How to Judge Dog Agility


Flexible Tunnel

A vinyl tube, 4 - 8m long and about 61cm in diameter, through which the dog runs. The tunnel is constructed of flexible vinyl and wire, and can be configured in a straight line, or in a variety of curves to suit the course.


Two uprights supporting a horizontal bar over which the dog jumps. The height is adjusted for dogs of different heights.

Weaving Poles

There are 12 weaving poles on a course, with around 60cm between each pole. They are flexible as to allow the dog to flex the poles as it is weaving. Dogs must always enter between the first and second poles with the first pole to the dogs left.

Broad Jump

The Broad Jump consists of two to four separate boards the dog must jump over. The distance that a dog must jump and the number of boards to be used depends on the height of the dog.


The Scramble consists of two planks connected at the top in an "A" form. The bottom portion of both planks is painted a bright colon, usually yellow, forming the contact zone, onto which the dog must place at least one paw while ascending and descending.

Dog Walk

The centre plank is raised to 1.2m above the ground, so that the two end planks form ramps leading up to and down from the center plank. This obstacle also has coloured contact zones the dog must touch while ascending and descending.


A hoop with a 60cm diameter that the dog needs to jump through. The height of the hoop is adjusted for dogs of different heights.


A 3.5m plank pivoting on a fulcrum, much like a child's seesaw. It is constructed slightly off balance so that the same end always returns to the ground. The Seesaw will have a drop rate of 2 to 3 seconds. This obstacle also has contact zones the dog must touch and cannot leave the contact zone until the plank has touched the ground.


The Starting and Finishing Lines consist of a set of two poles with an electronic sensor that starts and stops the timing clock. Each set needs to be less than one metre from the first or last obstacle.

How Dog Agility Works

The Course

The course is designed by the judge officiating, and will vary depending on the size and shape of the competition area. Every obstacle must be completed in the order specified by the judge. The distance between obstacles can be between four and eight metres.


To obtain a Clear Round a dog must negotiate the course within the Standard Course Time and not incur any faults. The standard course time is calculated based on the length of the course and the rate of travel for the dog.

Height Categories

Dogs are measured in height at the peak of their shoulders. They are then divided into height groups; making the course more even between a small dog and a large dog. 


Faults are scored against a competitor for a number of reasons, these include taking too long to complete a course, failing to attempt an obstacle and completing an obstacle incorrectly  

Experience Levels

Within each height category the dogs are also divided into experience levels. These are Novice, Excellent, Master and Open. To move up a level, the dog must successfully complete a number of courses under a range of judges.


Winners are determined by having the fastest course time and the least amount of penalties. In the event of a tie, the placings will be decided by a run-off.

The above judging criteria and comments have been provided for the purpose of education and do not represent the views, opinions or position of judges, officials or the RA&HS. Any resemblance to actual persons, competitors, or exhibits living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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