The 2023 AKC National Agility Championship (NAC) will take place March 16 through March 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The fast-paced sport of dog agility will see plenty of dogs take to the ring to race against the clock while completing a pre-determined obstacle course. But what dog breeds will you be able to see compete when you watch the AKC National Agility Championship?
Many different breeds excel at agility. Those with a quick turn of foot or the instinct to herd may do especially well. As a result, you’ll see many breeds from the Herding Group that also excel as agility competitors. Keep an eye out for 288 Border Collies, 121 Shetland Sheepdogs, 65 Australian Shepherds, 34 Miniature American Shepherds, and 29 Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
Members of the Sporting Group were bred to find or retrieve game for hunters. It’s no surprise, then, that these athletic dogs can enjoy and excel at agility. You’ll be able to spot 48 Labrador Retrievers, 80 Golden Retrievers, and seven Weimaraners, among Sporting Group breeds.
And don’t let the small size and companion dog purpose of Toy Group members fool you. Toy breeds are among the fiercest competitors in the world of AKC Agility. You’ll be able to see plenty of Toy breeds compete, including 65 Papillons, 25 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, eight Pomeranians, seven Chinese Cresteds, and four Yorkshire Terriers. They’ll join their Non-Sporting Group cousins, including four French Bulldogs and one Keeshond, in the ring.
From the scent-oriented Hound Group, you’ll see nimble competitors including six Beagles, three Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and two Whippets, while from the scrappy Terrier Group, you can watch five Parson Russell Terriers and two Rat Terriers. Representatives of the endlessly versatile Working Group include nine Doberman Pinschers, four Portuguese Water Dogs, three Great Danes, and three Rottweilers.
Some breeds may be the only one of their kind representing at the Championship. But that doesn’t stop them from enjoying the sport and competing at the highest levels. For example, this year will see just one Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, one Bulldog, and one Alaskan Malamute in the mix.
Agility is open to both purebred and mixed-breed dogs, so plenty of mixed breeds will enter the rings. In fact, 116 competitors are All-American Dogs enrolled in the AKC Canine Partners program that allows mixed-breed dogs to earn titles in most AKC sports and programs.
Finals of the AKC National Agility Championship will air at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 on May 8, 2023.