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It’s not surprising to see herding breeds like the Border Collie (295 of them to be exact) and Shetland Sheepdog (176 of those) running for the top spot at the 2022 AKC National Agility Championship. But there are some uncommon breeds making an appearance that are also worth watching at this year’s event — like the six Mudis, one Bedlington Terrier, and one Schapendoes (an FSS breed!)

There are just over 100 different breeds represented at the competition after qualifying last year, bringing their own energy to each run. This year’s event takes place on April 1-3 in Ocala, Florida.   


Representing an Entire Breed

While any dog can compete in Agility, there are some breeds that are rarer to see qualify for the National Agility Championship (NAC). For example, Stella, owned by Lucy Hayes, is once again the only Bulldog competing this year. 

“I am excited to attend Nationals with Stella, I am always grateful for getting to have these experiences with her and I cherish them,” Lucy says. “It’s been a journey to become the team we are, and I never want to take the bond we have built for granted.”  

Typically known for being docile and a bit stubborn, a Bulldog’s temperament should not be mistaken for laziness. When she runs, Stella captures the attention of everyone watching and she also competes in a variety of other dog sports, including Dock Diving, Trick Dog, and Fast CAT. 

“It’s also a blast to watch friends run and cheer them on and I am always proud to exhibit a healthy standard bred Bulldog,” Lucy says.  

bulldog jumping through an agility course
Stella is the only Bulldog competing at the 2022 National Agility Championship. Photo by Nature Works Photo / Darlene Wisecup

Getting More Breeds at NAC

Though there are some more unique breeds making an appearance at NAC this year, there are still over 100 breeds that aren’t competing. Neither the Cane Corso nor Shih Tzu is present this year — but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance at next year’s competition. NAC is open to any dog who qualifies.  

For example, while the Great Dane wasn’t at the 2021 NAC, one is competing during this year’s event, meaning there is a chance for any breed to qualify each year.

Remember that all dog owners should consult their vet before beginning a new exercise or training routine.

Watch full coverage of the 2022 AKC National Agility Championships on all day April 1-3. Tune in to ABC on April 10 for full coverage of finals and catch it again on ESPN2 April 17 at noon ET.

Related article: How Do Dog Agility Competitions Work?
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