A dog agility ring with apparatus set up in preparation for a competition

What Is Fast Class In Dog Agility?

In dog agility, FAST stands for Fifteen And Send Time, which is a points accumulation game consisting of 15 obstacles and one distance element known as the ‘send’. The aim is for dogs and handlers to complete as many obstacles as possible in a limited time period.  

Six obstacles in every FAST course must be single bar jumps, these are awarded 1 point each for being successfully completed. The remaining nine obstacles are a mix of traditional agility apparatus such as A-frames and tunnels and are assigned a points value of between 2 – 10 points at the discretion of the course judge.

An additional 20 point bonus available if the distance element/‘send’ is completed.

The course layout is unique to each competition and will remain the same across  competitors of different abilities. The send bonus however will become slightly more challenging as the skill level (title) of the dog increases. 

Obstacles on a FAST course can be completed in any order but with only a limited time available to accumulate points, strategy is required when planning which route to take.

Speed, flow and teamwork are all rewarded in this game.

Example of a FAST agility course layout
Example of a FAST agility course layout by Go Dogs Omaha

How are points earned in the FAST agility class?

Points are earned in FAST agility by successfully completing as many of the fifteen obstacles as possible inside an allotted time, with an additional ‘send bonus’ available for completing a distance element. 

Obstacles are assigned a point score relative to their difficulty with the easiest obstacles, single bar jumps being worth 1 point each and the remaining obstacles each assigned a value of between 2 and 10 points at the discretion of the course judge. 

This means the total number of points available for completing all obstacles is 60 points (1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10).

A map of the course layout provided in advance of the competition will have a number placed against each of the obstacles.

These numbers do not represent the order in which the obstacles must be tackled, but rather the number of points awarded for successfully completing them. How you navigate the course is at your discretion.

As only a limited time is available to accumulate points it’s worthwhile studying the course map carefully and choosing the obstacles you will perform if you know your dog isn’t likely to complete them all. 

In FAST agility, depending on the size and class of the dog the time afforded for each run varies between 32 seconds – 41 seconds. 

The distance element offers an additional bonus of 20 points if the handler can remain a minimum distance from their dog whilst completing two or three designated obstacles.

TIP: Walk the course before competing to develop a flow that will accentuate your team’s strengths. Look for paths that maintain speed and momentum.

What is the send bonus?

The send bonus in FAST is a sequence of 2 or more obstacles where the handler must instruct their dog from a predetermined distance. For Novice competitors, the handler must stay between 5-10 feet from the obstacle, and this increases to between 10-15 feet for the Open class, and 15-20 feet for the Excellent class. 

Markers are placed on the course to indicate zones in which the handlers cannot enter if they wish to be awarded the 20 point send bonus.  

In the course map above the send bonus is applied to one of the tunnel obstacles and asks that the competitors complete the tunnel twice in succession.

Are dog titles awarded in FAST?

Dog titles are awarded in the sport of FAST agility and are based upon the number of points that the team score in a single round. 

The lowest possible score where a title will be awarded is 50pts (Novice) out of the total 80pts on offer. 

Titles will only be awarded to dogs that successfully complete the send exercise during their run. 

How many points do I need to qualify in FAST agility?

A maximum of 80pts can be achieved with a perfect run around a FAST course, with qualification for Novice requiring a minimum score of  50pts, Open 55pts and Excellent 60pts. 

The send bonus must be completed successfully and the 20pts awarded form part of these totals for any class status to be achieved. 

Title

Qualifying points

No. of obstacles used in the Send Bonus

Distance between handler and dog for Send Bonus to be earned

Novice Agility

50 points

2

5 – 10 feet

Open Agility

55 points

2-3

10 – 15 feet

Excellent Agility

60 points

3

15 – 20 feet

 

Round up

The agility discipline known as Fifteen And Send Time, or FAST for short is a high energy points accumulation game in which teams compete against the clock to successfully complete as many of the fifteen obstacles laid out on the course as possible.

The ‘Send’ element refers to bonus points on offer if the handler can guide their dog through obstacles from a minimum distance away.