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2019 Top Agility Dogs

Top Agility Dogs – Official Results

Meet Canada's Top Agility Dogs

A fast-moving, challenging and energetic sport, agility is enjoyed immensely by dogs and handlers alike. Dogs work off lead, guided by the signals and voice commands of their handlers, to speed around an intricate course over or through a variety of obstacles, including jumps, tunnels, weave poles, even a teeter-totter!

Following the heartbreaking loss of two of her beloved Portuguese Water Dogs, Tammy Hibberson decided to focus on a sport new to her with her dog Quinta, an accomplished, multi-talented canine competitor. Although Quinta wasn’t an immediate agility star, Tammy enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere of the sport, and together, she and Quinta worked their way into the #1 spot for 2019!
We had a chat with each of the ten TOP DOGS who shed some light on their most memorable victories, training tips, and more. Here are their interviews.  


#1 – Ch. AgMCh. Eauchien's Quinta NP JTX CDX TD RAE2 RMX AgMX3 AgMXJ3 ETD

Call Name: Quinta
Portuguese Water Dog
Owners: Tammy Hibberson & Leslie McCracken
Handler: Tammy Hibberson
Breeders: Leslie McCracken & Tammy Hibberson

How did you first get started in agility? Many years ago I was competing at a horse show where I saw a horse and hound event. The dog part looked like fun so I signed up for some agility lessons with my Labrador Retriever. A few months later, at a local horse show, I was able to compete in a "hoof and woof" with my own horse and dog, running my dog around his course, still in my riding boots and helmet. It was rather awkward but left me wanting to learn more about dog agility.  

What’s Quinta’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do? I store some agility equipment around the edge of my lawn at home and almost every day Quinta runs over and squeezes herself between our canoe and the upturned wheelbarrow to give me a 2o2o on her teeter, which is stored at the edge of the yard. I don't cue her to offer that behaviour but Quinta frequently offers her 2o2o on my stored teeter. I'm not sure if the teeter is her favourite piece of equipment but because she has a history of being rewarded for the end behaviour, she offers that behaviour whenever she sees an opportunity that might get rewarded.  

For what's hardest, I still haven't trained collection jumps; it's more fun to run fast and just take what's in front of us. Because I haven't taught a collection cue, sometimes when collection is required on courses, Quinta just slows down for everything. This has meant a couple of non-qualifying Jumpers runs because Quinta is cautious, wondering if I'll be jumping in front of her path and then we don't make Standard Course Time.

Does Quinta work best for treats, toys or praise?  Quinta runs her best when I am able to give her timely cues about where we're going next. If I can be in the correct position and I've given Quinta the direction she needs to run a course, without running into me or having to slow down to let me cross her path, she will run her best. Treats, toys and praise are a bonus for Quinta but they don't motivate her unless I also get off her path and give her timely information about where we are heading next.

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? Training and competing in agility with a chronic injury has been a challenge. When I started agility with Quinta, I was unable to wear shoes and had to train and run courses in Crocs. Not being able to wear runners was a bit of a drawback for conditioning and agility work, particularly in the winter. Because of a fabulous physiotherapist, I was able to wear supportive and suitable footwear for all my 2019 agility runs, although I did still walk some courses in Crocs and sandals because multiple days of running agility still inflamed my injury.  

What was your most memorable moment of 2019?  There has been so much happen since then.  Looking back from the middle of our current COVID restrictions, a treasured memory is the freedom we had to travel and compete in places I'd never been before, including Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island. Being a part of some great agility events, travelling through and to such beautiful places all across our country and connecting with so many kind and wonderful people are treasured memories. Meeting new people, watching different dogs and handlers run agility, sightseeing and simply experiencing different environments (like minus 40 degree Celsius weather in Edmonton) are parts of trialling in 2019 that I'll always remember.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? It probably sounds cliché but my advice would be to enjoy every moment with your dog and with the people you meet along your agility journey. A wise and caring trainer friend gave me some advice about doing all I can to become the person my dog needs, rather than the other way around, trying to train and manipulate a dog to be something they're not but the human thinks the dog should be. Accept what is and enjoy the process of striving to reach your destination.

What’s next for Quinta?  Quinta has 3 points left to earn for her CKC Grand Champion title, which we started working toward in 2020 before the pandemic put a stop to conformation shows. In 2019, Quinta became a veteran so it will depend when shows start up again, whether Quinta and I will try for her last GCH points. Quinta's mother, Eauchien's trial run, was the first PWD GCH (now GCHX) in Canada; maybe Quinta will make her mark on history by becoming the oldest PWD to earn a GCH!

(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)

#2 – AgMCh. Marolou Highway XP CGN JTX AgMX5 AgMXJ5 AgSC

Call Name: Highway
Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
Owner/Handler: Diane Guillotte
Breeder: Louise Beakes Dubreuil

How did you first get started in agility? While out on a walk, I saw an agility demonstration and it changed my life. The participants and the dogs were having so much fun. I had been trying to achieve exactly that, to develop a special bond with my dogs and at the same time, have fun.

What is Highway’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do? Highway loves contact obstacles. I always reward her when she has done well. She is currently focussing on the teeter, working on weight transfer, speed and contact. There has been a lot of improvement, but it’s an ongoing process.

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? The lockdowns in 2020 lead to a significant drop in events in Quebec. Highway loves to compete so much that she was a bit too enthusiastic on the courses. I increased the walks on days leading up to the events, stepped up the practice sessions, and everything has returned to normal.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019? Her performances at the American Kennel Club qualified her for the Invitational in Florida. Of course, we accepted the invitation.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? Always choose a breed that suits your lifestyle rather than simply one that is suited for competition. And choose a coach with a deep understanding of the breed and how it functions.

What’s next for Highway? In agility, to improve, gain precision, increase speed, and have more fun. We also compete in rally, obedience, trick dog, scent detection and barn hunt, and we constantly do physical conditioning exercises, always while having fun.

(Photo credit: Daniel Gélinas)

#3 – Ch. AgMCh. Novacoast Love Conquers All CGN MXPS JTX AgSCX RAE AgMX3 AgMXJS

Call Name: Elias
Australian Shepherd
Owners: J.Brassard. G. Brault. A. Slauenwhite & C.Veinot
Handler: Joanne Brassard
Breeders: Angela Slauenwhite & Colin Veinot

How did you first get started in agility? I started agility training about eight years ago. Elias is the second dog I have trained to this level.

What is Elias’ favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train him to do? I don't think Elias has a favourite piece of equipment, but he doesn't really enjoy the dog walk. We had to work a lot on the contact obstacles, as he tended to not want to do those.

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? Elias used to find performing in noisy areas difficult, but with time he has made remarkable progress in overcoming his fears.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019? In 2019, I decided to move Elias from the regular to select category, which was an important moment, and our team had to figure out how to adapt.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? I would say choosing a good coach is important to ensure that the dog has a proper start, and to have confidence in each other.

What’s next for Elias? If all goes well, I would like for Elias to become an Agility Grand Champion.

#4 – GCh. AgMCh. AgMChV Baywood Sask River Mission CGN JTV IP CDX RE AgMX3 AgMXJ3 AgMXV5 AgMXJV6

Call Name: Mission
Portuguese Water Dog
Breeder/Owner/Handler: Brenda Brown
How did you first get started in agility?  When I learned about the sport of dog agility I was really intrigued and dived in with the Red Raiders Agility Club of Edmonton, Alberta in the 1980s.

What’s Mission’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train him to do?  Mission's favourite piece of equipment is the dog walk. I think weave poles present a challenge for many dogs, but he has it down pat now.

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? Competing with a senior dog has its challenges in keeping Mission in his best health and minimizing risk of injury. Focusing on recovery, flexibility and overall health is of the utmost importance. We utilize products such as Back on Track blankets/crate pads and Mission has a few different Canine Body Workers who keep him feeling his best.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019?  The highlight of our 2019 was going on a great road trip to Colorado with some of our Baywood Portuguese Water Dog friends to compete at the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America National Specialty. Mission brought home five first-place ribbons in agility, new titles in obedience and rally, and a few qualifying scores in scent work.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? Our dogs are so capable! Train the dog you have in front of you and work on becoming the best team for both of your abilities. Competing in dog agility is the perfect sport for creating a bond between you and your family pet. 

What’s next for Mission?  Mission is turning 12 years old in November 2021. He is still in excellent health and has an amazing drive to work but we will be focusing more on fun local competitions. We are also excited about his sons and daughters who are also excelling in agility.

(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)

#5 – AgMCh. Chica XP JT

Call Name: Chica
Border Collie
Owner/Handler: Richard Chilibeck
Breeder: Julie Anderson

How did you first get started in agility? I first saw agility equipment in a field in Austria in 2012. I was able to take a friend’s dog for beginner classes. Quite a challenge when I did not speak German and the trainer did not speak English. One time, when the dog was holding my arm and pulling it forwards, the trainer could not get through to me what the problem was until a young student came and translated that the trainer is saying, “Faster, your dog wants you to run faster”. I could do that! From that moment on, I was hooked!

What’s Chica’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do? At the start her favourite equipment was the tunnel. She loved the speed and sound it made when going through them. Since I was a beginner at agility, I started with stopped contacts, but as my skill developed, I moved onto running contacts. The transition was incredibly confusing for Chica. I started with the A-frame and after a lot of training (me), I understood that it was about her having a balanced stride up and down and that stride needs to be matched and to listen to the sound not try to watch it. The most difficult obstacle has been the running dog walk down contact. Some venues do not count the up contact misses as a fault and some do, so working on her hitting both the up and down regardless of the venue has been the most challenging.

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? There have been two setbacks. My plantar fasciitis. But to keep Chica busy, we went to herding. She, like many farm-bred herding dogs, have an incredible natural talent. I had none. It was like she looked at me and said, “You just wait right there. I got this. I know what to do”. The other setback was again me. After travelling from coast to coast with a trailer in a very zig zag path to attend as many agility competitions as I could, I got burnt out. Travelling between different venues like CKC, AAC, USDAA, AKC, UKI and many of them being major events or qualifying events was costly financially, as well as from my fatigue.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019? Being chosen for team Canada to go to the AKC Invitational in Florida and then Chica being the first place International Dog and third place overall there. In UKI, Chica was the overall top-scoring dog at the West Coast Cup in Southern California and that won her a spot directly in the finals at the U.S. Open in Florida, where she placed second.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? Choose what you want to get out of the sport first. Do you want to do this recreationally with the competitions being a time for meeting people or do you want to do this competitively and go as high as you can. With the top dog group of 10 to 15 dogs in a competition of 200+ dogs, anyone of those top dogs can end up on the podium. Mistakes at the top level in this sport can be incredibly small and Chica has been in tie situations where two dogs have exactly the same time, to the hundredths of a second.

What’s next for Chica? Covid has been a real challenge so I have decided to buy a 100-acre ranch southwest of Calgary. While renovations and repairs are going on, Chica is very happy and having fun hunting for gophers, voles and mice. She also loved the sport barn hunt! Who knows what is in store for a portion of the property - three rings for agility? barn hunt? herding? But most of the property will be leased out for Black Angus cattle. Time will tell what the future holds

(Photo credit: Nina Sage)

#6 – AgMCh. AgMChS Marolou Cours Izzy Cours CGN XPS JTX

Call Name: Izzy
Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
Owner/Handler: Sylvie Marchand
Breeder: Louise Beakes Dubreuil
How did you first get started in agility? I started doing agility with my first dog Theo. Several of my friends were involved in this activity and I wanted to try it. I was hooked from the very beginning.

What is Izzy’s favourite piece of equipment? It depends on the day, the course, the temperature... but I think what she really likes to do most is to run with me.

What was the hardest piece to train her to do? Without a doubt, the contact obstacles are the most difficult. She is amazing during practice runs, but when competing, she does her best to avoid touching them!

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? At about three years of age, we had to stop everything because of illness. It was a difficult time. With the help of a specialist, her trainer and several friends, we were able to get back on track and slowly resume activities. Today, everything is going well.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019? We won two championships in 2019. For the first one, we were alone with a friend. It was a rather low-key victory. But for the second championship, she performed in front of her fan club. Many people were there to applaud her and it was a really fun moment!

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? Do not make comparisons. Every team is different, and every dog has its own rhythm. When a human and dog form a team, it is wonderful to behold.

What’s next for Izzy? 2020 has very much been quiet for all of us. We hope to compete again in 2021, and then why not win another championship in 2022?

(Photo credit: Lise Paquette)

#7 – AgMCh. Cassbar's Kickstart My Heart NP AgMXJ2

Call Name: Fable
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner/Han: Suzanne Boldt
Breeders: Michelle Rogowski & Renee Hughes
How did you first get started in agility?  I started in the sport of agility at the age of nine, with a rescue Border Collie named Montana. We won our first international agility championship when I was 11. For my 12th birthday my parents bought me my first puppy, “Flip,” a handsome tri-coloured Sheltie. He went on to be a three-time national and six-time regional agility champion.  Additionally, Flip and I represented Canada at two World Championships and multiple international events. From there my love of the sport grew and 22 years later I still enjoy every moment of training and competing with my dogs
What’s Fable’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do? Fable’s favourite piece of equipment is the teeter. She loves to run to the end and ride it down. Lucky for me Fable was really easy to train. She didn’t struggle with any of the equipment, but we spent the most time training her running the dog walk.
Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?  I’ve been really blessed with Fable and we haven’t experienced any setbacks in our training. One thing we have had to work hard on is her start line stay, she is always very eager to run so staying is a challenge. We spent many hours proofing, rewarding, and playing different games to improve her impulse control her stay.
What was your most memorable moment of 2019?  Our most memorable moment of 2019 was representing Canada and competing at the European Open in the Netherlands.  Fable placed 13th in the world (Canada’s highest final placement at the event). Additionally, Fable was invited to attend the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in Avon Colorado, she placed third in the small/medium-combined category.
What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? Find a trainer and coach that is knowledgeable and supportive of your goals. Enjoy every minute you have with your dog and focus on building a strong relationship that exists outside of agility training. My favourite time spent with my dogs is in day-to-day life – hiking, swimming and exploring new places. Agility is a small part of our life, it’s what we do together the rest of the time that makes our bond so unique.
What’s next for Fable? Right now, lots of walks, hikes and enjoying the nice spring weather.

(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)

#8 – Ch. AgMCh. Topiary Go Your Own Way IP CDX RE AgMXJ2

Call Name: Mac
Miniature Poodle
Owner/Handler: Lindsay Benbow
Breeder: Trevor & Peggy Clarke
How did you first get started in agility? We started agility with our first Standard Poodle Juno in Edmonton. Mac was my next agility dog and she was started as a young dog in 2015. Juno had competed recreationally, but Mac was my first serious agility dog. 
Did Mac show early signs of becoming an agility star? Mac showed a lot of promise in agility as a young dog; she had been consistent on course from the beginning of her career. As she matured she started to show more confidence on the courses and through that time our teamwork improved. Mac is an amazing and honest partner and we have spent many hours training, travelling, and competing together. 
What’s Mac’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do? Her favourite piece of equipment would be a tossup between the tunnel and flying over the A-frame. The most difficult piece of equipment to train would be the dog walk – it takes a lot of time and consistency to train a running dog walk well. 
Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? As she started to get more speed on her courses we lost a bit of consistency, so we had to step back and retrain some foundations at speed, and I had to learn how to be a better handler for her. 
What was your most memorable moment of 2019?  As for CKC competitions, the most memorable was travelling to the CKC Summer Spectacular in Ontario where we had a very successful weekend competing. Outside of CKC agility, Mac and I travelled to the Netherlands in May to represent Team Canada at the World Agility Open. We had some great runs and I was very proud to represent Canada with my little red dog. 
What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? Agility is a partnership between you and your dog, and it takes two to dance. Our dogs first and foremost are doing this sport because we ask them to and we must always be thankful when we get to step to the line with our friend and partner regardless of the outcome of the run.
What’s next for Mac? We would like to get back to competing in agility once COVID restrictions are lifted. We would like to try and go to worlds again. We have recently moved to a new province so we are spending a lot of time hiking and enjoying the outdoors. Mac is very enthusiastic about hiking and exploring.

(Photo credit: Darcy Evans Photography)

#9 – AgMChS Jackie O Bony De Myra JTS PCD RN AgMXJS2

Call Name: Jackie
German Shepherd Dog
Owner: Marie-Johanne Cloutier
Handler: Lyse Savard
Breeder: Francine Bonin

How did you first get started in agility? As a CKC, AKC, BKC obedience judge, my first passion is dog obedience. In the '90s, I started agility with my dog as a summer activity and started trialling. Thirty years later, as Jackie and I progressed, it became obvious that I was holding her back and that she needed a better handler. Lyse, my partne,r was happy to step in.

Did Jackie show early signs of becoming an agility star? Jackie is an all-round dog and shows enthusiasm in everything she does. From puppyhood, it was obvious that she wanted to please.

What’s Jackie’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do? Jackie certainly loves her tunnels! I would have to say ‘train not to do’ and that would be: to not take the tunnel all the time.

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it? Being a German Shepherd Dog, Jackie has very long strides. Tight turns are always an issue. Skillful handling is a must in order to help her get through a sequence of tight jumps.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019? It’s started with the CKC Top Agility Dogs for 2018, learning that Jackie was top German Shepherd Dog and #9 in the Herding Group. It made us proud and gave us a boost of energy.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport? Each dog is different. Each dog presents abilities and challenges. Whatever they are, never forget to have fun. Performance is not a Q, performance is a dog having fun running a course with you.

What’s next for Jackie? Once Covid-19 is behind us, obedience titles with some agility on the side.

(Photo credit: Daniel Gélinas)

#9 – MOTCh. AgMChS Carannagh's Siannfair XPS JT RAE 

9-tie-Top-Agility-2019-Jenny-Irish-Setter-pic-Greg-Snyder-1-2.jpgCall Name: Jenny
Irish Setter
Owners:  David and Jean Bruce
Handler: David Bruce
Breeder: Anne Perkins

Interview with David Bruce
How did you first get started in agility?  It was my wife Jean that introduced me to Agility. We had been competing in CKC Obedience since the early 1970's. In the late 1980's due to work and various commitments I had quit competition for about 10 years.
During that time Jean took Agility lessons with an Agility Association of Canada group in London, Ontario. I went with Jean to a couple of trials as a spectator and thought that the sport looked like fun. When I retired from work in 2011 I decided to get a dog and compete in dog sports again and I decided that I would do agility as well as obedience because of how much fun both dogs and handlers appeared to have.

Did Jenny show early signs of becoming an agility star?  As soon as I started training Jenny, she showed me that she was very intelligent, learned quickly, loved problem solving, had tremendous focus and enjoyed doing things with me. I knew early on that she would excel at anything we did. 

What’s Jenny’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do?  Jenny’s favourite equipment was the jumps. The most difficult piece of equipment for her was the weave poles. 

Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?  During our training and competition, we didn't have any major setbacks, Jenny just enjoyed doing things with me.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019? The most memorable moment of 2019 was completing our Agility Master Champion (S) title.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport?  For anyone starting out in Agility remember first and foremost that it is a game. You must make it fun for the dog and never chastise or punish your dog for mistakes during training or during competition. Be very careful that you don't over train or drill exercises. Remember that all poor performance issues in competition are handler issues not dog issues.

What’s next for Jenny? Both Jenny and I retired from all competition at the end of 2019, we are enjoying our retirement.

(Photo credit: Greg Snyder)

#9 – MOTCh. AgMChS Carannagh's Siannfair XPS JT RAE

Competitors were not available for an interview at the time of publication.

#10 – AgMCh. Auldscotia Destn2shyn Aceilidh MXP AgSC AgMX2 AgMXJ2

Call Name: Dazzle
Bearded Collie
Owner/Handler: Leslie Dawson-North
Breeder: Lisa Danchuk

How did you first get started in agility? I got my start in agility in 1991 when I attended my first agility seminar. It was new to Canada at that time. I started taking classes and it soon became my passion K9 sport. I have not looked back!
Did Dazzle show early signs of becoming an agility star?  I named Dazzle “Destn2shyn” (destined to shine) in hopes that she would dazzle in agility. It is a long road to success and the longer you're in the sport, you realize all the intricacies of training and competing in this competitive sport. I always try to keep learning and growing together to be the best team partners.
What’s Dazzle’s favourite piece of equipment? What was the hardest piece to train her to do? Dazzle LOVES the dog walk since we have trained a running contact. This, too, was the most difficult to train. Hours of training, from the ground up, but it was worth it!
Have you two ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?  Yes we did! I’m sure everyone goes through some training issue. With Dazzle, it was an early jumping issue, especially on the long straight lines, where I’m ahead. All I can say is “jump grid, jump grid , jump grid”. She had really improved with this; however, I mange with a verbal “EASY” on the long line, so she puts in an extra stride. This seems to really help her, while I can still get ahead.
What was your most memorable moment of 2019?  
Attending and winning the 24” Division at the 2019 CKC Summer Spectacular. Attending and winning Top 24” Dog at the 2019 UKI Western Fall Cup. Also completing the AgMXJ2 and AgMX2 titles.

What is your one big piece of advice for someone starting out in the sport?  I suggest you train with an experienced trainer who uses positive methods. More training is not always better. If you hit a road block, try, try again, but play more, train less to help build confidence. Don’t train if you are not in a proper mindset! Most important thing to remember is love your dog first and the sport second. Be the BEST possible partner for your dog.
What’s next for Dazzle? When things get back to more normal, we will continue to compete in this great sport and enjoy all our future moments together.

(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)


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