Westminster Agility 101

While we’re waiting for the competition to start, I’ll tell you a little bit about what you’ll see tonight. First, the judges: Andrew Dicker of Reading, England spent the day judging Jumpers with Weaves and will oversee the small to medium sized dogs in the Championship round tonight. Lori Sage of Oregon City, Oregon judged the Standard Agility Course this morning and afternoon, and will be judging the medium-to-large sized dogs in the Championship round

The preliminaries have been held all day at Pier 94 in NYC, not that any of that was televised or streamed, so I can give you absolutely no details, other than what the plans were. Each of the 225 entered dogs was slated to run in two qualifying courses: the Jumpers with Weaves and the Standard Agility Course.

On the Standard Course, they earn points (or really, avoid faults) by making sure they touch the designated portion of obstacles like the teeter-totter and stay long enough on the platforms. Of course, they must also complete all obstacles in the correct order, including starting at the correct end of the tunnels.

On the Jumpers and Weaves course, they must go through the weave poles correctly and must not knock down any of the jump poles. In both events, the dog must run a clean event in order to post a time. The dog with the fastest time on a perfectly clean run is declared the winner.

Dogs run according to their size, so the obstacles can be set up fairly. For example, we couldn’t expect a Chihuahua to jump over the same obstacle as a Great Dane. The dogs from each height class with the best combined score advance to the Championship round tonight, which is a combination course where dogs will jump, weave, and attempt obstacles from the standard course. There are a total of 18 obstacles in the Championship Course.

The biggest news about this show is that it is the first opportunity in 138 years for non-purebred dogs to participate in Westminster events. Go mutts!

Hopefully this infernal basketball game will end soon and we can get started on what’s really important tonight!

Learn more about agility.

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

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