What is Working Trials?

​Working Trials is the civilian equivalent of Police Dog work. The 'Stakes' you can enter are Tracking Dog (TD), Patrol Dog (PD), Working Dog (WD), Utility Dog (UD), Companion Dog (CD) Introductory and Veteran. 

All the stakes contain the disciplines of Nosework, Control and Agility and all but the CD round contain 'Tracking' and ONLY the PD stake contains the 'Patrol' round. These will be explained later in more detail. Any breed of dog can take part in this sport but the most commonly used breeds are Border Collies, Working Sheep Dogs, German Shepherds and Various types of Gun Dogs.

Basically any breed can take part as long as they are capable of using their noses for the tracking and searching sections and are agile enough to get over a 6ft Scale, 9ft Long Jump and 3ft Hurdle, breeds that are under 15 inches and lower at the shoulders have smaller jumps in the lower stakes.

What is Working Trials?
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DoubleThe tracks and times vary as you go up the stakes but all tracks must be at least 1/2 mile long, the UD tracks are laid 1/2 hour before the dog works them and has 2 'scented' articles on the track, the last one is at the end. WD tracks are 1 1/2 hours old and also have 2 articles. TD tracks are 3 hours old and have 3 articles. They will contain turns and angles designed by the judge and unknown to the competitors. The tracklayer will walk the track pattern and place the articles as indicated by the judge on the track. The dog will then at it's allotted time work the track and find the articles. click here to add text.
The 'Search' involves a square with four poles 15 metres for CD and the Introduction stake, 25 metres for all other stakes. In the Introductory Stake there will be 4 articles of which only 3 need be recovered. In the CD square you have 3 'scented' articles and four minutes for your dog to find them, in all other stakes you have 4 articles and five minutes. The retrieve consists of the dog sitting by your side, you then throw your dumb-bell and then send your dog to pick it up cleanly and then return to you, sitting at the present position with the 'dumb-bell' in his mouth.
The agility equipment entails a Hurdle, Long Jump (consisting of 5 elements) and a Scale. The size and length of the jumps change depending on the size of the dog but each element will only go up to a maximum of 3 ft for the Hurdle, 9 ft for the long Jump and 6ft for the Scale. 

The dog is required to speak on the handlers command; the judge will control the position of the handler in relation to the dog. The length of the speak will be at the judges discretion.


The sendaway is usually at least 60-100 metres distance (but not less then 20) and involves setting your dog up to go away from you in a straight line to a position given to you by the judge. In the Intro/CD/UD and WD stakes all that is required of you is that you send your dog in a straight line to the named position, the dog then waits on command and is called back. In the TD and PD stakes you have to progress further by sending the dog straight out to the given position and then redirect your dog either to the right or left (depending on the judge) and then recall the dog.


The Control round involves heelwork - on and off the lead in CD and off lead only in all other stakes The test contains changes of pace from Normal to Slow and Fast the pattern and the order of the paces are entirely at the judges discretion. Recall - you have to leave your dog in a sit or down position walk away from the dog's and at the judges command turn and face the dog and then call your dog. The Gun Test - (only in the tracking stakes); this exercise is set up entirely at the judges discretion but the dog must stay in the position the handler has put it in when the gun goes off

Patrol (PD Stake only) 

Quarter - A person (Criminal) will be positioned by the judge in an area, the handler will be required to direct their dog within that area and locate the person and indicate the fact by barking. 

Test of Courage - The judge will arrange a test that will test the courage of the dog without the animal being hit. 

Search & Escort - The criminal will be escorted (including turns) with the dog off lead. During the escort the criminal will attack the handler, the dog must be in a position to defend the handler from this attack. 

Recall from a Criminal - The dog will be sent running after the criminal, on the judges command the handler will recall the dog off the criminal before the dog bites. If the dog does not return the dog fails the test. 

Pursuit & Detention - The criminal as in the recall will run from the handler and the dog. The handler will send the dog after the criminal, this time the dog should detain the criminal by biting on the right (padded) arm. In all exercises the dog will be penalized if it fails to leave the criminal when commanded.

SCORING SYSTEM  - (click here for WT Regulations, Marks and Requirements for judging Working Trials and  Eligibility 

Each team must obtain at least 70% of the available marks in each section of competition, and must finish with at least 80% of marks overall to gain a Certificate of Merit at an Open Trial, or qualify excellent at a Championship Trial. At a Championship Trial the winning dog in the P.D. or T.D. Stake is awarded a Challenge Certificate, and if the dog wins two Challenge Certificates in either stake, or one in each stake, it is awarded the title of Working Trials Champion, providing that he also qualified "excellent" on each occasion.

Further information about Working Trials can be obtained from the Kennel Club.