The fast-growing sport of dog agility has become one of the most popular phenomena at appearances like Westminster and a welcome alternative for the persons who feel conformation indicates are archaic and outmoded
The sport of bird-dog agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The object is simple: Unleashed bird-dogs negotiate a serpentine constraints and obstacles- clearing a series of jumpings, weaving their course around spars, darting through tunnels, impediment 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 articulation cues and body language.
At the highest form it’s dressage on uppers, marrying the human-animal bond and precision of equestrian plays 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 just restrained chaos has fast become one of the most popular affairs 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 shows, where puppies are evaluated almost entirely on their image, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster labelled 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 jocks: their own borders collies Verb and Fame.
Read more: www.theguardian.com