Should Dog Agility Venues Offer Non-Border Collie Classes

border collies in dog agilityA few years back there was quite a hype in the dog agility world about the “unfair advantage” Border Collies have on other breeds competing in the same height division. Many felt that if a class was offered that excluded the Border Collie, and in some areas all collies, they would enter them. However, in the same breath the said they wouldn’t push for the class. Then came the Kelpie and let’s not overlook the Shetland Sheepdog. Now every division has it’s top breed, so do we make dog agility a breed show?

Saying that Border Collies have unfair advantage in dog agility is Composition Fallacy in thinking. Just because the breed tends to excel in dog agility doesn’t make all Border Collies great and not all agility handlers can be successful with the training of this breed. They have their own difficulties as does any other breed, difficulties and challenges that can keep them from reaching full potential.

I guess we have a bit of a tainted view on the subject living in an area where the focus is on individual team performance not wins, in order to advance in a division. Maybe where the changes need to take place are in the layout of venues rules of advancement within their own club. One of the most appealing aspects of dog agility is the focus on team work not being the fastest team. Though it stands to reason that those interested in the competitive end of dog agility would be drawn to the faster breeds in any division.

So, we are back to square one. Should there be classes that exclude the “fast” breeds in order to give the more average breeds a shot at a win. In areas where wins are what allow you and your dog to advance, we would have to say it is worth consideration. However, we would much rather see ways for teams to advance that do not require the first place ribbon. Keep dog agility about the connection and communication between a dog and handler, rewarding them individually for their hard work and dedication.

Let the fast breeds be an inspiration and motivation to always strive to be your best, not the best. Not only will this keep participation and morale up, it will keep division and tension out of the agility world. What are your thoughts?

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