Want an easy, low-stress way to get involved in the world of dog sports? Start with a Coursing Ability Test (CAT) because it is designed specifically for newcomers.
The first thing to know about the CAT is that – as with all of our tests – dogs do not compete against each other (as opposed to Field Trials where winners are chosen). Each dog runs individually and chases after an artificial lure on either a 300- or 600-yard long course. Your dog must finish in less than 1 ½ minutes and 2 minutes, respectively. Because the course is for beginners, it is set up with safety in mind, as we recognize that many of the dogs are new to the sport and might not possess the agility of an experienced sighthound.
Don't worry about being judged: Dogs only earn a pass/fail, and the maximum time is not meant to be difficult to achieve. But yes, your dog will need to run, not walk, to earn a passing grade. But even if he doesn't do his best, don't worry! Think of it as just a fun day out for both of you to meet other dogs and dog lovers.
To compete, your dog must:
- Be 12 months or older
- Have an AKC number via one of the following:
- AKC Registration as one of the recognized breeds.
- AKC Canine Partners, which is for mixed-breed dogs and dogs ineligible for AKC registration.
- Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program, which is for purebred dogs that cannot be fully registered with the AKC to participate in AKC events.
- Foundation Stock Service® (FSS), which is for recorded breeds on the road to full AKC recognition.
- Spayed females and neutered males are eligible to participate.
- Females in season are not eligible to participate.