CYNOSPORT® World Games
By Ernie Mills
Cynosport………….? What is Cynosport…? Cynology is the study of dogs. Therefore—you guessed it—Cynosport is sports involving dogs.
The CYNOSPORT World Games (pronounced see-no-sport) are produced by the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), which was formed in 1986. The USDAA is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious independent authority for agility in the U.S. and the world. There are over 40,000 registered competitors and more than 200 different breeds, including mixed breeds, competing worldwide.
This year’s World Championships in Morgan Hill in October, will crown the top dogs from each of four different jump heights of 12”, 16”, 22”, and 26” in the following events:
** Grand Prix of Dog Agility® World Championship **
The Grand Prix is the most prestigious tournament in dog agility and tests the competitors’ full range of training and skills in successfully navigating and completing a standard course including the entire list of agility obstacles. This event truly crowns the Dog Agility “World Champion.” Competitors with the fastest times and fewest faults win.
** $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase® **
The Steeplechase combines speed and accuracy and demonstrates the competitors’ ability to perform a course made up only of jumps, the A-frame, and weaves. You will see some amazingly fast and agile dogs and handlers in this event. Similar to the Grand Prix, dogs with the fastest times and fewest faults win. This is the only agility event that provides cash prizes to the winners.
** Dog Agility Masters® International Three-Dog Championship **
As the tournament name implies, the best competitors and their dogs from around the world team up in groups of three and are tested in their versatility and endurance. Based on a point system, this event consists of five different rounds of competition involving speed, accuracy, and strategy, which are tested over several days.
Dogs of different sizes can team together, and scoring is balanced to adjust times and points based on the dogs’ sizes.
Only the top teams compete in the final round, a relay that puts all three dogs and handlers in the ring at the same time. Team members run their section of the course while carrying a baton. Once their portion is complete, the baton is passed on to the next team member.
The CYNOSPORT World Games this year will be attended by nearly 900 dogs from 11 countries: Argentina, Canada, China, England, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, and the United States.
The sport is one of the fastest-growing dog sports in the world right now and does require significant time and dedication. The popularity is due to the great competition you can find, the great physical activity for you and your dog, and the fact that sport creates a special bond between you and your dog that is unmatched in any other dog sport.
To be successful, you and your dog need to totally understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If you, like most of us, are not as fast as your dog, your dog needs to understand that and be comfortable with it while running at his top speed throughout the course.
Similarly, you need to know if your dog prefers turning to her right or left as you figure out how you plan on handling a specific course. This deep understanding of each other creates something special and truly amazing to watch. The CYNOSPORT World Games bring the highest caliber of dog/handler teams together in one place each year from all over the World. Being able to watch these multiple events is an experience you won’t forget.