Agility is a fun dog sport that many dog owners and dogs enjoy immensely; it is probably the most popular fun dog sport at the moment, with owners having their dogs participate both for simple exercise and for competition. Agility began at the end of the 1970s, in England, at the prestigious Cruft's Dog Show. Originally, there were two main attractions at Cruft's: the obedience championship and the group judging. There was nothing interesting going on in between these two events and so the Show Committee wanted something to entertain spectators between one exhibition and the next. John Varley was the Committee member that was asked to invent the entertainment. Fortunately for modern agility enthusiasts, Mr. Varley was much more interested in horses than in dogs and so thought up the dog version of horse-show jumping, essentially a fancy dog obstacle course. In 1978, the obstacle course was shown to the public, with two canine teams in competition with each other. It was an enormous success and continues to be an enormous success, all around the world.
Since dog agility is not dog conformation, there are no strict requirements for dogs to participate; the only thing needed is a willing dog! A dog must be agile and versatile to handle the different obstacles that characterize an agility course; in as little time as possible, a handler must guide his dog around the course, without using any kind of treats, toys, or physical contact and while the dog is off leash. A great deal of training is required to prepare a dog for the agility course; there are strict rules to follow when dealing with the various obstacles. Some must be jumped and cleared completely, while dogs must come into contact with certain areas of other obstacles. The dog must exhibit clean and accurate movements and a clear demonstration that he follows his handler's guidance.
The Harrier breed is quite good at agility competitions, given their agile and versatile nature; they are also very cunning and intelligent. Indeed, Harriers were originally bred to hunt both elusive hares and wily foxes; the skills that make them successful on the hunt allow them to be successful on the agility course. They are also extremely willing to please their owners and will put their heart and soul into learning the course and following handler commands. Their intelligence makes them very trainable and they can easily learn the complex movements required in order to navigate around the obstacles. Harriers also have an incredible amount of endurance and stamina and can handle even long training sessions in order to perfect maneuvers or improve their time; they love working and being active and will take to agility as if it were the most natural thing for them to do.