The purpose of non-competitive earthdog tests is to offer breeders and owners of small Terriers and Dachshunds a standardized gauge to measure their dogs’ natural and trained hunting and working abilities when exposed to a hunting situation. The noncompetitive program begins with a basic introduction to den work and quarry and progresses through gradual steps to require the dog to demonstrate that it is capable of being trained to follow game to ground and work its quarry (adult rats). Note that quarry is protected from being harmed by the dog.
The following breeds are classified as eligible to participate in earthdog tests: Dachshunds, Australian Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Dandi Dinmont Terriers, Fox Terriers (Smooth and Wirehaired), Jack Russell Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Schnauzers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Silky Terriers, Skye Terriers, Welsh Terriers and West Highland White Terriers.
Introduction to Quarry
Offers no credit toward titles and is not a prerequisite for other classes. It is for the dog that has never done earth work before and is not intended to fully prepare the dog for the junior earth but only to introduce them to the concept of entering tunnels and working the rats. The tunnel is a 9 inch x 9 inch upside down U shaped liner buried so the dogs are walking on the earth at the bottom. The tunnel length in Intro. is 10 feet long with one 90-degree turn. The handler brings the dog to a marked release point 10 feet directly in front of the entrance, releases the dog with one short command. After release the handler may be asked by the judge to stand by the entrance to encourage the dog to enter the tunnel. The dog has 2 minutes from release to reach the quarry and must work the quarry continuously for 30 seconds. (Working quarry includes barking, lunging, pawing, digging and generally harassing the caged rats.) It is suggested that you practice with your dog with longer tunnels before moving up to Junior.
Junior Earthdog Class (JE)
The Junior Class is open to all eligible dogs. The tunnel is 30 feet long with three 90-degree turns. The handler must enter the test area and stand quietly at the release point (which is 10 feet from the earth entrance) and may only give one command or signal upon the release of the dog. The dog must reach the quarry (by way of the tunnel) within 30 seconds of this release and work the quarry continuously for 60 seconds. A dog must be registered by the AKC, be six months old or older and pass two test, under two different judges, to earn a JE.
Senior Earthdog (SE)
The Senior Earthdog test is open only to dogs with a JE title. The Senior Earthdog den layout more closely resembles an actual den in the wild. The tunnel in this class is again 9x9 inches, and at least thirty feet from entry to exit. However, in addition to three 90-degree turns on the main tunnel, there is a false exit (not scented) and a false den (no animals present but scented). The release point is 20 feet from the den entrance, which is steeper and less visible than the JE test. The dog must reach the quarry within 90 seconds after release and work the quarry for 90 seconds. The judge then removes the quarry and instructs the handler to recall the dog, which must make it back to the control of the handler within 90 seconds. A dog must pass this test three times under two different judges to earn the SE title.
Master Earthdog (ME)
The Master Earthdog is only open to dogs with an SE title. The Master Earthdog tunnel is a further modified form of the Senior course. It is the same except the tunnel contains a constriction point where it is 6 inches wide rather than 9 inches and an obstruction to simulate a root, consisting of a 6 inch diameter pipe across the tunnel that can be moved 2.5 inches either way. In addition, dogs are selected at random and worked in a brace. A complete test consists of: a release of both dogs 100 to 200 yards from the den entrance. Then a “hunt” walk to the den. Once both dogs find the entrance, the dog finding the entrance second must honor the other, by being collared and staked while the first dog works the den. They will trade places when the first dog finishes working. The staked dog should be reasonably quiet. The working dog has 90 seconds after release to find the quarry and must work the quarry for 90 seconds. The Judge will tap or scrape on the roof of the quarry cage, after 60 seconds, when the dog is working to simulate the digging of rescuers as if it were a real hunt. The dog must continue to work without being stopped by this distraction. To earn the Master Earthdog title, dogs must pass this test four different times under at least two different judges.
Published by the Border Terrier Club of the Redwoods 9/98
Based on AKC regulations for Earthdog Tests as of 7/98
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