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Progressing to the next grade

There are two methods of moving your dog up to the next agility grade in a Kennel Club show – by winning a 1st place or by accumulating points. Different rules apply depending on whether you are moving up because of a win or on points. John Leslie of the Canine Activities Department at the Kennel Club explains and answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

 Method 1 - Winning a class

  • If you win first place in a standard agility (not jumping) class your dog will move up to the next grade. (The first place must have been a clear round with no jumping faults or time faults, or it will not count).
  • If you win a first place in a standard jumping class and your dog has already won two first places in jumping classes (in the same grade) your dog will move up to the next grade. (All three first places must have been clear rounds with no jumping faults or time faults).
  • If you win first place in a ‘special’ class your dog does not move up to the next grade. (What is a special class?)
  • It is compulsory to move up to the next grade after winning a first place (with a clear round); you cannot choose not to move up.
  • Moving up from Grade 6 to Grade 7 has special rules – you must have won at least four first places in Grade 6, two of which must have been in agility (not jumping) classes. (Again only clear rounds count).

After your win
You do not move to the next grade immediately – you continue to compete at your present grade at any show that takes place within 25 days of the show where you won the first place.
(If you win any more first places during these 25 days, unfortunately they do not qualify you to move up another grade. Any points for places or clear rounds can still be counted towards the Agility Warrant, but do not count towards progressing on points).

Shows you have already entered:

  • You must write (or send an email) to all the shows you have already entered which take place 26 or more days after the date on which you won your first place, asking them to move your entries up into the equivalent classes for your dog’s new grade. (Be sure to provide full information to the show).
  • You need to contact each show at least 14 days before the date of the show, otherwise the show will refuse to change your class entries, your dog will be unable to compete at that show and you will lose your entry fees.
  • If you have contacted the show and there are no classes for your dog at the next grade, or not as many classes, you will be entitled to a refund for the ‘missing’ classes.
  • Some show processors provide a useful form to help you notify changes of grade and remind you of the information you need to provide.
  • Don’t rely on the phone to ask for a change of grade.

Future shows that you haven’t already entered
You simply enter your dog in the classes for its new grade.

Method 2 - Moving up on points

  • If your dog gains at least 75 points in its present grade, you can choose to move the dog into the next grade up, until it reaches Grade 5 (you can’t move into Grades 6 or 7 on points).
  • The points are calculated on the same basis as points for the Agility Warrant, except that there is no need for 25% of the points to have been won in agility (as opposed to jumping) classes. The places must have been earned with a clear round. (How do I calculate my dog’s points?)
  • Moving up on points is not compulsory. You can choose whether to move your dog up and you have free choice as to when to move up.
  • The places and clear rounds for which points are claimed must be recorded in your dog’s Agility Record Book.
  • Once your dog has competed at the new grade, you cannot choose to move back to the old grade.

              After you decide to move up

  • Decide which is the first show at which you want your dog to compete in the new grade, and enter that show at the new grade.

  • When you arrive at that show, take your dog’s Agility Record Book to the Show Secretary and ask them to sign your book in the appropriate place on the page headed ‘Record of Qualifying Results’.

  • Continue to enter future shows at the new grade.

  • If you have already entered a show at the old grade, and entries for that show have not yet closed, you can write to the show before entries close to ask them to move your dog to classes for its new grade.

  • You cannot ask a show to move you up to the next grade after the show’s closing date if you are moving up on points. The ’25 days’ rule does not apply. (This is because, unlike a win, you have the choice of timing when you move up on points).

What is a Standard class and what is a Special class?

  • Wins and points only count if they are gained in a Standard class. Standard classes where are ones where the rules that apply are exactly those in the 'Agility Regulations' with no additions or omissions, and where the eligibility to enter is unrestricted (except by grade and size).
  • All other classes are 'Special' classes, and wins, places or points won't count for progression to the next grade or towards agility warrants. ‘Combined’ and ‘Graded’ classes can be either standard or special classes.

NOTE: Shows are required to use the word 'Special' in the title of any class in their show schedule that isn't a standard class. (However even if the schedule doesn't use the word 'special', a special class remains a special class).

        Examples of Special classes include:-

  • 'Games' classes such as Gamblers, Snooker, Power and Speed, Knockouts, Time Fault and Out and similar classes (where there are some special rules)
  • Any Pairs or Teams classes
  • 'ABC' (Anything But Collies) or 'NBC' (Nothing But Collies) classes, All Sorts or Veterans and similar classes where eligibility is restricted
  • Some qualifiers (not all) if they have special rules on eligibility to enter them (such as the Starters Cup at the International Agility festival where the dogs must have won a place or gained a certain number of points in the preceding year)
  • ‘Helter-skelter' classes are special classes too, because the type of course design that the judge can use is restricted.

How do I calculate my dog's points?

The points for progressing to the next grade are calculated using the same scoring system as points for the Agility Warrant. They are set out in detail in the Agility Record Book.

  • In summary, points are given where the dog has been awarded first place down to tenth place (which must be won with clear rounds), and for clear rounds within the course time below tenth place. If a show awards places only down to, say, seventh place in a particular class then the dogs in eighth, ninth and tenth in that class can only claim the points for a clear round.
  • Twice as many points are awarded for agility classes as for jumping classes. Twenty points are awarded for first place in an agility class,19 for second place, and so on down to 11 points for a tenth place, and 2 points for a clear round. In a jumping class ten points are awarded for first place, nine for second place, down to one point for a tenth place and one point for a clear round.
  • All 75 points must have been won at the current grade to progress up to the next one. When  you move to the next grade, you start counting points from zero again.

Question: My understanding of the rules is that the winning of a class - Jumping or Agility - has to be a clear round with no time faults etc. Perhaps I am wrong? Enid G.

Answer: You are quite right - you can only progress to the next grade after a first place (or three jumping first places) with a clear round - no jumping faults or time faults. We have changed the article above to make that a bit more clear, as it appears this point is sometimes misunderstood. In the same way, points for progressing to the next grade on points (or Agility Warrants) can only be claimed for places with a clear round - no jumping or time faults. W.

First published 10/07/10


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