Nimble, All-American Dog, Wins Westminster Agility Competition

The best in show competition, essentially a doggie beauty pageant, is the culmination of a multiday canine extravaganza here at Westminster. But it follows the possibly more fun portion of the program, the agility competition.

Some 150 dogs competed in this year’s contest, navigating a series of jumps and other obstacles with the help of their handlers’ verbal and physical commands. The winner, with a blink-and-you’d-miss-it time of 28.76 seconds, was an All-American dog named Nimble.

Nimble was the first All-American dog — the dog show word for mutt — to take the top spot in the 11 years that agility has been part of Westminster, and he was also the first dog from the 12-inch division to win the competition. (The dogs are divided into five groups according to size, from 8 inches to 24 inches; the smaller dogs jump shorter fences.)

Winners from the different size groups included a Papillon named Lark, two Border collies named Vanish and Typo, and a Weimaraner named Hogan.

Agility is a crowd favorite, because the dogs look like they’re having so much fun. Audiences are generous to all the dogs, even when the dogs decide to go rogue. Perhaps the best example is Kratu, a rescue dog who has appeared several times at the Crufts dog show in England. In the 2020 show, he ignored most of the obstacles, hung out in the tunnel for a while before emerging from the wrong end and then grabbed a pole from a fence, parading around as if it were a stick.

Miles, an All-American rescue dog from Erie, Pa., who defeated the odds to become an agility champion and whose unlikely road to Westminster was described in The Times, competed on Saturday in the 20-inch division. His first run, of two, was clean and fast. Alas, he failed to touch several markers in his second run, and did not make the finals.

But he had a great time anyway, said his owner, Christine Longnecker, who returned to Erie with Miles and his four-person cheering entourage on Sunday. “He’s pretty sure he won the whole thing,” she said.

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