Earthdog Trials

earthdog trials

Photo belongs to SheltieBoy

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What are earthdog trials?
An earthdog trial examines the instinct and working ability of small, short-legged terriers and dachshunds. These dogs were bred to hunt rodents and other prey that live in underground dens.

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Video: Understanding Earthdog Trails by Petcentric 

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Can any breed participate?
AKC registered terrier breeds and dachshunds six months of age or older are AKC eligible breed and may participate in AKC earthdog tests. However, mixed breeds are not permitted.

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What is the goal?
The goal of earthdog trials is to simulate the work of terriers in rodent control with a concentration on prey that burrows underground. Prey in the form of a rat is located at the end of a tunnel, and the dog is provided the chance to enter the tunnel and find the rat. The rat is protected from the dog for the purpose of the trials. For dogs that love to hunt, this is an enjoyable activity.

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Are there clubs or organizations?
Contact your national breed club, or a local terrier or earthdog club. There are a variety of earthdog clubs in nearly every state. Some include:

Arizona Earthdog Club (AEC)
American Kennel Club (AKC)
Rocky Mountain Earthdog Club (RME)
Oregon Trail’s End Earthdog Club (OTEEC)
American Working Terrier Association (AWTA)

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What equipment is needed?

  • Quarry
  • Tunnels
  • Tunnel bars
  • Quarry Cage

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What testing is involved?
Earthdog trials are held nationwide and are sanctioned by the AKC, various working terrier clubs, and AWTA. No experience is necessary, and a friendly, helpful atmosphere is the goal. The AKC has developed an elaborate program of testing consisting of four classes:

  • Introduction to Quarry (IQ I and IQ II)
  • Junior Earthdog (JE)
  • Senior Earthdog (SE)
  • Master Earthdog (ME)

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How do I get started?
There are special classes offered for handlers and dogs who are new to earthdog. It is the ideal place to get a feel for what earthdog is all about in a friendly, safe environment.
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