Barn Hunt is a sport that came to be so that all breeds could participate in the testing of vermin hunting instinct work. There is a history of terriers hunting and proving to be invaluable companions when it came to speed and efficiency. Many herding breeds were also used to flush unwanted animals and vermins from barns and fields on farms over the years.
The dogs have to navigate a course made up of straw bales and loose straw to find the rat and the handler to correctly call the location to the judge. The rats are safely hidden in PVC tubes with air vents and drilled air holes to keep them at a proper temperature and good air flow. Although it is a dog sport, the safety of the rats is the number one priority as they are often family pets and very loved.
There are varying challenges as the levels change but the most important part is always accurately finding and indicating the rat (s). As the sport gains popularity so is the information available in regards to training and trials and the community that surrounds the sport. Dogs of all sizes can participate as the classes are divided by height as well, which means our Aussies and our Jack Russell’s can participate. In fact, our “Halo” (Tucker Creek’s Guardian Angel RATM – JRT) was the first dog in Thunder Bay to attain her Masters title in Barn Hunt and Madison is working towards becoming a BHA judge.
Below is a table from the Barn Hunt website which differentiates the requirements and varying challenges between the different levels.
The Barn Hunt Association is a single sport organization that is now recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as well as the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). More information can be found on the Barn Hunt website at https://www.barnhunt.com/about_bh.html.