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Agility is the newest sport for purebred dogs, and it is taking the Griffon world by storm! The challenge and excitement of working as a team to successfully complete a course containing a variety of obstacles and objectives, provides the dogs and handlers an opportunity to demonstrate their athletic and cooperative ability, as well as the tractability of the dog. In a word, it’s F-U-N!
Dogs who are at least a year old, whether they are spayed/neutered, or intact, and who are registered with the American Kennel Club via either regular registration or an ILP number can compete in Agility. Agility events are under the Obedience Department in AKC, and often are held in conjunction with obedience trials. Both obedience clubs and agility specific clubs often offer agility classes as well as conduct agility trials. All Breed and Specialty clubs are also beginning to offer agility in conjunction with their shows. Agility is an excellent sport for people and dogs of all ages!
Depending on the class entered, dogs are directed through a series of challenges including climbing and descending an A-frame, walking across a raised dog walk, walking up a seesaw, then waiting for the other side to drop, and descending, jumping over a broad jump, a double bar jump, and a panel or triple bar jump, much like in the horse jumping arena, or even a tire or window jump! They will be asked to hop up on a pause table and stand, sit, or drop on command for a period of time. They will be directed to run through an open or closed fabric tunnel. And then there are the weave poles to traverse! Each run is timed and scored, and obstacles are altered by height according to the size of the dog. Griffons absolutely LOVE this mental and physical challenge. Each course is set up a bit differently, and looks something like a Doggie Disneyland®. Everyone should attend at least ONE agility trial – just for the FUN of it!
Dogs who achieve qualifying scores in the following classes can earn suffix titles of:
- Novice Agility (NA)
- Open Agility (OA)
- Agility Excellent (AX)
- Master Agility Excellent (MX)
- Novice Jumpers With Weaves (NAJ)
- Open Jumpers With Weaves (OAJ)
- Excellent Jumpers With Weaves (AXJ)
- Master Excellent Jumpers With Weaves (MXJ)
To learn more about competing in AKC Agility Trials, visit AKC’s General Agility pages. There are also many national, international, and corporate sponsored special agility events each year! To find an agility class near you, contact your local agility club. If you’d like to just go watch the fun and check out how it’s done, check the events calendar for the next agility trial near you! There are many sites on the internet to start you on your way.