Top Dog Breeds for Agility Training

Top Dog Breeds for Agility Training
Top Dog Breeds for Agility Training
Border Collies are one of the best dog breeds for agility training
Border Collies are one of the best dog breeds for agility training

(Photo credit: s5iztok / Getty Images)

Big or small, any dog can participate in agility training. But, some breeds are better suited to the task, enjoying the fun of zipping through tunnels, leaping onto seesaws, and jumping over poles. Agility is a great hobby for pet parents wanting to exercise their dog’s mind and body in a fun, competitive setting. Here are some of the top dog breeds for agility training.

What makes a dog breed excel at agility training?

Agility is a competitive canine sport that combines speed, endurance, athletic ability, and intelligence. Dogs need to be able to navigate an obstacle course filled with tunnels, poles, balance beams, and more as quickly as possible while following their handler’s instructions. Dog breeds that are naturally athletic, high-energy, and intelligent excel at agility, and it’s a great way to exercise their mind and body in a structured environment.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is a natural choice for agility competitions. Bred to herd sheep in the field, these athletic and highly intelligent dogs excel on the course. They’ll quickly figure out how to run through tunnels, navigate weave poles, and more with grace and gusto.

Jack Russell Terrier

A smaller breed, the Jack Russell Terrier makes up for their size with lots of energy and heart. These dogs love to work, and the agility course is the perfect way to exercise. Originally bred to hunt vermin, these dogs put their skills to the test by zipping around obstacles.

Australian Shepherd

Similar to the Border Collie, the Australian Shepherd is a herding breed just as at home on the agility course as they are in a pasture. These dogs will quickly pick up on any agility obstacle put in front of them. They’re easy to train and very energetic.

Australian Kelpie

An Australian cousin to the Collie brought over from Scotland, the Australian Kelpie is a smaller herding dog that aims to please. They’re fast, smart, and love a good challenge, making them a great choice on an agility course. 

Standard Poodle

While you may picture French boutiques instead of the agility course with the Standard Poodle, this breed is an excellent choice. Standard Poodles will quickly figure out any obstacle. In fact, this breed is gaining popularity as a service animal due to their smarts and hypoallergenic coat.


The Papillon may be small, but they make up for it in heart and smarts. Easy to train and incredibly loyal, this butterfly-eared breed loves a challenge. They may not be as fast as a Border Collie, but they excel at diving through tunnels and following commands perfectly.

Shetland Sheepdog

Another herding breed, the Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is equal parts cute and intelligent. They are loving, loyal pets that aim to please, and will put their heart into running an agility course. And after the competition, they’ll be just as happy to cuddle on the couch!

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Short legs and a long body won’t stop the Pembroke Welsh Corgi from breezing through agility obstacles. These herding dogs were bred to be low to the ground to avoid the kicks of cattle as they moved them through pens. It also gives them an advantage running through tunnels!

Rat Terrier

A cousin to the Jack Russell Terrier, the Rat Terrier is another small breed with extra energy. This breed loves having puzzles to solve, and will happily figure out any agility obstacle they come to. Just be ready to run the course several times before they’re out of energy!

German Shepherd

The iconic German Shepherd is a great family pet that excels on the agility course and at home with the kids. These loyal, loving dogs are very trainable and will happily do any task asked of them. It’s why they’ve held a range of different jobs.

Agility can be a great way to exercise your dog’s mind and body, and these dog breeds for agility training are the perfect pick. Ready to try some agility training? Check out our beginner’s guide to get started.

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