December 3, 2014

AKC NAC Qualification Changes from 2015 to 2016

The AKC changed the qualifying requirements for entry into the 2016 National Agility Championship (NAC) from the previous year. First, let’s take a look at the difference in requirements.

2015: 4 QQs, 500 points, and 20 qualifying runs in standard and/or jumpers.
2016: 5 QQs, 600 points, and 20 qualifying runs in standard and/or jumpers.

In the chart below, we take a look at how different requirement schemes change the number of eligible regular dogs (*** see red box below) and their average speed.

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We’ve recorded a podcast discussing these numbers as well as our thoughts. Don’t miss episode 80.
*** Incomplete Data
Note that the final events of the qualifying year have not yet been recorded, so this data has been pulled for 12/1/2013 – 10/31/2014 (missing one month). Once November has been recorded, we will recalculate.

The first row shows the total number of dogs who qualified for the 2015 NAC (under the 2015 requirements).

The second row shows the total number of dogs who would have qualified under the new 2016 requirements.

The remaining rows show various combinations of QQ’s and Points and the effect on possible entries.

  # of Dogs
(*** see note above)
# of Distinct Breeds Avg STD YPS Avg JWW YPS
Dogs that qualified for the 2015 NAC 2296 135 3.97 4.99
Dogs that would have qualified under the 2016 rules 1738
129 3.96 4.98
20 Q’s, 4 QQ’s, 600 pts
(just changing pts)
129 3.96 4.98
20 Q’s, 5 QQ’s, 500 pts
(just changing QQ’s)
135 3.96 4.98
20 Q’s, 8 QQ’s, 500 pts
(doubling QQs, keeping points)
132 3.91 4.91


First, approximately 75% of NAC qualifiers would qualify under the new requirements, meaning they would not need to trial any more than they already do.

Second, the Yard Per Second average changed very little between the groups of dogs. This indicates that the changes result in a group of competitors with similar speeds.

Third, increasing the number of points has a much larger impact than increasing the number of QQs on the number of dogs qualified. Even hypothetically doubling the number of QQ’s required to 8 did not reduce the entry numbers as much as adding 100 points.

We’ve discussed these trends along with our own thoughts on the podcast: Episode 80: AKC NAC Qualification Changes from 2015 to 2016.

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  • It would be interesting to see the yps data broken down by jump height. I wonder if there would be more of a difference in the avg. yps by height than with all the heights combined.

  • Back when we first went to Tampa in 2004 or 5, I think you needed 6 QQs. Lots of people didn’t make the QQ limit. Then AKC started to dumb it down. Too bad.

  • it would also be interesting to know how many more shows (if any) people had to do to meet the requirements when it went from 400-500 speed points (that was new in 2014)…..and then after this new qualifying period how many more shows (if any) that had to be done to meet the 600…..

    • We did that analysis during the last qualification change, but it’s not something I could put together quickly. Maybe I can find a moment πŸ˜‰

  • For a couple years I have been saying AKC should go to a true regional system. Meaning you can only go to the regional in the area you trial most. If you win your regional you get an automatic spot in the challengers round. Then from the regional only 25% can go to nationals. If they did that they could lower the requirements some and NAC would really have dog exciting to watch, plus it would go back to being a weekend event instead of 4 days.

    • That’s an interesting idea. The problem is that there is NO system that you can’t poke holes in. A regional system makes it hard for those who live in popular agility communities. And puts your NAC on the line for a regional where you might have an off weekend, or worse, an injury.

      • in all amateur sports and professional sports there is regionals to get to nationals why does agility have to be any different? The only sport that didnt have something like that was collage football and now they have put in a bracket system it is still flawed but better then what they had.

  • Wondering why the QQ requirement isn’t higher I would have thought QQs were as important as speed points— could it be AKC is only interested in speed? If they want to increase the qualifying requirements and make it more competitive increase the QQ numbers as well as points! FAST and ACCURACY now that’s a GREAT AGILITY DOG/HANDLER TEAM

    • Ali – They did increase the QQs as well. Up by one, which is a 25% increase, the increase in points was a 20% increase! My thought is that they want to increase the requirements, but not in a “jarring” or sudden way. So a percentage increase, not a sudden 2x or 3x change.

      • I did see that and as I was told in a private message ‘Invitationals’ has more weight in QQs which eliminates many from attending so what was the point of changing NAC. I have nothing vested in either venue not a personal goal at this time.

  • I would predict if you look at Preferred dogs you’d see a more significant impact on total dogs and number of distinct breeds

  • When you calculated the number of qualified dogs, and found the number to be similar, is it the SAME dogs, or did some of them get swapped out for other dogs? That is, are the dogs in rows 2-5 of your table a subset of the dogs in row 1?

    • Since Row 1 has the most lenient qualifications, rows 2-5 are mathematically a subset of Row 1. You might get some switching and overlap when you start looking at just changing points or just changing QQs compared to changing both.

      • Oh of course. Right. I think it is still going to be TOO big! There were people in my FB feed posting that they were qualified in February…

          • Certainly no random draw! As every sport grows in popularity, the level at the national championship is going to grow. I mean, if most of us played basket ball or baseball or swimming or golf, we would compete locally and that would be normal and expected. I don’t think we would expect the NBA to host an event that was appropriate for all competitors and nor do most of us compete in the World Series! Do we want our sport to continue to get more competitive or not? So…. I think at some point the YPS cut off is going to be the only way to go. Also, adding regional events with more ways to qualify for NAC, and more chances to attend a ‘big competition’ would be great.

  • So, 1 out of 4 people who went to the 2014 NAC will have to trial more frequently in order to get the pioints necessary to qualify. If hose people were only a small amount under the 600 and will presumably try to get the points necessary, what was the point in the change? The entries will still be too high for a reasonable event.

    • My personal thought is that they are looking for ways to limit the event over time without having a sudden complete shift. Meaning, they need to limit it, but limit it somewhat gradually. Imagine if it was suddenly TWICE as hard to qualify. Competitors would be even less happy about the change.

  • Thanks – Interesting data. I suspect that the effect of the change would in fact be less. Some people quit competing the minute that they meet the requirement so would show up as not eligible under the new requirement when they could have made it by continuing to compete.

  • As the first commenter mentioned, it would be interesting to see the breakdown by height of the 558 dogs that would not have qualified. My guess is its mostly 20 and 26″ dogs who are splitting their time with AKC and USDAA, and who only do enough AKC to qualify for nationals.

    • I personally believe they are looking for a balance. There’s often criticism for QQs with people claiming the AKC is catering to the “safe” team.

      • I think the set up of the competition definitely rewards the safer team…cheetah has been to 6 NAC competitions and has not made finals due to not running clean all rounds clear…but if you look at the cumulative time, she would have ALWAYS been in the finals…and many of the dogs that made finals were significantly slower…

      • These AVERAGE speeds are not far off ITT speeds:

        a minimum rate of speed of:
        β€’3.70 yards per second (YPS) – small dogs
        β€’3.80 yards per second (YPS) – medium dogs
        β€’4.00 yards per second (YPS) – large dogs

        a minimum rate of speed of:
        β€’4.90 yards per second (YPS) – small dogs
        β€’5.00 yards per second (YPS) – medium dogs
        β€’5.40 yards per second (YPS) – large dogs

  • How does it impact dogs qualifying by jump height? I would guess it would impact all similarly, but might be slightly higher for 20 & 26 heights.

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