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Ideally your dog needs to be fit, reasonably attentive and enthusiastic, and jumping confidently at its full height, unless you are planning to enter an 'Any Size' class. It should be able to complete all the equipment safely, including the weaves unless you plan to enter a show where you know weaves won't be included in your classes.
Your dog should also be able to complete full length sequences of obstacles reasonably fluently. Always remember that agility shows are tests of your dog's competence at the sport. Be fair to your dog and don't compete until it has been trained to a decent level.
Once you have decided on a show you intend to compete at, you will need to get hold of a schedule of classes, and an entry form. Again, the Show Information and Links pages will give you links to sites that offer schedule downloads.
You will notice that agility competitions are run by a range of organisations. The Kennel Club is the largest, others include Agility Addicts, the British Agility Association and UK Agility. There are also various independent show organisers. Our Agility Organisations page has more information.
Get your show entries off in good time. Many Open shows now close entries as much as two months before the date of the show, and Limited shows fill up even earlier than that, so forward planning is necessary.
If your dog has a pedigree, the chances are that it is on the Kennel Club breed register. In that case, you will already have a registration number for your dog.
If your dog is a Border Collie with an ISDS pedigree, you can apply for it to be added to the Kennel Club breed register by downloading KC Form 9 (PDF file).
If your dog is a rescue or does not have papers, you can apply for it to be added to the Kennel Club Obedience and Working Trials register by downloading KC Form 5 (PDF file). Registrations can take up to 2 months.
Please see the Agility Organisations page for links to other organisations that require prior registration, e.g. UK Agility.
From 1st January 2006, all new dogs competing at Kennel Club shows have had to have their height measured before their first competition run. This applies to all heights of dogs, whether Small, Medium or Large.
The Kennel Club has appointed a limited number of official measurers, spread across the country, to carry out this process. Measuring sessions are held at some Kennel Club shows, and occasionally other venues such as clubs and non-KC shows.
Before your dog can be measured, you need to:
• buy an Agility Record Book from the KC;
• fill in your dog's details, including KC registration number, and either microchip number, tattoo number, or a photograph.
Your next step is to locate a measuring session in your area. The list of official KC measurers is here on Agilitynet. You can post a message asking for information on forthcoming measuring sessions in the Kennel Club Shows section of our Agility Forum.
Dogs can be measured from 15 months of age, unless they are considered by the KC measurers to be 'obviously Large' (well over 430 mm at the withers) in which case they can be measured at a younger age. If obviously Large, the requirement for a second measurement may be struck out of the record book. Small and Medium dogs all have to be measured twice, and a third time if the first and second measurements differ.