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What is Agility?

All AKC registered breeds may compete — whether a tiny Yorkshire Terrier or a giant Irish Wolfhound. Dogs of all sizes run the same course with adjustments in the expected time and jump height.

Originating in England in 1978, agility was designed to be halftime entertainment at the Crufts Dog Show.AKC held its first agility trials in 1994, staging 23 trials with 2,000 entries.In 2008, AKC sanctioned 2,147 agility trials (a 6.6% increase from 2007) with approximately 839,000 entries.The Springfield Agility Cluster is the largest agility trial in the country in November with over 1,800 entries per day for four days. The three types of AKC agility classes — The Standard Class and The Jumpers with Weaves Class and the Fifteen and Send Time (FAST) Class — offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice, Open, Excellent and Master titles.The Standard Class includes contact objects such as an A-frame and a seesaw. Each contact obstacle has a “safety zone” in which the dog must place at least one paw to complete the obstacle.The Jumpers with Weaves Class has only jumps, tunnels and weave poles with no contact objects to slow the pace.The FAST Class is a class of strategy and speed to beat the clock and gain as many points as possible over a variety of agility obstacles.The highest honor an agility dog can receive is to achieve a Master Agility Championship title (MACH).MACH titles are awarded based on achieving 750 speed points (by running faster than Standard Course Time) and 20 Double Qualifying Points (by qualifying in the Standard Class and the Jumpers with Weaves Class on the same day).In 2000, Marquand Cheek and “Wyatt,” a Shetland Sheepdog, acquired the first MACH title.The highest number of MACH titles owned by a single dog and handler team is 21 — a record set by Robin Kletke and “Tigger,” a Papillion who is still competing.In 2000, the first Junior Handler to obtain a MACH was Katie Moureaux and “Heisey,” a Shetland Sheepdog.The first all-Junior (under 18) agility demo was held at the Land O’ Lakes Kennel Club in January 2003.To compete in the AKC National Agility Championship, dog and handler must have competed in the Excellent Standard and Jumpers with Weaves level, as well as obtained a specific number of double qualifying scores and speed points — determined annually by the American Kennel Club.To be considered for a coveted spot on the AKC/USA Agility World Team, dog and handler teams must have completed the Excellent level in both Standard and Jumpers with Weaves classes and have at least ten perfect scores (100).The AKC/USA World Agility Team competes annually in the World Agility Championship against dogs from over 30 countries and is represented at the Crufts Dog Show in March, along with six other countries.

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