What to do if you want to compete. Before you start here is what you have to do…

Register your dog for Kennel Club shows
Your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club on either the Breed register or the Activity Register. If your dog is a pedigree, then not much you need to worry about here. Just ensure that you have your dogs name, date of birth and KC number handy for completing entries.

If your dog is a non-pedigree, rescue etc, then will need to be registered on the Kennel Club Activities Register. The link to the page is: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/registration/how-to-register-your-dog/activity-register/

Once you have completed and returned the form, they will check it and will usually call you if a name choice is already in use.

Please note that it may take several weeks for the process to be completed and the forms returned

Get your dog measured
It is a Kennel Club requirement that all dogs – except those that have been competing prior to 2006 – are measured. This includes those that may just be competing in Anysize classes.

Measuring sessions are carried out at many shows through the year, and also sometimes on specially arranged sessions. Details of planned measuring sessions will usually be noted on show schedules.

You will need to have an official Agility Record Book for the dog – available from the Kennel Club, although the measurers MAY have record books available to buy.

The dog must have a microchip or ear tattoo. If it has neither, you must have a passport-sized photo of the dog which clearly identifies it when you go to the measuring session. The dog must be over 15 months of age except an ‘obviously large’ dog which can be measured before it is 15 months old (At the discretion of the measurers)

You will need to pay the measuring fee of £4 per measurement to the measurers.

Second and third measurements
A second measurement must be carried out not less than 12 months and not more than 24 months after the date of the first measurement but ‘obviously Large’ dogs can be exempted at the discretion of the first measurers. If the height on the second measurement is different from the first, a third and final measurement must be arranged within two months of the second measurement, at which the measurers are both different from the measurers who conducted the first and second measurements.

UK Agility
The other popular shows that you may want to attend are run by UK Agility (UKA) For these, you do need to register although some shows offer a ‘Try Before You Buy’. Further details can be found at: http://ukagility.com/HowTo.aspx

Dogs also here have to measured on their system, unless obviously large. These sessions are arranged at many of their own shows.

Planning Your Diary & Finding Schedules

Once a club has confirmed its dates for the year, and future years, these tend to appear on various websites, such as www.agilitynet.co.uk, Facebook (not only own pages but also the Agility Schedules page) and show processing websites such as iSS, Showtime, L & N, First Place and SWAP as well as club websites.

With the majority of shows now available to enter on-line through on-line show processors such as SWAP or iSS etc, entering has become much easier than the old, manual paper entry form system.

Once a schedule is out and live for entering, it pays to make a note to yourself say a week in advance of the closing date to ensure done in time. A Google or Outlook Calendar reminder usually works well! Some people also create a spreadsheet listing shows, colour coded if entered, got running orders through etc. Keep a lookout too for reminders of a show closing shortly from on-line processors.

If camping is required – book asap! Especially at the bigger, more popular shows, camping can be full within a very short period of time!

Entering a Show

Ensure your entry is in on time!!!

And that includes if entering on-line – paid for! Not only is it a breach of Kennel Club regulations to enter late, but as soon as a show reaches its closing date, this is when a vast amount of work begins for the show management and processors. Paperwork for all the classes has to be prepared, running orders produced, ring plans done to ensure no clashes, rosettes and trophies also have to be ordered to the percentage of entries per class. You can imagine the problems caused by, for instance, a class expected to have 20 dogs entered, suddenly jumping to 40! If you try and enter late, your entry will be returned.

For Open and Limit shows, your running orders will be sent out in the post usually a couple of weeks – sometimes less – before the actual show date. Do not start panicking until it gets to a few days before. Then contact the Show Secretary who will be able to advise.

(Note: If it is an agility Match, running orders are not sent out. You just collect your entry cards on the day)

Normally at KC shows you can enter a maximum of two or three classes per day – apart from Anysize. However, sometimes there can be more – seven has been known!

Put some thought into whether you want to enter them all? If many various classes are available for your Grade to enter, then be aware that this can often mean they will be running more than one at the same time. Walking four courses at once first thing in the morning can cause serious brain ache if you are not used to it! If you are having a non-competing dog present at the show (NFC), then you need to declare this when entering, or log details with the Show Secretary on the day.

Filling In Your Entry Form

Most shows now offer on-line entry facilities. If entering this way, you need to register your details with the relevant show processors in order to do so.

Once this is done, it is self-explanatory and the website should guide you through it. You usually simply select the show you wish to enter on their website, check the boxes next to the classes you wish to enter (always pays to have a copy of the actual schedule printed out / open on screen whilst doing so)

If a member of the organising club, there will be a box to check to indicate this to calculate any reduced entry fees

Also you may see boxes to check if wish to offer to help at the show (if a member of the organising club then you will usually be expected to as a matter of course), boxes for NFC dogs attending, and also if available, camping If preferring to do manually, you need to fill in the form and return to the address stated, usually enclosing an SAE for your running orders

Don’t forget too to familiarise yourself with all the small print in the schedule. This is basically all the rules and regulations that competitors and show organisers have to abide to. You may need to invest in a magnifying glass to read!

Keep a watch out on-line for any amendments that are being brought in. These are usually announced in the Autumn and brought into force at the start of the following year.

The qualifying date is the date that any wins in your current grade are taken up to. Should you win up a grade before that date, and have already entered, then you need to notify the show secretary / show processors at least 14 days before the show date

Prior to the Show

Footwear !!

Many handlers have fallen in the ring due to inadequate footwear. So ensure you’ve got adequate footwear! Most summertime shows are outdoors in our wonderfully unreliable weather!

Trail and Fell running shoes are very popular as known for giving good grip for running in wet conditions. Salomon Speedcross and Inov8 Mudclaws are popular higher-end versions. However, there are some good more reasonably priced variants on the market such as More Miles and Karrimor.

Check Venue 

May sound silly, but some clubs may hold their shows at different locations during the year. Some competitors have been known to be heading to the wrong venue.

Check the weather
Not only for the day, but to maybe allow for travelling time too, especially if going some distance during the winter

Make sure got everything together you need.

For example

Running shoes


Waterproofs and dog coat (if wet)

Sun cream for you and dog. Keep in mind venues such as Royal Cornwall Showground are exposed to sea breezes, and you can burn even on a cloudy day!

Running order and Ring Plan – highlight if need be where your classes are and when

Directions to venue

Record books – These could well be asked for on spot checks being carried out by judges or show management, to ensure dogs are measured, registered etc.

Protection for dogs in cars – items such as reflective foil sheets, Gazebos, Windbreaks and Canopys are popular

Water and bowl for dogs


Favourite toy

Poo bags

Basic first aid bits -both human and canine – always handy to carry some Instant Ice Packs, for use in the event of minor injury to human or dog