Where people have an appetite for agility

In Hungary, agility began in the early 1990s. At first, only former obedience and guarding dogs were doing it. After a while, it became the most popular dog sport in the country, and that's when a lot of today's handlers bought their future agility puppies. Agility handler Bernadett Felleg explains...

Most agility dogs are Belgian Shepherds, but there are many other breeds doing agility as well. For example, there are some pretty good Hungarian breeds such as Pumi, Mudi and Vizsla. There are some Border Collies, but their handlers are not good enough yet to be on the top.

Training outside
In Hungary, we 'dream' of being able to train inside. We try to practice two times a week, or if there is a trial at the weekend, at least once.  As we don't have our own equipment,  we go to our club where we run sequences and courses, too.

At this time there are about 20 agility clubs and 200-250 competitors in the country. Sorry to say, but agility is not a well known and accepted sport here. Those people who do it are fanatics and they do agility with at least two dogs.

Competitors welcome
We have a lot of trials where almost everybody takes part. Because it is a small country, we don't have to travel far. Every place can be reached in a few hours so we compete on every second weekend.

Competitors from any country are welcome.  We used to have trials where competitors take part from four or five states! I haven't heard of any European country which is barred. It will be nice to have the English competing too. Nor are there any problems in Austria, The Czech Republic, Slovakia or Slovenia, etc. The only thing you need is an agility workbook.

There are three levels of classes (A1, A2, A3 - FCI rules) for Standards and Minis. To enter in A2, you have to run 'Excellent' (no more than 5.99 faults) agility course three times. To be an A3 team, you need three agility course with no faults and you must be in the top three places on an A2 course. We also have jumping runs and courses for Teams (clubs).

The World Championships
The National Championships are held at the end of the year in a sports hall, but it is only a one day competition. The greatest event in our lives in the FCI World Championships where four Minis and four Standards dogs are selected to represent the country.

Hungary first participated in the FCI World Championships as a national team in 1993. From that year onwards, we have taken part on the championships every year. The best place was Fifth of our Standard team and Sixth of the Mini team (1998). Unfortunately, we still haven't had any individual competitors in the top ten.

Guest trainers wanted
In the summer, we have an about ten day long agility camp, with a course where the best Hungarian agility specialists give lectures. In 1997 and 1999 Mr. John Gilbert was also invited for a seminar, and he was a great success. If we had the money, we would like to invite a French trainer next.

About the author...
Bernadett Felleg
started doing agility since 1993, first with a Vizsla (Hungarian Pointer). After he died she bought her German Pointer, Döme.

Six year old Döme is one of the fastest dogs in Hungary. He became an A3 very early. They were members of the National Team at the World Championships in Copenhagen (1997) and were substitutes in Dortmund (1999). Her other dog, Döme's two year old son Spuri is also a fanatic agility dog, but is still inexperienced.

Bernadett lives in Budapest and trains with the Dogfit Club in Dunakeszi, near Budapest.

Just an aside from Pat Knepley
Re: In our country (Hungary) everybody is allowed to compete...

Don't know if things have changed, but the entries are done very differently there. You pay at the post office. Interesting, eh?

Thanks to agility handler and referee Melinda Csecserits of Meda-garden Collie Kennel for sending photos. You can visit her site at  http://w3.swi.hu/~medalind.
Other pictures of Hungarian breeds can be seen on http://www.tar.hu/hubreeds.
Photo of Pumi jumping: Andrea Olajos.


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