Henry, a black Labrador retriever owned by Dennis Butler of Norman and Hubert Bereman of Oklahoma City, is the American Kennel Club's 2013 national champion agility dog.
The 8-year-old Labrador won the title last month at the American Kennel Club's National Agility Championships in Tulsa.
Henry was competing in five rounds against all breeds in the 20-inch preferred class, which requires dogs to navigate obstacle courses and jump 20-inch hurdles 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 trained by Butler and his wife, Kris, owners of the American Dog Obedience Center in Norman.
“Henry is our first agility dog,” said Dennis Butler, who has been working with dogs for 30 years but only started agility training with Henry five years ago. “He is an athletic and high-drive animal, but he maintains that lovable Labrador personality.”
Butler has owned Henry since he was a pup. He was born from field trial royalty. His sire, FC AFC Fordland's Bored Out Ford, was a 2011 inductee into the Bird Dog Foundation's Retriever Field Trial Hall of Fame.
Henry originally competed in field trials, but on a whim the Butlers decided to see how Henry would perform on an agility course.
“Henry just took to it really well,” Dennis Butler said. “Labs aren't really known to be super agility dogs, but being bred the way he is, he is really quite the athlete.”
Henry has qualified for the national championships each of the past three years and this was his first title.
Butler said Henry also is an outstanding retriever.
“He is one fine field dog,” Butler said. “He loves duck hunting and is just crazy about pheasant hunting. He has been out many times doing both of those. That's a good break from training.
“He's fun to watch. That is the best part of the duck hunting with him, just watching him go get ‘em. He just does everything at a high rate of speed.”
In addition to this year's national championship, Henry became a Master Agility Champion in 2012 by finishing first in more than 60 agility competitions and earning second place in more than 30 more.
But in many ways Henry is very much like any other Labrador, Butler said.
“He is a tail-wagging, loving Labrador,” Butler said. “It's an incredible honor to work with a national champion and to bring a title to Oklahoma, but Henry obviously enjoys his treats and a good scratch behind the ears much more than the honors and accolades.”