Tour hits new heights

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.

7 thoughts on “Tour hits new heights”

    1. Hi Mike, I’m thinking that one through and will be considering options with the YKC working group.

      Thank fully we have a bit of notice before the new heights come in. A good point though and thanks for raising it.

  1. Michelle Drawwater

    So intermediate dogs will be at a disadvantage in having less opportunities to gain squad points? Why wouldn’t points earned in intermediate Crufts and Olympia qualifiers count as squad points? Why is the Tour entry capped and current squad members given priority? Doesn’t this vastly limit opportunities to find fresh talent to be included in the squad? Shouldn’t intermediate dogs should be given priority if it is the only opportunity they have to gain squad points?

    1. Hi Michelle – lots of questions…

      Firstly, currently the FCI don’t have classes for the height group the KC are going to call intermediate. So handlers wanting to try out for Team GB will have to jump their dogs at FCI heights (300, 400 & 600). Therefore wins/achievements gained at the new intermediate height will effectively be a completely different category to the FCI heights.

      The Tour is currently capped because it’s the first year we’re running it; we have no idea how many handlers will enter a G4-7 class. It would be unfair on show organisers to land them with a new class run under FCI rules (dogs run in order) all three heights in one ring…it could be a very long day. We will be reviewing the capping system for 2020 when we have some data to work from.

      In the last two years we have ‘spotted’ over 20 handlers (fresh talent) through the Team GB Development Programme. These handlers go on to join the squad and some have been selected for teams. Therefore we do have a mechanism for identifying fresh talent and I believe the tour will increase this further.

      Handlers of Intermediate dogs have the same opportunities to enter the tour as large dogs. They also have the opportunity to be spotted. The reason for this blog was because I’ve had questions about intermediate dogs trying out in the future and I wanted to reassure handlers that if they’re serious about trying out for Agility Team GB there are ways of doing so. Please remember too that currently around 80% of the team are dogs who would measure into intermediate, so its in everyone’s interest to keep reviewing how we engage with this new height group.

      I hope this answers your questions. Mark

      1. Michelle Drawwater

        Thanks for the reply Mark. So apart from earning squad points from Crufte, Olympia, Champ and Tour classes, what other means do management use for ‘spotting’ talent? Do you have scouts around the country watching ‘ordinary’ classes or something else?

        1. The YKC and adult coaching teams are constantly on the look out for new talent at ordinary KC classes. I also encourage the senior team captains to keep their eyes open for new handlers too.

          We are just reviewing the list of dogs & handlers we noticed at the Performance Weekend and I expect to invite approximately 10 people on to this years development programme from there too.

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