What is Barn Hunt?
The name Barn Hunt comes respectively from Barn and Hunt. This implies hunting in a barn. The dog must be faster than competitors to find all the rats hidden in the tunnels on the competition site, which represents the conditional barn. However, not every tunnel has a “prey”, and there is a number of obstacles along the way – mazes, slides, planks, bridges, etc.
Barn Hunt is interesting for both the dog and the owner, which is why its popularity is growing rapidly and covering more and more countries. It has been recognized by well-known Kennel Clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC), Bart Hunt Association was established, and numerous clubs dedicated to Barn Hunt in the United States and Canada already exceed three hundred. Like any sport, Barn Hunt has several classes with their respective titles awarded to the winners.
Who Can Participate in Barn Hunt Competitions?
In general, Barn Hunt is designed for burrowing hunting breeds, which were bred to hunt for rats, lure prey out of burrows, etc. At the same time any small dogs can take part in competitions – terriers, pinschers, miniature schnauzers etc., including mixed breeds.
The main conditions: the applicant must be over 6 months of age and must fit through a tunnel of 18 inches wide (just over 45 cm).
Previous merits and track record of the pet also do not matter – winners of prestigious competitions, as well as those who have never been to such events are invited to participate.
Dogs with hearing and vision impairments (but not completely blind), as well as older pets, can also try their hand. According to the creators, dogs do not need 100% hearing and vision or excessive strength to pass obstacles. Obedience, intelligence, and the ability to adapt to unusual tasks are much more useful. On the other hand, the organizers note that these competitions are not only sport, but also a test of service qualities, such as sense of smell, hunting instincts, etc.
Barn Hunt: Interesting Facts
Special attention should be paid to how anxious the organizers are about the safety and comfort of not only people and dogs, but also of rats. Only tame animals, which sit in special cages with ventilation and water, act as “prey” in the competitions. Thanks to such protection, the dog can not harm the rat, moreover, by the order of the owner the participant of competitions has to get away from it, and the attempt somehow to get the rodent from its shelter is penalized. From time to time the rats are taken away to rest so that they do not get tired and feel well.
The history of the sport is also curious. Robin Nuttall and her Miniature Pinscher, Sipper, were the inspiration behind the Barn Hunt. Ms Nuttall discovered that Miniature Pinscher had been left out of the Earthdog Tests, the American Kennel Club’s educational, instinctive and other performance tests for small, short-legged breeds. Robin decided to rectify this injustice, which led to the Barn Hunt, a sport designed specifically for burrowing hunting dogs, but open to all “size-appropriate” dogs.
Barn Hunt Competition Video: