The West Virginia Barn Hunt Club held two fun events in Union on June 2 and 3. The two days of activities brought over 50 dogs and their handlers to compete in the new dog sport of Barn Hunt. Competitors came from all over West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Barn Hunt is a fun and exciting new dog sport sweeping the country. The West Virginia Barn Hunt Club is the first official Barn Hunt Club in West Virginia. Barn Hunt is based on the hunting and teamwork skills historically used by rat catchers and their dogs who traveled the countryside ridding farms of vermin, thus helping to conserve and preserve food grains and protect inhabitants from disease. Rat catchers used a variety of terriers and go-to-ground breeds (small dogs bred to go under the earth after prey), but also non go-to-ground breeds such as Manchester Terriers, Schnauzers, Pinschers, farm and collie breeds, and a variety of other breeds and mixes. Barn Hunt provides the first true opportunity for dog owners to test proper working traits in their dogs.
The purpose of Barn Hunt is to demonstrate a dog’s vermin hunting ability in finding and marking rats in a “barn-like” setting, using straw/hay bales to introduce climbing and tunneling obstacles in the dog’s path.
The sport tests speed, agility, hunt drive, scenting ability, sure-footedness, and control and responsiveness to handler direction. While Barn Hunt has roots and origins as a way to test working drives in dogs bred to hunt vermin, Barn Hunt is for any domestic dog and handler who wish to play the game, including large dogs, pet dogs, altered dogs, and dogs of breeds or mixes of breeds with or without a vermin-hunting history.
Barn Hunt is a sporting event, and as such there are levels of difficulty, placements, titles, and championships. The sport tests the dog’s ability to hunt and the handler’s ability to read the dog’s communication as they work as a team.
We accept all dogs whether mix or purebred, that can fit through an 18” wide by bale height tall tunnel. This is an especially good sport for older dogs and handlers who may not be able to do fast running sports any more but still want to play a fun game.
Barn Hunt is an independent sport, but our titles are recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club (beginning in 2018) and the United Kennel Club.
Your dog does not have to be registered with any of those organizations to participate in the sport; you will need to register with the Barn Hunt Association. There is a single $30 registration fee for the lifetime of the dog.
The West Virginia Barn Hunt Club is offering free instinct testing at their Union practice facility until October. They can also introduce the sport to local clubs or groups.
In October they will host their first licensed Barn Hunt Trial. For more information, or to schedule a free instinct test, please call 540-247-5967, or email email@example.com. Visit www.barnhunt.com for more information.