Since the announcement by the Kennel Club that new intermediate classes will be introduced in 2020 for dogs measuring between 430 – 500cm, a number of people have been asking me what they should do if they want to tryout for Agility Team GB but their dogs measure into this new height category. I thought a blog might help explain my thoughts and advice.
I should start off by saying I have no strong views for or against this new height category. The purpose of this blog isn’t to restart any debates that have already been put-to-bed. However, from the number of questions I’ve been asked recently, I wonder if the full implications were thought through at all levels of the sport. I estimate that around 80% of the current Team GB squad would measure into this new height and as a result jump 500cm. So while I understand the motivation to have smaller dogs jumping lower, the reality is dogs who are kept fit, healthy and not over-worked are currently jumping 650 (soon to be 600) successfully.
As I understand during 2019 handlers can opt for their current competing large dogs (over 430cm at the withers) to be measured. If they fall into the new intermediate height category (430-500) then that’s the height they compete at for the rest of their agility career. Of course if you decide not to get your current agility dog measured it stays in large.
From January 2020 all new agility dogs will be measured and compete in the respective height category.
So what to do if you want to compete for Agility Team GB and your dog measures into intermediate; there is no intermediate FCI height category and therefore no requirement to select dogs for this height. The FCI heights are 300, 400 & 600. There is a FCI working group looking at the implications of a 4th height and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was introduce in the next 3-4 years.
Thankfully we were ahead of the game by introducing the new International Tour class. Dogs measuring into the intermediate height can compete in the 600 tour class to gain squad points. I understand this is similar in other countries who have more than three heights e.g. Sweden and USA where they hold specific FCI qualifying events.
The Tour is run under FCI rules, there it will follow any future changes the FCI make to heights and rules.
What could this mean in practice? Handlers wanting to tryout for Agility Team GB with intermediate dogs, will compete at KC shows at 500 (no squad points available) enter tour classes at 600 to gain squad points, and aim to be selected for that years squad.
Handlers who have dogs measuring in to large (above 500cm) will continue to have the chance to gain squad points at Crufts Singles, Championship classes, Olympia qualifying classes etc. And they can run in the Tour classes too.
I hope that answers your questions.
You can find further details about trying out for Agility Team GB on the KC web site.