January 28, 2016

Is the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster Valuable to Dog Agility?

Yes, much more so than the casual competitor realizes. The 3rd Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster will take place at New York’s Pier 94 on Saturday, Feb. 13th, 2016 and will be followed by Westminster’s 140th Annual All Breed Dog Show on Monday and Tuesday. So what’s the big deal?

The chart below (generated by Google Trends) shows searches for “dog agility” in 2015 in the United States. The peak occurred during the week of February 15-21, coinciding with the 2nd Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster that aired on February 15th on Fox Sports. This large peak highlights the impact of the event, as interest in the search term “dog agility” far exceeded that of any other week in 2015.

Interest in “Dog Agility” in 2015

Let’s take a closer look at the data by expanding our look at Google searches for “dog agility” to include 2014. In 2014, the 1st Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster aired live on February 8th; during that week we see another impressive spike in searches for dog agility. The chart below includes both 2014 and 2015, and shows two large spikes in searches that coincide with the Westminster event.

Interest in “Dog Agility” in 2014, 2015

Finally, let’s look at search results from 2013, the year before the first Westminster event, and compare them to 2014. A quick look shows the big peak from 2014 from the first event, but no significant peak in interest prior to that show!

Interest in “Dog Agility” in 2013, 2014

Certainly, the annual televised Masters Agility Championship at Westminster creates a strong, albeit brief, public interest in dog agility. Assuming that many television viewers have companion dogs, Westminster presents the agility community with a great opportunity to infuse the sport with new students and competitors.

Here in the United States, while the AKC National Agility Championship and USDAA Cynosport World Games will continue to draw the lion’s share of attention from high level competitors, Westminster attracts by far the largest audience and deserves our recognition and support, because today’s spectator will become tomorrow’s competitor.

Esteban and Golden Retriever Gitchi will be competing at the 3rd Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster.

See Gitchi in Action

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  • Nice. I knew this would begin to happen. I became interested in Agility after watching the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge on TV years ago. In 2012, we drove up to Purina Farms to watch the finals. Hopefully, more big events will be broadcasted on these large networks at good times, while presenting good information (hopefully, that Cezar Milan won’t be on this year). Also, it’d be awesome if Westminster will start adding more canine sports and other events, similarly to what Crufts is doing.

    Also, I have a question about the one of the graphs shown on your “How Has AKC Agility Grown Over the Past 10 Years?” post back in mid 2014. Does anyone know what caused the sudden rise of Novice A dogs in 2010 (last graph shown on the page below)?


    • I knew it would happen, and yet, I’m still shocked by how MEASURABLE the impact is!

      As for the Nov A graph, my best guess is a bounce back from the 2008 financial crisis.

      • Yeah, that’s a sizable spike on those graphs.

        Ah, okay. Makes sense. I kinda had a small thought that maybe Agility got promoted somewhere/somehow.

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