AKC tends to have up to 3 rules changes over the course of each year (usually on January 1st, July 1st, and/or September 1st).
I went over the July changes right before I disappeared, and in September, we didn't really have any changes other than some for the clubs and how they go about registering for trials. Among them, the recording fee has gone up by 50 cents for each entry, and our local clubs are making us pay that. Doesn't seem like much, but a dollar here and a dollar there add up over time.
In January 2012, we have quite a few obstacle changes coming up though, so here they are:
- Most notably, the chute length is changing. I believe its length has been 10-12 feet up until now. Well, starting January 1st, the length is changing to a mere 6 feet (well, between 6' and 6'6" technically)! That's a crazy short chute, you have no idea. A short one like that is allowed to be used during bad weather right now, and I saw it in action at the last two trials we went to (because it was rainy and muddy, but that's another story), and boy is it short. It's practically a joke - dogs come flying out of the thing. It will be interesting to see this become the standard, but I don't suppose it'll be any advantage to me. Currently, I actually like that the chute is pretty long, and Philip gets stuck in the momentarily - it gives me a chance to catch up and collect myself, I don't get many of those on course with my lightning dog. Now they are taking even that one spot away - sigh...
- The tunnel is seeing a small change in that a 4" spacing between the ribs is now required (used to be up to 6"). No real effect to competitors from that one.
- Weave poles now officially require 24" spacing between the poles (used to be between 22" and 24"). They've been pretty standard already though, so no effect from this change either.
- Double and triple jumps are now emphasized that no solid sides will be allowed, i.e. all bars must be visible from all sides. Nothing new really, all doubles and triples I've seen so far have been non-solid.
- The wings for all jumps are now described as being 16"-36" wide (24" recommended), and 26"-42" high. Not sure what that's changed from, but it's highlighted, so I'm including it :)
That's all for January changes. More changes will be coming in July (new titles mostly), but that's still a bit away, plus it could still change, so I'll save those for later.