What is Earthdog?

July 12, 2012

Competition Events

Tired of holes in the backyard, or dirt all over your Westie’s face?

Get used to it. Terriers and teckels (Dachshunds) were bred to get down and dirty, going into all sorts of filthy holes and pulling out even filthier varmits. In the past, these dogs were indispensable in ridding human habitats of disease-ridden rodents. Today, their love for digging and tunneling usually just ends in a bath and a few harsh words.

Handler sends a dog to ground in Earthdog trial

A handler sends a mini longhaired dachshund to ground.
Photo by Dan Bennett

Instead of curbing your dog’s desire for the underground, why not encourage it through Earthdog trials? Your dog will have a chance to show his innate skill, and work out some energy before going back home. Basically, Earthdog events are terrier-type performance events, testing the dog’s ability to “go to ground,” find the game, and dig until it finds the caged rodent at the end of the tunnel. Earthdog is a non-competitive event that simply tests your dog’s abilities, and can result in titles for your effort. The different levels of skill include: Introduction to Quarry (IQ), Junior Earthdog (JE), Senior Earthdog (SE), and Master Earthdog (ME). After the ME title is awarded, Earthdog fanatics can strive for the Endurance Earthdog (EE) title. More about the different levels of competition and the required level of performance can be found here.

Your dog’s desire to find game should be strong, but not over-eager.   As you can imagine, a tiny mini dachshund digging full-steam into a large rat could end badly for both animals. In Earthdog trials, the rodent is safely caged, but the dog doesn’t know that- thus, dogs are judged to make sure that the dog assesses the situation before boring on toward the game. On the other hand, a dog that is too cautious lacks the tenacity to be a truely great rodent-killer. Both ends of the spectrum aren’t ideal, and are judged accordingly.

Found it!

Got it! A mini dachshund practices for Earthdog trials.
Photo by Dan Bennett[gallery]



For little dogs with boundless energy and feisty personalities, Earthdog is a great option. 26 breeds are currently able to compete in Earthdog trials:

  • Australian Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Dachshund
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Silky Terrier
  • Skye Terrier
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier (effective 8/1/12)
    Foundation Stock Service Breeds
  • Cesky Terrier
  • Rat Terrier
  • Russell Terrier


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About BredByBitch

Hello! My name is Dani, and I've been in the "dog world" since I was 8 years old. My mother raises and breeds Irish Wolfhounds, which was my introduction to the show ring. I showed in Junior Showmanship for many years before aging out and getting my first German Wirehaired Pointer. I live in Tucson, AZ with my German Wirehaired Pointer, Luke. Luke is my man, from my first home-bred litter of wires.

View all posts by BredByBitch

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