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$10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase® Semifinals

Class has been completed.

By Brenna Fender and Monica Percival, Clean Run


The class has been completed. 13 dogs from the 12" division will go onto the finals and 16 dogs from each of the other height divisions will advance.

For complete results and some sample video clips, go to

For a list of competitors, go to


Begun almost 10 years ago as a feature class for public exhibition at equestrian events, this tournament series highlights the speed, jumping ability and extreme elements of the sport of dog agility. Competitors vie for a stake in $10,000 in prize money.


The tournament is divided into four height classes of 12", 16", 22" and 26". The Steeplechase course will be a fast-flowing, jumpers-style course including a variety of hurdles and jumps, as well as the weave poles and an A-Frame, one of which must be performed twice on course. Competitors run in a Semifinal round on Thursday to determine who will make it to the championship final round on Friday night for $10,000 in prize money.


Time-plus-faults scoring applies. Standard faults are assessed only on hurdles, missed contact zones on the A-frame and for handler or outside assistance. No refusal penalties are assessed. A wrong course penalty shall result in elimination. No refusals shall be penalized. The lowest score -- the fastest time after penalties added -- determines the winner.

Pre-Run Comments from Competitors

There are 490 dogs entered in the Steeplechase Semifinals.

Judy Ault is running the course with her 16 inch jumping Rat Terrier, Cody. She says, "Today's course is great! It flows good. There are some discrimination problems but... The faster the run the more problems you might have." New York Border Collie owner Melanie Behrens agrees. "It's awesome! It's going to be fun and fast," she says.

Another fan of the course is Barbara Silverstein, who will be running it with her Italian Greyhound, Deuce. She says "It's fast, furious, and fun! It's a real nice course. I'm glad there are two sets of weaves. He's a fantastic weaver. I'm looking forward to running it.

Steeplechase Analysis -- 22" Division

Judge Chris Danielly (judging the 22" class) says "It's a very, very fast course. Dogs are running full out. The winners will be the tightest dogs -- it's fast and tight. Not all dogs that ran it in 30 seconds are going to make it into the finals."

In round one of the $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase Semifinals 227 dogs were entered in the 22" class. At the halfway point, a few problems have recurred on course.

Some dogs were eliminated on the third obstacle -- they took the off course #6 jump instead of turning right to take the A-frame. Some dogs who made it to the A-frame missed their down contact in a rush to turn left to jump #4.

After negotiating the curve to the tunnel, many competitors were caught well behind their dogs, forcing them to handle the weave entrance independently. This resulted in some errors, including spins after the tunnel exit and missed weave entries. Most handlers sent their dogs out to #11, #12, and #13 without trouble, which allowed a more managed weave pole entry the second time through. Competitors who front crossed and handled the weaves off the right were more likely to have a successful entry (although sometimes slower), but dogs with great weave entry skills did best when allowed to enter independently.
Assorted bars fell because of both handler errors and dog misjudgements. Jumps immediately before a tight turns, like #4 and #14, were more likely to be knocked, as were the last three jumps.


Course Designer

Course designed by the judging panel.


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