Can any size dog do agility?

On T.V. agility competitions, you see a lot of Border Collies.  But can any size dog advance the ranks in agility?  Absolutely.  Because dogs compete against other dogs in their own “height division”, all size dogs have a chance!  This is an old article, but in January USA today featured an article about “Plummer”, the squatty bulldog that made it as far as the AKC Invitational, which was aired on Animal Planet.  In fact, more than 133 breeds competed, representing only the best of the best.  I tried to find a video of Plummer on YouTube for you to watch, but couldn’t find one.  But I did find a video of “Harley”, another agility-loving bulldog.  It appears the bars on the jump are set too low (he’s more walking over the jump than jumping), but its cute to watch.   Enjoy!

I’m curious.  Do any of you have very small or very large breed dog doing agility?  Do you have any unique challenges in your training, or with the equipment?  Click on “comments” in the upper corner to comment, or read other people’s comments.  This is YOUR community!

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12 Comments on “Can any size dog do agility?

  1. I do agility with my Boston Terrier, Max. We have done several CPE trials and just finished our last “Q” we needed for the entire level 1 and received our first “Q” in level 2 Standard. Max loves agility. He is very fast and it is hard to always keep up with him. Our biggest problem is he periodically wanders a bit before taking the next obstacle. Oh, and another big problem, if he gets the opportunity, sees his leash, he runs right to it and proceeds to run all over the course with it! He is known as the class clown and some people have called him turbo Max at the trials. These two things are frustrating to me because he knows how to do all of the obstacles. We just started doing trials this April.

  2. I am just starting agility with my Chihuahuas. My first dog, Rosie, just finished basic, and is now in intermediate. She took to it right away, but she loves doing tricks, so I think the light bulb came on early. She seems to really enjoy it and is going into her first trial May 3rd. So many people with tiny dogs don’t ever do anything with them…and they just live inside and sleep on couches and beds. My friend just got a rescue Chihuahua who is 1 1/2, and had never been on a leash, never been outside AT ALL (used piddle pads in an apartment), and is now learning agility! When she got this dog, it never left it’s bed unless you picked it up…such strange behavior for such a young dog. Just didn’t know there was a whole world of fun out there. It is fun watching the transformation of a scared little dog to one confidently jumping over the jump or going through the tunnel.

    The only problem I’ve encountered so far with my own Chihuahua is her getting through the chute quickly if the wind has blown the fabric around. She tends to get stuck up in the fabric and really has to push hard to get all the way out. She must think it is like the blanket being tucked in at the end of the bed, so she sometimes turns around in frustration and comes back out the wrong way. I have to send her back in and loosen up the fabric so she can get through. Other than that, we are still learning, so I’m sure as the obstacles become more challenging I will be writing in for help! This is such a fun sport, I’m glad we tried it! Builds such a great bond with your dog, and they love doing it. It doesn’t get any better than that….fun and food! Doggie heaven!

  3. I do agility with my Boston Terrier (we are still in training) and love cheering on the “other black and white agility dog”s out there, despite also running a border collie and one day I hope my new baby GSD will be one of those larger breeds burning up the course.

  4. I do agility with my Bichon Frise. Our biggest obstacle is having people take us serious when we show up at a trial. People who have not seen my speed demon wild child run a course before they give us side way looks. I have even had people asked us if we were at the trial to watch. Jokes on them! My little guy may be adorable but he is a hard core athelete who loves to run, jump and weave!!!

  5. I have two small long-haired female dachshunds and both have tried agility classes. One girl is very althetic and we continue with her classes, which are just for fun and not competition. The other girl doesn’t have the aptitude or interest, and we decided she would be the agility “mascot.” (The one obstacle she loves is the tunnel, though, probably because it was the first thing that I introduced to her.)

  6. I do agility with my cats, just for fun as ICAT or other sanctioned cat agility matches aren’t available in my area. My bigest problem was the open bar jumps as well. It is funny, the cats will jump over solid walls 3 times the height of an open bar…at the bar they just loose the nerve. I think their sight may be different (I know they can’t see as far as dogs, maybe their depth perception is different as well?
    Anyhoo, if you use a blanket you still aren’t teaching the concept of an open bar jump. SO here is my solution that has worked well with the cats. I OC it (operant condition) and use shaping. I start with the bar so low it is impossible to crawl under…start with clicking them for going up to it, then thinking about going over it then jumping it (without giving the command jump or over)(smaller steps might be required)…once they go over it both ways confidently, raise it ever so slightly (if you can’t do it slightly just use a broom and stack books…you can even use duct tape if the animal paws the jumps) keep on raising it until it is a height they can go under it…at that point if they ever try to go under it you have a few options…#1 don’t click them…as simple as that, and they will wonder why they didn’t get paid…#2 lower it just slightly again and have them succeed before raising it #3 block them with your leg so they have to back up and can’t finish going under so it doesn’t become an option #4 3 strikes and your out, if they are stubburn about it, you can put them away in a crate and have another animal do it and succeed in front of them (this usually works very well for animals that get jealous) #5 all of the above or think outside the box, don’t be afraid to experiment!

  7. I have a bloodhound who LOVES to do agility. We have a course set up in the backyard, and when she gets excited, she will grab a toy and do a lap over her jumps just ’cause she wants to! She will never win any speed contests (she plods her way through the weave poles), but that’s okay as long as she is having fun 🙂

  8. well i do agility in the uk and i do it with a cavalier king charles spaniel and a chihuahua

  9. I am curious if plastic would be better than a blanket? So they don’t get used to something solid.
    Thanks for this blog! It’s a lot of fun!

  10. My (very stubborn) long-hair mini daxie does agility. Not competition, but for fun. Of course, he doesn’t really do it well, but he can do it. The biggest challenge I have with a small dog is making sure they don’t crawl under the jump. (He kept doing this for the longest time, and still will when he gets bored with it!) All you have to do is take a blanket and toss it over the bar. It worked for Bowser, but I’m not sure if another dog would figure out he could push through it.