If you didn't already know, there is a whole world of dog competition based on breed, and based on their ability to perform certain tasks, tricks, and jobs. The American Kennel Club hosts over 22,000 of these events each year! You can find one near you to check out the excitement.
There are additional competitive events that are open to any dog breed. And some you can even try with your own pup at home. Who knows… Maybe your dog could be a future championship winner! If you’re really interested in getting started down this path, there are many different dog sports that your pup could compete in.
Dog Sporting Competitions
Once the Best in Breed are ranked, then come the sporting competitions like Fast CAT and Agility. The 2020 AKC Fast CAT Invitational and the 2020 AKC Agility Invitational took place in conjunction with the AKC National Championship.
The winners of each competition have trained with their handlers for hours on end, and have competed in many shows throughout the years. Both the canines and their humans have worked hard to get to this point, and take much pride in their accomplishments.
Phelan, the Fastest Dog USA, 2020
The American Kennel Club explains the Fast CAT like this: “The fastest dogs from each breed, based on rankings from AKC Fast Coursing Ability Tests (Fast CAT), were invited to participate in the inaugural AKC Fast CAT Invitational for the designation of Fastest Dog USA or Speed of the Breeds Champion. All dogs ran three times, with the cumulative speed determining the fastest dogs.”
The most exciting story from this competition was about the dog who won Fastest Dog USA in the 2020 AKC Fast CAT Invitational. She was an All-American Dog named Phelan, owned by Krista Shreet and Ted Koch of Crownsville, MD. Phelan ran 100 yards in 6.346 seconds. That would be 32.3 miles per hour. To put it into perspective, the world’s fastest human runner, Jamaican sprinter Usian Bolt, had his fastest time at just under 28 mph.
An “All-American Dog” actually means that she is a mixed breed. This was the 10th year running that the AKC Canine Partners program has been going on. This program was started to allow mixed-breed dogs to compete in activities like the Fast CAT. And it’s a good thing, because this furry little mixed-breed ended up being the fastest dog in the United States!
Four-year-old Phelan actually beat out 117 other dogs, including the purebreds. “Owners Krista Shreet and Ted Koch... adopted Phelan—an oatmeal-hued mix of greyhound, borzoi, and Scottish deerhound—when she was a year old,” says National Geographic. Her crazy, wiry fur helped give her the name Phelan—which is Irish for “wolf.” But this dog is more than just a competitor to them. She is a part of their family. “We took her in, and she’s stolen our hearts,” Koch says.
Piper, Agility Course, 2021
Another amazing story is about a rescue dog who showed up to prove herself in the 2021 AKC Agility Invitational. Piper was adopted out of a high-kill shelter by Diane Swanson and her boyfriend, Dave Dean. Piper’s last foster parent was “in over her head.” But Diane and Dave fell in love with her right away and agreed to foster her. And once they saw how Piper got along with their cats, they officially decided to keep her as part of the family!
And Dave actually has over 30 years of experience in dog training and evaluation. But from the beginning, he told Diane that he thought Piper would never be an agility dog. Piper didn’t know how to go on walks, play, go up and down the stairs, or do anything a typical dog would do. No one ever taught her.
But nevertheless, Dave and Diane wouldn’t give up on her. They trained her diligently, and gave her a loving, encouraging home, just like they did with their other dogs and cats.
Piper came home with them in January of 2017. By February she was already doing 10+ obstacles in the backyard! By April she was training with a professional dog trainer, Dave Millmore, who was a former World Agility Competitor. Over the years she competed in Trick Dog Titles, averaged 26 MPH in the Fast CAT competition, and competed in Agility.
Miranda Carney from the American Kennel Club explains that “on the final day of the 2021 AKC National Agility Championship, Diane learned that she and Piper had qualified for finals in the most competitive 20″ class.” And on top of that huge accomplishment, Piper competed among 21 other dog breeds, and proudly came in 8th place. And it all started with the adoption of her loving pet parents.
Wasabi, Best in Show, 2020
One of the cutest dogs to compete in the 2020 AKC Fast CAT Invitational was this little Pekingese named Buster. Last, but not least… He was actually the slowest dog in the event, but the fastest Pekingese in the nation. “Buster was awarded the ‘Turtle Award’ for being the slowest dog with the biggest heart.” Adorable, right?
I know it might seem odd to honor the dog who came in last place. But this little fella was so proud of his accomplishment. According to the NY Times, one of the judges called him a tiny dog “that feels like he’s 10 feet tall.”
This little pup won the Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2020. And he actually comes from a line of champions! His father was a champion Pekingese, and his great-grandfather was Malachy, the winner of the Best in Show in 2012. Both Wasabi and Malachy were owned, trained, and shown by their handler, David Fitzpatrick. I guess winning just runs in the blood!
Famous Champion Dogs
These dogs and their owners have worked so hard to get to where they are today. Whether their owners adopted them from a rescue, or brought them home from a reputable breeder. These dogs have not only been champion athletes and show dogs. But they’ve been champion companions to their families.
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