By Judy Hiller
Agility requires a dog sound of mind and body plus a huge commitment of time by the owner/handler, in order to achieve success.
The requirements for jump heights are: a dog less than 18" at the withers will jump 16" jumps and do a 16" table, while a dog over 18" will jump 20" jumps, but still do the 16" table. All other equipment remains the same for all breeds, so every dog must scale a 5?6? a-frame, a regulation seesaw, weave from 6-12 weave poles, and complete a 36 foot dogwalk, as well as all of the various jump configurations (single bar, double, triple, broad, panel and tire).
Dogs compete within their height class for placements, but “legs” can be earned by any dog completing the course within the specified time and number of faults allowed at each level (none allowed in Excellent!). Three qualifying legs earn a title at each level of competition until you reach the “B” classes (having completed the AX and/or AXJ); then ten legs are required for the MX and MXJ titles.
There are other organizations which also sponsor agility trials, with attendant differing rules (and equipment), and our Clumbers can join in the fun there, too.
NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) rules give our breed an exemption from jumping their shoulder height, so a dog who jumps 16 in AKC trials will jump only 12 in NADAC.
USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) is the reverse of NADAC and requires that all dogs jump (generally) higher than their height at the shoulder, so that a dog jumping 16” in AKC will probably be required to jump 22” in USDAA trials. Both AKC and USDAA offer “preferred” and “performance” classes, which allows the dogs to jump a lower height than they would in the championship classes, plus allowing them additional seconds per round. Titles can also be earned in those areas (Preferred or Performance titles).
Clumbers have proven they can participate at the highest levels of agility, since all dogs who complete the courses under standard course time will earn titles. They do not HAVE to be faster than the herding breeds in order to earn their titles…and it is just as rewarding to run and earn a title with your dog as it is to have the fastest dog in the trial. Working with your dog to develop the right combination of drive/desire and attention/control is a challenge requiring a huge commitment of training time, but the relationship results in an amazing bond between dog and handler. Give your Clumber the chance to try it…you’ll be hooked!
The first Clumber to earn a title in agility was Ch. Wicfair's Cherries Jubilee, NA. The first Clumber to earn both Novice titles and both Open titles was Drumhill MVP of Sandiam, OA/OAJ; the first to earn an Excellent title was Ch. Clussexx Crazy Like a Fox, OA, AXJ; the first Clumber to earn both the AX and AXJ titles was Drumhill Grand Slam Sandiam, AX/AXJ, who went on to earn her MX/MXJ. Still out there to be achieved?our first MACH Clumber!!