DSCF3231.JPGThis morning we watched an AKC Earthdog event hosted at the Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana (DTCCU). Earthdog trials test the ability of small terriers and Dachschunds to hunt for vermin, which is exactly what these dogs were bred to do, but nowadays pet dogs probably don’t get the opportunity. During an earthdog test, a dog must find the scent of the quarry, follow it into a tunnel, and negotiate the tunnel itself. When the dog finds the quarry he or she must “work” it, which means barking and growling. A judge will pat the ground while the dog is working, to simulate the sound of digging. The quarry is a rat, which is in a cage to keep it safe from the dogs.

DSCF3244.JPGWe saw both “Introduction to Quarry,” which is the first step in competing, and also the “Master Earthdog” competition, which is the highest level. Inbetween these two levels are “Junior” and “Senior” competitions, which we did not see. At the Master level, the competition began by walking the dogs in a field, asking them to investigate a simulated burrow with no scent trail, and then finally the dogs must themselves find the burrow that contains the quarry. Once found, the tunnel is then opened, and the dogs allowed inside one at a time. The tunnel contain turns, simulated roots, and narrow areas, as well as other exits that the dogs are not permitted to use. Intro was much more simple. It consisted of an L-shaped tunnel in an enclosed area. The dogs were released off-leash and given two minutes to enter the tunnel and work the quarry. While some dogs zoomed right into the burrow, others meandered around for the full time, or were hesitant to enter the tunnel. The owners offered encouragement, chanting “GET THAT RAT! GET IT!”

We met a Welch Terrier and Toy Manchester Terrier, and also saw a number of West Highland White Terriers, Border Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Dachschunds, and one Smooth and one Wirehaired Fox Terrier each. A number of other breeds are eligible, including the Rat Terrier, which is a UKC/AKC-FSS breed. The earthdog trial was a lot of fun to watch, and it looks like a lot of fun for the dogs and their owners, too. You can view the entire photo album here.


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One Response to “Champaign-Urbana 2007 AKC Earthdog Trials”  

  1. 1 Brenda White

    I own the Smooth Fox Terrier that you took so many pictures of. They are really nice. This was our first AKC Earthdog trial. We just started training for it and were not quite ready for competition, but it was a fun day and good experience. Is it possible for you to send me the pictures of her in email. I would really appreciate it. Thanks again for the great pictures and using her on your blog.

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