Who let the dogs out?

Oi the Kelpie-cross, above, leaps in an agility course.
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It’s all fun and paws this weekend in Ashburton with a two day agility championship show hosted by the Mid Canterbury Dog Training Club.

Around 300 dogs, of all breeds and sizes, will be working their tails off to try to complete a clean run through the course, which will consist of jumps, weaves, tunnels, ramps, and walks.

Debbie Woods, Mid Canterbury Dog Training Club trainer and event secretary said ‘‘there’s going to be some top handlers and top dogs there working towards the nationals.

‘‘There’ll be plenty of good dogs to watch, that’s for sure, and some really good handlers.’’

‘‘It will be a fairly busy weekend,’’ she said.

The event, at the Ashburton A&P Showgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, will score handlers and their dogs on their ability to complete a clear run, with overall speed determining placements.

About 15 local club members will be competing, including herself.

Gone are the days where the Border Collies and working dogs rule the agility arenas. Now agility is any dog’s game.

‘‘There’s all sorts now, you get the teeny tiny ones,’’ Debbie said, saying her Jack Russell Shih Tzu cross, Bisket, is a regular competitor and a champion.

‘‘It’s not a one particular breed of dog thing anymore, there’s an array of dogs, you’d be surprised actually how many different dogs there are or dog breeds that do it.’’

There will be seventeen classes competing over the weekend.

‘‘There’s obviously the starter classes, which are the younger dogs, all the way up to your senior and your A dogs,’’ Debbie said about the local championships.

‘‘There’s three jumpers grades and four agility grades.’’

The event will run on the grounds between 8.30am and 4pm. The public are welcome to attend and watch.

Rain or shine the Mid Canterbury champs will go ahead.

‘‘We’ve only ever cancelled a show once and that was because it was snowing,’’ Debbie said.

‘‘It would have to be fairly extremeI would think.’’

Around 130 people would be competing each day, with dogs and owners arriving from acrossNew Zealand.

It’s expected the New Zealand National Agility Championships, held in Christchurch over Labour Weekend, will increase the turn out.

It’s the first time in three years the nationals have been held, and there are many dogs and owners keen to put their agility skills to the test.

There will are seven competitors from Ashburton competing in the nationals over Labour Weekend.