Monday, September 7, 2009

USDAA Trial - Post 1

Have you ever traveled to another country where you don't speak the native tongue? Well, that's what happened to us this weekend. We entered our first USDAA trial up in MN. We've been competing almost exclusively in AKC, so for us, this was getting a bit out of our comfort zone. New verbiage was EVERYWHERE!!! Snooker, red jump, colored obstacles, pairs...oh you think you know the difference....thing again!

First a little background on agility evolution. Many people may believe that AKC has always had agility. Oh NAY NAY! AKC was actually the last registry to add agility to their performance events in 1994. Technically, UKC added agility in 1995, but it was an existing format.

Agility actually evolved from horse jumping in England. While equine courses were being changed, the dogs were the half time entertainment. This involved dogs jumping sequences. The big dogs jumped 36" and the mini's 18".

USDAA (United Stated Dog Agility Association) was introduced in 1986. It was based off the British standards in the sport. It too has evolved to lower jump heights and A-Frames. They have the Championship Level (26/22/16/12/8" divisions) and Performance Level (22/16/12/8" divisions. One interesting note here is that the Performance Level is extremely competitive in USDAA. It does not have the negative
connotations as you see in AKC. It think some of this has to do with the lower height for the dogs themselves. To compete in Championship level in the 22" class your dog must be under 21" at the withers.

Some of you might be thinking that NADAC was the next dog agility venue to materialize. Again, you'd be mistaken.

The second venue to come to the states was NCDA (National Club for Dog Agility) in 1987 by Bud Kramer. This venue was geared toward lower jump heights, reduced yards per second, actuary was scored, as well as a variety of other equipment. Crawl tunnel, sway bridge are a couple examples. The UKC purchased this format from Bud in 1995.

NADAC began in 1993 and was almost identical to USDAA at the time. The major difference was that the jumps were slightly lower, at 24". This venue has also evolved to lower its jump heights to a maximum of 20", lower it's A-Frame and removed the teeter, spreads, tire and chute from it's courses.

Now that you've had your history lesson for the day. Back to USDAA. (I'm going to do comparisons to AKC here, as that's the venue I'm most familiar with)

You have three levels.

Starters = Novice AKC
Advanced = Open
Masters = Excellent

You can just get those 3 level titles if you'd like. It's 3 Q's under 2 different judges, just like AKC. Or should I say AKC is just like USDAA??? Well, you know what I mean. So, you could get a Starters Standard Agility, Advanced Standard Agility or Masters Standard Agility (this takes 5 Qs).

That being said, most people go for the "Versatility Titles". Agility Dog (AD), Advanced Agility Dog (AAD) or the Master Agility Dog (MAD). These titles require the 3 Qs from the Standard Courses and one Q from each of the 4 games (Snooker, Jumpers, Gamblers and Pairs)from 3 different judges.

You can also title under each of the game classes with 3 Q's if you'd like to.

There's other titles out there, but my brain is tired, so if you want more information you can check it out on their web site!

I'll add a second post later today about our weekend. Seeker ran 9 times in two days. It's a great way to wear out your young dog!!!!


  1. Excellent - er... Masters!!! Let's see video!!!

  2. Yes - the video. But more importantly, did you have fun and MOST importantly, did you bring a puppy home for me????