Agility teams compete against others of roughly the same ability. In addition, dogs are matched against others of their general height.
There are generally three separate levels of difficulty in the courses. A team must demonstrate proficiency at a lower level before being allowed to move up to play on courses at a higher level. The names of the three levels differ in different organization.
The performance level can determine the number of obstacles in a course, which obstacles are present, the complexity of the layout of the course, and the time allowed to complete the course without penalty.
Jump Height Classes
Dogs jump at heights appropriate to their size. Generally, a dog is measured at the shoulder (or what would be called the "withers" for a horse) and jumps at the next jump height (generally, 8", 12", 16", 20", and 24" heights, though different organizations have somewhat different height classes) above its measured height.
A dog's jump height determines the height of jumps, including the tire jump, and of the pause table. It also determines the distance a dog must jump in the broad jump (see below).
Senior dogs (over 6 or 7 years of age, or even younger for some breeds) are often allowed to jump one height class below their measured height. In some organizations, the height of the A-frame (see below) is also lowered for senior dogs.
A dog's height also affects the "standard course time" allowed to complete the course.
Legs and Titles
Each organization provides competitions at several (usually three) skill levels. Teams must prove proficiency at one level before competing at the next.
Qualifying runs (runs meeting at least a minimum designated standard for speed and accuracy) are called "legs" toward a title at that skill level. Qualifying runs are often referred to as "Q's", as in "We got a Q, but just by the skin of our teeth."
A title is generally awarded after a fixed number of legs have been earned. The number of legs required for a title is generally three, but this varies by skill level and game.
In USDAA, the highest titles can be earned only by getting qualifying runs with scores that place the team in the top 10 percent in the competition. These are called "super Qs".
Other Doggery Agility Pages
Animated Image of Agility Tunnel by Graphics From Fuzzy Faces Free Doggy Graphics.