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10 Best Dog Breeds for Agility

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Published on
Friday 26 July 2019
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Best Agility Dog Breeds
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The best agility dog breeds that you find running around the toughest agility courses are surely impressive. If you want to make one of these best agility dogs a part of your family and eventually participate in the competitions, then here is everything that you need to know about these breeds.

Remember that a breed has potential but you need to foster and express it through training and discipline. No dog is born a champion.

In this article, we present you with a list of top 10 best dog breeds for competitive agility. We also answer some questions you may have!

What traits are present in the best agility dog breeds?

Agility is an all-encompassing dog sport that involves a number of activities like jumping, running, weave poles, and so on.

Canine agility is challenging and quite fun for dogs and owners to participate in. Some breeds are born to be the best agility dog breeds. Some of their common traits and characteristics include easy trainability, physical stamina and strength, speed, desire to please and high energy. However, apart from the best agility dogs, there are more than 150 breeds that happily take part in the agility competitions.

Some breeds are just not so successful at agility. To name a few, Great Danes and Mastiffs show very less energy at agility training. Some other breeds like Boxers, Bulldogs and the Dachshunds will be good at certain activities within agility, but fail to do well in most others.

Age and temperament are crucial factors in determining a dog’s ability to participate and perform in agility competitions. As such, puppies younger than 9 months and dogs older than 8 years are not allowed in agility competitions. Similarly, shy dogs should better stay away from these competitions.

How to choose the best agility dog breeds?

While you should certainly take a look at the best agility dog breeds that we are going to list in this article, following are some of the additional traits that you must look for in the best agility dogs of your choice.


A dog that you can take for an agility competition should be brimming with confidence apart from having the necessary physical strength and mental stimulation. Agility, alongside being fun, is also a competition and the best agility dog breeds are also the smartest and the most confident breeds out there.



The best agility dog breeds will seldom crave your attention all the time. Dogs that need to be constantly shown a lot of love and affection are not suitable for agility competitions. While the agility dogs must interact and work together with the owner, they must be fine by themselves both on and off the field also.


The best agility dog breeds should also be the ones that are sociable and patient with other dogs in the company. In an agility course, your dog will be required to interact with many other dogs from varying breeds. So, it is necessary that you watch out for their interaction patterns before preparing them for agility.

Speak to the breeder

The breeders of the best agility dog breeds will be able to guide you well on what to expect from the dog. Some breeders focus on making the dogs more athletic and, therefore, suitable for agility than indulging in the mushy side of their personality.

Structurally healthy dog

Good health of the dog is a must for it to qualify among the best agility dog breeds. The agility training and activities require a lot of physical strength and stamina, which in turn, comes from a well-built and good health.

dog agility explainer image
Dog agility requires intelligence, athleticism, focus, speed, and decision-making.

10 Best Agility Dog Breeds

So, there is no doubt that letting your dog participate in the agility competitions is fun and exciting. Also, having such an active and trainable pet in the family is no less a pleasure. While several dogs are good for agility competitions, some of the breeds are naturally suited for these. So, here goes a list of the top 10 best agility dog breeds, where we gradually move on to the best dog breeds for agility, from number 10 to number 1.

1. Border Collie

The Border Collie is the best performing dog breed in the History of agility competitions. The breed strikes the perfect balance of decision-making ability, athleticism, and intelligence.

There are quite a few reasons behind why this particular breed performs the best, absolutely dominating the agility course much like the whip-smart workhorses. As one of the top and best agility dog breeds, these dogs derive their agility skills from the way they were originally bred for off-leash obedience and for learning complicated patterns required for herding sheep. Today, these dogs are the best agility contenders at the highest level.

A border collie is a complete package of all the traits that characterize the perfect agility dog breed. They are trainable, intelligent and boast extreme speed and intelligence. The breed’s energy level is very high and they love to accompany you, irrespective of their tiredness.

Off the agility course, these herding dogs love to bark a lot, play with toys and find out new activities for themselves. Keep your Border Collie busy and occupied and he will leave you with no complaints whatsoever. It is actually a pleasure training and exercising these agility dogs because they are amazing at it. “They just get it”, a trainer told us one day.

Border Collies are great pets also because they are generally healthy breeds. Remember that many of them are allergic to Ivermectin, present in several tick and flea medicines and that they might be a bit prone to suffering from eye and joint issues.

2. Jack Russell Terrier

Occupying the second position in our list of the best agility dog breeds, Jack Russell Terriers are extremely spunky and athletic, promising an excellent performance in most agility competitions. These dogs are a little headstrong but intrinsically, they love to work hard and train harder. They are smarter than they appear to be and all you need to do with this breed is keep them motivated at all times.

The physical structure of these dogs makes them so naturally suitable as top agility dogs. They have a low-slung body coupled with lean musculature. This is why they can be as fast as they are furious. While being off the course, they are fond of adventurous activities and tend to engage in a lot of digging to the extent of destroying things. They can be a little snarky in the presence of other dogs but if you train them skillfully, they can turn out to be great pets.

When you pet a Jack Russell Terrier, just remember that the breed commonly suffers from hip-joint diseases. Some of the dogs might develop blindness and deafness as well.

3. Australian Shepherd

Definitely deserving a place among the top 3 best agility dog breeds on our list, Australian Shepherds have qualities that make them amazing agility companions. They were traditionally bred for learning complex herding behaviors and were used to working on farms, throughout the day. You can very well understand from where their immense energy and trainability comes.


Not only one of the best agility dog breeds out there, but Australian Shepherds are also gorgeous and can be extremely photogenic. The reason why some of these dogs tend to have a lesser speed, especially compared to the Border Collies, is that their tails are docked at a young age, leading to balance-related problems.

These best agility dogs are also intelligent and pretty much outgoing. They are high-energy dogs that love adventure and stimulation, even when they are not on the agility course. You might find them to be a little clingy too, willing to follow you everywhere and bark at practically everything. Overall, they are quite friendly if given a little time to adjust with strangers.

Otherwise a healthy and hardy breed, some Australian Shepherds are prone to developing deafness and blindness as they age.

4. Australian Kelpie

As one of the best agility dog breeds, the Australian Kelpie, popularly referred to as just Kelpie, is a type of the Australian sheepdog with a unique look. The dogs are extremely athletic, versatile and energetic. When on the agility course, they are simply fast and furious. You can train an Australian Kelpie rather easily but make sure that apart from physical exercises, the dogs get enough scope for mental stimulation.

The breed is usually healthy and needs very less grooming. By temperament, they are lovable and friendly with the exception of some showing a bit of stubbornness, when bored.

5. Poodle

Yet again a small breed, making a place in the list of the best agility dog breeds, Poodles come in various sizes and shapes. Almost all of them are intelligent, athletic and extremely trainable. The dogs are known to be a little prissy and that is obviously because of their roots in hunting. Nonetheless, Poodles demonstrate a perfect combination of physical skills and mental strength.

Poodles are exceptionally intelligent but when compared to some of the other best agility dogs, they seem to lack some of those stranger-danger tendencies, inherently present in the herding dogs. They are attached to their handlers, which makes training them a lot of fun too.

Off the course, Poodles are a little nervous and anxious. You need to keep them calm with routine exercising and training. Introduce them to swimming and fetch games and they will be happily busy.

Both the poodles and the poodle mixes need a good amount of grooming. Also, take care of their health as most of these dogs are prone to certain severe health concerns.

6. Papillon

One of the small yet best agility dogs out there, Papillon is unexpectedly fast and smart at the same time. These dogs are often compared to the Border Collie, in view of their performance on the agility course. Training them is easy, fun and quite promising.

In spite of a small structure and size, Papillons are some of the best agility dogs – they are incredibly athletic. They are not just smart, spunky and fast but also tend to be quite enthusiastic about being trained.

When off the course and in a family, Papillons are lovable and friendly, treasuring human contact. They have a long coat, which requires proper grooming before exercising or hiking.

These dog breeds are generally healthy except for their susceptibility to a disease called the patellar luxation, causing slipping of their kneecaps.

7. Golden Retriever

A common participant in most high-level agility competitions is the Golden Retriever. These Retrievers love learning and training. They are also better family pets than most other agility dog breeds which are basically hard-working herding breeds. Some of these gorgeous dogs can be quite mushy too. So, if you want your Golden Retriever to do well in the agility competitions, then choose a breeder who lets the dog focus on sport and athleticism.

These best agility dog breeds are friendly and loving on the one hand while they can be equally smart and work-oriented on the other hand, especially when you give them a task to perform. While off the course, they are ideal family members with a big heart for every human and dog out there.

A Golden Retriever is a high energy dog so make sure you keep him physically and mentally stimulated with lots of exercises. They can be a bit prone to resource guarding. Overall, they are a healthy breed with fewer health issues.

8. Shetland Sheepdog

If you think that the list of the best agility dog breeds will keep the small dogs aside, then you are mistaken. Shetland Sheepdog is a small herding dog breed that does well beyond expectation on agility courses. With a small and fluffy package, these dogs are exceedingly fast and intense and therefore, one of the best agility dogs out there.

Also, these dogs are among the smartest breeds and what makes them stand out among many other agility dogs is their very high trainability. Their small size obviously doesn’t make them the fastest but they are ideal for owners who want to participate and compete in the smaller height classes.

While off the agility course, a Shetland Sheepdog barks a lot. These dogs have the tendency to get anxious and nervous quite often and this is probably because they belong to a herding breed. Make sure providing them with enough time for exercising so as to stimulate them (and they will be less nervous).

Shelties are great pets but you need to take proper care of them because they often suffer from eye issues like corneal dystrophy, collie eye anomaly, and progressive retinal atrophy. They are also a bit susceptible to heart diseases and epilepsy.

9. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi makes it to the list of the best agility dog breeds by virtue of their physical structure as well as intelligence. Both varieties of the Welsh Corgi –namely the Pembroke and the Cardigan– are wonderfully agile as well as good in most kinds of sports. A Corgi is extremely easy to train and watching it on the agility field is fun and exciting too. (And that bum 😍)

These awesome agility dogs have a lot of enthusiasm while their personality is pretty much outgoing. Just make sure that you teach the dogs some basic obedience before introducing them to the other agility exercises.

The Welsh Corgi is an overall healthy breed provided that you keep them busy and occupied at all times. You won’t win against Border Collies but you will definitely perform well, still.

10. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are amazing and most definitely deserve their spot in a list of best agility dog breeds. The dogs were bred to herd sheep and therefore embed great athletic abilities. With an extreme trainability, strength, and stamina, German shepherd performs well in agility competitions and most sports, demanding physical strength.

When out of the agility course, the breed is extremely friendly and always eager to learn new tricks. They are deeply attached and committed to the owners. GSD are not just trainable but also essentially versatile. Often considered as a working dog, the German Shepherd is highly protective of the family and the people around him. Black GSDs perform as well as standard German Shepherd Dogs.

So, now that you are aware of the best agility dog breeds, you should be able to choose the suitable ones for your family as well as for the purpose of participating in agility competitions. Always make sure keeping these amazing dogs healthy by providing them with enough exercising and mental stimulation.

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