The fast-growing sport of hound agility has become one of the more popular occurrences at establishes like Westminster and a welcome alternative for those who feel conformation sees are archaic and outmoded
The sport of puppy agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The object is simple: Unleashed dogs negotiate a serpentine constraints and obstacles- clearing a series of starts, knitting their route around spars, darting through tunnels, obstruction through tires, sprinting up and down ramps and a seesaw- as quickly as possible under the guidance of their handler, who can rely only on tone clues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and precision of equestrian boasts with the frenetic speed and intrinsic volatility of alpine skiing, where the margins that separate first place and tragedy are often down to hair-trigger decisions imperceptible to the untrained eye. To the unfamiliar, it can seem like magic.
It’s not hard to see why this fast-paced and eminently televisable sight of scarcely inhibited chaos has fast become one of the most popular occasions of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the seven years since it was firstly added to the program- and a welcome alternative for the persons who guess traditional conformation indicates, where dogs are adjudicated almost entirely on their form, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster observed a step forward for this emerging sport and few managers have since made a bigger impact on the US scene than Perry DeWitt and Jessica Ajoux, who live together in the Philadelphia suburb of Wyncote alongside two of America’s most famous canine athletes: their own borders collies Verb and Fame.
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