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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering how they compare to good working border collies/Aussie's etc in agility trials?

Do the high end agility folk select for compact shape? Smaller labradors, ie not +80 pounds?

Difference in speed?

Difference in jumping ability?

Difference in temperament?

Drive/desire similar?

Thankyou.
 

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I can only answer on what I see around here. Most are lighter boned than the standard calls for -- very fast, but not necessarily well structured, so it'll be interesting to see how long they hold up. They CAN compete w/ the Border Collies timewise, but you have to realize that agility isn't all about speed either. Sometimes "Speed Kills" those lightning fast ones on the AKC courses here because there are all kinds of traps at the Excellent levels. I've definitely seen some "sharp" temperaments, but not w/ all.

The field labs are not as compact as I'd like to see (but then that's a personal gripe I have about many of my own dogs too!). OTOH, the longer backed lab seems to have more flexibility in the spine to make the tight turns and tend to have better movement out there.

I have a blended breeding that looks to have some promise. A couple of us are having issues giving our dogs the directions fast enough, however... :razz: It's a B getting older...

So how are you doing Aussie? Thinking of taking up agility now too? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sharp as in aggressive? Due to poor nerves? Frustration? Last time I observed agility was years ago. Noted some high end Border collies spinning at the start, but thought it was more to a training issue.

Been asked if I would be willing to place a bitch in an agility home (breeders terms would apply).

(I am well thankyou ++++)
 

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I have been competing in agility 12 years now. Many of my friends who started with sporting dogs have now switched to bc's. Honestly, I can't imagine wanting more speed or enthusiasm than my labs. All of my labs that I have ran have been out of field trial lines (thank you ft'ers for the genes and intelligence :) My young lab is very fast and athletic. He has placed first several times in his events even with his middle aged mom.

Here are my answers to your questions:
Do the high end agility folk select for compact shape? Smaller labradors, ie not +80 pounds? I prefer smaller labs- agility is hard on their bodies and also if i have navigation error, 80 lbs coming towards me full speed would not be fun.

Difference in speed?
won't lie, most Bc's are faster - 35 lbs versus 55 or so. I'll take my labs any day.

Difference in jumping ability?
My labs have had awesome jumping skills.

Difference in temperament?
Workaholic in training and trials - great to live with and travel.

Drive/desire similar?
Yes

This is video of scarlett who won Akc Invitational - Awesome dog out of "Nitro"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsRA18lbKhk&feature=related

This is a young dog out of our last breeding - "Dusty x my Breeze" She was the largest puppy in the litter. Mom is a vet and didn't care if big - probably 65 lbs or so and nearly 24 inches tall - You can see how athletic she is in the video. she won this event with some of the top bcs in New England area and Canada too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sYS0d3sAqw&feature=relmfu

-Hope this helps.
 

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I fully agree with Martha. I just returned from the AKC National Championships with my girl, and could not be more proud of her.

She is 22.5"/50#, extremely athletic, fast and drivey. Her temperament is sweet and easy to live with.

She can hold her own in the 24" class, and I, personally, would never consider changing to another breed.

Kari Manning and Emmy
Spokane, WA
 

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Sharp as in aggressive? Due to poor nerves? Frustration?
Some dogs get self absorbed and space protective so they can't seem to tolerate the very congested, crazy agility atmospheres and may be prone to "snitting" without warning. That behavior is not atypical of the high driving BC's and some other breeds, but now it's sad to see it showing up in our wonderful breed too where solid "bomb proof" temperament used to always be a given. The dogs that are snitty at trials seem to be like that in everyday life as well, whether that is due to the environment they are raised in (ie lack of socialization and basic manners or just being spoiled) or if it's genetic, I can't say, but it's not what people expect to see in a Labrador.

My idea of the perfect dog for agility is the one that is structurally very balanced, a little lighter on bone, as tall as you can get and still be in the lowest jump height possible (iow, slightly < or equal to 22" to be in the 20" class in AKC) and very happy go lucky/tolerant/ bomb proof. Around here it seems like Yellow is the preferred agility color due to heat/outdoor trials but my best ones are black....
 

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There are a lot of really nice field bred Labs doing AMAZING things in the U.S. agility world. There is a growing number in Canada too. In fact, our agility world team has seen representation from a Lab on a couple occasions (Chopper's littermate) and this dog's handler has won Nationals with her other dogs as well. She has a couple of youngsters sired by Kicker that I'm sure will blow the socks off the BC's in years to come. I have placed several really nice athletic little Labs with people who are capable of taking them to a high level as well, so it will be fun to watch them progress.

I have not seen the temperament issues in Labs at trials up here that Anne is referring to, but there really aren't a lot of Labs in comparison to the herding breeds, which seem to very frequently have fear and aggression issues or are at least very reactive.

Most of the serious agility people prefer a smaller size Lab (50-55 lbs ish), and the ones that I know have done a good job researching pedigrees to stack the deck in their favor size and structure-wise, more so now than in past years. I also agree with Martha that size is a safety factor- my dogs are all around 55 pounds but one mutant giant male (Howdy son) that is 83 pounds and I do my bestest to stay out of his path. A collision would almost certainly end my athletic career and I go into every run with him with a little bit of fear! lol (I also limit repetitious training with the big dog and he doesn't trial as often as I think that the impact of each jump is much harder on him that it is on the wee labbies).
 

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I do HRC and agility with my dogs. Have not done it with my 2 1/2 yo, as he is not as keen as the other two nor as good. My older dog did excellent in agility. He is still running Veterans so the jumps are lower for a going on 10 yo dog. My pup Chief who has Cosmos in him is going to be really fast and good at agility. He has had one puppy agility class and is now taking more. His problem will be his speed and focus but that will come with age. He probably will be a better FT than HRC dog. Both dogs that do the agility are finer boned than the pet Labs, fast, good temperments, great desire and drive. Both weigh around 67 pounds.
I like to do the agilty to build stamina in your dog and it is a great sport to do up here in the winter months.:) It is just too bad but I find it hard to stick with both and train both. It is alot of work so I run more and train for HRC.
Not a fan of BC!Sorry and immensely dislike when they do things to their vocal cords so they can't bark!!:( A good well bred Lab can do just as well in agility!!!:)IMO
 

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Aussie,

I run both an Aussie and a Lab. The Aussie is 18.0", 37# and the Lab is 20.25" and 47#. Both would qualify as very fast, usually placing and qualifying if I keep my head together. My first agillity Labs were 23.25" 73# and 22.0", 63#, now 13 1/2 and 13 yo, full sisters. I have had Labs for nearly 60 years.
The Labs all come from field lines, the Aussie from working lines.

Wondering how they compare to good working border collies/Aussie's etc in agility trials?
They occasionally beat the BCs. Even 47# vs 35# makes a big difference. They hold their own with the Aussies.

Do the high end agility folk select for compact shape? Smaller labradors, ie not +80 pounds?

I chose to have the smaller size for ease on their body and speed. The 63# dog ran at full height through age 10, 4" lower at 11, retired at 12. The larger Lab retired at 10, but had been jumping 4" lower since 5 when she blew a cruciate.

Difference in speed? The smallest Lab is the fastest of all 4. When I run her on the same course as the Aussie, she runs 5.5-6 yps on jumpers courses, the Aussie 4.5-5.

Difference in jumping ability? The Aussie seldom drops a bar. the Lab frequently - she jumps like a BC. At least 50% of the dropped bars are my fault.The 63# Lab jumped much like the Aussie and virtually never dropped a bar.

Difference in temperament? The two younger dogs are the most similar in temperament in an actual trial situation - high drive, noisy and loving their job. At home, they are relaxed unless retrieving or competing with each other. Older Labs - the smaller was bomb proof; the larger had space issues with dogs but loved all people, especially kids. She had a couple of unfortunate incidents with other dogs attacking her as a young dog that may have led to this Rx.

I found the young Lab would not run for any one else - the Aussie will run for me and my husband. That may just be because we live isolated and they don't have the chance on a regular basis for training, then trialing.

Drive/desire similar? Drive with the two younger is similar though the Lab can never get enough work, play, training or competing. The Aussie will do an exercise 2 or 3 times, get it, and then lose interest. But generally she is more bidable. The older dogs were never as interested in training but gave their all in competition.

Probably the hardest thing for me is to see a big Lab jumping and hearing the whomp as they hit on the other side of the jump. Jump lower and with less weight.

As Martha said, a big fear is the difference of 47# colliding with you vs 73# as happened with my husband. His life is different now.

Betty Knight
Dyna and Boo (Aussie)
Soot and Kenzie (retired)
 

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I know nothing about agility trials other than a few videos I have seen. I know of one little black lab female owned by Mary Bush that's super quick. I tried to find a video with no success but I would guess she's about 45lbs and does really well in the speed category. This little girl is out of my Patton/Rita male. Danielle Pellicci's little ylf Spice isn't too shabby either. I was hoping Danielle or Mary would chime in on this thread since both of them have run agility with labs. I have no interest in running agility trials with my labs but I think it's a cool sport and I love watching it, especially when the Labs are running.

Nice videos canebrake.
 

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Thanks Brian. I love watching field and hope to compete some day when the knees can't take agility (may be sooner than later). Here is a link to more agility videos.

http://fastlabs.limecreek.com/report/labs-videos

not to exclude any other sporting breeds, have seen some awesome goldens, chessies, weims, etc. We had a Boykin a long time ago that would have been awesome too. My husband has a elhew bred pointer that i would love to get my hands on for agility :)
 

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I know nothing about agility trials other than a few videos I have seen. I know of one little black lab female owned by Mary Bush that's super quick. I tried to find a video with no success but I would guess she's about 45lbs and does really well in the speed category. This little girl is out of my Patton/Rita male. Danielle Pellicci's little ylf Spice isn't too shabby either. I was hoping Danielle or Mary would chime in on this thread since both of them have run agility with labs. I have no interest in running agility trials with my labs but I think it's a cool sport and I love watching it, especially when the Labs are running.

Nice videos canebrake.
Thanks Brian .... Indeed, I’ll agree Mary runs a SUPER fast, super coordinated, super small Lab. Midge is young, talented, and has earned her first MACH points this year.

Since we moved, I have not had access to agility equipment and Spice is way out of practice. However, I hope to have a regulation course set up here within the next year or so... I plan to continue to compete with Spice, and her daughter out of Kicker.

Spice has run ONLY 2 AKC trials... both were 4 day weekends; She earned her NA & NAJ titles as well as 2 OA passes. I forget our placements ... but when we placed, they were 1sts and 2nds.... I think 1 3rd. She placed in almost every run ... BIG trial.... LOTS of BC’s. I remember feeling very good having a lab beat out so many BC’s in the 20” division. Spice is 19” and weighs 53 lbs at her heaviest.

Here is a link to her NAJ title run. Handler error on the opening - I crowded the tunnel and we got 2nd due to an Off-Course but her time was fastest of all the dogs.

http://www.completelyk9.com/JWWtitle.html
 

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Thanks Brian and Danielle :)

Canebrake, your video from the Invitational brought tears to my eyes! It is a dream goal of mine to be there someday with Midge :)

When I was thinking about adding another agility dog to the family, I was looking at shelties, mini aussies and the other smaller breeds - I did not want a large dog. Danielle (runnindawgz) got me thinking about Labs with her Spice. When Midge was born, Danielle thought of me because Midge was born TINY! Midge is currently measuring 21" and is about 44lbs. She is more than I ever could have dreamed of! She absolutely loves to work - Agility, Field,Obedience - whatever you want her to do! She is fast! She is Driven! She is very smart. She has a great temperament! And, she introduced me to this wonderful retriever sport :) Now we are on the list for a puppy from Danielle at Blackfoot Kennels and I expect to add another Pocket Rocket to my family - primarily for field but, we will probably be running the Agility circuits as well :)

To touch on your question about jumping etc. I think the “high end agility folk” with Labs would stay away from heavier boned, heavier weight Labs simply because of the stress the sport puts on joints and the overall dog. A Lab is not built to run like a Border Collie. Midge gets way more hight over a jump than a BC. Border collies appear to “slither” over contact obstacles where Labs stay taller. Midge tends to take jumps 5ft before, lands 5ft after, is super high and swings wide - we are constantly working on my handling to get her to turn tighter and jump more efficiently. She hits her weaves and just goes! If I give her room, she can make any entry! Speed wise, because of her wide turns, we come in an average of 5 seconds under the top placing BC’s in our hight category ( 20 inches) which puts us out of placing more often than not at this level - but that might improve as we get better. We are still well under SCT - in only two runs in Exc B, we earned 32 MACH Points! I wouldn’t trade this dog for anything!

Here are a couple of videos I have out there. There are a few ugly handler error spots in there but, keep in mind, we are still learning and growing as a team and have gotten into the higher levels quickly so we are having some growing pains :) We are currently in AKC Excellent where you are forgiven nothing :)

http://youtu.be/RGg0FhB24ts

http://youtu.be/dCvCXa8Y4JA
 

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Nice videos Danielle and Mary! Love those labs! You should come to lab nationals in st Louis (October at Purina farms). Wilson is like running a crazy ferrari on a grand prix course. Here is one the latest videos of the boy dog (21.5 inches and 47 lbs) Extremely technical course and he does it all...well almost :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ_EdTJOuCM

Martha & gang
MACH Canebrake Show Me The Money XF JH CGC
Canebrake The Cast Away AX AXJ NF CGC - the rookie :)
 

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I have been doing Agility for over 12 years and have had two labradors that were in the top 10 In AKC Agility for numerous years. My current Chocolate girl is one of the fastest Labradors YPS and also attended the AKC Invitationals as one of the Top 5 , 2 years ago. She went HIT at the LRC National in Agility this year as well. She took some time off last year to whelp a litter of puppies.. but is now back in action and we hope to qualify for the next Invitational.

She just won the Excellent B Standard class yesterday ( 20) inches beating 95 other dogs.. including a very high number of talented Border Collies and Aussies.

So , I am thinking I can speak to being somewhat of a High End agility fanatic, having had 3 different Labradors attend AKC Nationals multiple years , put 1 Mach on one dog and currently need just one more Double Q for MACH 4 with Ranger my Choc. girl.

I have been fortunate to been able to find good structure, soundness working ability speed and intelligence with my "blends". Working Show lines combined with Field lines.

My current girl is actually 3/4 working show lines and only 1/4 field.. but you would never know it. Yes she is small- jumps 20 inches but is about 50lbs. I have run Males in the 60-65lb range. When you start to get much larger than that the sport is hard on them. So much really depends on the pedigree and what is behind the dog. But the incredible soundness of the dogs I have been blessed with I believe is a result of being put together right for such a demanding sport. This little mixed Choc. girl is a VERY HI ROLLER!

Much like all dog sports.. the pedigree and structure are only part of the equation. How you build drive and love for the game is the other. Some dogs come with it naturally .. others you have to help a bit along.

I love my Labradors and like others have posted, many of my friends have now gotten Border Collies for their next partners. I will always have a Labrador. I love the OFF switch. The ability to lay ringside and lay in the sun and turn it on like gang busters in the ring.
Respectfully,

Kim Secter
MACH 3 The Captain's Frequent Flyer UD,JH,MXF
Lickety Split's Piper ( Pup in training)
Waiting at the Bridge MACH Webfoot's Wild West Express "Maverick" CDX, M.A.D.
 

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Realized I didn't really answer your questions..
Differences in speed. ( Most Border Collies if running to their top potential.. will be faster than most Labradors.) They are smaller, lighter and built like birds. But.. many do not have the power a well built small Lab has. If you can find the ways to capitalize on your dogs strengths.. ie power and speed on the flats, quick acceleration speed.. you can sometimes make up for that.
Differences in Temperament: Here is where I feel Labradors have it over many BC's. Most female BC's that I know.. can be pretty snarky. Labradors not so much. I also don't really embrace some of the neurotic tendancys of the High Drive BC's. Would not want to live with some of my friends dogs.
Differences in jumping style. I think BC's and Labs equally can be good or bad jumpers and much of that will depend on their structure and the jumping training they have gotten.
Drive and desire.. ( again I think they can be pretty equal on this) I have seen low drive BC's / Low drive Labs.. High drive BC's and High drive Labs. I do think that sometimes BC's get into trouble with their herding instincts and reactivity to movement. WE don't seem to have those issues in Labradors at least as much. Also Herding dogs like to flank.and that needs to be trained out for agility.... and Labs don't usually do that.
Best regards.
Kim S.
 
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I can only answer on what I see around here. Most are lighter boned than the standard calls for -- very fast, but not necessarily well structured, so it'll be interesting to see how long they hold up. They CAN compete w/ the Border Collies timewise, but you have to realize that agility isn't all about speed either. Sometimes "Speed Kills" those lightning fast ones on the AKC courses here because there are all kinds of traps at the Excellent levels. I've definitely seen some "sharp" temperaments, but not w/ all.

The field labs are not as compact as I'd like to see (but then that's a personal gripe I have about many of my own dogs too!). OTOH, the longer backed lab seems to have more flexibility in the spine to make the tight turns and tend to have better movement out there.
Anne,

I can't remember at what level you have run agility events (or if you do), but with all due respect I have run at the most advanced level and I'm going to have to disagree with a few of your statements.

First of all, the not well structured argument just doesn't hold water. This is like beating a dead horse. We see field champions still running strong at 10 years old that would have been called structural wrecks but the breed folks continue to question whether dogs with poor x,y or z will hold up for long. Yes, they will unless of course there is something seriously wrong with them. But by saying they do not meet the breed standard of having certain angles here and there and a chest that is blah blah blah and a tail that is so and so just does not affect how long they will hold up. Period.

Side note, how do those dogs that are considered structurally correct hold up? Great I bet! But what have they gone through to test their structure? Not a whole lot.

Retrievers can certainly beat a border collie on a given day if they happen to have a great run but they are in no way, shape or form designed to do so. Herding dogs are designed to spin on a dime and maneuver in a completely different manner than our dogs. They can do things that are harmless to them but can be detrimental to our dogs as in tight turns. These are CCL blow out nightmares to retrievers but not to the herding breeds.

Longer backed dogs are not desirable at all on an agility course. You would want a shorter backed dog that did not have to "bend in half" to change course.

The sharpness you mention is not breed specific. Many agility people want their dogs so amped up they have no regard to what is going on around them.

Anyway, just a few thoughts but the structurally correct thing is like nails on a chalkboard for me. The dogs that seem to hold up the longest are the ones have been tested at the highest levels. Those considered to have correct structure, well not so much.

Just my humble opinion of course. As always. :)
 

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Hi All
I am just new to this forum. But I am not new to Labs or agility. I have had Field Labs and have run agility for 17yrs. I have had 8 labs from field lines. 2 males (90lbs and 70lbs) and 6 females all who,weighted between 59lbs and 45lbs. My goals in life have been to prove to the agility world that Labs are a great choice for agility. All my dogs have come from very successful field lines. All have had many FC s in their pedigree. I find that I have not had a bad temperament in the bunch. They have all been polite with other dogs, good w,people and great w,kids. I could take them anywhere and not worry about them being difficult to live with. As for structure everyone has had good structure. They may vary in rear end angulation and chest depth a little which did affect turning ability but over all the field Labs I have had have been very sound dogs.
As for speed yep the BCs are a little faster. Zoom my now 10 yr old was usually equal to or no more than 2 sec behind the faster BC. As was previously said speed can kill. So Zoom won the 2008 AAC national championships (26in class) beating many Border Collies. She also took me to the 2009 FCI World Championships in Austria on the course I did not mess up and she ran clean she finished 18 of 89 dogs. Labs can be competitive and there are many out there just as fast as she is. Zoom is 22.5in tall and 55lbs she is tallish but lightly built. Yes I do pick puppies with smaller structure Longer backs are ok but I find a shorter back can turn better. But turning abili is also affected by rear end angulation. I find that Labs don't jump as efficiently as BCs do. I find that with most of my Labs I have to cue my dog to turn before they leave the ground rather than expect them to turn over the bar. BCs can turn over a bar much better. I found I could not walk a course with my BC running friends as my dog really did move differently. As for drive I think Labs have just as much drive as a BC but they can think at the same time. So frequently you see BCs who are so crazy that they either go crazy or do their own thing. They figure it out eventually but slower than a Lab will. I must admit that I prefer working with the females as they think better than the males.

My friend Erin has referred to Zoom , she is Choppers litter mate and even at almost 10 yrs old won AACNationals last year running in16in Vet class. She has spondylitis so,I have dropped her jump height She ran one course 33 secs under time. Even at 10 she is beating the Border collies. I had a girl Kes who won Nationals twice as well,she was a more heavy chested dog but she gave every thing she had. She passed away at 12.5yrs.

Right now I have Swift 5 yrs who is more stocky ( 55 lbs) and just over 21 in she has been 2nd in the 26in class at Regionals twice now jumping almost 5 in over her shoulder. She does not have Zooms drive but she is usually only a second or,two behind her. Then I have Furai. A Kicker Daughter out of a Chopper/ Zoom sister. She is tiny 20.5in tall and 45lbs she is not quite 3. She finished 6th at just over 2yrs last year in the large 22in class at Regionals this year. Pretty good for a baby. She can turn over a bar. She is a bendy little,thing who once she has her confidence will give those BCs a run for their money Then I have Kicks who is also a Kicker daughter out of Danielle Pellicci's Spice she is 15 weeks and was picked for her smaller compact size and that other sister and mother not to mention their at athletism and brilliance already I can see that she has the confidence and ability to think and th drive that she will right up there with her sister and aunt! (zoom is a distant relative).
So do I think a small compact well bred field lab is competitive with the BC s and Aussies. Sure I do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks so much for all the responses.

Has been great fun watching all the youtubes.
 
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