The Puli is perfectly suited to agility. He likes to run and jump and play, and he likes to be trusted when he’s off-leash. He likes the positive training approach, the one on one time with his human, and he likes the applause from the bystanders when completing a good run at a trial. It’s a great activity for the older Puli who may have retired from Conformation, but is still active. And it’s good for that youngster who may be waiting to be Specialed when the coat gets longer. And of course, it’s perfect as a primary Puli activity. (See Puli Puppy Agility article from Puli News.)
Agility’s popularity is growing rapidly. The humans seem to enjoy themselves as much as the dogs, and at trials the competitors warmly root for each other and mean it. Yet it’s quite a new sport. The idea was spawned in late 1977 while the Crufts Show Committee was looking for a new, entertaining demonstration event to fill the time after Obedience Championships and before Group judging. John Varney had the idea of a dog activity based on horse show-jumping; he enlisted Peter Meanwell, a Working Trials competitor and judge, to design the equipment and rules. In February, 1978, the Crufts crowd saw the first dog agility demonstration; it was between two teams of four dogs each. It was a big success, and by 1980, new Kennel Club regulations were in place and the activity began to spread throughout Europe.
In the United States, the USDAA (US Dog Agility Association) and NADAC (North American Dog Agility Committee) began to hold trials. By 1994, the AKC launched its own dog agility events.
In the US, Pulik got into agility early. Harry Guticz and “Louie” (Ch. Wallbanger Kalua UD HROM) as well as Pat Guticz and “Tango” (U-ACH/Ch. Brasstax No Strings Attached UD, HC, CGC, AAD, NA) qualified at an NCDA trail on May 6, 1988. Many titles and awards followed. From the Puli Chronicle:
“The litany of Puli Firsts in Agility competition in the United States is, not too surprisingly, a recitation of the names and titles of the Pulik belonging to Pat and Harry Guticz, of Lincoln, Nebraska. Pat and Harry aren’t “breeders” per se; they are “doers.” They breed only when they need a new competitor, and they encourage those who buy the rest of their puppies to become exhibitors in breed, obedience, and agility. We have no kennel in the breed more worthy of our admiration than their Brasstax Pulik, and no Pulik show off the exceptional qualities of our breed better and to a wider audience, than theirs, with their dazzling array of titles in three different endeavors.”
— Mary Wakeman, Editor: The Chronicle of the Puli Club of America
The PCA began to hold Agility Trials in conjunction with National Specialties in 1996 in Connecticut; most of these have been all-breed trials.
For members who have their eye on a Versatile Puli award, Agility is one of the activities that helps your Puli qualify.