Based on information provided by Lisa Frankland
While the history of the Kerry Blue is full of references to earthdog activity, it is not included among the breeds (namely smaller terriers and Dachshunds) that are eligible to compete for AKC Earthdog titles. The reason being that Kerries are supposedly too large to go to ground (the tunnels are 17" square).
However, some other registries may allow them, so it may be possible to earn a Certificate of Gameness (CG, not an AKC title) or other "ratter" titles on a Kerry.
The Earthdog newslist is run by Diane McManus (email@example.com) and Dennis Reay (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is called ES-L. Contact them directly for subscription information.
Based on information provided by Camille Partridge
The Earthdog Homepage is a good place to start for information on the sport.
There is an enormous amount of background info there, as well as instructions or a link to sign up for the Earthdog/Squirreldog mailing list, also hosted by eWorld. There are many very knowledgeable people on that list, people who hunt regularly with their terriers and Dachsies in the field, as well as AWTA/AKC test judges, who are happy to share knowledge on whatever questions you may have.
Information provided by Linda Lopez
"Trials" are a way of testing dogs that are used to hunt ground animals. Here is a little description of what is involved in a "trial".
The dogs are required to go into a tunnel underground at the end of the tunnel is a live rat in a cage. The dog should "work the rat", growl, bark, dig at the cage for a certain amount of time. These tunnels are lined so there is no chance of the ground caving in. The tunnels are scented to attract to the dogs.
The first stage is "introduction" and that tunnel is a straight line to the quarry. "Jr's" has a turn in the tunnel and "Seniors" has a false end, a second exit and an additional turn. All the work is timed and the way the dog works the quarry is also tested. "Masters" tests the ability of 2 dogs to work together as a team. One goes underground and works the quarry while the other dog stays, quietly, with the handler, then the first dog come out of the tunnel, on command, and the second dogs goes in. These trials are timed.
Having been a part of these trials for several years, I can tell you that the dogs love it. Dogs that were bred to go to ground really get worked up when they see the tunnels.
AKC has very specific rules about the trials and how the rats are handled. There are licensed judges for these events. Because there are few breeds approved for trails there are not a lot of tests. Most of the trials are put on by individual breed club. die. Border Terrier, Daschand, Jack Russell.
Kerry Blues could possibly be added to the list. Please contact me for more information. Linda Lopez <Lmlopez@space.honeywell.com>
Seeing dogs to what they were bred to do is very exciting.
Contact: Terry Worful