When do Agility Dogs Peak?

The topic for this Dog Agility Blogger Action Day is aging, and we are focusing on the natural trajectory of a dog’s speed over a career. We selected several fast, consistent, notable golden retrievers from the past and present and plotted their yards-per-second (YPS) in jumpers with weaves (JWW) over time.

  • Susie (Jane Simmons-Moake) – MACH14 PACH Flashpaws Runaround Sue MXS5 MJB6 MXP4 MXPB MJP4 MJPB PAX MXF MFS TQX
  • Holly (Jane Simmons-Moake) – OTCH MACH11 Flashpaws Hollywood Hotshot UDX2 MXG3 MJG4
  • Kelsey (Maggie Downey) – NAC MACH14 Flashpaws Kooki Lil Charmer UD MXB4 MJG4 MXP2 MJP2
  • Cutter (Lois Williams) – MACH15 Flashpaws Cut Me Loose ! MXC4 MJS5 MXF MFB TQX
  • Beamer (Jane Bronson) – MACH12 Fast-Traks Laser Flash MXS4 MJB5 MXF MFS TQX T2B

Click image to view a larger, interactive chart where you can click on the legend to highlight a particular dog.

It appears that speed increases with experience, reaches a plateau that indicates the “prime time” of the dog’s career, and gradually declines (probably reflecting age-related physical changes). Of note, for these dogs, the plateau begins around age 5-6, and begins to decline around age 9.

1. Kelsey and Holly ran in an earlier era of dog agility, and no data was available for their early career runs.
2. Only runs from excellent/masters JWW were included, mostly from 20″, but there are a few 24″ and 26″ runs included.
3. Beamer is still actively competing in regular classes.

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