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January 2012




Minutes of the KC Agility Council Liaison Meeting

These are the official minutes of the KC Agility Liaison Council held on 19 January 2012 at 1-5 Clarges Street, London W1. Read what happened and, if you have an opinion, let your area rep know what you think. You can also put your views forward on the Agilitynet Facebook page.


  • Dave Ray - Midlands

  • Richard Jordan - Midlands

  • Ian Mallabar - North East

  • Janet Nero - North East

  • Pauline Baltes - North West

  • Mike Hallam - North West

  • Ronnie McAleese - Northern Ireland

  • Morag Kelly - Scotland

  • Simon Chandler - South East & East Anglia

  • John Gilbert - South East & East Anglia

  • Tony Griffin - South & South West

  • Lesley Olden - South & South West


  • Steve Croxford - Activities Sub-Committee & General Committee Member (Item 4 only)

  • Debbie Deuchar - Manager – Working Dog Activities

  • John Leslie - Specialist – Working Dog Activities (Item 4 only)

  • Joanna Nosalik - Specialist – WTOA

 IN THE CHAIR:  Dave Ray


 1.         Apologies had been received from Mike, representing Wales.


 2.         The minutes of the meeting held on 23 June 2011 were signed by the Chairman as an accurate record.


Results of Recommendations

3.         The Council noted the following matters which had been approved by the General Committee at its meeting on 11 October 2011:-

  1. Amendment to Regulation H(1)(B)3.k (Weaving Poles)

  2. New Regulation H(1)(B)3.m (Equipment Sizes in Special Classes)

  3. Amendment to Regulation H(1)10.f (Running Orders)

3. International Agility Teams
The Council noted the written reports from Graham Partridge, European Open and World Championships Team Manager. The Council expressed gratitude to Graham Partridge and the entire management team for their commitment and hard work to the International Agility Teams. It was highlighted that both teams had represented the Kennel Club to a high standard.  

4. Calculating Accurate Course Times
The Council noted that the research undertaken by an Accredited Trainer and some agility competitors had been compiled into a matrix which would continue to be updated. It was noted that the matrix contained information on all three heights, all the grades in each, including the course time set, the winning dog's time, as well as the lowest placed time, amongst other factors. The matrix would be provided for the Council's June meeting. The Council agreed to put a proposal forward, to stipulate that judges must calculate course times, for its meeting in June 2012.  


6.         6. The Chairman began by welcoming Steve Croxford to the meeting to address this matter as he had been involved with the process since its inception. Prior to any discussion, the Chairman highlighted that agility had evolved over the decades, yet the strategic position on the discipline had remained relatively stagnant throughout that period and, therefore, was out of date with current modern agility. It was recognised that the proposed changes would change the outlook of Kennel Club agility, but emphasised that the entire project was still under consultation including a review of the fees involved. 

7. A lengthy discussion ensued. An overall grievance was that the project was perceived as being imposed onto the agility community without thorough consultation with grassroots competitors. It was explained that when the business model was proposed, it was difficult to consult each individual person which was the reason why select persons from different roles within the agility community had been consulted, details of which had been published in the minutes of the Council's June 2011 meeting. It was reiterated that the aim of these objectives, was to seek ways of encouraging more clubs into the Kennel Club fold as well as making it easier for registered clubs to hold a Kennel Club licensed show. Both matters had been outlined in the Council's Five Year Strategy. It was also stressed that the Kennel Club needed to address problems such as clubs 'borrowing' licences, by recognising the practice and finding a solution to suit the majority before the matter escalated. The Kennel Club also sought to provide a structure that was compatible with a modern environment. As a result, its two main objectives were to create a channel of communication with unaffiliated clubs and private trainers through introducing Listed Status, and to create more flexibility in gaining a licence to hold a show, by offering different types of agility shows. 

8.         8. The Council discussed the various aspects of the project and requested the following main points be clarified, considered or reviewed before its meeting in June: 

  • The possibility for certain shows to have the option to hold classes for dogs as young as 16 months of age was unanimously opposed. It was argued that a class for younger dogs would encourage competitors to begin agility training even earlier which it believed could be detrimental to the dog's health and welfare.

  • Further clarity should be provided for Special and Limited Shows as they may confuse new competitors because of the differences in classes available.

  • Listed Status shows which receive more than 1000 entries to have a surcharge of 10pence per dog thereafter was felt to be too stringent. It was suggested to either remove the additional fee requirement altogether or initially introduce it as five pence per dog or at a higher level of entrants. Furthermore, it was queried how show numbers would be verified, but it was confirmed that the office would request a copy of the ring-plan for reference.

  • It was perceived as unjust that existing fully registered clubs and societies that held qualifiers would be expected to pay £10 more for their licence in the future. Furthermore, it was requested that the office reconsider providing protection over date clashes for Premier Shows rather than just Championship Shows.
    Concern was raised in the Northern regions that independent shows were stifling competition from fully registered clubs. Whilst the Kennel Club could not prevent competitors from entering 'independent' shows, it was anticipated that the new proposals would provide a few more alternative options that would give a show society more control over its numbers and allow registered clubs more flexibility in its show planning to therefore hold more shows.
    Detailed clarification for 'capped classes' was required and how it would work practically. The office confirmed that the matter had been discussed in depth internally, but agreed to provide more information in due course. Consideration was also to be given on the possibility of an opening and closing date to ensure competitors had an equal chance at entering such classes.
    Further clarification was needed with on the references for Listed Status training clubs. It was confirmed that Dog Wardens or Environmental Officers had provided hundreds of references for Good Citizen Dog Scheme Listed Status training clubs without any associated risks being identified. It was agreed that more detailed information was needed to understand the exact requirements for applications to ensure clubs/private trainers obtained the correct paperwork in advance.

 9.      By the end of the discussion, it was agreed that the feedback received had been constructive and that generally, the majority were willing to consider developments in agility, but emphasised a need for more effective consultation with grassroots competitors. The Council also requested that the draft annex to the H Regulations be distributed to the agility community at its earliest opportunity so that it could be discussed at its following meeting. In order for competitors and clubs alike to fully absorb the proposed changes, the Council requested that the implementation date be pushed back to January 2013 and to allow a transition period of one year. This would mean that from January 2014, no club could offer a Kennel Club show license to any other individual or organisation and the agility community would have had time to adapt to the changes put in place. It was confirmed that the views and concerns submitted would be reviewed and that the Agility Strategic Direction documentation would be adapted accordingly. 

10.        Steve Croxford thanked the Council for inviting him to the meeting and thanked the agility community for all its constructive feedback. It was stressed that the only way to take positive steps was to work and cooperate together for the future development of the discipline.


 11.         Agility Grading System

11.       The Council noted the minutes of the Agility Grading Review Working Party meeting which was held on 3 November 2011. 

12.        Progression Between Grades 1 –
John Gilbert proposed the amendments to the grading system for progression between Grades 1-6. Mike Hallam seconded the proposal. It was noted that although some areas wanted the proposals to either be strengthened or weakened slightly, the majority of feedback had been positive and it was felt that the proposals were a progressive step forward. It was reiterated that the aim of the Working Party had been to distribute numbers more evenly amongst the grades, although it had admitted that Grade 3 may always be a larger grade due to new dogs with experienced handlers beginning in that grade. It was emphasised that the proposals were created from an overall consensus of the views submitted from the agility community and that the amended grading system could be reviewed in the future. The majority of the Council voted in favour of the amendment and recommended the following proposals: 


H(1)(A)7 Progression

Progression from each Grade will require one Agility win or three Jumping wins at that grade, except that progression from Grade 6 will require four wins at Grade 6, two of which must be agility classes. Results from Combined Classes will only count towards progression from the dog's current grade.


Progression from each Grade will require one Agility win or three Jumping wins at that grade, except that progression from Grade 5 will require three wins at Grade 5, one of which must be an agility class. Progression from Grade 6 will require 4 wins at Grade 6, two of which must be agility classes. Results from Combined Classes will only count towards progression from the dog's current grade. (Amendment underlined) 


H(1)(A)8 Points Progression

At the handler's discretion a dog may progress up to Grade 5 by winning 75 points at each grade, using the Agility Warrant points scheme, Regulation K3.c refers, except that there is no requirement for a minimum number of agility points. If this method of progression is selected, the handler must ensure the Show Secretary signs the dog's Agility Record Book at the first show entered at the higher grade. There is no time limit on this progression, however, once a dog has progressed, it cannot return to a previous grade.


At the handler's discretion a dog may progress up to Grade 4 by winning 100 points at each grade, using the Agility Warrant points scheme, Regulation K3.c refers, except that there is no requirement for a minimum number of agility points. If this method of progression is selected, the handler must ensure the Show Secretary signs the dog's Agility Record Book at the first show entered at the higher grade. There is no time limit on this progression, however, once a dog has progressed, it cannot return to a previous grade. (Amendment underlined) 


H(1)(A)9.f Grade 6 (Senior)

Open to dogs which have gained a 1st place in an Agility Class or three first places in Jumping Classes at Grade 5 at Kennel Club licensed Agility Shows and are not eligible for Grade 3, 4, 5 or 7.


Open to dogs which have gained a minimum of three 1st places at Grade 5 at Kennel Club licensed Agility Shows, 1 1st place must be gained in an Agility (not Jumping) Class, and are not eligible for Grade 3, 4, 5 or 7. (Amendments underlined)

 H(1)9.f. (Management)

13.       13.        Lesley Olden proposed the amendment to the above regulation. Simon Chandler seconded the proposal. The Council reconsidered its previous recommendation to split a class once the number of entries had reached 300 and considered the Working Party's recommendation of 200. It was suggested that this proposal mainly concerned Southern shows which had larger entries, but it was felt that a split at 200 was too low. Tony Griffin proposed an amendment to the proposal to make the figure 300 again, but there was no seconder. As a result, the majority opposed the original proposal and, therefore, it was agreed that the matter should be left to the discretion of the show organisers. No further action was taken. 

14.         Championship Class and Grade 7
A discussion took place with regards to raising the criteria to be eligible for the Championship Class. Many were of the view that the earlier recommended changes, along with reinforcing the need for more realistic course times, was sufficient enough to gain eligibility for Championship Classes. It was reiterated that the aim of this discussion item had been to increase the number of Grade 7 classes available at shows and to make it a more competitive class. It was recognised that grade 7 classes were mainly being a practice class towards Championship Classes. At the same time, it would preserve the quality of the Championship Agility Certificate.

15.        The Council did not recommend the discussion item be submitted to the next meeting as a formal proposal in its present format. The Council was, however,  willing to consider alternative options as a means of creating competitive Grade 7 classes. Suggestions included whether awards should be gained on an annual basis to grant eligibility or whether certain awards should entitle lifetime eligibility. It was agreed that any new criteria would not be retrospective and that it could then be subject to review in the future. Consequently, the Council agreed to list the following two proposals on its June meeting's agenda. The Council agreed that any change would be for a dog's lifetime, not on an annual qualification: 


H(1)(A)9.h Championship Class

Open to dogs having qualified to compete in Grade 7. To consist of two qualifying rounds of Standard Kennel Club Classes, 1 Agility Class and 1 Jumping Class and a final round of Agility to be held at the same show.


Open to dogs which have gained a minimum of 1 1st place at Grade 7 at Kennel Club licensed Agility Shows, and which must be gained in an Agility (not Jumping) Class. To consist of two qualifying rounds of Standard Kennel Club Classes, 1 Agility Class and 1 Jumping Class and a final round of Agility to be held at the same Show. (Amendment underlined) 



H(1)(A)9.h Championship Class

Open to dogs having qualified to compete in Grade 7. To consist of 2 qualifying rounds of Standard Kennel Club Classes, 1 Agility Class and 1 Jumping Class and a final round of Agility to be held at the same Show.


Open to dogs which have gained a minimum of 2 top three places at Grade 7 at Kennel Club licensed Agility Shows, both top three places must be gained in Agility (not Jumping) Classes. To consist of 2 qualifying rounds of Standard Kennel Club Classes, 1 Agility Class and 1 Jumping Class and a final round of Agility to be held at the same Show. (Amendment underlined) 


16.       16.        The Council noted that no new items had been submitted for its five year strategic plan, but felt that it had enough matters to resolve for the time being.


17.        Proposed Amendment of Regulation H(1)(A)2 – Provision of Awards to 10th place.
Richard Jordan, on behalf of Mrs Hickman, a private individual, proposed an amendment to the above regulation. Ronnie McAleese seconded the proposal. A discussion took place on whether it would be fair to stipulate that societies must provide awards down to 10th place regardless of class size. Some areas felt that the numerically smaller classes would be at an advantage and would increase the rate of progression based on points. The additional cost to show societies was also considered. The Council agreed that most shows followed custom and practice by awarding 10% of the entries, which was felt to be fairest for all scenarios. The majority of the Council opposed the proposed amendment and, therefore, no further action was taken.

18.        Proposed New Regulation H(1)9.g – Camping Pitch sizes.
Richard Jordan, on behalf of Christine Stratford, a private individual, proposed a new regulation which would stipulate a requirement that show organisers must provide a minimum camping pitch size for competitors. Simon Chandler seconded the proposal. A brief discussion took place which included acknowledgement that camping requirements had increased over the years, but that it would be difficult to regulate. It was stated that if the Kennel Club was to introduce a regulation for camping pitch sizes, further regulations would be required for the size of the gangways or positioning of caravans. The majority agreed that the matter should be left to the discretion of the show management and their risk assessments. The majority of the Council opposed the introduction of this new regulation and, therefore, no further action was taken.

19.        Proposed Amendment of Regulation H(1)(B)5.c. Re-runs following an elimination
Morag Kelly, on behalf of Ms Smith, a private individual, proposed an amendment to the above regulation. Dave Ray seconded the proposal. A brief discussion ensued stating that the proposal was a little vague. It did not encompass unforeseen circumstances, such as interference from another dog entering the ring, which may unintentionally cause an elimination and so, may warrant a re-run as a result. The majority opposed the proposed amendment to re-runs and felt the matter should remain at the judge's discretion. The Council wanted to stress that although it did not support granting re-runs in the event of an elimination, it accepted that there may be an unforeseen circumstance whereby a re-run may be permitted.


Methods of Securing Pipe Tunnels – Ms S Bingham
20.      Ms Bingham requested the Council discuss how shows can ensure that pipe tunnels are secured in such a way, that the height of the tunnel is not reduced under the minimum height by the over tightening of the retaining straps now commonly used. It was felt that this could potentially cause injury to larger dogs unaware of the smaller dimension. A discussion took place and the Council agreed that concern had arisen in the past year with regard to the type of strapping used, which included the strap being too short or narrow thereby compressing a section of the tunnel to a smaller diameter. It was stressed that it was the judge's responsibility to ensure that the equipment in the ring met Kennel Club Regulations as they were responsible for the safety of the dogs in that particular ring. 

21.        It was suggested that strapping with a crossover at the top, was a slightly better option and it was noted that shows overseas had used strapping at the edges of the tunnel to peg them down. In conclusion, the Council agreed that wider straps which would spread the compression onto the tunnel would be preferable. It encouraged equipment manufacturers to create alternative options to prevent this problem.

Agility Contact Equipment Surface – Mr & Mrs Jackson and Mr & Mrs Hutchinson
22.      Mr & Mrs Ian Jackson and Mr & Mrs Hutchinson requested the Council discuss the possibility of stipulating one type of contact surface to be used at agility shows. There were currently two types of surface used at agility shows, rubber and painted wood. The Chairman stated that the discussion item was not to stipulate a type of surface in the regulations, but rather that the schedules should state which type of surface they would be using at their show. The Council agreed that the surface could not be regulated since the “rubber” comprised of various compositions, most of which was not actually rubber. It was agreed that attitudes towards contact surfaces should evolve naturally and that time would indicate which would prove to be the most popular.

23.        The Council was reminded that this matter had been addressed at its June 2011 meeting. The minutes stated that the Council recommended a press release be issued requesting show societies to specify in show schedules, where possible, the types of contacts and equipment supplier they planned to use at their show or in a particular class so that competitors may be forewarned. The office stated that the specimen schedule would be revised accordingly to include this information and that another press release would be issued.

Judging of the Up Contact – Mr & Mrs Jackson and Mr & Mrs Hutchinson
24.       The Council considered the options suggested for finding a more effective method of judging the 'Up Contact' of the Dog Walk. It was agreed that electronic contacts were a nice idea in principle, but acknowledged that the discipline had not yet reached that point, partly due to their high expense. It was also agreed that a second judge was impractical when show societies already required a high number of judges.

25.       25.        Suggestions such as the removal of the 'Up Contact' were dismissed because it would compromise the safety of the obstacle. Furthermore, it would encourage dogs to jump higher or from a worse angle. If the contact requirement was removed, it would suggest a need for a further regulation to stipulate that another obstacle should be placed in a straight line prior to the Dog Walk to minimise risk of potential injury. Overall, the majority of the Areas concluded that the matter should remain as it was and, therefore, no further action was taken. The Council stated that judges were expected to continue judging both ends of the Dog Walk.

Handler Jumping over or Running under Equipment – Mr & Mrs Jackson and Mr & Mrs Hutchinson
26.       The Council acknowledged that many judges used custom and practice to eliminate competitors as described above, even though it was not actually regulated. The matter was brought to Council as it was deemed that a competitor jumping over, running under or running through an obstacle is unsafe. It was agreed that the judge was responsible for the safety within a ring and, therefore, should have the authority to penalise competitors. The Council supported the discussion and welcomed proposals from the agility community should they wish to take the matter forward for further consideration.

FCI Agility Rules – Mr & Mrs Jackson and Mr & Mrs Hutchinson
27.       The Chairman stated that the above item was meant to refer to a request for more FCI style agility courses, rather than a direct move to adopt FCI regulations. The Council discussed the views of the area meetings which by majority, did not support the suggestion because most competitors were not well acquainted with FCI regulations or its style of course design. It was agreed not to take the matter further. 

Optional Obstacle Negotiation – Bill Glover
28.       The Council reviewed the practice of placing numbers on obstacles to give competitors a choice of ‘either end' or ‘either side', in Standard Classes. The Council agreed that although this practice was slightly ambiguous, it should be left for the discretion of the judge as to how the obstacle would be judged. No further action was taken.

Obstacles Consecutively used on a Course – Bill Glover
29.       The Council was requested to review the practice of using a jump obstacle twice consecutively on a course, either in opposite directions, known as “back-jumping”, or twice in the same direction. It was stressed that the minimum distance between obstacles would be reduced and, therefore, breaching Kennel Club Regulations. It was highlighted that each dog's path would be different based on its landing and that competitors were responsible for ensuring the safest possible path for their dogs. There was also concern expressed regarding the abrupt twist that could be asked of a dog when back jumping, which could be detrimental to its wellbeing.

30.        A debate also took place on whether an obstacle with two consecutive numbers should be termed as the same obstacle or whether the one obstacle should be treated as two separate obstacles. The Council sympathised with the reasoning for the discussion item, but felt it should be the judge's discretion to ensure good course design, taking into consideration the safety of the dogs.

Re-runs – Ms H Smith
31.       The Council discussed when a competitor should run should they have been granted a re-run by a judge. It was agreed that it would be considered that the dog requiring a re-run had already worked for the purpose of ensuring a handler's dogs were worked in the sequence ii which they were drawn.  The Council was against the view that a judge could make a decision at the end of the class whether a re-run was offered, as a means of ensuring all the given placings were filled. It advised that judges should make a decision, on whether to grant a re-run, at the time of the incident and that the competitor should have another attempt within 10 further dogs having run would be preferable.


32.       Dave Ray gave a verbal report on arrangements for the Kennel Club International Agility Festival to be held at Kelmarsh Hall on 10-12 August 2012. It was noted that plans were progressing well, following the success of the layout in 2011, it was confirmed that it would remain the same for 2012 and that the format of the classes would be similar. The office stated that the Young Kennel Club Jumping and Agility Dog of the Year heats would be held at the Festival. Following a series of heats, there would be a Final in memory of Don Nunn and that the Nations Cup competition would be altered slightly. It was further noted that new Health and Safety procedures had been introduced including having paramedics on site, as well as the presence of a veterinary trade stand. 


33.        The Council noted a written report on the progress of the Judges Working Party. It was stated that a number of matters were currently being considered which required further discussion and that that the Council would be informed of its recommendations in due course.


Large Dog Olympia Semi-Finals
34.       Concerns were raised whether it would be fairer to take a smaller number of dogs from the Novice and Senior Olympia quarter finals held at Stoneleigh, rather than 36 currently taken. This would allow each handler to have a minimum of two runs at Olympia. It was agreed that this matter would be reviewed.

Use of Muzzles at Shows
35.       The Council noted that concerns had been raised that some competitors used black material muzzles on their dogs, immediately after having run a course, which kept the dog's mouth shut. It was argued that this type of muzzle prevented the dog from panting properly and, therefore, put the dog's welfare at risk, especially in hot weather conditions. The Council stressed it did not support the use of muzzles. However, where a dog required a muzzle, it should be of the basket type style to ensure the dog could pant properly. The Council requested the office to issue a press release to highlight this matter.


36.       34.        The date of the next meeting will be 21 June 2012, which will be the last meeting of the current term of the Council. Items for the agenda should reach the office by 23 March 2012.

35.        There being no further matters to discuss the meeting closed at 15:00pm.

Agility Liaison Council Representatives

1 January 2010 – 31 December 2012

Listed below are the Area Liaison Council Representatives that can be contacted should further information be required on any of the items included on the minutes.


Mr Richard Jordan, 2 Passmore, Tinkers Bridge, Milton Keynes, MK6 3DZ

Tel: 01908 667798   E-mail:richard.jordan@talktalk.net

Mr Dave Ray, 13 Helmdon Close, Rugby, Warks, CV21 1RS

Tel: 01788 561253   E-mail: drayped@aol.com

North East

Mr Ian Mallabar, The Granary, Spen Lane, Rowlands Gill, NE39 2BZ

Tel: 01207 544406   E-mail: ian.mallabar@btinternet.com

Mrs Janet Nero, 6 Northgate, Oulton, Leeds, LS26 8NZ

Tel: 0113 2823445   E-mail: jandcnero@btinternet.com

North West

Mrs Pauline Baltes, 45 Well Orchard, Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancs, PR5 8HJ

Tel: 01772 494852 / 07803 261808   E-mail: pabq@blueyonder.co.uk

Mr Mike Hallam, Hollins View, Leek Road, Bosley, Macclesfield, SK11 0PP

Tel: 01260 223190/07711058910   E-mail: m.hallam@btconnect.com

Northern Ireland

Mr Ronnie McAleese, 27 Dermott Walk, Comber, Newtownards, County Down, BT23 5NU

Tel: 02891 878125   E-mail: ronnie@patchagility.com


Ms Morag Kelly, 5 Broompark Crescent, Murthly, Perthshire, PH1 4HH

Tel: 01738 710354   E-mail: moragkelly_@hotmail.com

South & South West

Mr Tony Griffin, 20 Monmouth Avenue, Weymouth, Dorset, DT3 5JR

Tel: 01305 777856/07743 655311   E-mail: tonygriffin20@tiscali.co.uk

Miss Lesley Olden, Birchwood House Cottage, Sherfield English, Nr Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 6FF

Tel: 01794 323037   E-mail: lesleyolden@aol.com

South East & East Anglia

Mr Simon Chandler, 16 Hawth Hill, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 2RW

Tel: 07772 670086   E-mail: sjabbaman@aol.com

Mr John Gilbert, Keba Cottage, 100 Bedford Road, Barton-le-Clay, Beds, MK45 4LR

Tel: 01582 882366   E-mail: faldoagility@aol.com


Mr Mike Shaw, Ewyn-y-Don, Llanon, Wales, SY23 5HZ

Tel: 01974 202347   E-mail: somethingferal@aol.com


2nd February 2012

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