The answer is yes! Mixed breed dogs can compete in agility events. Many organizations run agility events and most of them allow both purebred and mixed breed dogs.
Some organizations, like the AKC, require mixed breeds to be spayed or neutered to compete, but most don’t.
What Is Agility?
Dog agility training and events can be fun for both dogs and their humans.
Dog agility involves directing your dog through an obstacle course. Most agility organizations have standard obstacles that they use, but they can vary from organization to organization. Each agility event will have the obstacle course set up differently.
If you and your dog want to get started with agility you can take a class to understand the basics. AKC clubs typically offer agility classes, and there are over 5,000+ AKC clubs across the United States.
Many people who get into agility set up mini-courses in their back yards in order to train with their dogs. There are also agility practice courses at dog training centers that have membership plans and allow you to use their equipment to train with your dogs.
Many agility organizations also have clubs that will have both training and obstacle resources.
Agility training is a great way to get exercise and bond with your dog. Dogs that are smart and need a lot of exercise particularly benefit from agility training as it helps them to keep from getting bored and destructive.
What Organizations Offer Agility for Mixed Breed Dogs?
Many organizations offer agility training and agility events. We’ll go over several here but also check locally by doing a Google search for “agility course,” “agility training,” or “agility event” to see what is in your local area.
The AKC or American Kennel Club offers agility events for both mixed breed and purebred dogs. If you have a mixed-breed dog and want to participate in AKC agility events, you’ll need to register your dog with the low-cost AKC Canine Partners program. To participate your dog must be spayed or neutered.
Any mixed breed dog that is qualified can participate in events like AKC rallies, Agility, and Obedience.
Canine Performance Events
The CPE or Canine Performance Events don’t require spaying or neutering for mixed breeds to compete.
They offer many different types of events including:
Their website is extremely old-fashioned, but their events aren’t. They are a good organization to check out if you are interested in competing with your dog in agility events.
North American Dog Agility Council
The North American Dog Agility Council or NADC is an agility group that focuses less on jumping and more on speed and distance. They also don’t require mixed breed dogs to be spayed or neutered to compete.
United States Dog Agility Association
All dogs can compete in USDAA events and mixed breeds don’t need to be spayed and neutered. This organization also offers different strategy games, in addition to agility, called Gambles and Snookers.
What Personality Traits Should You Look for in an Agility Dog?
There are specific personality traits that can help make a dog good at agility. Many herding and hunting dogs will do well, but if you get the right disposition in a dog then just about any mixed breed will do well at agility.
- Focus on You: In agility training, you will be working super closely with your dog. Not all dogs are great at focusing on an individual person, but if you have one that is then it can help a great deal with agility training.
- Trainability: This is a trait that is not the same as intelligence. There are smart dogs that are very stubborn and not easy to train and there are dogs that aren’t as smart but want to please you and are very easy to train. Agility requires dogs to run through courses accurately and trainability helps a great deal with that.
- Intelligence: This isn’t a strictly necessary trait, especially if you have a dog that is trainable and willing to please. But an intelligent dog will pick up on learning new things easily, which is very helpful because course obstacles are always changing in agility.
- Focus: You want a dog who doesn’t get shy with crowds or over-excited with stimulation. They need to be able to focus on the course when they are running it, even if there is a lot of external stimulation going on.
- Drive: A dog that is willing to work hard for treats or toys will generally do better at agility than a dog that doesn’t care all that much. This type of motivation isn’t something you can teach and is innate to the personality of the dog.
- Body Structure: What you are looking for here is a dog that is well-muscled and can run and walk with an even and smooth gait. This will help them navigate their agility course more easily.
This, of course, is ideal when it comes to the personality of an agility dog. If you want to compete at the highest levels these traits are essential. But if you are just looking to have fun and get exercise with your mixed-breed dog, then the only thing you need is a dog that wants to spend time with you and is willing to learn the agility obstacles.
Dogs don’t have to be perfect at agility to get benefit from it.