Introduction

Agility trials are open to all registerable breeds except that a specialty club may opt to hold an agility trial for its breed only. Premium lists for such events must indicate that the event is a single breed specialty and entries are restricted to that specific breed. Dogs disfigured as the result of accident or injury but otherwise qualified are eligible provided that the disfigurement does not interfere with functional movement. Dogs should be physically sound. Spayed bitches and neutered males are eligible to participate, but bitches in season are not eligible.

The purpose of an AKC Agility Trial is to give owners the chance to demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with its handler under a variety of conditions. The program begins with basic entry level agility, and progresses to more complex levels. In an Agility Trial, dog and handler work together as a team combining athletic ability and training to negotiate a course of obstacles within a prescribed time period. As the dogs negotiate the course they must constantly be alert to the verbal cues and body language of their handlers.

Agility trials are divided into three classes: Novice Agility, Open Agility and Agility Excellent. As the classes become more challenging, the dog is required to demonstrate higher levels of training and interaction with its handler. In each of these classes a dog must complete a prescribed course of "obstacles," and is judged on how it negotiates each obstacle and completes the course.

Titles

In order to acquire an agility title, a dog must earn a qualifying score in its respective class on three separate occasions under two different judges. Like Obedience, Agility titles are differentiated by the degree of difficulty associated with the exercises the dog has to perform. The AKC will identify dogs qualifying for titles by the appropriate title designations NA (Novice Agility), OA (Open Agility), AX (Agility Excellent), or MX (Master Agility Excellent)) following their registered names in all official AKC records. In each case, the higher title will supersede the preceding title in all official AKC records.

In order to acquire the Master Agility Excellent title a dog must acquire the Agility Excellent title and earn qualifying scores in the Agility Excellent class at ten (10) licensed or member agility trials. Credit toward the Master Agility Excellent title cannot be earned at the trial where the dog acquires the Agility Excellent title.

The number of obstacles used for a class is specified for each class, with 12 to 13 obstacles used for Novice, 15 to 17 used for Open, and 18 to 20 used for Excellent. Certain obstacles are mandatory for each class. Unless otherwise noted, the additional obstacles used to provide the required number of obstacles must be either a Single Bar Jump or other Single Jump, Tire Jump, Window Jump, or Open Tunnel. However, the One Bar Jump shall only be used in the Excellent Class.

Novice Agility

Novice Agility Class: (Minimum of 12, maximum of 13) Mandatory Obstacles (10):

A-Frame, Pause Table, Dog Walk, Open Tunnel, Seesaw, Closed Tunnel, Broad Jump, Panel Jump, Double Bar Jump, Tire Jump or Window Jump

Additional Obstacles: 2 to 3 (except One Bar and Triple Bar Jumps).

Open Agility

Open Class: (Minimum of 15, maximum of 17) Mandatory Obstacles (11):

All of the 10 mandatory obstacles in Novice are required plus Weave Poles.

Additional Obstacles: 4 to 6 (may include one Triple Bar Jump but shall not include the One Bar Jump).

Agility Excellent

Agility Excellent Class: (Minimum of 18, maximum of 20) Mandatory Obstacles (12):

All of the Open Class obstacles and jumps are mandatory in the Excellent Class (the Broad Jump is optional) with the addition of the Triple Bar Jump, the One Bar Jump and additional jumps or tunnel to meet the minimum.

Jumpers with Weaves

The newest trial (class) is the fast-paced Jumpers With Weaves. This class is intended to be a fun and competitive way to demonstrate a working relationship between dog and handler. Jumpers With Weaves is divided into three classes: Novice Jumpers With Weaves, Open Jumpers With Weaves and Excellent Jumpers With Weaves. In this class dogs are not slowed down by the careful performance and control required by the contact obstacles and pause table. Dog/handler teams can therefore race through a course composed primarily of jumps demonstrating a dog's speed and jumping ability.

Description of Obstacles

The descriptions of the obstacles are as follows:

1. A-Frame: The A-Frame is constructed from two panels, the tops of which are constructed from wood or a wood-like substance. The panels are 35 to 49 inches wide, and their lengths are both within 2 inches of either 8 feet or 9 feet. The height of the A-Frame is within 1 inch of 4'11" when 8-foot panels are used and 5'6" when 9-foot panels are used. The top surface is painted and has a rough, non-slip surface. (Alternating layers of sand and flat, latex paint are recommended.) Slats are placed across the width of the panels to provide footing. They are 1/2 to 1 inch thick and 3/4 to 2 inches wide, and they extend within 1/4 inch of the panel sides. The centers of the slats are spaced at 12-inch intervals with a 2-inch tolerance, and no slat is within 4 inches of the top of a contact zone. Contact zones are painted on the lower 42 inches of both panels with a 1/4-inch tolerance. The color of the zones contrasts with the rest of the panel, but it may not be white, black, or brown. Bright yellow contact zones are recommended.

Dogs must ascend one panel and descend the other in the direction designated by the judge and they must touch the contact zone on the down side only, with any part of one foot.

2. Dog Walk: The Dog Walk consists of a center section and two ramp sections, the surfaces of which are made from wood or a wood-like substance. All sections are 12 inches wide, plus or minus an inch, and all are either 8 feet long or 12 feet long. Within a 2-inch tolerance, the top of the center section is 36 inches above the ground when using 8-foot sections and 48 inches when using 12-foot sections. The top surfaces of all sections are painted and have rough, non-slip surfaces. (Alternating layers of sand and flat, latex paint are recommended.) Slats that conform to those described for the A-Frame are placed across the width of the ramp sections to provide footing. Contact zones are painted on the lower 42 inches of both ramps with a 1/4-inch tolerance, using the color specification described for the A-Frame.

Dogs must ascend one of the ramps, cross the center section, and descend the other ramp in the direction designated by the judge; and they must touch each contact zone with any part of one foot.

3. Seesaw: The Seesaw consists of a plank (or panel) supported near the center by a base that acts as a fulcrum. The plank is 12 inches wide with a 1-inch tolerance, and 12 feet long. The base extends at least 2 inches past the sides of the plank so that dogs can see the pivot point. The plank is balanced so that it hits the ground in less than 3 seconds when a 3-pound weight is placed 12 inches from the raised end. The height of the Seesaw at the pivot is 24 inches plus or minus 2 inches. The top surface of the plank is painted and has a rough, non-slip surface. (Alternating layers of sand and flat, latex paint are recommended.) Slats that conform to those described for the Dog Walk are optional. Contact zones, 42 inches long, are painted on each end of the plank with a 1/4-inch tolerance, using the color specification described for the A-Frame.

Dogs must ascend the plank, cause it to pivot in a controlled manner, and wait for the plank to touch the ground before dismounting. They must also touch each contact zone with any part of one foot.

4. Pause Table: The top of the Pause Table is a 36-inch square, plus or minus 2 inches, with a non-slip surface. Carpeting may be used. The height of the table (within 1 inch) is 8 inches for dogs in the 8-inch and 12-inch divisions, 16 inches for dogs in the 16-inch and 20-inch divisions, and 24 inches for dogs in the 24-inch division.

Dogs must pause on the table for five seconds in either a sit or a down position, as specified by the judge prior to the beginning of the class.

5. Open Tunnel: The Open Tunnel is a flexible tube of durable material that is capable of being formed into curved shapes. The two openings are either round or approximately rectangular, with a maximum height and width of 24 inches plus or minus 2 inches. Its length is 10 to 20 feet. (A 15-foot length is recommended.) It is set such that a dog cannot see the end of the tunnel from the entrance, and it is secured in position to prevent a dog from moving it.

Dogs enter the end specified by the judge and exit the other end.

6. Closed Tunnel: The Closed Tunnel consists of a rigid entrance section to which a chute is attached. The opening of the entrance section is 24 to 36 inches long, and is either 24 inches in diameter or 24 inches in width and height, with a 2-inch tolerance. The bottom inside surface of this section has a non-slip surface, which may be provided by attaching a non-slip material. If the entrance section is cylindrical, the non-slip surface must extend to a height of at least 6 inches. The entrance section is either so heavy that dogs cannot move it when passing through the chute, or else it is staked down.

The major portion of the tunnel is formed by a chute, which is constructed from an opaque, lightweight, rugged, cloth-like, water-resistant material, such as rip-stop nylon or pack cloth. It has only two openings, one of which is attached to the end of the entrance section, and one through which dogs exit the tunnel. The circumference of the chute flares from the circumference of the opening section to 96 inches at the exit. The length of the chute is such that the overall length of the Closed Tunnel is 12 to 15 feet.

Dogs must enter the entrance section and exit through the chute.

7. Weave Poles: The Weave Poles consist of 6 to 12 poles that are either stuck in the ground or mounted in a base. (The base design is recommended.) The poles are 1 to 11/4 inches in diameter and at least 36 inches high, and they are uniformly spaced at intervals of 20 to 24 inches. The Weave Poles must flex at the base so as to accommodate large dogs. (It is recommended that stripes be taped or painted on the poles to make them more visible.) If a base is used, it may be no thicker than 1 inch and no wider than 4 inches, and it must be supported so as not to interfere with a dog's performance.

Dogs must enter the Weave Poles by passing between #1 and #2 from right to left. They must then pass from left to right through poles #2 and #3 and continue this weaving sequence, following a smooth path, until they pass between the last two poles. If the sequence is broken, the dog must restart the correct sequence, either at or anywhere before the location of the error.

NOTE : for all Jump Exercises, there are five jump height divisions for dogs of different sizes: (a) 8 Inches: For dogs 10 inches and under at the withers; (b) l2 Inches: For dogs 14 inches and under at the withers, (c) 16 Inches: For dogs 18 inches and under at the withers; (d) 20 Inches: For dogs 22 inches and under at the withers; and (e) 24 Inches: For dogs over 22 inches at the withers.

8. Single Bar Jumps: Single Bar Jumps consist of bars that are supported by bar supports that are mounted to uprights. The supports must be positioned so that the tops of the bars can be set within 1/4 inch of the five different jump heights (8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 inches). An additional position for a bar placed 2 to 6 inches above the ground is also available. Unless a jump is specified as a One Bar Jump by the judge, all jumps shall have at least two bars. If only two bars are used, the lower one is placed at about half the height of the top bar.

The bars must be either cylindrical with 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 inch diameters, or square with 1-1/4 to 1-3/4inch sides. Constructed from wood or plastic, they must be 4 to 5 feet long and striped for visibility. (Bars cut from 1-inch PVC, Schedule 40, are recommended.) The bottom of the bar sits on top of the bar supports such that the bar is easily displaced. If rectangular bars are used, the top of the support must be flat and no wider than 1-3/4 inches. If cylindrical bars are used, the supports may be no wider than the bar, and they should have a lip that is no more than 1/8 inch higher than the support, although lips up to 1/4 inch are allowed. The inside of the uprights must be at least 32 inches tall, and the upright must be 1 to 48 inches wide. (An inside height of 42 inches and a minimum width of 3-1/2 inches are recommended for visibility. Widths less than 30 inches are recommended to facilitate handler movement on the course.)

Dogs must jump over the top bar, without displacing it, in the direction indicated by the judge.

9. Panel Jump: The Panel Jump uses up to six cross-boards to give the illusion of a solid wall. Specifications for the board supports and uprights are the same as for the Single Bar Jump. The cross-boards are 4 to 5 feet long, 3 to 4 inches wide, and no thicker than 1 inch. They are supported 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 inches below the top of the board so as to be easily displaceable.

Dogs must jump over the top bar, without displacing it, in the direction indicated by the judge.

10. Other Single Jumps: Other single jumps are permitted. Their uprights and bar supports must conform to the specifications for the Single Bar Jump, as do the jump heights. The top cross-piece over which the dogs jump must have a top edge that is flat for 4 to 5 feet, be no thicker than 13/4 inches, and it must be supported on the bar supports so as to be easily displaceable. At least one more cross-piece must be used, as specified for the Single Bar Jump.

Dogs must jump over the top cross-piece, without displacing it, in the direction indicated by the judge.

11. Double Bar Jump (Double Oxer): The Double Bar Jump consists of two parallel bars positioned at the jump heights specified for the Single Bar Jump. It may be built as a special jump or assembled from two Single Bar Jumps. The distance between the centers of the bars is one-half the jump height (within a 1/2-inch tolerance).



Division.............Distance Between Center to Center of Bars (Inches)
8 Inches..............4 Inches
12 Inches............6 Inches
16 Inches............8 Inches
20 Inches..........10 Inches
24 Inches..........12 Inches

In addition, two more bars are placed directly below each of the top bars, at about half the height of the top bar, preferably with the back bar higher than the front. All other specifications are the same as for the Single Bar Jump.

Dogs must jump over the top bars, without displacing either one, in the direction indicated by the judge.

12. Triple Bar Jump: The Triple Bar Jump consists of a series of three ascending bars. The horizontal distance between adjacent bars is one-half the jump height, while the vertical distance is one-quarter the jump height. The table below lists the heights of the tops of the bars and the horizontal distance between the centers of the bars. Tolerances on these values are 1/4 inch for the heights and 1/2 inch for the horizontal distances.

Division.............Bar Heights (Inches).........Horizontal DistanceBetween Center to Center of Bars
8 Inches.............4,6,8.......................................4
16 Inches...........8,12,16..................................8
20 Inches.........10,15,20...............................10
24 Inches..........12,18,24..............................12

All other specifications are the same as for the Single Bar Jump.

Dogs must jump over all the bars without displacing any, in the direction that starts with the lowest bar.

13. Tire (Circle) Jump: The Tire Jump, sometimes called the Circle Jump, consists of a tire (or a circular object that resembles a tire) suspended from a rectangular frame. The inner diameter of the tire is 24 inches plus or minus an inch, and the wall is 3 to 8 inches thick. There must be at least 8 inches between the outside of the tire and the sides of the frame, and the frame must be tall enough to accommodate the tire at the five different jump heights, as specified for the Single Bar Jump. The jump height is measured from the ground to the bottom of the tire opening.

Dogs must jump through the tire opening in the direction specified by the judge.

14. Window Jump: The Window Jump consists of a wall suspended by a frame. The wall is constructed from an opaque, cloth-like material in which a window is cut. The window must be a 24-inch square or a circle with a 24-inch diameter, with a 1-inch tolerance. There is at least 12 inches of wall between the opening and the sides of the frame, and the wall extends within 2 inches of the ground and within 2 inches of the top of the frame. The frame is tall enough so that the window can be placed at the five different jump heights, as specified for the Single Bar Jump. The jump height is measured from the ground to the bottom of the window opening.

Dogs must jump through the window opening in the direction specified by the judge.

15. Broad Jump: The Broad Jump is composed of either four 8-inch sections or five 6-inch sections, and four corner markers. The actual width of the 8-inch sections is 7 to 8 inches, and the width of the 6-inch sections is 5 to 7 inches. The sections are constructed from a top piece and two side pieces. The length of the sections are between 4 and 5 feet long, and they may be of different lengths. To improve visibility, either the center of the sections or both ends must be marked with a color-contrasting band that is at least 3 inches wide. The sections are of varying height, and they may be arranged in either ascending order or as a hogback. (The ascending AKC Obedience Broad Jump is recommended.)

When an ascending arrangement is used, each section is at least 1/2 inch higher than the previous one, and the height of the front edge of a section is at least 1/2 inch lower than the back edge. No portion of a section may be lower than 1 inch to 2 inches or higher than 6 inches.

In a hogback arrangement, the sections ascend in height halfway across the jump and then descend. The ascending sections are at least 1/2 inch higher than the previous one, and the height of the front edge of a section is at least 1/2 inch lower than the back edge. The descending sections are at least 1/2 inch lower than the previous one, and the height of the front edge of a section is at least 1/2 inch higher than the back edge. When an odd number of sections are used, the front edge of the middle section may not be higher than the back edge. No portion of a section may be lower than 2 inches or higher than 10 inches.

The length of the jump for both the ascending and the hogback configurations is twice the jump height of the division. Consequently, not all the sections are used in the lower height divisions. In those cases, the jump must be assembled with the lowest sections. The length of the jump (within 1 inch) and the number of sections to be used for the different divisions are as follows:

Division.............Length (Inches)............No. of 6" Sections............No. of 8" Sections
8 Inches.............16.....................................2............................................2
12 Inches...........24.....................................3............................................3
16 Inches...........32.....................................4............................................3
20 Inches...........40.....................................5............................................4
24 Inches...........48.....................................5............................................4

The corner markers are at least 1 inch wide and 36 inches high, and they may be decorated to improve visibility. They are either attached to the sides of the first and last sections, or they are freestanding and placed as close as possible to those positions. (Freestanding is recommended.)

Dogs must jump all sections without touching any part of them, entering between the marker poles placed near the front section and exiting between the poles placed near the back section. When an ascending arrangement is used, the lowest section is the front, but when a hogback arrangement is used, the judge specifies the front.
The maximum attainable score in any class is 100 points. The qualifying score (for placement) is 85 or above, with no disqualifying faults such as displaced bars on jumps or missing a contact zone (the area on an obstacle within which the dog must step). The higher the level the fewer faults allowed. Agility is fun for dogs of all sizes, from the small Yorkshire Terrier to the giant Irish Wolfhound.