This page introduces the equipment most frequently encountered at dog agility shows. It does not include items rarely seen such as the Water Jump, or the Crossover which is still technically part of the permitted equipment under KC regulations, but is never seen at shows. All measurements given here are as per KC rules.
The A-frame consists of two broad ramps
(with horizontal anti-slip slats to give the dog grip) with a different colour 'contact area' towards the bottom of each side. The ramps are 9 foot long, and are hinged at the top to create a letter A shape. The contact area is 3'6" long.
The dog has to climb and descend the A-frame, touching the contact area on both sides.
The cloth or collapsible tunnel has a rigid entrance that's 2 foot in diameter and extends for a minimum of 18 inches (usually about 2 foot). The rigid section gives way to a fabric extension several feet long which the dog has to push his way through.
The dog walk (not a cat walk!) is a test of a dog's courage as he walks
or runs up a long plank and continues along another plank nearly 5 feet above ground before descending again.
Like the A-frame, there are contact areas at either end of the obstacle which must be touched. The planks are each 12-14 foot in length.
A jump or hurdle consists of two wings
supporting one or more poles that the dog must jump over. Minimum length of poles is 4 ft. Occasionally you see 'fillers' underneath the poles, to create the appearance of brush or gate jumps.
Poles are set at different heights depending on the height of the dog at the shoulder. Current jump heights are 25-35 cm for Small dogs, 35-45 cm for Medium dogs and 55-65 cm for Large dogs. At shows dogs meet the top end of their jump height range 99% of the time.
The long jump consists of several low wooden elements spaced
a few inches apart with a gradual rise in height. Marker poles are used at the corners to help the judge see if the obstacle has been jumped correctly.
For Large dogs, the overall length of the long jump has to be between 1.2 and 1.5 metres. For Medium dogs, between 700 and 900 mm. For Small dogs, between 400 and 500 mm.
The rigid or pipe tunnel is about 2 feet in diameter and can be
extended to different lengths and/or twisted into rightangle, horseshoe or S-shapes. Most dogs enjoy this obstacle and come racing out the other end.
The minimum length is 10ft, and most of the competition ones are about 4 metres long. The tunnel is held in position by cradles.
The seesaw or teeter is a long plank measuring 12-14 ft with a central pivot, so that it tips over as the dog passes the middle point. How soon and quickly it tips depends on the dog's weight, which can leave very Small dogs rather out on a limb!
Again there are contact areas to negotiate, and the far end of the plank must touch the ground before the dog continues.
This is a control point to ecourage handlers to train their dogs safely, to help avoid the dog injuring himself by 'flying' the seesaw.
The rising spread consists of two jumps placed closely together, with the rear pole at maximum height and the front pole (nearest where the dog takes off) 150-250 mm lower than the rear one. Maximum spread is 550 mm for Large dogs, 400 mm for Medium dogs and 300 mm for Small dogs.
The spread requires careful training so that the dog realises that he must not simply judge the height and apex of his jump by the height of the front pole!
Since the advent of electronic timing, the table has been seen less and less in competition in the UK. It measures 3 ft square on the top. Height for Large dogs is 600 mm, for Medium dogs 400 mm, and for Small dogs 300 mm.
The table requires good control on the part of the dog, being able to come to a full halt on a table from probably a flat run.
The dog must remain in one position, usually a down, for up to 5 seconds before continuing. Sometimes the table is used more informally as the beginning or end of a course.
Over the years all manner of ways of fixing tyres at various heights for dogs to jump have been used. Lollipop tyres and Chain tyres are both illegal at KC shows, and the regulation is due to change again in 2009 to outlaw the lifebuoy tyre (on the left) in favour of soft tyres.
The current rule requires a minimum aperture of 18 inches, with the centre of the tyre 800 mm above the ground for Large dogs, 550 mm for Medium dogs and 490 mm for Small dogs. The tyre must be fixed to the ground in such a way that it cannot be knocked over.
The wall looks like brick, but fortunately for the dogs consists of easily dislodged plastic elements. Dimensions are the same as the hurdle, i.e. same minimum and maximum heights for Small, Medium and Large, and same minimum width of the section to be jumped.
A variation is the viaduct wall, with arched openings in the lower wall that can be rather tempting tunnel-like alternatives
to jumping the obstacle!
The weaves are wooden or plastic vertical poles minimum 2ft 6 ins high,
spaced 18 to 24 inches apart, and supported by a metal frame. There are a minimum of 5 and maximum of 12 poles in a sequence.
The dog must enter from the right, with the first pole on his left,
and weave in and out without making any mistakes or exiting early.
The wishing well consists of a broad, deep wooden or plastic base with a pole mounted above it, and with struts on either side supporting a roof. As it is bulky, it is a relatively rare obstacle, and is mainly associated with Pedigree's qualifiers and finals.
At the moment there is no specification of the wishing well for Small and Medium dogs. For Large dogs, the pole height range is 55-65 cm, like the hurdle. Minimum width is 2ft 8 ins.