The fast-growing sport of bird-dog agility has become one of the most popular occasions at substantiates like Westminster and a welcome alternative for those who guess conformation establishes are archaic and outmoded
The sport of hound agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The object is simple: Unleashed dogs negotiate a serpentine obstacle course- clearing a series of leaps, knitting their room around poles, darting through tunnels, overcoming 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 clues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and precision of equestrian sports with the frenetic speed and intrinsic volatility of alpine skiing, where the margins that separate first place and calamity 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 barely restraint chaos has fast become one of the most popular occasions of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the seven years since it was first added to the program- and a welcome alternative for those who imagine traditional conformation evidences, where hounds are evaluated almost entirely on their form, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster labelled a step forward for this emerging sport and few coaches 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 players: their own borders collies Verb and Fame.
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