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April 21, 2013

Norman dog wins AKC championship

NORMAN — An Oklahoma dog has taken top honors as the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) national champion agility dog for 2013.

Henry, who’s registered name is PNAC MACH American Revved Up Ford, was named as the top dog in the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships.

Henry, an 8-year-old black Labrador retriever, competed in the AKC’s 20-inch preferred class. Dogs in this classification are required to clear 20-inch jump obstacles.

Henry is owned and trained by Dennis and Kris Butler of the American Dog Obedience Center in Norman. His co-owner is Hugh Bereman, of Oklahoma City.

To be eligible to compete for the national championship, Henry was first required to complete a rigorous series of qualifying standards. Once at the national championships, Henry faced five rounds of competition, each requiring the dogs to navigate a variety of timed obstacle courses off-leash with as few errors as possible. The courses include various forms of jumps, tunnels, weave poles, teeters and other obstacles designed to test a dog’s speed, agility and discipline.

“Henry is our first agility dog,” said Dennis Butler, who has been working with dogs for 30 years but only started agility training about five years ago. “He is an athletic and high-drive animal, but he maintains that loveable Labrador personality.”

In addition to this year’s national championship, Henry became a Master Agility Champion (MACH) in 2012, finishing first in more than 60 agility competitions and earning second place in more than 30.

Henry, who qualified for the national championships each of the last three years, comes from a long line of champions. His sire, FC AFC Fordland’s Bored Out Ford, was in 2011 inducted into the Bird Dog Foundation’s Retriever Field Trial Hall of Fame.

“It’s an incredible honor to work with a national champion and to bring a title to Oklahoma,” Bereman said, “but Henry obviously enjoys his treats and a good scratch behind the ears much more than the honors and accolades.”

The 2013 AKC National Agility Championships were hosted last month in Tulsa.

“This was a banner year for Oklahoma agility dogs,” Kris Butler said. “Henry was one of 20 Oklahoma dogs that qualified to compete in this year’s national championships, which is an all-time high for our state.”

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