Following research undertaken by Nottingham Trent University into jump distances, the Kennel Club has amended the distances between obstacles that dogs have to negotiate in agility. The minimum distance between obstacles has been changed from 3.6m to 5m with the inclusion of a maximum distance of 10m.
The amendment addresses concerns raised by the agility community in regards to the health and welfare of dogs competing in this discipline. The research indicated that increasing the distance between obstacles could reduce hyperflexion and extension of the neck and shoulder joint and reduce the risk of injury to dogs while competing.
The amendments to the Kennel Club H Regulations are as follows and will come into effect on 1 January 2017:
Regulation H(1)(B)1a.(3) – Design
The course should require a dog to traverse at least 10 obstacles, but not more than 20 and all jump obstacles should be the same height. Obstacles All obstacles which the dog is required to clear should have a minimum of 3.6 5m (4 yds 5.5yds) and up to a maximum of 10m (11yds) between centres of consecutive obstacles using the straight line centre-to-centre method except that this may be reduced to 2.74m (3yds) when the following obstacle is placed at 90 degrees or more to the preceding one.
(Deletions struck through. Insertions underlined.)
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “These amendments to the agility regulations have been brought about as a result of health and welfare concerns, which are always a priority for the Kennel Club. It is our primary wish to see happy, healthy dogs competing in all the various disciplines we promote.”