The fast-growing sport of bird-dog agility has become one of the most popular incidents at substantiates like Westminster and a welcome alternative for the persons who believe conformation reveals are archaic and outmoded
The sport of puppy agility is easy to comprehend for a first-time spectator. The object is simple: Unleashed hounds negotiate a serpentine existing obstacles- clearing a series of leaps, knitting their space around spars, darting through passageways, hurdling through tires, sprinting up and down ramps and a teeter-totter- as quickly as possible under the guidance of their handler, who can rely only on spokesperson cues 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 catastrophe 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 spectacle of barely restrained chaos has fast become one of the most popular phenomena of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the seven years since it was firstly added to the program- and a welcome alternative for those who believe traditional conformation presents, where dogs are evaluated almost entirely on their illusion, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster tagged 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 contestants: their own borders collies Verb and Fame.
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