Canine agility is a fast-paced and very exciting canine sport, which can be just as interesting to watch as it is to compete in. Top-level canine agility competitors take their sport very seriously, and spend a lot of time and money on training their dogs, practicing, taking part in team events and competing in agility competitions, and often travel all over the UK and even further afield to take part in competitions.
However, one of the nice things about canine agility is that it is very accessible, and as long as your dog is in good health and fit and you yourself are fit and well enough to complete a round with them, you can take part in a training session or have-a-go day at any one of many agility clubs dotted all over the UK too.
Agility dog shows are often hosted as part of other larger events, including Kennel Club-affiliated breed shows and formal competitions that allow competitors to qualify to compete at progressively larger and more prestigious events, including the Crufts dog show.
Something else notable about agility is that dogs of any breed or type can compete, even non-pedigree and mixed breed dogs, which means that whatever type of dog you own, agility is a possible option if you wish to take part.
If you are already interested in canine agility or are even considering buying a new dog or puppy with a view to taking part in agility, you might be wondering if there are certain breeds and types of dogs that are particularly well suited to the sport, and that reliably achieve good results.
In this article, we will look at the different dog breeds and types that have achieved the most to-level show wins over the course of the last four years and been placed as Agility Champions, to find the most successful dog breeds at agility competitions. Read on to learn more.
The basic skills required of an agility dog include excellent health and fitness, fast, accurate responses to commands, high intelligence, accuracy, and the ability to keep one’s head under pressure! There is much more to agility than just a few key factors, however, and ultimately the temperament of competing dogs as well as how they interact with their handlers under pressure is what makes the difference on the day, and provides that star quality that judges are looking for.
Dogs of virtually any breed and at every range of the size spectrum can compete at agility, but breeds that tend to be very sedentary or that have exaggerated brachycephalic faces aren’t generally a good fit.
Based on Agility Champion breeds and notable show winners from 2015-2018, these are the most successful agility dog breeds from the last four years, based on number of wins:
The dog breed that has achieved the most high-level agility wins over the last four years is the Border collie, with a total of nine dog of the breed having taken top places during this time. This makes sense, because the Border collie has a long and distinguished working history that reflects a lot of the skills required of agility, such as high intelligence, fast, accurate manoeuvres, the ability to learn and follow a lot of commands, and lots of endurance.
Collies and collie crosses accounted for six of the winning dogs placed as high-level show winners between 2015-2018, and the term “collie” in this context refers to dogs of various different collie breeds and types whose owners did not otherwise indicate a specific breed.
This reflects collies of various breeds, as well as non-pedigree collies and dogs of the collie type.
Collies are first and foremost working dogs, and various types of collies as well as the Border collie can be good fits for agility.
Four dogs of the working shepherd type have won big agility show awards in the last four years, and a working shepherd dog is once again a dog type rather than a breed, reflecting working-herding dog types that may include farm collies, non-pedigree Border collies, and other shepherd-type dogs with working origins or working roles.
The Shetland sheepdog or Sheltie is a small sheepdog breed that has seen three dogs of this breed winning top prizes in the last four years at agility competitions, and these are once more high energy, high intelligence dogs that have a long working history.
Miniature poodles have also seen two dogs of the breed winning high-level agility competitions in the last four years, and two places have also been won by a Jack Russell and a Jack Russell cross respectively during this time too.
Four crossbreed dogs of undefined origins have also won top prizes between 2015-2018 too, which indicates that really any dog can potentially be successful at agility if they have the requisite skills – and whilst collies and working dog breeds have been the most successful overall in competition at a high level, there is no reason why any suitable dog can’t take one of the top spots in the future!