The purpose of the AKC FAST CAT® event is to provide all dogs and their owners an enjoyable, healthy activity in which they can participate. Dogs run singularly. The dog’s time to complete the 100 yard dash is converted into MPH. Dogs earn points based on their handicapped speed. Titles are awarded when a dog has accumulated a given number of points
For more infomation please visit the AKC website.
Coming soon possibly May, we have acquired most of the needed equipment and will have a trail in the near future tay tuned…….
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As the seasions change Socal Coursing moves into our season. So if you are new the sport or as veteran and just need a refresher Check out this article (Source, AKC.org)
The purpose of non-competitive lure coursing tests is to offer sighthound breed owners a standardized gauge to measure their hounds’ coursing instinct. The purpose of the competitive lure coursing trial program is to preserve and develop the coursing skills inherent in the sighthounds and to demonstrate that they can perform the functions for which they were originally bred.
Although lure coursing events are artificial simulations of coursing, they are designed to measure and develop the characteristics of the sighthound breeds.
Lure coursing tests and trials are sports and all participants must be guided by the principles of good sportsmanship both on and off the test and trial fields (Regulations for Lure Coursing Test and Trials Handbook, Chapter 1, Section 1, page 1).
Sighthounds are a special group of hounds that are bred to hunt by sight. The sighthound breeds are: Whippets, Basenjis, Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, Afghan Hounds, Borzois, Ibizan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Salukis and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
To provide a test for these breeds AKC instituted the Lure Coursing tests and trials in July, 1991. These Tests and Trials utilize a ‘lure’ of white plastic strung around a course of 600 to 800 yards in an open field. They are meant to preserve, test and develop the coursing instincts in these breeds. Your first step to learning about lure coursing is to get a copy of Lure Coursing Rules and Regulations and familiarize yourself with what is required to enter the various events offered. Dogs must be at least one year old to run at an AKC-approved event. Dogs with breed disqualifications are not eligible. Check the standard for your breed or the Lure Coursing Regulations for more information.
The lure coursing Tests offer the Junior Courser (JC) and Senior Courser (SC) titles. In the Junior Courser test the dog runs solo and is required to run at least a 600 yard course with four turns under two different judges. For the Senior Courser test the dog must be eligible to run in the Open Stake by virtue of having a Junior Courser title; must run with at least one other dog and must earn a qualifying score at four AKC tests under at least two different judges. To earn the Master Courser test the dog must earn 25 qualifying scores in the Open, Open Veteran or Specials Stake and have a Senior Courser Title.
In the lure coursing Trials the dogs can earn a Field Championship (FC) by accumulating 15 points with at least two first place wins of three points or more under two different judges or judging panels and at least one point must be earned in competition with at least one hound of the same breed.
Once a dog has earned an FC, they may continue to compete in order to earn a Lure Courser Excellent title (LCX). They must accumulate an additional 45 Championship points at which time they receive the LCX title. If they wish to continue to compete, they can continue to accumulate Championship points in increments of 45 and earn additional LCX levels, i.e. LCX II, LCX III, LCX IV, etc.
To find out more information on lure coursing or sighthound clubs in your area you can find them through the Club Search and for information on lure coursing events in your area use our Event Search. Coursing is a good way to keep your sighthound mentally and physically fit and nothing is more fun that seeing the sheer joy on your sighthound’s face as he courses his ‘quarry’ instinctively.
At any lure coursing event there are a number of people filling different roles, all helping to make the event run as smoothly as possible and in compliance to AKC rules. This article is meant to help new-comers to the sport understand who these people are and why they do what they do.
Collectively, the team running the event is called the Field Committee and their roles and responsibilities are spelled out in Chapter III of the AKC Regulations, available online here:
Some, but not all, of the members of the Field Committee must be members of the event’s host club. It’s also common for several people to split time in the roles, which gives them a chance to run their own hounds at the event. The AKC rules designate certain responsibilities to certain roles. Outside of these explicit designations, clubs are free to decide who does what.
In the Forefront
The Field Secretary is the one who runs the “front office” at the event_ keeping track of the entered hounds, the scorekeeping, performing the draw for the various courses, and announcing when various things are to happen. Before the first course is run, you will hear the Field Secretary announce that registration is open, call contestants to Inspection and Roll Call, and announce the Draw. During the event they will announce when the Preliminaries and Finals are to be run and might also call for a lunch break between prelims and finals.
Before the event starts you will also see people setting up the equipment that will run the lure and setting up pulleys and perhaps cones in the field (setting the course). This is usually the Lure Operator, although most clubs have several people who help set things up. The Lure Operator is the one who will be running the lure during the courses and is usually standing on a ladder while running it.
The next people you will notice are the Inspection and Measuring Committee, who are responsible for checking that each entered hound is fit to compete. They will visually inspect the hounds for lameness, ensure that any bitches entered are not in heat, and check for breed disqualifications. In addition, they will measure whippets for compliance to the ACK standards for height. Once inspection is complete, they are done and can move on to other roles or simply enjoy the event.
The Paddock Master is responsible for calling the hounds for the next course to the paddock, which is a waiting area where the hounds wait until it is their turn to run. The Paddock Master is also responsible for checking that the hounds who come to the paddock are properly blanketed.
The Hunt Master is the “starter” for the courses and is basically the one who runs the field. He will call the hounds to the line for each course, make sure their equipment is in order, and explain the rules to the Handlers. He will then check that the Judges, Lure Operator, and Handlers are ready, signal the Lure Operator to start the lure, and call out “Tally-Ho” which is when the Handlers may release their hounds.
Once courses have started running, you will see the Field Clerk in action. The Field Clerk will collect scores from the Judges, run them back to the Field Secretary to be entered, and post scoresheets on the board.
Behind the Scenes
As you look around, you will notice one or several people stationed somewhere out in the field watching each course intently. These are the Judges, who score the hounds. You may never notice the Field Chairman, as most of what they do is not visible. However, they did a lot of work to arrange for the field, the equipment, selecting the Field Committee, etc.
The Stars of the Show
The hounds are why we have these events. It’s always a thrill for me to watch these amazing creatures doing what they were born and bred to do. Seeing the speed, agility and pure joy that these athletes display is all the reward that those of us who love the sport need to do whatever we can to help.
Making It All Happen
A well run event depends on coordination amongst the members of the Field Committee. In many cases the Field Chairman and/or the Field Secretary will orchestrate the other roles so that everything runs smoothly. To start with, the Field Secretary and Inspection Committee get all the hounds registered and inspected, and Field Secretary performs the draw for the Preliminaries. The Lure Operator, Judges, and Field Chairman will make sure the course is set and safe. This is where even the first time attendee can help. Many fields will have gopher holes scattered about and these are a big hazard to the hounds. So don’t be surprised if someone asks you to help out with walking the course and filling in some gopher holes. Nobody wants to see a hound travelling at thirty miles an hour step into a gopher hole.
Next, the Hunt Master, Lure Operator, and Judges will watch a “pilot” hound run the course to test it out. This also gives the Lure Operator a chance to see how the equipment is running. After the pilot run, a few changes may be made to the equipment and course to optimize things before the Preliminary courses. When everything is ready, the Paddock Master will call the hounds for the first course to the Paddock, the Judges, Hunt Master, and Lure Operator will take their places, and we are ready to start.
The Hunt Master will call the hounds to the line, perform his duties, and start the course. Meanwhile, the Paddock Master should already have called the hounds for the next course to the Paddock. When each course is completed the Hunt Master will instruct the Handlers to retrieve their hounds and once they are all back on leads, will call out “Hold Your Hounds” while the Lure Operator runs the lure around to the starting line. The Judges will be writing down their scores and the Field Clerk will occasionally run out to collect them. When ready, the Hunt Master will call the hounds to the line for the next course.
As things progress, the judges’ scores will be taken to the Field Secretary by the Field Clerk. They will be recorded on scoresheets. Courses are run by breed and within each breed by class. There may be an Open class, a Special (or Field Champion’s) class, and a Veteran’s class for each breed. Within each class there may be several courses, depending on the number of hounds entered in the class. If enough hounds are entered in a single class to qualify for two “majors” the class will be split into two stakes, so that there are more points available to the hounds in that class. As soon as all of the courses for a breed are done and the scores for the breed recorded, the scoresheets will be posted on the board. There will be a separate scoresheet for each class in each breed.
This process continues until all of the Preliminary courses have been completed. At this time the Field Secretary will often call for a lunch break and will then perform the Draw for the Finals. They will then call for the Finals to begin. The Finals are basically a repeat of the Preliminaries but usually hounds will run against different hounds than they did in the prelims. This is all determined by the number of entries and random chance in the Draw.
Once Finals are completed, the scores will be tabulated and there may be run-offs to break any ties in the point-scoring positions in each class. After run-offs, there will be Best-of-Breed runoffs where the winners of each class in a breed compete. All of this can affect how many points a hound wins at the event.
Finally, Best-in-Field will be run between the winners of each breed. The Best-in-Field results will not be posted on the board.
At the end of the day, it is time for awards. The point winners and winners of each class and breed are announced and awarded a ribbon and other prizes provided by the host club. Finally, the Best-in-Field winner will be announced and awarded. The event is then officially over.
Time permitting, the club may then run “fun” or training runs. This is when people get a chance to introduce new hounds to the lure and get an idea of whether a hound is going to take to the sport. Then it’s time to clean up, put everything away, clean up any trash, and head for home.
Growing into the Sport
There are a lot of things that have to happen before an event can be pulled off. First, a host club has to be sanctioned by the AKC to run events. A suitable field and equipment have to be arranged, a Field Committee formed, and a lot of paperwork submitted to AKC both before and after the event.
Judges have to be solicited and confirmed, premium lists prepared, entries registered, and funds collected. All of this is done by the Field Chairman and Field Secretary so these roles are usually manned by the most experienced people in the sport.
Judging and Lure Operating both require significant experience and in the case of Judges, apprenticeships have to be served and tests passed to get licensed by the AKC. These roles are also typically grown into after years of experience in the sport.
Hunt Master is another role that benefits from significant experience. This role is complicated and important so some training is highly desirable before someone is ready for it.
Inspection and Measuring Committee, Paddock Master, and Field Clerk are usually where novices can start helping out and gaining experience on Field Committees.
So if you want to get into the sport, you can just start showing up to events, watching, and hopefully volunteering to fill in a few gopher holes. You can also get your hound started with fun runs after events. Next, you can enter your hound in Junior Coursing tests and Qualification Tests, which are required before a hound can be entered in an event. This is where you will learn how to be a Handler and your hound will show how much prey drive he has. Next comes entering your hound in events and perhaps volunteering for Inspection and Measuring Committee, Field Clerk, or Paddock Master. As you gain experience, you will probably find yourself gravitating towards the field or the “office”. Many of those who decide to get trained as Hunt Masters will eventually end up as Lure Operators. Those who like the scoring can start as Field Clerks and then become Field Secretaries. Field Chairmen come from both sides of the sport. Finally, you can start apprenticing with Judges and apply for a Judging License with AKC. No matter how far you decide to go, the sport has its own rewards.
By Frank Yeh
This is a second article by one of our AKC judges Frank Yeh entitled Selecting a Lure Coursing Test- JC or QC. It explains the difference between the two types of tests you can enter your sighthound in, the JC or the QC. This decision is often very confusing or perplexing for many new exhibitors. In this article Frank gives great explanations of the Junior Courser and Qualifying Courser tests and the rationale for which one you might select for your hound. This article will be especially helpful for new exhibitors and for those of you who are experienced and are mentoring new exhibitors.
When you enter your hound for a QC or JC be sure to look carefully at the entry form and check the ‘TEST’ box and then clearly select if you want the JC or the QC. If you select the QC ‘TEST’ be sure that you are prepared to have an experienced hound of a similar running style to be present to run with your test dog. Also be sure to have a blanket/jacket for the test dog. If you need help with either of these be sure to contact the secretary before the event.
The AKC designates two different Lure Coursing Tests_ Junior Courser (JC) and Qualified Courser (QC). Most people getting started with the sport find this a source of confusion, so this article is intended to spell out the differences between the two types of tests and help people select the appropriate test for their hounds.
There are several similarities between the tests. Both tests are meant to evaluate a hound’s prey drive (the hound’s desire to chase prey), which is desirable in all sighthound breeds. Both are run on a course of at least 600 yards with at least 4 turns, and both are judged by a licensed AKC Judge. Hounds have to be at least 12 months of age in order to enter either test and are awarded an AKC title upon passing the tests.
To understand how and why they are different, it is important to consider the actual intent of the tests. The JC is essentially a test of the hound’s prey drive while the QC is a test of whether the hound will compete with other hounds safely. People normally enter their hounds in the JC if they are interested in getting a title for their hound but are not necessarily interested in running the hound in competitions. Conversely, the QC is a requirement to entering a hound in competitive Lure Coursing Trials, so people who want to enter their hounds in competitions must first qualify their hounds in a QC test.
It’s also worth noting that a hound can earn both titles and that neither test is a pre-requisite for the other. In addition, a JC title requires two successful test runs while a QC title only requires one.
So why would you enter your hound in JC? Whether your hound is a show dog or not, it’s nice to be able to add a title to the hound’s registered name. After getting their JC title, good old Rover, aka My Rover of Puppytown, can then be called My Rover of Puppytown, JC. The added title sounds more impressive and if nothing else is a source of some pride for owners. For breeders and people who show dogs, every title that a hound can list increases its eminence and the value of the dog for breeding. Kennels who can point to JC titles on their hounds demonstrate that they are not just breeding their hounds to conform to the breed standards but also to maintain the hounds’ instinctive prey drive. The JC title basically says “that dog will hunt!”
So if every title increases a hound’s eminence, why not enter the hound in competition and go for all the titles available to competitive lure coursers? Well, lure coursing is a sport and there are inherent dangers of injury both from the actual running of the courses and in rare cases from other hounds (which is ultimately why the QC test was created). Most people just do not want to take the chance that their champion show dog might be injured in a competitive trial. The chance that a hound running by itself will be injured is considerably lower than when it is running with other hounds, so the JC offers people the safest and easiest way to get a field title for their hounds.
When hounds are entered in competition, they are doing just that_ competing with each other to be the one who catches the lure. They are also doing something that is very instinctive for them and in a way connects them to their primal past. So a normally well-mannered hound might become less so when engaged in the chase_ the “thrill of the hunt” is a powerful thing! A sighthound is like a big blood and oxygen pump. When running at speed they experience levels of energy and excitement that nothing else can evoke. This being the case, a hound will occasionally turn on other hounds or interfere with them. Hounds in competition are running at the edge of their capabilities and at high speed even a bump can cause missteps, crashes, and injuries. Less frequently, a hound might even attack another hound competing with it to get to the all-important lure.
To minimize the likelihood of injury, the QC test was created to determine whether a hound will run safely in competition. Consequently, the QC test is run with another hound to evaluate how the qualifying hound will react to other hounds on the course. A QC title is now a requirement to enter a hound in its first Open stake.
If you are still undecided as to which test to enter, consider that the JC is an easier test to start with. Even though the JC title requires two successful tests as compared to the QC’s one, the Handler presenting their hound (the Qualifying Hound) for a QC is responsible for arranging for the Testing Hound to run with it. In addition, Chapter XII, Section 1.B of the AKC Lure Coursing Regulations states:
“It is strongly recommended that every Qualifying Hound have been run previously alone and that to the handler’s satisfaction runs cleanly and keenly. It is additionally recommended that every Qualifying Hound practices with other hounds prior to being presented for a qualifying courser test. It is to be understood by all that training prior to running a hound with other hounds in competition is essential to ensure that the hound is prepared to run safely with other hounds.”
So there are significant pre-requisites involved with entering the QC while the JC is basically a “show up and run” test.
If you do intend to enter your hound in competition, there are some good ways to get necessary practice time for your hound. The best thing to do is become part of the local coursing community, getting connected to other coursing enthusiasts through web sites, coursing clubs, or breed clubs. Find out from the community when and where Lure Coursing Tests and Trials or Coursing Ability Tests (lure coursing tests for non-sighthound breeds) are being held and whether the host clubs will be having fun runs at these events.
If there are local events for LGRA (Large Gazehound Racing Association – straight line racing) and/or NOTRA (National Oval Track racing Association – oval racing) these present an additional opportunity to run your hound in practice. Both of these organizations post their event schedules on their web sites. In addition to giving your hound the necessary practice, these events will give you a chance to meet other coursing enthusiasts and a chance for them to observe your hound in action_ both of which might be important when you need to find a Testing Hound to run with your hound in its QC test. Note that if you start with straight and/or oval racing it’s still a good idea to get your hound some practice on an actual lure course. It’s sort of funny to watch a straight racer running its first oval when it discovers that the lure can actually turn or an oval racer in its first lure course when it finds that the lure can also turn right.
Whether you decide to go with the JC or the QC or both, you are in for a thrill watching your hound doing something that thousands of years of evolution have shaped it to do. It’s a uniquely beautiful, amazing experience augmented by the feeling you will get when you see how contentedly your companion sleeps when you get home.
By Frank Yeh
Sighthounds are dogs that traditionally hunt by sight rather than tracking game by scent and are specialized for rapid running. Sighthounds have an overwhelming instinct to ‘chase. ’Lure coursing is a performance event developed in the early 70’s by Lyle Gillette and other California Sighthound fanciers as a safer, more controlled sport for Sighthounds that simulates the pursuit of prey in the open field. Lure coursing presents an opportunity for sighthounds to chase a lure for pleasure. In lure coursing, hounds chase plastic bags on a course laid out to simulate escaping game.
This sport is usually limited to dogs in the Sighthound breeds such as Afghan Hounds, Greyhounds, Ibizan Hounds, Salukis, Whippets, etc. The Sighthound breeds have a long history of being bred primarily to detect movement, chase and capture prey. Sighthounds generally have no need to be trained or enticed to chase the lure since the desire to chase is instinctual. However some breeds may require lure play at a very early age to encourage them to follow an artificial object with enthusiasm. (Recently the American Kennel Club has introduced the Coursing Ability Test available to all breeds, mixed breeds and pure bred dogs with breed disqualifications. CATS
Lure courses are usually between 500 and 1000 yards in length and are created by placing small pulleys around a field in a pattern designed to resemble the rout prey might take when pursued by hounds. A loop of braided string is pulled around the pulleys by a wheel attached to a motor. The lure itself is usually a series of white plastic bags. An experienced lure operator can control the lure so as to simulate escaping game.
The hounds run the course twice, usually in groups of three. They are judged on a variety of parameters by experienced judges. Scores from both runs are added for a combined total score. Hounds are awarded placements and earn points based on where they finished and the number of hounds they competed against. The hounds are running not only for fun and to keep their natural abilities alive, but also for titles.
In the US there are two organizations that coordinate the hosting of sighthound lure coursing trials and certify judges. In order of years of experience in the sport they are the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) www.asfa.org and the American Kennel Club (AKC) www.akc.org
Each organization has slightly different running rules, scoring and criteria for granting titles. Competitive points earned in one organization do not carry over to the other group’s trials. The ASFA confers the titles of Field Champion (FCh.) and Lure Courser of Merit (LCM).
Earlier this year Della passed away, she had an unyielding dedication to CAT’s Lure Trials among other AKC events. Della had vast knowledge of the sport and was always more than happy to chat with any exhibitor new or long term attendee. In short to those who know Della she will be greatly missed. Della’s memory will live on whenever you hear tallyho.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
2216 17th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Friday June 2nd, 2017 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM
In March of this year some of our Coursing Freinds left the field and walked the red carpet (after a bath of corse) at the Beverly Hills Kennel Club. On Easter Sunday, April 16 at 8/7c, USA Network will air the inaugural telecast of the Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented By Purina. Click Here to watch the show.
Honorable mention to Ziva, even know she is now retired it did not stop her from hitting the red carpet at Universal Studios and going for a walk with Bart & Homer (from the Simpsons). She participated in a production to promote the Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented By Purina.