Aiming to showcase the speed, stamina and skill of both dog and handler, the World Open Agility Championships take place this week in Clevedon, Somerset. This is the first international agility event created and managed by competitors, not run by or for any one agility organisation.
Events include an agility snooker tournament, where teams accrue points by choosing their course based on the time it will take them to negotiate each piece of equipment. A jump may be worth less points than contact equipment. This would include the dog walk for example, where dogs can loose out significantly for not touching a particularly spot on the down slope of the ramp. However some dogs could succeed over multiple jumps, during the time it would take to negotiate the dog walk, so it’s all a matter of gambling individual dog’s skill and speed, and the equipment on offer.
In addition there is a national team competition, where each country is represented by four classes of dogs based on their height. Each team completes 2 rounds of agility, 2 rounds of jumping and 1 round of speedstakes (jumps plus an A Frame). Of course I’ll be supporting all my friends on the Republic of Ireland team, but it’s a wonderful opportunity for the best agility dogs from around the world to get together and compete.