This weekend, Spice and Silk had the opportunity to compete at the AKC National Agility Championship. Qualifying for this event requires 7 double Qs (qualifying in master standard and jumpers on the same day) and 550 speed points. The girls are consistent, but both have moderate speed, so the points are the harder part for them. This year’s event was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We’ve made it a big road trip and will hang out in Tulsa for a few days before heading to Texas for PBGV National.
There were more than 1300 dogs entered at the NAC, with Border Collies having the largest portion of the entry (288). Silk was one of 65 Aussies at the event, but Spice was the only PBGV. Prior to the event I had the opportunity to do an interview with AKC to share her story, which can be seen here.
I was happy to have this opportunity, not only because Spice is such an amazing partner, but because vulnerable breeds like PBGVs need support and recognition for the awesome dogs that they are. While there are lots of mixed breed dogs that are frequently mistaken or flat out misrepresented as PBGVs, the numbers of actual PBGVs being bred has decreased to a concerning rate over the past years. As doodle mixes with drop ears and facial furnishings become more and more common, the misidentification problem is likely to intensify dramatically.
The courses at this year’s event were challenging, as they should be at a national championship. Both girls did a great job for us. Spice was clear in standard and hybrid and Silk ran clear in premier standard and jumpers with me and regular standard with Dave. Yesterday we got to enjoy agility as spectators, watching the challengers and finals rounds. I found it interesting (but not surprising) that only one dog from the hound group, a whippet, made it to the challengers round and there were no hounds running in finals. There were lots of border collies, some Aussies and Goldens, some really awesome miniature poodles, lots of purpose bred sport mixes, and a handful of other breeds.
Sport mixes can be a controversial subject among preservation breeders. My view is that I support responsible, purposeful dog breeding. Breed preservation is a big priority for me and that’s the path that I am on, but I can respect why someone might want to establish a cross-bred breeding program for sports or working roles like service dogs. As dog breeding in general has gotten so difficult, I think it’s important for responsible breeders to support each other, even if we have different goals. I have much more respect for someone who openly, honestly, and thoughtfully crosses breeds for a particular purpose than I do for organizations and individuals who misrepresent the health, behavior, or breed status of dogs from unknown origins. Lying is never ok.
We’re hanging out for a few days in Tulsa, enjoying a full RV hookup and fenced in dog area before heading to Texas for PBGV National.