January 31, 2009

Shape a key factor in dog agility contest

While dogs of all shapes and sizes can compete in a dog agility contest in Long Beach, Calif., certain shapes come with advantages, a contest official says.

Carrie DeYoung, the co-chair of the American Kennel Club Agility Invitational, said the contest due to be televised next month typically finds dogs of certain shapes to be better suited for contest events, USA Today reported Wednesday.

But DeYoung maintains that if training begins when dogs are just puppies, any canine can be a good competitor.

A lot of it is nurture versus nature, she said, some dogs that are better suited because of body type.

The American Kennel Club event, which will be broadcast on Animal Planet next Saturday, features dogs jumping hurdles and running around poles in an attempt to be crowned the most agile canine.

Dorothy Wysaski, whose bulldog Plummer took part in the event last December, is proud of her dog's ability to move despite its 63-pound body.

They kind of expect it to be funny, she told USA Today, referring to event attendees. And then he begins, and they think, 'Wow, he can really do this.'