Jack Russell Terrier Club of America - JRTCA Preserve, Protect and Work the Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier Go-To-Ground (GTG)

Jack Russell Terrier Go-To-Ground
Under the Ground

Go-To-Ground was designed to simulate and test a Jack Russell's ability to hunt and work underground.

Go To Ground

Everything about the Jack Russell has fox hunting in mind....coloring, conformation, character, and intelligence. The body is compact, of totally balanced proportions, the shoulders clean, the legs straight, and most importantly, a small chest (easily spannable by average size hands at the widest part behind the shoulders). The Jack Russell must also be totally flexible, allowing him to maneuver underground. This conformation allows the terrier to follow his quarry down narrow earths. The fox is a good model for the Jack Russell-where the fox can go, so must the terrier. Although originally bred for fox hunting, the Jack Russell is a versatile working terrier to a variety of quarry including red and grey fox, raccoon and woodchuck.

The Go-To-Ground (GTG) trial event was designed to simulate and test a Jack Russell's ability to hunt and work underground. It is a matter of opinion as to whether a good Go-to-Ground terrier will make a good hunting terrier (or visa versa). It is the closest some terriers may ever get to any type of "work". Although it really is more or less a game for the terriers, it is a good training step towards the day your terrier may do real earthwork. It stimulates the natural instinct to do what they were bred for, to hunt!

GTG Equipment

  • GTG Tunnel
    • 10' with one bend for novice class
    • 30' with two bends for open and certificate classes
  • Quarry (rat in a cage to avoid injury to quarry)
  • Go-To-Ground Score Sheets, color coded
At The Go-to-ground

GTG Officials

  • GTG Judge - sanctioned by the JRTCA; judges the terrier on its ability to work the quarry; times the terrier through the tunnel and while marking

  • Paddock Steward - assembles exhibitors; collects GTG sheets from exhibitors; keeps exhibitors and spectators away from GTG area as to not distract working terrier and judge

  • Den Steward - checks paperwork; records judges comments; may also be an apprentice judge (in training)

General Rules

The terrier is placed in front of an artificial hole (the tunnel is usually made of wood and appears to be an opening to the earth). All four of the terrier's feet must be touching the ground. The GTG judge will instruct the handler to release the terrier when the handler and terrier are ready. The terrier will move through the tunnel as fast as it can. The end of the tunnel has a grate over the opening to keep the terrier from attacking the quarry - a rat in a cage. The GTG judge times the terrier from the moment it is released until it begins to "mark" the quarry (i.e., bark, whine, scratch, etc). Depending upon the class entered (novice, open, championship), the terrier must mark the quarry for a predetermined period of time (usually 30 seconds or a minute). If the terrier successfully marks the quarry, the time is recorded and the terrier is eligible for a ribbon. If the terrier is unsuccessful in marking the quarry, the time does not count and the terrier is disqualified.

  1. Schooling prior to the competition is NOT permitted. Any violation of this rule shall result in disqualification from the Go-To-Ground competition at this trial.
  2. Exhibitors are expected to pick up score sheets for their terriers at the Secretary's stand. At the time of the competition, the exhibitor will give the score sheet to the Den Steward for scoring by the Judge.
  3. Exhibitors are encouraged to read the score sheets and class descriptions carefully, and review and abide by the JRTCA Rules for Go-To-Ground competitions.
  4. A line approximately two feet from the entrance hole will be designated as the starting line. Time starts when the terrier is released. The terrier is to be released so that all four of the terrier's feet are on the ground before crossing the starting line. Any violation of this rule, accidental or intentional, shall result in disqualification of the terrier from the class in which the violation occurs. Noentry fees will be refunded.
  5. After the terrier is released, the handler shall remain next to the entrance hole. Once the terrier has entered, the handler may not block the entrance hole by standing in it or in any other manner. Commands and encouragement may be given. The Judge will signal to the exhibitor to pick up the terrier at the completion of their work.
  6. The Judge signals the release of the terrier. Do not release your terrier until the Judge signals. Any violation of this rule, accidental or intentional, shall result in disqualification of the terrier from the class in which the violation occurs. No entry fee will be refunded.
  7. Terriers, puppies and adults, registered or non-registered, which have previously scored 100% in the Novice Class at a JRTCA trial may not, under any circumstances, compete in this class again, at any JRTCA Sanctioned Trial.
  8. Any puppy achieving 100% in the Open Puppy Class is eligible to compete in the Puppy Championship Class at future trials. A puppy is not allowed to enter both Open Puppy and Puppy Championship classes at the same trial. A puppy achieving 100% in the Open Puppy Class is eligible to apply for a Trial Certificate when the terrier is registered or recorded with the JRTCA.
  9. Terriers, 1 year old or older, registered or non-registered, which have previously scored 100% in the Open Class, may continue to compete in the Open Adult Class until they receive their Trial Certificate. A terrier achieving 100% in the Open Adult Class is eligible to apply for a Trial Certificate when the terrier is registered or recorded with the JRTCA. They may not show in the Championship Certificate class until the Trial Certificate has been applied for and issued.
  10. To obtain a Trial Certificate, send one copy of the qualifying score sheet with a check for $20 to the JRTCA, PO Box 4527, Lutherville,MD 21094. The score sheet is good for the life of the dog and may be submitted with the registration application if the terrier is not already registered.
  11. Once a terrier has received their Trial Certificate, they MUST compete in the Certificate Class. CROSS-ENTERING IS NOT PERMITTED BETWEEN CERTIFICATE CLASSES.
  12. It is the responsibility of the exhibitor to collect the score sheet after the judging is complete.
  13. Copies of JRTCA Trial Certificates MUST be submitted with pre-entries or presented to the Den Steward, at the time of judging.
  14. Terriers that are competing in the Youth Division, if entered in a regular Go-To-Ground class, MUST compete in their regular class prior to competing in the Youth Handling class.

Go-To-Ground Classes

The Go-To-Ground Division is comprised of three class divisions: novice, open and certificate.

  • Novice (Puppy and Adult) - open to Jack Russell Terriers 6 months or older which have not scored 100% in this class at a previous JRTCA trial. Entries earning a 100% at this trial may enter the open class
    • One minute to reach quarry
    • May leave earth and re-enter several times
    • Work quarry for 30 seconds
    • Class may be split by height

  • Open Puppy - open to Jack Russells 6 up to 12 months which have scored 100% in a Novice Go-To-Ground class at this or a previous JRTCA trial. Not open to any puppies which have previously achieved 100% in this class.
    • 30 seconds to reach quarry
    • May leave earth once and re-enter
    • Work quarry for one minute
    • Class may be split by height

  • Open Adult - Open to Jack Russells one year or older which have scored 100% in a Novice Go-To-Ground class at this or a previous JRTCA trial.
    • 30 seconds to reach quarry
    • May leave earth once and re-enter
    • Work quarry for one minute
    • Class may be split by height

  • Puppy Championship - open to Jack Russell Terriers 6 months up to 12 months which have scored 100% in an Open Go-to-Ground class at a previous JRTCA trial. A copy of a 100% Open score sheet must be submitted with pre-entry.
    • 30 seconds to reach quarry
    • May leave earth once and re-enter
    • Work quarry for one minute
    • Class may be split by height

  • 10 to 12 1/2" Championship Certificate - open to Jack Russells one year and older who holds a JRTCA Trial Certificate. A copy of the certificate must accompany pre-entry or be shown to the Den Steward at the time of the class.
    • 30 seconds to reach quarry
    • May not leave earth
    • Work quarry for one minute

  • 12 1/2 to 15" Championship Certificate - open to Jack Russells one year and older who holds a JRTCA Trial Certificate. A copy of the certificate must accompany pre-entry or be shown to the Den Steward at the time of the class.
    • 30 seconds to reach quarry
    • May not leave earth
    • Work quarry for one minute

  • Pre-Novice Puppy (Optional) - Open to Jack Russell puppies 4 up to 6 months. Entry in Pre-Novice Puppy class does not affect the puppy's eligibility to enter the Novice Class after 6 months of age.
    • One minute to reach quarry
    • Mark quarry for 15 seconds
    • May leave earth and re-enter

  • Veteran Certificate (Optional) - open to any adult Jack Russell 6 years of age or older, who holds a JRTCA Trial Certificate. CROSS ENTERING IS NOT PERMITTED BETWEEN CERTIFICATE CLASSES.
    • 30 seconds to reach quarry
    • May not leave earth
    • Work quarry for one minute
    • May be offered as Veteran Championship Certificate.

  • Youth Handler (Optional) - open to any youth aged 10-16 years, handling a Jack Russell Terrier. Judged on the youth's ability to present his or her dog and knowledge of Go-To-Ground. To be run through the 10 foot novice liner; time or terrier's performance not to be considered.

GTG Trial Certificate

To obtain a Trial Certificate after scoring 100% in an Open class at a JRTCA sanctioned trial, the owner of the adult terrier shall submit a copy of the qualifying score sheet, along with a $20 filing fee, to the JRTCA office. The score sheet is good for the life of the dog and may be submitted with the registration application if the terrier is not already registered with the JRTCA.

GTG Tunnel Diagram

Digram of a JRTCA GTG Tunnel