AKC PERFORMANCE EVENTS

It’s one of the best ways to deeply bond with your dog. It’s great exercise. And it just might be one of the most personally rewarding endeavors of your life.

It’s the world of canine sports and events.

Something special happens between owners and their dogs when they train for an event. As you and your dog develop the skills necessary for each sport – and then demonstrate what you’ve learned – you experience a sense of accomplishment like no other. With your dog beside you at each turn, you become a true team in every sense of the word.

Participating in canine sports is often not just about winning ribbons or trophies, either (although a healthy competitive spirit doesn’t hurt). Most dog owners say it’s the many personal rewards that keep them coming back event after event. And, we often hear that the friendships with other dog owners that are developed at these events are as important as the events themselves.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in sports and events, as we hold more than 22,000 events each year. Whether you just train for fun, or actually compete, we guarantee that you’ll feel a sense of pride at seeing your dog in his “happy” place, showing off new skills and accomplishing incredible goals — together.

​AGILITY

Agility is a growing dog sport in the United States, with over 1 million entries to the AKC’s Agility Program each year. Dogs race against a clock as they navigate an obstacle course with strong concentration and speed. Whether you just want to have fun exercising with your dog, or want to go further and enter an Agility competition, get ready for a fast-paced, rewarding experience that will get you and your dog in the best shape of your lives!

OBEDIENCE

Developed in the 1930s, Obedience is one of the AKC’s oldest sporting events. From walking on- and off-leash to retrieving and jumping, or demonstrating your dog’s ability to stay, Obedience trials feature dogs that are well-behaved at home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. It is essential that the obedience dog demonstrates willingness and enjoyment while it is working with the handler

Introduction to Obedience

RALLY

You and your dog are a team. You do almost everything together – take walks, eat, veg out, even sleep together. So think of the fun you’d have showing off what a great team you are at an AKC Rally® event!

AKC Rally® is one of the newest AKC sports and participation increases every year. Whether you just train or decide to compete, Rally develops better teamwork between you and your dog. Just as importantly, it will sharpen your dog’s obedience skills and behavior – at home and in public.

Introduction to Rally  

BARN HUNT

Barn Hunt is the new and quickly growing dog sport catching fire across the country! Barn Hunt is based on the traditional roles of many breeds in ridding farms, barns, crop storage areas, and homes of destructive vermin. Some breeds were specifically created to fill this role, and for many of those breeds. 

Barn Hunt provides their first true opportunity for responsible breeders to test proper working traits in their dogs. Barn Hunt is also open to any dog of any breed or mix who wishes to play the game and can fit through an 18" wide by bale-height tall tunnel. Barn Hunt has titles, levels of increasing difficulty, and championships. Barn Hunt is an independent sport, but titles are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). To see how to get your title recognized, go to FAQs and About (AKC/UKC/CKC).

Barn Hunt is committed to creating a safe and fun sport for dogs, that also holds rat care at the highest level of consideration. The rats used in Barn Hunt are beloved family pets. They jump eagerly into their safe, comfortable aerated tubes and truly enjoy interacting with the dogs.

We're a great sport for older dogs, and older people too! Tripod dogs can compete, and so can deaf dogs. To get started first read the rules, then find a club near you, or even think about forming your own club. You can also find events on the event calendar. We hope you try it, we think you'll like it!

EARTH DOG

If you have a small terrier or a Dachshund, you’ve undoubtedly already discovered their penchant to dig, stick their face underground, and emerge with something in his mouth, be it a mouse, a squirrel or some other creature. After you stop screaming in fright, your first instinct might be to reprimand him for catching that poor animal but really, you should reward him! He’s simply doing what these dogs were bred to do: To hunt underground, and that’s what Earthdog tests assess.

Earthdog tests gauge how good a hunter your dog really is. They’re non-competitive and each dog is judged on his own abilities for seeking and locating rodents underground. But fear not, rodent lovers: In these tests, rats are safely caged and not harmed!

If you are brand new to the world of Earthdog and would like to get involved, you should attend a test in your area by checking out the event calendar.  AKC Clubs can be a great source of education for newcomers. Check out what clubs are licensed in your area by going to our online club directory.

SCENT WORK

This sport mimics the task of working detection dogs to locate a scent and communicate that the scent has been found. It’s a positive, challenging activity that gives your dog the opportunity to use his strongest natural sense.

COURSING ABILITY TEST (CAT)

Want an easy, low-stress way to get involved in the world of dog sports? Start with a Coursing Ability Test (CAT) because it is designed specifically for newcomers.

The first thing to know about the CAT is that – as with all of our tests – dogs do not compete against each other (as opposed to Field Trials where winners are chosen). Each dog runs individually and chases after an artificial lure on either a 300- or 600-yard long course. Your dog must finish in less 1 ½ minutes and 2 minutes, respectively. Because the course is for beginners, it is set up with safety in mind because we recognize that many of the dogs are new to the sport and might not possess the agility of an experienced sight hound.

But don’t worry about being judged: Dogs only earn a pass/fail, and the maximum time is not meant to be difficult to achieve. Yes, your dog will need to run, not walk, to earn a passing grade. But even if he doesn’t do his best, don’t worry! Think of it as just a fun day out for both of you to meet other dogs and dog lovers.

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