festival) at
other shows in order to enable a fuller picture of
equipment-related incidents at agility shows to be
understood. It had agreed that completed forms should be
returned to show secretaries who may collate the information and
forward it to the Kennel Club should they wish to draw a particular
issue to its attention. The Council noted that the form was
available to download from the Kennel Club website at:
- It was confirmed that use of the forms was not compulsory, but
it was suggested that show organisers should have a supply
available so that reports may be made where an incident had
occurred, or where there was considered to be an area of concern to
be highlighted. Should the Kennel Club be made aware of consistent
reports regarding any areas of concern, the matter would be
referred to the Activities Health & Welfare Sub-Group, or to
the Equipment Panel, as appropriate, for investigation.
- Should a judge have concerns that the report may not be
forwarded to the Kennel Club by the show organisers, he or she may
send it directly to the Working Dog Activities department at the
Kennel Club or it may be emailed to email@example.com
- It was clarified that the objective of the form, which may only
be completed by judges, was to identify generalised issues
regarding equipment rather than specific items of faulty equipment.
Any specific incidents, such as a dog being injured or having an
accident, should continue to be logged in the show's incident
- It was agreed that judges should be encouraged to use the form
where necessary. A Press Release would be issued to draw
attention to it, and an item would also appear in The Scribe.
A copy of the form would also be provided during judges
- It was suggested that a link to the form may be provided by
show organisers in contract documentation sent to judges.
This was considered to be an excellent idea. Alternatively, a
hard copy may be placed in the ring box at the show.
ITEM 11. PROPOSALS FROM SOCIETIES/PRIVATE
- No proposals had been received.
ITEM 12. DISCUSSION ITEMS
- The Council considered a short report provided by Mr Mallabar
detailing his research into the Collapsible Tunnel. He was of the
view that recent research may give the Council more evidence with
which to consider the specification of the tunnel. The Council was
requested to consider whether modifying the specification would be
beneficial to competing dogs.
- The Council wished to record its thanks to Mr Mallabar for
presenting a thorough and very helpful document.
- It noted that some judges were no longer including the
Collapsible Tunnel in their courses due to perceptions regarding
its safety. It did not wish to see obstacles falling
into disuse due to such perceptions and agreed that it was
important to address the issue.
- It had been thought that many of the issues relating to the
Collapsible Tunnel related to its positioning within the course,
but Mr Mallabar's research had identified other features of the
tunnel which warranted further discussion. These were:
- Size of the entrance to the rigid part of the Tunnel
It was noted that at present the Regulations stated only a
minimum entrance height of 483mm (1ft 7ins). It was suggested
that a standardised height may be beneficial in allowing dogs to
know exactly what to expect at any show. A height of 2 ft was
suggested, to bring it into line with the height of a Pipe
- Fabric specification (sailcloth or nylon)
The Council noted that the research indicated that the use of a
sailcloth material was preferable to nylon, which, although
lighter, was more slippery and had a tendency to wrap around the
dog and to impede its progress through the obstacle. It
considered whether it would be possible to specify a weight for the
fabric, but it was accepted that there were some difficulties in
doing so, and it would not be possible to enforce any such
specifications as there would be no way of making checks on
equipment used at shows. It was also accepted that it was
difficult to define 'non-slip' as part of a fabric
It was agreed that this issue should be addressed by the
Equipment Panel who could discuss the matter with manufacturers to
assess whether it would be possible to formulate a specification
for the material to be used.
- Use of parallel or flared chute
It appeared that dogs experienced fewer difficulties in
negotiating the Collapsible Tunnel when the chute was flared rather
than parallel. The Equipment Panel would be asked to consider
a specification for the degree of flare.
The Council noted that on the basis of evidence supplied by Mr
Mallabar, it appeared that a shorter chute enabled dogs to
negotiate the obstacle more easily and it was agreed that a length
of approximately 6 feet would be suitable.
- In summary, it was agreed that the Equipment Panel would be
requested to give the matter further consideration and to formulate
a detailed proposal based on the following parameters:
- Size of entrance to be standardised at 61 cm (24 inches)
- Fabric specification to be agreed
- Chute to be flared
- Chute to be approximately 183 cm (6 feet) in length
- A recommendation as to whether older versions of the
Collapsible Tunnel may still be used, or whether, from a specified
date, an updated version must be used.
- Mr Huckle presented the item on behalf of Mr M Bacon, who
wished to raise concerns regarding dogs being stopped by the ring
party in mid run due to a timing failure.
- The Council wished to reiterate the information given during
judges training that ring stewards should be briefed carefully by
the judge, and should be watching the judge rather than the timing.
It also highlighted that a dog which had been faulted was not
entitled to a re-run in the event of a timing failure.
- It was highlighted that all judges and stewards should
familiarise themselves with the Kennel Club's 'Guide for Agility
Judges and Stewards' booklet and should be aware of the correct
procedures. The booklet was available on the Kennel Club website at
- The Council did not consider that there was a significant issue
in relation to timing failures but it was agreed that guidance
would be issued via The Scribe.
- Mr Huckle, speaking on behalf of Mr M Bacon, invited the
Council to consider the practice by some competitors of starting
the dog by taking it past the first jump, setting it up and then
sending it back around the jump.
- The Council acknowledged that the practice did not contravene
any Kennel Club Regulation and was quite acceptable. It was
reiterated that judges should not fault competitors who chose to
set up their dogs in this way, and competitors who considered that
they had been unfairly marked should make a report in the show's
- It was strongly recommended that judges should keep themselves
up to date with current Regulations and guidelines.
Control of scribe tickets
- The discussion item was presented by Mr Huckle, speaking on
behalf of Mr M Bacon who had noted that it had become common
practice for scribe tickets to be handed to competitors when
booking in with the collecting ring steward. Mr Bacon was
concerned that these practices may give rise to confusion and
greatly increase the possibility of errors occurring.
- However, the Council was not aware of any evidence of errors
caused by the practice, and was of the view that it was up to show
organisers to deal with the handling of scribe tickets, whilst
ensuring that measures were in place to minimise errors.
ITEM 13. FIVE YEAR STRATEGY
- The Council noted the items on its five year strategic
- It agreed that it was necessary to take a thoughtful and
positive approach towards major issues affecting the future of
agility and its development. It was suggested that all
Council representatives should consult members of the agility
community in order to compile a list of what were considered to be
the major issues affecting agility. Such lists would be
circulated to Council members and collated to identify key items
for discussion by the Council at its next meeting.
- It was also agreed that the format of the strategic plan
document should be reviewed as at present it did not contain dates
or detailed action points. These details, together with an
indication of the individuals who had agreed to undertake tasks,
would be necessary in order to ensure that plans were
- A revised plan would be considered at the Council's next
- In the meantime the office was thanked for its help in
achieving some of the objectives listed on the plan.
- It was agreed that a review of the grading structure was
necessary and should be undertaken as soon as possible by a Grading
Panel which would consist of Mrs Baltes, Ms Harker, Ms Hawkswell,
Mr McDonald, Mrs Croxford, and Mr Dornford-Smith. The Panel
would operate on an informal basis.
- It was suggested that initial research could be carried out by
obtaining information from show organisers and from show
processors. Mr Hallam also offered to provide information
from his son's dissertation which would be helpful.
- The Grading Panel would report back to the Council at its
meeting in July.
ITEM 14. ACTIVITIES JUDGES WORKING PARTY
68. The Council noted a written report from Mr
Huckle on the progress of the Judges Working Party following its
meeting on 10 November 2015.
Mentoring of First Time Agility Judges
- It was noted that mentoring was going well. It was highlighted
that it was not essential for a mentor to be present at a show but
could provide support to a new judge beforehand by telephone or
Continuing Personal Development of Existing Judges
- There had been considerable progress on the Continuing
Professional Development of existing judges. Progress would
continue to be monitored by the Judges Working Party.
Judging Procedure and Course Designs
- The Judges Working Party had proposed the introduction of an
Open Book examination for the assessment of the Regulations and
Judging Procedure examination, with the aim of providing more time
for the Judging Procedure and Course Design Seminar and to
familiarise potential judges with the use of the Regulations
booklet to clarify queries. However, the Training Board's view was
that an Open Book examination would not be helpful in developing
judges' understanding of Kennel Club Regulations and accordingly
had not supported the proposal.
- The office was in the process of collating a list of the Judges
Trainers to identify those that had either not attended the
requisite numbers of annual seminars or carried out any recent
Guide for Agility Judges and Stewards
- The Guide was in the process of being reviewed. The
Judges Guide to Agility Equipment would also be reviewed and
- Mr Huckle confirmed his willingness to remain on the Judges
Working Party as an Agility representative.
ITEM 15. INTERNATIONAL AGILITY TEAMS
75.The Council noted a report on Agility Team GB's attendance at
the 2015 European Open Championships and at the World
76. It wished to record its congratulations to Team GB for
achieving a gold medal and other placings at the World
77.It was noted that training and squad selection for the
European Open Championships and the World Championships in 2016 was
already under way.
ITEM 16. INTERNATIONAL AGILITY FESTIVAL
- The Council noted a written report on the arrangements for the
Kennel Club International Agility Festival, due to be held on 11-14
- The Festival held in 2015 had been highly successful and the
Council wished to note its congratulations to all those who had
been involved in its organisation.
ITEM 17. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Competing at Olympia
- The Council discussed the issue of the number of dogs competing
at Olympia. Under new rules, 20 dogs would qualify to take part in
the Novice Stakes and in the Senior Stakes finals at Olympia.
Current rules allowed for one handler to compete with two different
dogs. However, a suggestion was made that this should be
changed to allow one handler to compete only with one dog as from a
sponsorship viewpoint it was preferable for 20 dogs to run with 20
- It was noted that the rules allowed for one handler to run two
dogs due to a perception that if a handler had qualified with two
dogs, it was unfair to allow him or her to only compete with one of
them. However, it was agreed that the matter should be
referred to the Prestige Events Working Party for further
consideration, with the suggestion that only the first dog
qualified by any one handler would be eligible to compete in the
evening final. A handler qualifying two dogs would not be
allowed to select which one to run. There was some concern that
there may be logistical issues during the evening final if some
handlers were competing with more than one dog, and may not have
adequate time to recover between runs.
- There was some concern regarding forthcoming Measurers
Assessments, in that some measurers had indicated that they were
unable to attend any of the planned sessions and would therefore
lose their accreditation as a measurer. In addition, some
measurers had expressed concerns that they would have to travel
long distances in order to undertake an assessment lasting
approximately 15-20 minutes.
- The concerns were noted and the office agreed that efforts
would be made to arrange an additional Measurers Assessment
session. However, it was reiterated that those measurers
unable to attend any of the assessments would no longer be able to
undertake measuring on behalf of the Kennel Club.
ITEM 18. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
- The date of the next meeting would be 14 July 2016. Any
items for the agenda must be submitted by 15 April 2016.
- There being no further matters to discuss the meeting closed at
THE KENNEL CLUB'S STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
"To raise the relevance of the Kennel Club in the eyes
of the public at large, dog owners and those who take part in
canine events, so as to be better able 'to promote
in every way the general improvement of dogs.'
This objective to be achieved through:-
- Ensuring that the Kennel Club is the first port of call
on all canine matters.
- Improving canine health and welfare.
- Popularising canine events focusing on the retention of
existing participants and the attracting of new.
- Achieving a widening of the Kennel Club membership
- Encouraging the development of all those concerned with
dogs through education and training.
- Encouraging more people to provide input in the Kennel
Club's decision making process."
Agility Liaison Council Representatives
1 January 2016 - 31 December 2018
Listed below are the Area Liaison Council Representatives that
can be contacted should further information be required on any of
Mrs Sara Hawkswell, 4 Woodbank Crofts, Westfield, Bathgate EH48
Mr Adrian Dornford-Smith, 4 Rusheyhill Road, Lisburn, County
Antrim BT28 3TD
Tel: 028 92648133
Mr Martin Cavill, 15 Gerbera Drive, Rogerstone, Newport, NP10
Mrs Pauline Baltes, 45 Well Orchard, Bamber Bridge, Preston,
Lancs. PR5 8HJ
Tel: 01772 494852
Mr Mike Hallam, Hollins View, Leek Road, Bosley, Macclesfield,
Tel: 01260 223190
Mr Kevin Smith, 30 Holland Park Drive, Jarrow Tyne & Wear
Ms Joanne Harker, 23 Dale Road, Darlington, Co Durham DL3
Mrs Jackie Gardner, 17 Middlesmoor, Wilnecote, Tamworth, B77
Mrs Yvonne Croxford, Shade Cottage, Coventry Road, Wigston
Parva, Hinckley, LE10 3AP
SOUTH EAST & EAST ANGLIA
Mr Simon Chandler, 16 Hawth Hill, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25
Mr Iain McDonald, Silvermere Lodge, Redhill Road, Cobham, Surrey
SOUTH & SOUTH WEST
Mr Chris Huckle, Kingswold, Glenmore, Roborough, Devon, EX19
Miss Lesley Olden, Birchwood House Cottage, Sherfield English,
Nr Romsey, Hants, SO51 6FF
Tel: 01794 323037
Obedience Liaison Council
Annex A(i) to the Minutes
Lower jump height option in Agility introduced by The
21 January 2016 00:00
A new lower height option for agility jumps is being introduced
by the Kennel Club, effective from 1st July 2016, which will allow
agility shows to include a lower height jump for each competition
For some time now, there has been a call for the introduction of
an additional jump height of 55cm for large dogs (which has been
popularly referred to amongst agility competitors as the 'fourth
height'). There have also been representations to consider a
further height to be introduced below the current 35cm small dog
height. The decision to introduce a lower jump height option
will allow for this to happen.
Representations made to the Kennel Club regarding jump heights
have raised the opportunity to address issues for all heights of
dog. In order to provide substantiated advice regarding the
jump height debate, the Kennel Club has commissioned research to
fully understand the impact of jump heights on dogs. This research
is likely to take some considerable time before it is concluded and
the findings made available to inform the debate.
Kathryn Symns, Kennel Club Canine Activities Executive, said: "We
have listened to ongoing representations made by agility
competitors to inform the introduction of the new lower height
option, and this decision will allow shows to schedule this height
at their discretion.
"It is important that any changes to the regulations do not
detract from what is already on offer at agility shows, as many
competitors believe that there are currently no issues associated
with jump heights for their dogs, and therefore wish the status quo
to be maintained.
"It is also imperative that show organisers retain the choice over
what they schedule. This change allows for the new height,
whilst competitors still have a choice of jump height which they
believe to be suitable for their dog."
More details on the lower height option and a set of accompanying
FAQs can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/agility/competitors-section-agility/.
The new Lower Height Option regulations are as follows:
Definitions of classes. Classes that will
include the Lower Height Option must be specified together with
whether there will be separate awards for each
(Insertion in bold).
Insert new Regulation H(1)(A)4. and renumber accordingly.
All rounds of a Championship Agility Class and any Kennel
Club heat, semi-final or final must be run at Full
(Insertion in bold).
Insert new Regulation H(1)(A)7 and renumber accordingly.
Lower Height Option. Societies may
offer the Lower Height Option to all dogs in that height category
and may be offered at all grades. It is to be run as part of any
Standard class as defined in these regulations and must be clearly
identified in the schedule. When the Lower Height Option is
scheduled a dog may only be entered at either the Full height or at
the Lower Height and cannot compete at a different height in any
class at that competition. For these purposes a competition
shall be defined as all classes covered within the same
schedule. Each relevant class will have two heights with a
change part way through to higher/lower the jump heights and
competitors must run at their entered height. The order in
which the heights will run must be detailed on the ring cards/ring
plan. There will be only one course walking at the start of the
class. In a class where the Lower Height Option is available show
organisers may offer one set of awards by combining the results of
each height or may offer separate awards for each height
(Insertion in bold).
H(1)(A)8. Progression (was previously H(1)(A)6.)
Progression. Progression from each
Grade will require one Agility win or three Jumping wins in
standard classes at that grade, at either Full height
or the Lower Height Option, except that progression
from Grade 5 will require 3 wins at Grade 5, one of which must be
an agility class. Progression from Grade 6 will require 4 wins at
Grade 6, two of which must be agility classes. Results from
Combined Classes will only count towards progression from the dog's
(Insertion in bold).
H(1)(A)10. Standard Classes (was previously H(1)(A)8.)
h. Championship Class. Open to dogs having qualified to
compete in Grade 7 which have had 4 wins at Full
Height in either Grade 6 or Grade 7, at least 2 of which must be
gained in agility classes. To consist of 2 qualifying
rounds of Standard Kennel Club Classes, 1 Agility Class and 1
Jumping Class and a final round of Agility to be held at the same
(Insertion in bold).
c. No practice is allowed on the course save that competitors will
be allowed to walk the course set at the height the dog is to
negotiate without their dog(s) before the class
begins. Hurdles will be raised / lowered during the
course walking time if multiple heights are offered within the same
(Insertion in bold).
a. Hurdle-The height of the hurdle must be
650mm (2ft 1.6ins) (550mm (1ft 9.6ins) for Lower
Height Option) for Large Dogs, 450mm (1ft
5.7ins) (350mm (1ft 1.75ins) for Lower Height
Option) for Medium Dogs and 350mm (1ft
1.75ins) (250mm (9.8ins) for Lower Height
Option) for Small Dogs. Width: 1.219m (4ft) minimum.
The top bar or plank must be easily displaced by the dog. A wall
should have displaceable units on the top. The height of hurdles in
special classes may be lower than those listed above, but the
height must be included in the schedule.
(Insertions in bold).
These regulations will not apply to Kennel Club 'prestige events',
at which there is a high value to the awards offered. Kennel Club
prestige events are those held at Premier Shows, including heats
for Crufts, Olympia or Eukanuba Discover Dogs, such as Crufts
Singles, Crufts ABC etc.
In addition, schedules must be updated to include the following
Insert new Regulation H(10)c.(12) and renumber accordingly.
Dog Agility is a competitive and physically strenuous
activity. It is the responsibility of the owner / handler to ensure
their dog is 'fit for function' and that they themselves are fit to
take part. By signing the entry form you confirm that to the best
of your knowledge your dog is fit and able to take part in Agility
classes on the day of the show."
(Insertion in bold).
Obedience Liaison Council
Annex A(ii) to the Minutes
The Lower Height Option
For some time now there has been a call for the introduction of
an additional jump height of 55cm and creation of an additional dog
height between the current Medium and Large, (This has been
popularly referred to within the agility fraternity as the
There has also been a request to consider a further height to be
introduced below the current 35cm Small dog height as well.
Considering these specific options raised the opportunity to
address issues for ALL heights of dog.
Whilst considering this it is also imperative to retain the
ability for show organisers to still have choice over what they
schedule, and, that competitors still have choice of jump height
they perceive to be suitable for their dog.
Therefore, with all of this in mind the Lower Height Option is
to be introduced from 1stJuly 2016 which satisfies all the
Lower Height Information
Full Height Jump heights: Small - 35cm, Medium - 45cm, Large -
Lower Height Jump heights: Small - 25cm, Medium - 35cm, Large -
When the Lower Height Option is listed on the schedule a dog may
only be entered at either the Full height or at the Lower Height
and cannot compete at a different height in any class at that
The Lower Height option detailed here is only applicable to
Standard Classes as it is already possible to reduce hurdle heights
for Special classes within the current regulations.
Question: Why has it been decided to do this now?
Answer: In order to provide professional advice
regarding the jump height debate, the Kennel Club has commissioned
research to fully understand the impact of jump heights on dogs.
However, this research is likely to take some considerable time
before it is concluded and the findings made available to inform
Question: When will this become effective?
Answer: This will become effective for any
shows from 1 July 2016
Question: Can you give me an example of what a schedule
will look like?
Answer: The class listing on the show schedule
will need to identify which classes will have the Lower Height
Option available such as:
Class 15 Large Agility Graded 3,4,5 *
Class 16 KC Olympia Large Novice Agility Stakes Combined 3-5
Class 17 Small Agility Graded 3,4,5 *
Class 18 Special Small Steeplechase Combined 4-7 *
(* with Lower Height Option)
Question: How will this be accommodated on the entry form?
Will they have a box to tick that they will be entering all the
lower height classes?
Answer: Yes, there will be a tick box on the
entry form to indicate which dogs are entered at the lower
Question: Will the class numbers be the same?
Answer: Yes, it will be one class.
Question: Do shows have to schedule lower height options
as small shows might find it hard to fit them in?
Answer: No, we have tried to make it as
flexible as possible for societies. There is no requirement to
offer lower height classes.
Question: Can clubs run the lower height classes without
offering the full height as well?
Question: Can clubs run a mixture of some lower height
classes with full height classes? For example run full height
large, medium and small classes, but only run the lower height
class for medium and small, not large?
Answer: Yes, as long as they are running the
full height class, this won't be a problem.
Question: Can the club charge a different entry fee for
the lower height classes and the full height ones?
Answer: No, all the dogs will be entered in the
same class and the entry fee must be the same.
Question: What benefits are there for clubs running the
lower height classes?
Answer: It is anticipated that entries will
increase as dogs that have not previously been able to jump Kennel
Club heights will now be able to compete. It is also expected
that some dogs may be able to compete for longer in standard
classes as they could be dropped to the Lower height instead of to
veterans / any size classes.
Question: If lower height is offered for a class, do both
winners of the full height and lower height count towards
Answer: Only if the show organisers are
offering separate awards for the two heights which must be detailed
on the schedule.
Question: I have a small border collie that competes in
Large, does it have to jump the lower height?
Answer: No, every class must have jumps at full
height, even if the society is offering the lower height option.
Therefore you can continue to compete your dog at 65cm.
Question: If even taller dogs can jump at the lower
height, what's to stop everyone from running at the lower height to
increase their speed?
Answer: This will come down to personal choice.
Some handlers won't choose to change their dogs to the lower height
as it will change their timing, stride pattern etc. Additionally it
is often the taller, heavier dogs that will benefit more from not
having to jump so high, so it is more likely to be these dogs you
will find at the lower height. Finally, all the Kennel Club
qualifiers will be held at the full height so there is an advantage
to competing at the full height.
Question: Will it be easy for the running orders to be
printed off to reflect those who are running the lower height class
and those who aren't?
Answer: Yes, this will be done by the show
processor in a similar way to how they are done for Any Size type
Question: Can you enter lower height classes at some shows
and then full height classes at others?
Answer: Yes. You can compete at either full
height or lower height for the duration of the show covered by a
specific schedule. Therefore if a show is over two weekends and
during the week with different schedules it would be possible to
compete in lower height for one weekend and then full height for
the rest of the show if it's under a different schedule.
Question: Is the lower height just for hurdles? What about
the other obstacles?
Answer: It is just for the hurdles (which
includes the wall). All the other obstacles will remain at full
height as detailed in the Regulations.
Question: If a lower height class includes the tyre how
will that work if it is higher than the hurdles?
Answer: The measurement for the tyre is taken
at the centre of the tyre. Therefore the dog could still jump the
same height through the tyre as it is jumping over the hurdles.
Question: What are Kennel Club Prestige Events?
Answer: Kennel Club Prestige Events are those
held at Premier Shows; these are heats for Crufts, Olympia,
Discover Dogs, such as Crufts Singles, Crufts ABC etc
Question: Why can't Prestige Events be at the lower
Answer: There is a high value of the awards at
these events, they have extra importance than standard classes and
therefore a lower height is not applicable.
Question: I don't understand what I have to do to qualify
for Championship classes? Has it changed?
Answer: If your wins from Grade 6 to Grade 7
were all at full height then you can automatically enter
Championship classes. However if you have progressed to Grade 7 in
the lower height then the qualification requirements have changed.
If your wins to Grade 7 were at a lower height then you will need
additional wins at full height. You will need a total of 4 wins at
full height in either Grade 6 or 7, at least 2 of which must be
Question: Would my dog have to be measured to
enter the lower height classes?
Answer: The lower height classes are not
separate classes so measuring is required as normal for dogs
entered in to Small and Medium classes
Question: If I have entered the lower height for a class
and have missed my run and the jumps have been lowered/raised can I
still run in the class?
Answer: No, it is the competitors'
responsibility to be at the ring when required. It is recommended
that Shows indicate on their ring plan whether a class is starting
with the lower height or full height.
Question: If lower height is offered for a class, do both
winners of the full height and lower height count towards
Answer: Only if the show organisers are
offering separate awards for the two heights which must be detailed
on the schedule.