March 26, 2015

A Look at Qualification Rate by Height

In a previous post, we looked at the differences in speed across the American Kennel Club jump heights. In this post, we look at differences in qualifying rate between heights”. The table and charts below are based on all Regular Masters runs from 1/1/2014 to 1/1/2015. The histogram charts below show the distribution of qualifying rate for each height. (Note: the charts may take a few moments to load)

Average Qualifying Rate at Each Height

Height Avg #
Entered Per Class
Qualifying Rate
Qualifying Rate
8″ 9 51% 55%
12″ 13 46% 54%
16″ 15 43% 48%
20″ 26 40% 44%
24″ 13 42% 46%
26″ 2 38% 41%

It is interesting to note that the qualifying rate is universally lower in Standard than it is in Jumpers. Also note that qualifying rate and speed have an inverse relationship; as a group of dogs gets faster, their qualifying rate gets lower (as seen in the following two graphs).

Distribution of Qualifying Rate Across Each Height – Jumpers With Weaves

All 6 Jumpers With Weaves distribution charts use the same horizontal axis range. This allows you to visually compare the qualifying rate distribution between heights.

Distribution of Qualifying Rate Across Each Height – Standard

All 6 Standard distribution charts use the same horizontal axis range. This allows you to visually compare the qualifying rate distribution between heights.

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  • Whatever the distribution, it is almost impossible for an 8″ dog to qualify for Premier JWW. We regularly Q everything else, often well below SCT. For 30+ Premier attempts we have about 10 Premier Standard Qs, lots of no fault JWW Premiere runs, but never even close to making JWW Premier SCT time. We have a first place in a Regional USDAA biathlon, but cannot even get close to JWW Premier time. We do find the SCTs for all other AKC runs to be quite reasonable.

  • As to the lower Q rate in Standard….simple….more things to go wrong….this one also has contacts for the dogs to blow in addition to all the other possibilities.

    • True. And I’ve always had a better Q rate in Jumpers. However, I know many people that struggle with the pace of JWW. There’s never a moment to catch up to the dog.

  • Sarah and Esteban, I would like to push back a little on what appears to be a higher Q rate among 8″ dogs. In this group, there can tend to be a “selection” factor involved.

    It’s easier for a toy breed who turns out to be a couch princess or prince to be retired to pet status or go off to live with grandma, etc. This happens a lot if a toy breed doesn’t have the drive or temperament to stand up to a career in agility.

    Toy breed dogs that “don’t make it” tend to be too slow or not able to make it around the course well, for whatever reason. Dropping the A frame and rubberized contacts have helped more 8″ dogs get and stay in the game, but it’s still true that some of the “weaker” ones tend to retire early or not get to the ring at all.

    I guess what I’m saying is that part of the reason the Q rate may be higher is that the class may “self select” for dogs that are more physically and mentally capable of standing up to life as an agility dog. While this happens in other heights, the small size of toy breeds, tendency towards lack of stamina in some dogs and relative easiness to keep even a drivey one simply as a house pet, makes it easier to retire one that doesn’t work out.

    The 8″ dogs that “stay” tend to be a comparatively strong and hardy bunch compared to toy dogs in general, IMO.

    • I think another factor in the Q rate of smaller dogs, many of them don’t run as fast, and also don’t land as close to the next obstacle (or off course obstacle as the case may be) so the handler has a chance to correct the dog’s path before a wrong course occurs.

      • I think (as you mention) it is about the number of strides between obstacles. Every stride is a point where you can change the dog’s mind on where they’re going. Even the fastest 8″ dogs, the ones that run as fast as a 20″ dog, have probably 5 times as many strides. That’s 5 times the chances to change their path.

        • 💯 percent this! I have two goldens…one is super consistent and slow and one is super fast…I can get the slow one to change course easily…the fast one is over it before he even hears me🤣

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