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History of Agility

Contents

21st Century Agility
Electronic timing. What next? What does technology have in store for agility? Tony di Bartolo sets out some of his ideas for the future.

John Gilbert & Jackie Brett

Agility Judging in 1984
The Judge's Word Is Final This wonderful editorial comes from the Agility Voice archives in the days when the dogwalk was known as the cat-walk. Have things changed in 15 years? Read it and see.
Back to the Future
Looking back at the future, we must say that 'The fun never did go out of this 'fun event.' Agility Voice's own Mystic Meg foretells of things to come in this treasure from The Agility Voice archives. With 2001 not so far away, somehow this tongue-in-cheek article from 1985 does not seem so far off the truth - or does it?

Crufts Timeline
A short history of the worlds biggest dog show from the first show in 1891 in Islington to the 2011
Dogs in Need 1992
Did you ever wonder how and when the first Dogs in Need began, or were you there? Ian Stowers was one of the organisers. His show report including glorious black and white photos is reprinted here, as published in Agility Voice, followed by John Tallentire's judges summary and course plans. Can you spot any familiar faces? (Updated 01/02/00)

Enid Buckland-Evers & Lynn Shore

Fashion Circa 1985
What the best dressed agility handlers wore in the good old days. Sue Ashby did this delightful cartoon of Mr & Mrs Agility, a typical agility couple in the mid-1980s which appeared in the Agility Voice Newsletter (April 1985). What a far cry from the designer track suits, running shorts and trainers of today!

1978

The First Ever Agility Course at Crufts 1978
A rare glimpse into agility history when handlers and their dogs made up the game as they went along. How things have changed! Thank you to Peter Lewis for preserving and sharing the first course ever run at Crufts.   (10/07/03)

Peter LEWIS

Founding History: The True Facts by Peter Lewis
Little did Peter Meanwell think in 1977 when first applying thought to Agility circuits that a form of demonstration for Crufts 1978 would develop into a national dogging sport.
An Early Agility Test in B/W
This photograph (left) was taken at the very first agility event after it was originally performed at Crufts Dog Show in February 1978. Can you spot five (5) differences from 22 years ago? Extra points if you can find more and a bone-us if you can name the judge and handler. (09/10/00)
First Ever 'Mini Dogs of the Year'
The Mini Agility Dog of the Year competition was held for the first time in in 1987. Handlers agreed that it was 'nice to be accepted by all quarters as more than just a novelty.' The results say it all. (Updated 12/09/99)

Gatcombe Park 1986
Every picture tells a story. Jackie Clarke asked us if we recognised anyone in the 1986 picture she found. Up stepped Graham Taylor...  (05/03/10)

Bretons DTC Circa 1981

Happy 21st Birthday, Bretons DTC
Bretons DTC was one of the first clubs in the UK to do the new sport of show jumping for dogs. This year they will be 21 years young. (04/04/00)

The Jersey European Agility Festival
How did it all begin? Andre Rees, one of the show's organisers explains how it group for a local show to an international festival.

Peter Lewis Founding Father
Lindy Margach speaks to one of the 'founding fathers' of our sport – the legendary Peter Lewis about what he remembers about the early days, how it developed and what he thinks is the future.

Portia
Over her agility career, Jayne Bray's apricot Miniature Poodle Portia (Ag.Ch. Harvest Geld for Aprika) won 305 classes, making her one of agility's all time greats. At age 16 years and 4 months, she won the All-Time Achievement for Services to Agility Award from the Poodle Breed Club of Great Britain.

Thoughts of a Judge
Roy Wilce was judge of the Crufts Team qualifier and the Mini Agility class at Severnside on 29th August 1992. While waiting for Chris to finish judging in another ring, there was plenty of time to reflect on the day's events. Here are a few of his thoughts shared for the benefit of competitors, potential judges and show managers alike. (06/02/00)

Ruby weaving

Pedigree: In at the beginning
Agility first surfaced in a recognisable format at Crufts in 1978. Eric Smethurst, who was then Manager of Pedigree’s Breed, Show and Veterinary Services Department was really impressed with this new sport and decided that Pedigree should be a part of it. Therein lies the start of over twenty years of continuous support and sponsorship of dog agility. (02/05/00)

Talking Heads
You've probably heard stories about the old days of Agility when everything was 'friendlier and more fun.' Here's a selection of voices from the past and present, recalling their own experiences.
Signing in at Watford Two Pads Good
As a means of maximising ring party efficiency, and in particular where there is a large class involved, the 'Two Pad System' was invented for scribes as a time saver. However, any system you care to invent or employ is absolutely no good if it is not explained precisely to the people who use it. (10/05/00)

Fred Welham Interview
John Leslie meets Fred Welham, the man who is credited with having built the first set of agility equipment. Reprinted from the July edition of the Kennel Gazette