August 15, 2013

AKC NAC Qualification Changes from 2013 to 2014

The AKC changed the qualifying requirements for entry into the 2014 National Agility Championship (NAC) from the previous year. First, let’s take a look at the difference in requirements.

2013: 6 QQs and 400 points.
2014: 4 QQs, 500 points, and 20 qualifying runs in standard and/or jumpers.

In the chart below, the first row shows the number of dogs who started the qualification period already running both jumpers AND standard in masters (and excluding performance dogs). This serves as an estimate for the pool of eligible dogs, to put the number of qualified dogs in context. Dogs who were in novice or open at the start of the period but eventually ended up in masters are not included in this number.

The second row shows the total number of dogs who qualified for the 2013 NAC (under the 2013 requirements).

The third row shows the total number of dogs who would have qualified for the 2013 NAC if the new 2014 requirements had been in effect.

  # of Dogs Avg STD YPS Avg JWW YPS
Dogs that started the qualifying year in Masters for both STD and JWW 6432 3.73 4.68
Dogs that qualified for the 2013 NAC 2897 3.8 4.76
Dogs that would have qualified under the 2014 rules 2523 3.85 4.81


There was a drop in the number of dogs who were eligible for the NAC, but for those dogs who qualified for the event, the average yards per second was slightly faster for both standard and jumpers.

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  • I’m relatively new to AKC agility, being mainly a herding/obedience person. (My Papillon just moved up to Masters Std. this weekend, then got his first MACH points on Sunday.)

    Where did the numbers came from in the first row–the one that has the average times for all dogs that started the year competing in Masters? I compete in the Chicago/Milwaukee area, and at the 6 weekends of trialing we’ve done so far, the majority of qualifiers are running about 0.5 yps slower than these numbers. My Pap has average yps’s similar to those shown in the top row, and is often in the “top 10” fastest qualifiers in a filled trial, regardless of height. Is that row in the table only a subset of dogs that has filled out some paperwork saying they intend to try for the NAC? Or are other areas of the country full of much faster dogs than I see in this area?

    • This data includes all dogs that competed in AKC during the 2013 qualifying year. The 6 weeks of trialing that you mention is a tiny fraction of the total data, so it could be that your location, or even those few trials ran outside the norm a bit. There are so many things that will affect these trends on such a large sample of dogs. The distribution of heights will make a difference as larger dogs as a group have a higher YPS than the smaller dogs (when you look at averages). I have even heard some competitors state that courses were wheeled larger in certain areas of the country, though we haven’t confirmed that with the data.

  • Interesting findings. I am curious about the final tally for YPS ! The only conversations I heard pertaining to the new requirements seemed to indicate there was a dismay that the new requirements would allow for slower dogs and be a disadvantage to faster dogs ????

    • Charlotte – That is one reason we decided to take a look at the numbers. There were many anecdotal stories, but no broad trends. It does not appear that there is an advantage to slower dogs. However, there is an advantage to dogs that show more (more on this in a separate post). I think many of the most competitive dogs split their time between multiple venues and so this hurts them. If you have the speed to be AKC’s National Champion, why wouldn’t you also want to win the Grand Prix? or Steeplechase?

  • I think you need to wait until the numbers for the 2014 qualifying period are actually in before you draw any conclusions from this data. I suspect that there are at least some and possibly a lot of people that once they got the needed 400 points for 2013 they didn’t enter as many trials as they might have if they had needed to get to the 500 points. My guess is that once the 2014 data is in that the percentage that qualified for 2013 and 2014 under the rules for each year respectively will be very, very close and that the actual ypses will be even close as well. Just a thought………… Thanks for providing actual data!

    • Absolutely. We had many thoughts of our own, but wanted to present the data independently. Our own experience lines up with your point above. As soon as we got our 6 QQs last year, we stopped showing. We ended up the year with 7 QQ, 22Q, and 432 pts. But if the rule change had been in effect, I would have put in the extra show to get those last 68 points. Many others would have done the same.

      Of course, that is part of the discussion as well. The rules motivate behavior, and in our case it would have motivated us to attend more trials.

      We will certainly revisit these numbers when the 2014 season is complete.

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