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Barn Hunt

Barn Hunt

Not everyone will understand the importance of “rat catchers,” but if you live in the countryside, you sure do! “Rat catchers” rid farms of destructive vermin – and the hunting and teamwork skills required to do so are the foundation of the sport of Barn Hunt. Dogs and their handlers work as a team to locate and mark rats (which are always safely held in aerated tubes) hidden in a maze of straw or hay bales.

Some breeds are specifically created to fill this role as well as some mixed breeds being up to the task, but as long as your dog can fit through an 18″ wide by bale-height tall tunnel, he’s eligible! “Barn Hunt tests the nose, speed, agility, and surefootedness of dogs that have a history of above-ground vermin hunting,” said Robin Nuttall, founder of the Barn Hunt Association. “

Barn Hunt events include a pass/fail instinct class for owners who want to familiarize their dog with the test. Courses are made increasingly difficult by adding more obstacles, additional diversions and more rats to find. There are several types of Barn Hunt titles your dog can earn:

  • Novice Barn Hunt (RATN),
  • Open Barn Hunt (RATO),
  • Senior Barn Hunt (RATS),
  • Master Barn Hunt (RATM),
  • Barn Hunt Champion (RATCh)
  • Master Champion (RATChX)

The Barn Hunt Association is an independent organization where titles earned can be recognized by The American Kennel Club. Titles earned in Novice and above will be recognized by The American Kennel Club. To apply for your dog’s Barn Hunt title simply complete the application.

  • Get Started +

    To find an upcoming Barn Hunt event, or to learn how to host or prepare for an event, visit the Barn Hunt Association website.

  • Title Eligibility +

    Any breed or mix of dog 6 months of age or older who can fit through an 18″ wide by bale-height tall (approximately 20″-22″) tunnel constructed of straw/hay bales is eligible to enter a Barn Hunt trial.

    To get started be sure to obtain a registration or listing number for your dog.

    In order for dogs to receive a title, owners must have a dog number in our records so the titling information can be recorded. See the types of numbers available and which one best fits your situation.

    • AKC Registration Number – This number is provided to a dog owner via a registration certificate received from the previous owner, or via a puppy registration paper given to the new owner by the breeder.
    • Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) – If a dog is purebred but an AKC Registration Number is not possible, owners can apply for PAL number.
    • Foundation Stock Service®(FSS) Number – This number is used for breeds whose status is currently in the foundational stage of being recorded into our registry and requires a copy of the dog’s pedigree.
    • AKC Canine Partners Number – This number is given to either mixed breed dogs or a purebred.

  • Resources +