tracking1 What are Working Trials?


I think it’s fair to say that Working Trials is the pinnacle of The Kennel Clubs sanctioned dog sports in this country. It’s a numerically small sport that been around since the 1920’s.

The easiest way to explain Working Trials is to say that it is the civilian equivalent of Police Dog work - for us of course it is purely for competition. It has also been described as the canine equivalent of Three Day Eventing for horses. All breeds can take part, though smaller dogs are disadvantaged in higher stakes because of the agility section. It is a physically demanding sport, so, whatever the breed, the dog itself must be physically fit - and it helps if the handler is too!

Working Trials are run under Kennel Kennel Club Regulations, and the schedule is constructed so that competitors must qualify for entry from one stake to the next, from Open to Championship Trial.

There are two classes of Working Trials and five Working Trials Stakes, which must be worked in progression. The classes are Open and Championship, with the exception of CD  you must qualify at open level before entering a championship trial. i.e to enter a championship UD trial you must have qualified at a UD open trial first. The rules can appear to be a bit complicated and are a major source of confusion to newcomers of the sport.





Nosework Regulations

This carries by far the highest proportion of marks. In the tracking stakes it requires the dog to track human scent for at least half a mile, turning corners, sometimes curves, and negotiating changes of terrain etc, recovering as it goes items of property placed by the tracklayer. The dog and handler are not present when the track is laid, and, depending which Stake is being worked, the track will have been left anything between thirty minutes and three hours before being worked. The weather conditions, wind, and type of terrain play a very important part in the success or failure of competitors, especially on a three hour old track. There is also a property square in this section, in the tracking stakes four articles are placed in a twenty-five yard square area.