Earthdog

Earthdog is a hunting dog sport developed specifically for Dachshunds and small terrier breeds that were bred to hunt vermin.

 

 

In an Earthdog Test, dogs are sent into man-made, underground dens to hunt vermin, or “quarry.” The quarry is usually rats kept in a wire cage. This cage is placed at the end of the tunnel, and the dog must use his nose to locate it.

 

 

Once the dog finds the quarry, he must work it. The work is defined by a number of behaviors, such as barking, scratching, pawing, and digging. Most active behaviors that show the dog’s interest in the prey are suitable.

 

 

Neither the dogs nor the rats are endangered, as they do not actually come into contact with each other.


Earthdog Classes

Introduction to Quarry (IQ) -This is the most basic test. The dog is introduced to a 10 foot tunnel with one right angle turn and a cage of rats behind a set of bars at the end. There is a scent trail of rat scent leading into the tunnel and to the rats. The handler may encourage the dog into the tunnel and the judge may help get the dog working at the rats by shaking the cage or making a noise to incite the dog’s instincts. Dogs that travel the den in two minutes and work the rats for 30 seconds pass this test.

 

Novice Earthdog (NE) – The den is identical to the IQ den, and the dog must travel the den in two minutes and work the rats for 30 seconds. The handler or judge may not do anything to encourage the dog once released near the den entrance. Dogs that pass these requirements at two different tests under two different judges earn the NE title.

 

Junior Earthdog (JE) – The dog must travel a 30 foot den with at least three right angle turns in 30 seconds, work the rats for 60 seconds; and then allow the handler to remove him without injury to the dog or handler. Dogs that meet these requirements at two different tests under two different judges earn the JE title.

 

Senior Earthdog (SE) – The den is 30 feet with at least three right angle turns, plus there are added distractions of a false, unscented exit and an unscented bedding area at the end. The dog has 90 seconds to travel to the rats, must begin working the rats within 15 seconds of arriving at the end of the tunnel, and must work the rats for 90 seconds. At the end of the 90 seconds the rats are removed and the dog has 90 seconds to travel the length of the den to the handler within 90 seconds. Dogs that complete these requirements at three different tests under two different judges earn the SE title.

 

Master Earthdog (ME) – The dog, accompanied by a brace mate must hunt as they travel 100 to 300 yards to the den. On the way he must investigate an empty, unscented den when the handler asks him to. Then both dogs must find the entrance to the den and clearly mark it so there is no question the dog is indicating an active den. The den itself is like the Senior den with the addition of two obstacles: a 6 inch diameter PVC pipe crossways in the den to simulate a root and a narrowing down to 6 inches for a distance of 18 inches. The dog has 90 seconds to get to his quarry, must work the rats for 90 seconds and must allow himself to be removed from the den by his handler within 15 seconds. While one dog is working the other dog is staked out and must wait his turn with minimum amount of noise while his brace mate works the quarry. Dogs that completes all parts of the Master test four times under three different judges earn the ME title.