Calculating Accurate Course Times

Standard Class Course Time - An appropriate set time for each course shall be calculated by the judge, who shall take into account the course length, the height category of the dogs competing, and the grade or grades of the dogs competing in the relevant class, together with any other relevant factors i.e. weather.

The course length must be measured by the judge using a commercially available measuring wheel, using the straight line distance between obstacle centres method (Regulation H(1)(B)1.a.(4) refers). The judge will then use the Course Times Matrix to arrive at a course time suitable for that class. The set time shall be stated by the judge before judging commences.


In 2010, the Agility Liaison Council asked the Judges' Working Party to look into updating the Course Times Matrix.  The guide 'How to Measure an Agility Course & Course Time Matrix' is available to download in the toolbar on the right hand side of this page. This matrix was first produced in the mid 1980's and it was felt it no longer provided relevant course times - some too generous and others unachievable for the courses being set today.

Research was conducted which involved courses being measured at agility shows throughout the UK. The judge's course time was recorded and the times of the places along with notes about the complexity of the course, for example; number of pull throughs, pull rounds, weaves, etc.

The first discussion was how to measure a course? There have never been any guidelines previously published on how a course should be measured. The accepted practice was to measure along the dogs' anticipated path but this has only ever been carried out by a small percentage of judges. However, under tests conducted by the researchers it was found there was too much difference in length when different people measured the same course. The measured length at times was different by several metres - therefore a way of measuring was sought to provide a more accurate course length. The researchers found that measuring straight lines between the centres of each obstacle provided an accurate length of the course no matter who did the measuring.

To date some 750+ have been recorded and in analysing the data it became apparent that the lower grade dogs were now faster than 25 years ago, probably due to better training methods used today and that the higher grades were travelling slower, due to more complex courses. What has also been revealed is that there is a difference in speed between Large dogs and Small/Medium dogs. The updated matrix reflects all of this.

Data will continue to be gathered and the matrix will be updated as / when required depending on the future findings from the research.

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