With the AKC mandate that large dogs jump either 26” or their natural height at NAC, the 24” class currently enjoys protection from smaller border collies who end up in 20”. In previous years, fast border collies were able to spread themselves over the 20”, 24”, and 26” height classes, avoiding other top border collies in an effort to win a national title.
Among all the height classes, the 24” class is the most diverse, and while the fastest dogs in the class are typically border collies, past finals have had many non-border collies. Last year’s champion was Maria Badamo and border collie Gromit, but before Gromit, the previous three 24” champions were a golden retriever, an all-American, and a Belgian tervuren. Gromit is back again and will face a tough challenge from border collie teams like Angie Benacquisto and Echo, Jennifer McDonald and Effen, and Sangie Brooks and Vette. Top non-border collie contenders include Trish Hafkey and Labrador retriever Trip and two fast all-Americans: Stacey Campbell and former national champion all-American Roo, and Karen Charles and Sting. Beauceron Demi, handled by Maureen McLatchy, and Stephen Mogerley’s Belgian sheepdog Ringo are two other nice teams to watch.