The purpose of Barn Hunt is to demonstrate a dog’s vermin hunting ability in finding and marking rats in a “barn-like” setting, using straw/hay bales to introduce climbing and tunneling obstacles in the dog’s path. Barn Hunt is based on the skills historically used by itinerant “ratcatchers” in traveling the countryside, ridding farms of vermin, thus helping conserve and preserve food grains and cutting down on disease.
While ratcatchers often used breeds such as Jack/Parson Russell Terriers, they also used other non go-to-ground breeds such as Manchester Terriers, Rat Terriers, and a variety of breeds and mixes of small to medium size. Some breeds have never had an officially licensed test which truly emulates their traditional working task. Barn Hunt will fill that role.
Barn Hunt is also for any breed or mix of dog who loves to hunt and who can fit through an 18” wide gap between two hay bales. It will test speed, agility, and surefootedness. While not specifically targeted at larger dogs or dogs without a vermin hunting history, Barn Hunt is all inclusive and fun for any dog and human who wishes to play the game.
Barn Hunt is a sporting event, and as such there will be levels of difficulty, titles, and championships to be attained. While it can be used as an instinct test, there is also a handler component in that the handler must signal when the dog has reached the desired target PVC rat tube; thus, the handler must know and have a partnership with their dog. Teamwork will win the game.
Toni got his Open title within 3 months of starting this new sport. He loves it!
Toni next to his find, a rat in a tube that he did dig up
Kooikerhondje on a Barn Hunt – Photo Courtesy of Margaret Aldridge