Top 10 Breeds That Excel in Dog Agility Training


Top 10 Breeds for Dog Agility Training

Regardless of breed or size, most dogs can leap, run, and navigate through an agility course. But some breeds seem to have an edge, mastering agility training with remarkable grace and speed.

While agility is a fantastic sport for many dogs, providing both physical and mental stimulation, certain breeds stand out for the innate qualities that make them especially well-suited for agility’s demands.

Here (in no particular order) are our top 10 dog breeds that shine in the agility ring.
  • Working Cocker Spaniel
  • Border Collie
  • Collie x Papillon
  • Poodle (Standard, Miniature and Toy)
  • Australian Kelpie
  • Cockerpoo
  • Mini American Shepherd
  • Border Terrier
  • Shetland Sheepdog (Shelties)
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Let's look at each breed in turn, and then we'll briefly talk about some breeds which aren't so well suited to agility training. 

Our Top 10 Breeds for Dog Agility

Working Cocker Spaniel

Renowned for their boundless energy and eagerness to please, Working Cocker Spaniels are naturals on the agility course. Their compact size and agility make navigating tight turns and obstacles seem effortless. Plus, their keen intelligence and trainable nature mean they pick up on commands quickly, which is a boon for any agility trainer.
Border Collie

Perhaps the epitome of agility excellence, Border Collies are synonymous with high performance in agility training. Their unmatched intelligence, intense focus and athletic ability allow them to excel in the sport. Their sheer joy in working alongside their handlers truly sets them apart.
Collie x Papillon

This mixed breed combines the best of both worlds: the Collie’s intelligence and agility with the Papillon’s light-footedness and speed. They are quick learners and naturally able to navigate the complexities of agility training with enthusiasm and precision.
Poodle (Standard, Miniature and Toy)

Poodles boast a combination of intelligence, eagerness to learn and athletic prowess, making them standout participants in agility training. Their graceful movement and keen problem-solving skills are a sight to behold on the agility course.
Australian Kelpie

Kelpies are work-oriented herding dogs that thrive on having a job to do, and agility training fits the bill perfectly. Their natural athleticism and intense focus make them adept at handling the physical and mental challenges of agility courses.

Cockerpoos, a crossbreed of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, have emerged as fantastic participants in agility training. Their intelligence, inherited from both parent breeds, and their agile, energetic nature make them well-suited for agility sports. What truly distinguishes cockerpoos is their enthusiastic and joyful approach to working with their handlers, making them capable partners in agility training.
Best agility dogs cockerpoo
Mini American Shepherd

Don’t let their smaller stature fool you. Mini American Shepherds are agility powerhouses. Their intelligence, work ethic, agility and strength make them highly capable of navigating complex courses. They’re also incredibly responsive to training, making them a joy to work with.
Border Terriers

Border Terriers may be small, but their determination and energy are immense. Their agility, natural curiosity and tenacity make them excellent at agility training. They’re also incredibly sturdy and resilient, traits that serve them well in the physically demanding aspects of the sport.
Shetland Sheepdog (Shelties)

Shelties are agile, intelligent and obedient, making them naturals on the agility course. Their small size and quickness allow them to manoeuvre through obstacles with ease, while their keen intelligence makes training a rewarding experience.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffies might seem like an unconventional choice for agility, but their muscular build, intelligence and eagerness to engage in physical activities make them surprisingly adept at the sport. They bring power and enthusiasm to the course, tackling obstacles with gusto.
Best agility dogs Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Some Breeds Less Suited for Agility Training

The joy and bonding experience of agility training is open to all dogs, not just those listed above. But it’s helpful to know that some breeds may find the physical demands of agility challenging.

Large and giant breeds, such as the Mastiff or Great Dane, may struggle with the agility equipment’s size and spacing, posing a risk to their health.

Similarly, breeds with shorter snouts, like Bulldogs or Pugs, may have difficulty with the intense physical exertion required due to their potential for breathing issues.

And long-backed breeds such as Basset Hounds, Daschunds and Corgis can face issues with core stability, which is required for safe and effective jumping.

Get Involved

Agility training is a rewarding sport that can strengthen the bond between you and your dog, improve their physical condition and provide mental stimulation.

While the top 10 breeds listed above are particularly well-suited to excel in agility, the most important factors are your dog’s health, willingness to participate and the joy you both find in the activity.

If you’re curious whether your furry friend could be an agility star, why not book a taster session? It’s a fantastic way to introduce your dog to the sport and see them in action.

Who knows? You might just discover your dog’s hidden talent for agility!