The tunnels are of adequate size for the terrier and dachshund breeds that are qualified for this event.
The thirty-foot long tunnel must contain three right angle turns. At the end of the tunnel, wooden dowels prevent the dogs from reaching two live rats (the quarry) in the cage. The entire structure is covered with dirt, forming an underground maze which the dog must traverse in the dark.
Before the liners are placed in the trench, the ground along the entire length, or the liners themselves, are sprayed with rat scent. It is this smell that leads the dog to the quarry at the end of the tunnel. Once at the quarry, the dog must “work” the rats. Working is defined as barking, digging, scratching, lunging, or actively trying to get the quarry.
The rats are not harmed – they are kept safe behind the dowels. The rats sometimes sleep or even mate through the entire process. The length of time the dog must work the quarry varies with the title being pursued.
All trials and practices run by the Arizona Earthdog Club follow the AKC guidelines and rules for these events.
What to expect at an Earthdog Trial:
An Earthdog Trial (also known as Terrier Trial or Go-to-Ground Trial) is an officially sanctioned American Kennel Club event that attempts to replicate the conditions a hunting terrier would encounter in the field. In order to closely approximate an underground tunnel complex dug by a burrowing fox in the wild, the sponsoring Earthdog Club digs a trench in the ground that is twelve inches deep, by twelve inches wide, by thirty feet long, and then places nine-inch square wooden tunnel liners in the trench.
Here is what a Senior tunnel looks like before it is buried in the ground:
The four Earthdog titles are:
To complete for a Junior Earthdog title, the dog must:
The junior tunnel is 30 feet long with three right angle turns.
The next title is Senior Earthdog.
To complete for a Senior Earthdog title, the dog must achieve three qualifying scores under two different judges.
In order for a judge to successfully qualify a dog for a senior leg, the dog must comply with the following standards:
Many handlers and trainers consider the Senior Title the most difficult to achieve.
Master Earthdog is the top activity at the Earthdog Trial. To achieve this title:
Once your dog has earned the Master title, a further goal is the Endurance Earthdog title. This title is new as of 2010, and is earned when a dog, on five occasions, passes both the Senior and Master classes at the same event. Your dog may earn additional Endurance titles after the first Endurance title is completed.
A non-title event called Introduction to Quarry is intended for young or inexperienced dogs to gain experience with the sport. The Intro tunnel is ten feet long with one right angle turn. The dog has two minutes to reach the quarry and must work the quarry for 30 seconds.
Arizona Earthdog Club
The Spring 2018 Earthdog Event was held on April 7 - April 8 2018 at the Chino Valley Equestrian Park. AWTA Den Trial and also Scent Works Seminar was offered on April 7, 2018.
Noseworks Seminar offered March 31 - April 2, 2018 at a separate location. See information below.
Please return to this page for information on new events being held in Arizona in December 2018.
Please send us an email if you have questions .