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What is an Earthdog Test?

With AKC test vs. AWTA trial comparison

By Kathy Reed

Question: What is an Earthdog test?

Answer: In "Earthdog" tests or "Go to Ground" trials, man-made wood 9x9" bottomless den liners (tunnels) are buried and scented. 

They have an accessible live animal "quarry" at the end of the den. The quarry is well protected from injury by the dog. The test will assess a dogís willingness to enter a den, find the quarry, and work to show where the quarry is located.

Question: What is the purpose of Earthdog tests?

Answer: The purpose of these non-competitive tests, is to offer owners and breeders 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 tests begin with a basic introduction to den work and quarry, which has no credit toward title, and progress through gradual steps that require the dog to demonstrate it is capable of being trained to follow game to ground and work itís quarry.

 

Question: Does NCTCA Offer and Earthdog Title?

Answer:  Now that AKC has opened earthdog events and ability to earn titles to Cesky Terriers, we will no longer offer a club title in earthdog.  However please do share your accomplishments for the newsletter and so that we can let AKC know that our members are participating!

 

Question: Why does NCTCA feel Earthdog Titles are important? 


The Cesky Terrier has a distinct history of "go to ground" or "earthdog" hunting capabilities in Europe, which we would like to
preserve and continue documenting in the USA.  We hope that members will choose to participate in this fun event that is such an important part of our breed's heritage.  

 

Question: What organizations offer events/titles?

Answer:

Organizations currently offering events/titles are: 

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AKC  

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American Working Terrier Association (AWTA)  

 

Question: What are the differences between the American Working Terrier Association (AWTA) program and the American Kennel Club (AKC) program?

Answer: The AKC program only uses man-made dens and has four levels of testing. The Introduction to Quarry test is a simple instinct test requiring no training or previous exposure to tests. No titles are earned at this level. The introductory level is not a prerequisite for advanced tests. The AKC levels that obtain titles are the Junior Earthdog, Senior Earthdog, and the Master Earthdog tests.

The main objective of the AWTA is to encourage terrier & dachshund owners to venture into the hunt field with their dogs. They offer the Certificates of Gameness (CG), the Hunting certificate (HC) and the Working certificate (WC). Man-made dens are only used in the Certificate of Gameness level of AWTA. The Certificate of Gameness is awarded at an AWTA trial. There are four class divisions in their trials. These classes are Novice A & B (which are similar to AKCís Introductory level), Open, and Certificate. The Certificate of Gameness (CG) is awarded in the Open class only.

AKC test and AWTA trial comparison

AKC Earthdog Tests
Junior level

AWTA Trials
Open/Certificate levels

Quarry: 2 adult rats placed in a cage and then placed in covered solid wooden box open to bars at quarry end of liners. Quarry: 2 adult rats placed in a cage and then placed in covered solid wooden box open to bars at quarry end of liners.
Den liner: 9x9", approx. 30 ft. length, three 90 degree turns, placed in trench, scented, & completely covered with soil. Den liner: 9x9", approx. 30 ft. length, three 90 degree turns, placed in trench, scented, & completely covered with soil.
Dogs: Collars & leashes must be removed at test area entrance. Dogs: Collars & leashes must be removed at judging area entrance.
Point of release: 10 ft. from den entrance Starting point: 10 ft. from den entrance
Handler: Release from below the waist with 1 short command. Dog may not be thrown toward the den entrance. Handler remains silent at the release point. Handler: Release from below the waist with 1 short command. Dog may not be thrown toward the den entrance. Handler remains silent at the start point.
Test Timing: Timed from handler release. Test timing: Timed from handler release.
To qualify: Dog may exit and re-enter the den but must reach the quarry within 30 seconds of release. Once at quarry must start working within 30 sec. Dog must work within 1 foot of quarry, continuously, without encouragement for 60 seconds to qualify. To qualify: Dog may exit and re-enter the den but must reach the quarry within 30 seconds of release and begin working immediately. Dog must work continuously for 60 seconds without encouragement to qualify.
Scoring: Qualify or Non-Qualify test result. Scoring: Dog must receive 100% to qualify.
Title: 2 qualifying tests, 2 different judges.

Junior level testing.

Junior Earthdog Title (JE)

Title: One 100% qualified trial.

Open trial only.

Certificate of Gameness (CG)

Question:  Where can I find more information or Earthdog trials, events, contacts, regional clubs, etc.?

Answer: 

Websites:

American Working Terrier Assoc.

American Kennel Club:  Earthdog Tests

Books:

Earthdog Ins and Outs, available from Amazon.com

 

 

.Home Up Show Listings Show Forms Obedience Earthdog

 


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