Not everyone will understand the importance of “rat catchers,” but if you live in the countryside, you sure do! “Rat catchers” rid farms of destructive vermin – and the hunting and teamwork skills required to do so are the foundation of the sport of Barn Hunt. Dogs and their handlers work as a team to locate and mark rats (which are always safely held in aerated tubes) hidden in a maze of straw or hay bales.
Some breeds are specifically created to fill this role as well as some mixed breeds being up to the task, but as long as your dog can fit through an 18″ wide by bale-height tall tunnel, he’s eligible! “Barn Hunt tests the nose, speed, agility, and surefootedness of dogs that have a history of above-ground vermin hunting,” said Robin Nuttall, founder of the Barn Hunt Association.”
Barn Hunt events include a pass/fail instinct class for owners who want to familiarize their dog with the test. Courses are made increasingly difficult by adding more obstacles, additional diversions and more rats to find. There are several types of Barn Hunt titles your dog can earn:
- Novice Barn Hunt (RATN),
- Open Barn Hunt (RATO),
- Senior Barn Hunt (RATS),
- Master Barn Hunt (RATM),
- Barn Hunt Champion (RATCh),
- Master Champion (RATChX),
- Crazy 8s Bronze (CZ8B),
- Crazy 8s Silver (CZ8S),
- Crazy 8s Gold (CZ8G),
- Crazy 8s Platinum (CZ8P)
The Barn Hunt Association is an independent organization where titles earned can be recognized by The American Kennel Club. Titles earned in Novice and above will be recognized by The American Kennel Club. To apply for your dog’s Barn Hunt title simply complete the application.
Note: All rats used are willing participants that are payed well for the work they do. No rats are harmed and are kept safe and are well loved family pets. Rat owners love their rats as much as we love our dogs and would not play if they were in any harm.