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A Short History of AKC Agility and the ABTC Ranking Systems

The first AKC agility trial was held on August 11, 1994 in conjunction with the Houston KC AstroWorld Series of Dog Shows.  Dogs were allowed to grandfather in to the higher class levels if they had equivalent titles from other agility organizations until March 1, 1996.

From 1994 through 1997, only the Standard class was offered.  It was split into three levels:  Novice A and B, Open, and Excellent. On February 1, 1998, the Jumpers with Weaves (JWW) class became a recognized class.  Dogs were allowed to enter JWW at their current level in the Standard class.  When JWW became official, no wrong courses were allowed at any level.  Excellent A JWW could have time faults only, but Excellent B required a score of 100 to qualify.

The MACH titles came effective as of February 1, 1999, and at that time, the Excellent Standard class was split into A and B divisions.  I believe up until 1999, the AKC only published the scores   they didn't publish the dogs times, so it was sometimes difficult to determine actual rankings within the class other than the placements.

In the beginning, a score of 85 was required to qualify in all classes.  In Excellent, no refusals or run outs were permitted, but you could have two wrong courses (5 faults).  Table faults were only 2 points off for each occurrence, and time faults were 3 seconds for each full second over time.

In 1999, when the Excellent Standard class was split into A and B, the qualification requirements changed.  Excellent B was only allowed time faults, and the wrong courses were reduced to one allowed in Excellent A.  You could still qualify with a score of 85 in either class, but only scores of 100 in Excellent B counted towards MACH points or Double-Q's. 

Then in 2003, the rules were changed again so that a qualifying score in Excellent B required a perfect score of 100, and Excellent A was allowed time faults only.  At that time, the table fault was increased to 5 pts.

As the sport of agility has matured and changes to the AKC regulations have occurred, it has been necessary to change the method used for the ranking system from time to time, in order to reflect the current state of competition.  In the beginning, a modified Delaney-type system (from obedience rankings) was used, which ranked the dogs based on the number of dogs defeated.  However, it was felt that this system did not adequately compare dogs competing in different regions of the country, where class entries could vary greatly.  It also favored Novice dogs, where the class levels were bigger, since most dogs were just getting started in agility.  Beginning with 1996 and up through 6/30/01, only Open and Excellent scores were included in the rankings.  From July 2001 through 2005, only Excellent A and B scores were included in the rankings.  Beginning with 2006, only Excellent B classes will be included.

From 1997 through 2002, the ranking method was changed to use a more Shuman-like system, with points awarded on a sliding scale relative to the score.  Only Standard class scores were used for the Top Ten Rankings for those years.  With the new scoring rules coming into effect for 2003, some other method was needed to differentiate dogs with the same number of qualifying scores.  Thus, the qualifying score (100 pts) was used as the basis for points, with additional points added for each full second under the Standard Course Time (SCT).  Along with this change, JWW classes were also included in the rankings, and the total points from both classes were used to determine the rankings.

As training and handling methods have improved and dogs  times have gotten faster, it was felt that the speed component of agility competition needed to be reflected more (given more weight) in the rankings.  After much review, it was decided for 2006 to reduce the qualifying points from 100 to 10, while keeping the speed points for seconds under SCT.  Based on the average of the top 30 dogs in 2005, this should give an equal weight to speed and consistency for the average Belgian Tervuren (See attached chart below).  The ABTC Agility Committee feels that this system will recognize and reward those dogs that are both accurate and fast, and that can prove they can consistently demonstrate both those elements of excellence in agility performance.  This method will also allow equal comparison between dogs competing in different parts of the country, without giving preference to placements or dogs defeated, which can both vary by geographic region.

Analysis of Speed to Qualifying Ratio

Assume each dog competes in two weekends. The first weekend, each dog qualifies in Std once and JWW once, but on different days.  The next weekend, they QQ one day, but don't qualify in either class the next day.

The points were calculated by using the top 30 dogs from 2005, and figuring their average speed points per run for both the Standard and JWW classes.  The points from the top and bottom of the scale were used for the slow and fast dogs, and the group average used for the medium dog.  This analysis was also calculated with adding in different amounts of bonus points for Double-Q's, but it was felt that this method without the bonus pts gave the most balanced ratio between awarding points for speed and consistency for the average dog.

 

 

Q Pts – 10/Q

Std

JWW

Total Spd Pts

Total Points

Slow Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wknd #1

20

4

1

5

25

 

Wknd #2

20

4

1

5

25

 

Subtotal

40

8

2

10

50

Medium Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wknd #1

20

12

6

18

38

 

Wknd #2

20

12

6

18

38

 

Subtotal

40

24

12

36

76

Fast Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wknd #1

20

22

13

35

55

 

Wknd #2

20

22

13

35

55

 

Subtotal

40

44

26

70

110

 

 

2006 Rule Changes

A few AKC rule changes were made that took effect September 1, 2006.  The minimum age to compete was increased from 12 months to 15 months.  The minimum number of required obstacles in the Novice class was increased from 13-15 to 14-16, and the number of allowed wrong courses in Novice decreased from 2 to 1.  The table count was changed to a cumulative count of 5 seconds (ie:  if a dog breaks the sit or down position without getting off the table, the count resumes from where it left off, instead of starting over).  The 26” class was added, and the Standard class course times were slightly decreased (increased yards per second from 3.0 to 3.1 YPS for Exc 20”-26”). 

The Preferred Agility Excellent (PAX) title was added, requiring 20 double-q’s in the Excellent B Preferred classes (Std & JWW), but no speed points.  The PAX title will be followed by a numeric designation indicating the number of times the dog has met the requirements of the PAX title.  (The preferred classes were added effective Sept. 1, 2002.)  The first Belgian Tervuren recorded as earning the PAX title was CH MACH2 Charmant Ami River Of Dreams VCD2 RAE PT PAX XFP, owned by Barbara Behan of WA, on September 5, 2008.

FAST Class - 2007

The FAST (Fifteen and Send Time) class became effective on January 1, 2007.  This is a class requiring course strategy and timing for the accumulation of points (80 maximum), with a distance sequence of 2-3 obstacles to be performed that may include obstacle discrimination or a change in direction at the higher levels.

The first Belgian Tervuren to earn the Excellent and Master Excellent FAST titles was Mercy (ADCH C-ATCH MACH2 Snowflower Mercy By Moonlight VCD3 MXF), owned and handled by Linda Knowles of CA.  Mercy completed the MXF on October 20, 2007.

 

TQX Title - 2010

The Triple Q Excellent title became effective January 1, 2010.  This requires 10 triple qualifying scores from Exc B Standard, Exc B JWW, and Exc B Fast classes on the same day.  The AKC used a 2/01/10 date to record all the dogs that had completed the requirements before the title became effective.  Two Tervs were listed as having earned the title - MACH4 Basquelaine-Montage Secret Passage RN MXF TQX (Merlin), owned by Marti and Ray Wiseman of PA, and CH MACH8 Sensation's Lambeau Leap VCD3 RE HSAds HIAds HXAd MXF TQX (Brooks), handled by Sue Fregien of WI.

Sept., 2010 Rule Changes

A number of performance and rule changes were made effective on September 1, 2010.  The table performance was changed from requiring a sit or down position to just 4 feet on the table for a cumulative count of 5 seconds.  The upside contact of the dogwalk was no longer scored, and the tire was lowered by one jump height from the regular bar jump height.  The performance of the weaves was changed in all levels so that all poles had to be completed from beginning to end without interruption – if a pole was missed, you now had to start back at the beginning, and only 3 attempts were allowed.  The biggest change that affects the rankings was that the standard course times for the 24” class were slightly decreased (but not the 26”) – from 3.1 YPS to 2.9 YPS for Excellent Standard, and from 3.75 to 3.55 YPS for JWW.  For the first time, dogs competing in the 20” and 24” had different standard course times.  This adds 2-4 seconds to the standard course times for the 24” dogs, depending on course distance and whether it is Std or JWW.

July, 2011 Changes

Effective 7/01/11, the multiplier for MACH pts for placing first (2x) and second (1.5x) was dropped.  This helps to equalize the points earned for dogs running in large 20” classes vs the 26” class, which may only have a couple of dogs in them, so qualifiers in that height division almost always get placements.  This affects the points being earned for the top 5 dogs in a breed for the AKC Agility Invitational (which uses a July-June time period ranking).

The equivalent title for the MACH was also added for the Preferred classes - the PACHtitle – same requirements as the MACH (750 speed pts and 20 double-Q’s), but in the Preferred classes.  It was made effective 7/01/11, but dogs were grandfathered in that met the title requirements previous to that date (all points earned previously calculated without the placement factor).  The first Tervuren PACH title was earned by PACH Lamborghini De La Lune MX MXJ MXP6 MJP7 PAX2 OFP, owned by Catherine Blackburn of KY, with an effective date of 5/15/10

Time 2 Beat – 7/01/11

A new class was added effective 7/01/11 – the Time 2 Beat (T2B) class – a combination class of Std and JWW similar to the Steeplechase class in USDAA – no table, dogwalk, or chute tunnel, but the weave poles must be included and at least one contact of either the teeter or A-frame or both (if just one is included, either the contact or the weaves must be used twice).  Dogs at all levels (Novice, Open, Exc.) compete on the same course and in the same class, in the Regular and Preferred divisions.  Points are awarded by a scale according to the percentage of the run time to the first place dog’s time (dog with the fastest time in each height/division class).  Refusals and run-outs are not scored.  Fifteen qualifying scores and 100 pts are required to earn the T2B or T2BP titles.  Once the title is earned, the points and qualifying scores are reset – no carrying points forward to the next title like the MACH.  Numeric designations will be used to record the number of times the dog has earned the title.

The first Terv team to earn the T2B title was Julie Hill of LA with MACH Chiron Incyta More Smarts CD MXF T2B (B) on 1/21/12

2012 Changes 

  • January, 2012 - Chute tunnel reduced from 12 ft to 6-6.5 ft in length.  Weave poles expanded to 24” apart (previously 20-24 allowed).
  • July, 2012 – Lifetime Achievement titles (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Century) for ExB classes go into effect.  Each level requires 25 qualifying scores in the Excellent B classes (for FAST, the counting starts after the Master title is earned, not the Excellent title).  Individual titles for each class – Std, JWW, and FAST.    

 

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