| The fun sport of dog agility was first seen at Crufts Dog Show in London, England, in February 1978. To understand how the idea of agility first developed, we have to go back a year earlier and look at the 1977 Cruft's Dog Show.
A member of the Cruft's Show Committee, John Varley, was given the task of organising fun entertainment in the main arena. The intent of this entertainment was to hold the public's attention during a break in the proceedings after the obedience championship finished, and before the group judging commenced.
John's main interest was in horses, not dogs. With horse show-jumping in mind, John conceived a dog event with obstacles... a canine version of horse show-jumping. Not having expertise with dogs, John approached his friend Peter Meanwell, a well known Working Trials competitor and judge, John asked him to develop a set of obstacles for this fun agility event and rules based on his knowledge of dogs.
By February 1978, the first public display between two teams took place at Crufts. It was such a huge success that even at that early stage in it's development, the future of dog agility was secured.
Over the years following, the sport evolved and became the fastest growing, fun dog sport. Dog agility has spread throughout the world in a very short space of time.
Thanks, John Varley and Peter Meanwell, for such a great fun sport to enjoy with our dogs. Agility is fun!
Robert Loftus. [ Published in Clean Run (USA) Feb. 1998.]