Q: A or B in AKC?

poochQ. In AKC, when do you enter A classes and when do you enter B?

The A and B designations have different meanings depending on whether they are applied to the Novice level or to Excellent.  The Novice Standard, Novice Jumpers with Weaves (JWW), and Novice FAST classes are divided into A and B, based on previous experience in AKC agility. According to the AKC Regulations for Agility Trials, the Novice A class is “for dogs that have never acquired any AKC agility title.”  But it’s more than just the dog that must be a true novice.  The rules also state: “A dog entered in Novice A must be handled by a person that has never put an AKC agility title on any dog, and the handler must be the owner, co-owner, or a member of the owner’s household.”  If a handler co-owns a dog and has never titled any dog in AKC agility, then that handler may enter Novice A, regardless of what the other owner has done.  Once a dog has titled in any single Novice A agility class, he (and his handler) must be moved to B for all other Novice classes.

The Novice B division is for dogs that have already earned a Novice title, for handlers that have already titled a dog in AKC agility, and for dogs that are being handled by someone other than the owner, co-owner, or household member.  Dogs may run in Novice B Standard, JWW, or FAST until they have moved up to Open Standard, JWW or FAST and qualified there.  This means if a handler chooses to move a dog up to Open Standard, for example, and is unhappy with that, the dog can be moved back down to Novice B Standard as long as an Open Q was not earned.  Qualifying in Open Standard does not affect a dog’s participation in Novice B JWW or FAST – these classes progress independently of each other.  Dogs may not run in both the Novice and Open versions of the same class at the same trial (for example, the same dog cannot run in both Novice B JWW and Open JWW on the same day).

The Open Standard, JWW, and Fast classes have no A or B designations, In Excellent, the A and B classes are indicators of the dog’s experience, not the handler’s.  The Excellent A Standard, JWW and Fast classes are “open to dogs that have acquired the Open Agility title, and to dogs that have acquired the Agility Excellent title, but that have not acquired a qualifying score towards their Master Agility Excellent title,” according to the Regulations.  Most competitors move to Excellent B as soon as possible after completing the Excellent level title to begin working on the Masters and Championship titles.  Extra Excellent A legs do not count toward any title or award from the AKC.

The Excellent B standard, JWW, and FAST classes are open to dogs that earned the Agility Excellent and Master Agility Excellent titles in that particular class.  When a dog finishes the Agility Excellent title in JWW (AXJ), he doesn’t move up to Excellent B in Standard until he gets and Agility Excellent title (AX) there, as well. It should be noted that a dog must be in Excellent B Standard or Excellent B JWW in order to earn Masters titles and MACH points, and in both Excellent B classes to earn double Qs.

© Clean Run, January 2009

1 Comment on “Q: A or B in AKC?

  1. We’re competing in Novice A, and I can see a big difference between the Novice A and the Novice B in the time of the dog’s run and in the smoothness of the handler.

    As it turns out, in all the trials so far, there have only been two dogs in my class, and since I Q’d and the other dog didn’t, not only does my dog have the Q ribbon, but also a First Place rosette! Which we certainly wouldn not have gotten when we compare times with the Novice B dogs at his height.