ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
Dog Activities - Agility, Sporting and Playing
Is Your Dog A Good Fit For Agility Training?
There are some breeds of dogs you'd never, in your wildest dreams, expect to see on
an agility course for one reason or another. Some breeds are so tiny and seemingly
delicate that it's nearly unimaginable that they would put the hammer down and whip
through the tunnels and weave poles, hurl themselves through the air over all of the
jumps, make it to the pinnacle of the A-frame or weigh enough to tilt the seesaw. Or on
the other side of the coin, they are so large or seemingly unwieldy that the idea of them
negotiating the turns, much less making the jumps, walking the balance board, making it
over the A-frame without a face plant or even, in some cases, fitting through the tire or
tunnels is positively ludicrous. And yet, strange but true, not all agility champions are
Aussies or Border Collies . . .
Affenpinscher: At less than ten pounds, this is one of those little dogs that makes you
wonder how in the world it could possible manipulate some of the obstacles, and yet,
although it is not a common breed in the U.S., there is a growing number among
Affenpinscher owners who are competing in agility with these mighty mites. Maybe it
has something to do with being known affectionately as “the monkey dog.”
Chihuahuas and Chinese Crested: Similar in size and configuration, although the
standard for the Chihuahua is somewhat smaller, both of these breeds are incredibly
delicate and fragile looking. The Crested can appear almost ephemeral, a faery dog.
And yet, off they go! In April of 2008, Diva, the first Crestie to earn an ADCH (Agility Dog
Champion) title, as high as it gets in the agility realm, ran her final run with her owner
and trainer, Lisa. It was Lisa's last run. She'd been given three weeks to live after an
eight year battle with cancer. There are other Cresties out there running in Diva's
pawprints, chasing agility titles.
A Chihuahua mini-powerhouse named Spuds made a spot for himself in the agility
record books by becoming the first of his breed to to earn a MAD (Master Agility Dog)
title in USDAA competition.
Papillon: The winsome butterfly dog is another unexpected star of agility, not only
because of their diminutive size and delicacy of their build, but their elegant appearance
belies the athlete beneath the flowing coat. They are so adept at the sport that it is a
standard event at the Papillon National Specialty show each year. If you get a chance to
watch these little charmers hurtle through an agility course, grab it.
At the other end of the spectrum are the ones who are so big, so tall, so massive, or
some combination thereof that it's almost inconceivable to contemplate them charging
through an agility course. Maybe it awakens distant genetic memories of times past
when they ran through battlefields, dodging and darting, leaping over obstacles to bring
down their masters' foes in battle.
Great Dane: Incredibly, there have been several Danes who have achieved advanced
titles in the sport of agility. Currently, Morgan, a female from Colorado and Bo, a male
from Nevada both hold MACH (Masters Agility Champion) titles. A Dane girl from
rescue, Tipper, was the first of her breed to score an Excellent title -- another score for
English Mastiff: Careful, Major, don't get yourself stuck in the tire there!” Easy to
imagine Major Morgan's handler, Kathy Routten, saying this as they pound their way
through agility courses on the way to one of the Major's many agility titles - fourteen and
And then there are those there's just no accounting for:
Basset Hound: Get up off of the floor. Yes, there is a Basset Hound with an agility title!
Shown and trained by Doug Taylor, her co-owner with Switchstand Bassets and Garry
Towne, Ch. Juley von Skauton is the first Basset to hold a National Dog Club agility title,
and there are other Bassets competing. More unlikely things have happened, but not a
lot. It must be fun to watch her compete, though.
Guess it all goes to show, you can't go by looks.
But seriously, Basset + Agility = Oxymoron, doesn't it? Ah, well, math never was my
strong suit. Carry on, Juley.
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Agility is a sport that appeals to both young people and to senior citizens.
Agility is designed to demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with its handler in a variety
of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and
teamwork. In agility, a dog demonstrates his/her agile nature and versatility by following
cues from the handler through a timed obstacle course. The course has jumps, tunnels,
weave poles, and other obstacles.
Whether your dog is young or old, large or small, pedigreed or mixed breed, Agility is a
sport you and your dog can enjoy together. Agility strengthens the bond between dogs
and handlers, is fun, and provides vigorous exercise for both.
Agility is the ultimate game for you and your dog, promoting good health and increased
vitality in your pet..