The fast-growing sport of pup agility has become one of the more popular happenings at reveals like Westminster and a welcome alternative for the persons who feel conformation demoes are archaic and outmoded
The sport of bird-dog agility is easy to grasp for a first-time spectator. The objective is simple: Unleashed hounds negotiate a serpentine obstacle course- clearing a series of jumpings, knitting their acces 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 athletics with the frenetic pace and inherent volatility of alpine skiing, where the margins that separate first place and adversity 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 just 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 the persons who speculate traditional conformation presents, where puppies are adjudicated almost entirely on their impression, are archaic and outmoded.
The introduction of an agility competition to Westminster tagged a step forward for this emerging sport and few teaches 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: the border collies Verb and Fame.
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