Agility and the Cavalier
Dog agility is one of the AKC’s exciting performance events. Agility was designed to test the dog and handler’s ability to negotiate a sequence of obstacles with accuracy and speed. An AKC judge designs a new sequence or course for each competition and for each level of competition so the team never knows exactly what the course will be. The dog and handler must develop a fine sense of timing and trust to negotiate these courses successfully.
Cavaliers make terrific agility dogs. They are athletic, smart, love to have fun and they follow direction well. Although there are not many Cavaliers competing (comparatively) in agility, many do quite well. Cavaliers started earning AKC Agility titles in 1995. Since then, Cavaliers have earned many agility titles and many Master Agility Champion (MACH) titles. One noteworthy Cavalier has reached MACH14 which means the team has collected 10,500 championship points plus numerous double qualifying scores. This is a feat that not even many Border Collies have managed. These points are only earned by dogs that can run a course quickly and accurately and who consistently outrun the other dogs in their class. For cavaliers that generally means they must run faster than Papillons, Parson Russell Terriers, and Small Shelties.
If you have ever seen a Cavalier running an agility course with ears flying out like the “flying nun,” and making a big doggy grin, you will appreciate just what a great activity it is for cavaliers and their handlers. Agility is fun even if you don’t want to compete but just want to get out and do something active with your dog. It’ll keep both of you mentally sharp and physically active. It’s a good idea to have your cavalier checked out by your veterinarian before starting an agility program to be sure there are no physical issues that might be aggravated by the jumping and climbing. Of course, it’s good for you to be checked out too!
If you think you are interested in agility, visit the AKC website www.akc.org for more information and all the rules.