Home Dog breeds Crufts 2022: The best dog breeds for canine and agility training

Crufts 2022: The best dog breeds for canine and agility training


If you were inspired by Cruftswhat are the chances that your perfect pooch will win a contest?

Known as the “world’s largest canine event”, there are no less than 20,000 dogs taking part in its 131st year.

From dog agilityobedience and heel flyball to music, handlers and their dogs compete to become the best in the show.

When it comes to dog agility training and competitions, how important is a dog’s breed and could it reveal your success?

Anthony Clarke, professional dog trainer and agility ambassador of Crufts sponsor YuMOVE, often receives an influx of inquiries around the competition as people look into the breeds and traits that make a good agility dog.

Dogs arriving for day two of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Center (NEC). Photo via PA.

Anthony said: “Agility It’s not all about speed – otherwise the greyhounds will win it all! Likewise, breed isn’t always important either – of course, some of the qualities that make a good agility dog ​​are passed down through genetics, but there are also plenty of mixed breeds that do this very well too.

According to Anthony, the key to success on the agility course lies in the intelligence, traceability, trainer focus, sharing ability and emotional connection, drive and body structure of each dog.

“It takes practice and dedication to compete at this level,” he explained.

“That’s not to say everyone can’t benefit from it – agility is just another way to stay active for life and that applies to any dog. But there seems to be a list of traits that champions all seem to share.

Based on Anthony’s background in agility and dog training, here are the top 10 dog breeds that tend to make a good agility dog:

border collie

Anthony said: “Collies are bred for off-leash obedience and learning complicated patterns of herding sheep as working dogs, so naturally agility classes lend themselves perfectly to their tendencies. They are the complete package: speed, intelligence, drive, trainability. Although they are loyal and loving companions, they need lots of mental and physical stimulation. They’re always up for grabs, so be prepared if you’re inspired to get one you’ll have to invest in, but if you do, you’ll get a lot back.

belgian malinois

Anthony explains: “The Malinois is a hero, okay? From police to military support, these strong canine companions will always be by your side and therefore deserve a spot on this list of the best active dog breeds. They are an incredibly athletic breed that respond extremely well to training. Due to their size, power and structure, they are as fast as light breeds, if you are looking for an all-around agility superstar that balances brain and brawn, the Malinois is a Grade A breed that will shine both on and off the course. This breed is not suitable for someone who cannot devote time to training and exercise.

Shetland Sheepdog

Anthony said: “Shetland Sheepdogs are one of the smartest and most trainable small breeds. They are great agility companions for people who are happy to compete in smaller size classes. They tend to be handler focused which makes them excellent for agility training, however, they can also display nervous tendencies which can be amplified if they don’t get enough exercise and stimulation. mental. For this reason, potential new owners should be prepared to invest time in them to get the most out of the breed. They can also be quite vocal in all aspects of life.


Anthony said: “All sizes of Poodle are athletic, intelligent and trainable. Many people don’t necessarily know that Poodles were originally hunting dogs, so they can really hold their own against other working breeds when it comes to intelligence and initiative. They are very attached to their owners, which makes them fun and easier to train. Just be prepared for some extra grooming. Even Poodle mixes tend to have their fair share of hair!

Rangers Review: Dogs arriving for day two of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Center (NEC).  Photo via PA.Dogs arriving for day two of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Center (NEC). Photo via PA.


“Despite their small size, Butterflies are surprisingly smart and quick,” Anthony said.

“Some trainers swear their Papillons are just as smart, trainable and driven as any Border Collie and former Crufts winners certainly put that theory to the test. Of course, this breed is the perfect companion. They love the human touch and affection, not to mention a good brush to keep their long coats tangle-free.

Jack Russell

Anthony said: “Spunky and athletic, the Jack Russell Terrier is always a strong contender in the small dog agility class. Although JRTs can be a little mischievous at times, they love to work out and do very well with motivational training methods, not least because they are super smart. A low body and innate muscularity make the Jack Russell a natural choice for fast and furious agility competitions. However, they are stubborn and aren’t always too nice to other dogs. So they need a qualified trainer to really hone their social skills.


Anthony said: “Cocker Spaniels can be shy but smart and quick on the agility course. They’re also super cute, making them perfect little showboats on the catwalk and ideal for snuggling up at the end of the day. Cocker Spaniels tend to put on weight, so owners will need to watch their diet to keep them healthy, but if you train or exercise regularly with your dog, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Golden retriever

Anthony said: “They love snuggling up in your lap at the end of the day just as much as learning new things and being active. These smart canine companions are surprisingly agile despite their size and they love to train, but not all of them are not bred for agility, we generally see more of the “show type” which means they are heavier and squarer than the working type which tends to be leaner and taller. looking to compete with your retriever, there are usually specific breeders who focus on athletics and sport, but whether you’re getting a rescue or a pedigree, you’ll likely have a smart cookie on your hands.

australian shepherds

Anthony said: “These are larger and generally clumsier than Collies, but they make excellent agility dogs for similar reasons to their sleeker pals. They are also bred to learn complex herding behaviors, listen to their owners in entertaining scenarios, and work all day on the farm. They are intelligent, easy-going, and can be a bit more outgoing with people and other dogs than the Border Collie. They are also big and loud, although friendly they can sometimes be difficult to deal with. If you’re considering getting one, make sure you can match their weight and energy.


Anthony said: “Whippets are built for speed but aren’t always the best for spinning at high speeds. They are bred for racing and lure racing, racing is what whippets do best. They tend to be more handler oriented (and can be quite shy) more than some other greyhound breeds, but can still be a little harder to train than your average sheepdog. Although quick on the course, Whippets are also very lazy when they’re at home, which is a nice change from some of the other dogs on this list who are on the go 24/7.

Are mixed breed dogs good at agility?

Throwing in a bonus dog, Anthony suggested the mixed breed “can really excel” in competitions like Crufts.

Explaining the reasons, he said: “Depending on the type of mixed breed you have, some crosses can really excel in the world of agility – if specific attributes are present in your dog, such as good brains, good structure and ability to roam freely, a cross can well and truly outperform some purebred dogs!”