WHO Makes The Rules?
There are 5 major agility organizations in the United States responsible for sponsoring agility competitions and generally “policing” the sport. Each of these organizations offer their own titles that cannot be mixed and matched. For the most part, each of the organizations uses the same obstacles, but there are a few that are unique and each one might have some slight differences in the obstacle specifications.
- CPE (Canine Performance Events) is growing in popularity, They have smooth flowing courses, and are very similar to AKC standards for equipment. It offers a multitude of titles in 5 competitive levels, including classes for junior handlers and older dogs too. Both mixed-breeds and pure-breds are allowed to compete for titles.
- USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association, Inc.), is known for allowing mixed-breeds to earn titles, as well as pure-breds. USDAA is responsible for the standards of agility used around the world. The obstacles are slightly more difficult with more narrow planks, higher jump heights, and smaller tire size, Because of the emphasis on speed and more spacious courses, dogs and handlers should be in good shape. Some dogs may also have a hard time clearing the higher jumps.
- UKC (United Kennel Club) is known for smaller and tighter courses, demanding more precision and control. But they offer lower height and speed standards. Their philosophy is more to make agility available to anyone regardless of physical abilities, and all dogs, no matter what their breed disadvantages are. UKC is a great organization to master first, but UKC events are harder to find in some areas.
- NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) is the 4th runner up with approximately 50 clubs in the U.S. NADAC offers more moderate jump heights and safe courses, and uses the least amount of obstacles. Dogs must be at least 18 months old to start, and can be mixed breeds.
- AKC (American Kennel Club) offers agility to AKC recognized pure breds only. AKC has less stringent obstacles, but smaller courses than USDAA. It is a good “in-between” organization for many handlers.