The AKC Coonhound Events Program consists of Nite Hunts, Hunt Tests, Field Trials, Water Races and Bench Shows. Nite Hunts are the most popular of the events and are one of the only competitive sports where dogs hunt in natural areas where native game must be trailed and tracked and has not been planted. There are 7 coonhound breeds which participate in these events, they are – Black and Tan, Bluetick, American English, Leopard Hound, Plott, Redbone, Treeing Walker. These scenthounds are used to hunt raccoon and date back to early American settlers who developed these breeds from colonial foxhounds which arrived from Europe. Each breed was developed with its own hunting style skilled in trailing and treeing raccoons. They are driven hunters and relentless trackers that are often used to hunt big game still today. It is one of the few breed types where it is not unusual to earn both champion titles for their hunting ability as well as for their physical conformation. A true test to both form and function. These hounds love to hunt on land and water across various terrain and climates.
Sure, you think your dog is fast. But have you ever wondered how fast? Can your dog outrun Usain Bolt, who has been called the fastest runner in the world? He just might: Usain’s fastest time has been clocked at almost 28 mph – yet dogs have been known to reach speeds of 35-45 mph.
Well, you no longer have to wonder how fast your dog can run. FAST CAT® – which stands for Coursing Ability Test – is a timed 100-yard dash where dogs run one at a time, chasing a lure. It’s over before you know it — and it’s nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch your dog run at top speed, ears back, eyes focused, legs strong. And if your dog is really fast, you might earn bragging rights if his name makes onto our list of top 20 fastest dogs by breed!
Although it is a relatively new sport, its popularity has spread like wildfire. No wonder. According to one AKC official, “The FAST CAT® provides a terrific opportunity to introduce new participants to the world of AKC sports as one of the few events where all that is needed to compete is a dog’s natural instincts.”
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 1 ½ minutes and 2 minutes, respectively. Because the course is for beginners, it is set up with safety in mind because we recognize that many of the dogs are new to the sport and might not possess the agility of an experienced sight hound.
But don’t worry about being judged: Dogs only earn a pass/fail, and the maximum time is not meant to be difficult to achieve. 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.
How many times have you seen your dog bolting outside, running as fast as he can after a squirrel or a windswept plastic bag or paper cup? He’s going after his “prey” of course, and he’s doing exactly what Sighthounds are supposed to do. They’re born and bred to chase their prey! Their natural inclination to hunt by sight, not smell, is literally in their DNA.
So how do you satisfy your dog’s high-energy, inner instincts? AKC Lure Coursing may be the perfect answer! It’s an exciting way for him to do what comes naturally — but in a safe, controlled environment. In this event, dogs chase a mechanized, white plastic lure around a 600–800 yard course that simulates the unpredictability of chasing live prey. Zig-zagging across a big, open field is simply heaven for these dogs! At the same time, it helps improve their focus, agility and sportsmanship.
Until you’ve actually seen it in action, it’s hard to imagine the complete and utter joy on your dog’s face as he runs the course, following the lure from start to finish. So if you’ve been looking for an activity that takes full advantage of your hound’s energy and natural ability, look no further than AKC Lure Coursing.