Trials provide an opportunity for Jack Russell Terrier owners to get to know each other, get together with terrier friends and in general have a good time with their terriers. They also provide the necessary opportunity to see breeding stock from around the country. This interaction between fellow breeders, as well as between breeders and other Jack Russell enthusiasts, fosters continued improvement in the breeding of quality terriers.
The JRTCA sanctions trials throughout the US to ensure a fair and standardized competition and the safety of exhibitors and terriers.
The JRTCA sanctions trials throughout the US to ensure a fair and standardized competition and the safety of exhibitors and terriers. Terriers and their owners compete in Conformation, Go-to-Ground, Racing, Agility, Obedience, Youth Division and Trailing and Locating.
The JRTCA holds two annual trials - the Memorial Weekend Celebration Trial in the spring and the JRTCA National Trial in the fall. Both are open to members and their Jack Russell Terriers.
The 2015 JRTCA National Trial was held on October 9, 10 and 11 at the Washington County Agricultural Center near Hagerstown, Maryland. It is a very nice facility with several buildings and pavilions. The location is just seven miles off I-70 - it is near the intersection of I-70 and I-81, offering easy access from all directions. Please make your plans now to attend next year - it's a great area, lots of shopping, good restaurants, and historical places to visit. Antietam Battlefield is just two miles from the trial site.
Getting Started at a Terrier Trial
There may be some of you out there that might like to go to a terrier trial but aren't sure what to expect, or may believe that there are some special requirements or training needed to attend. The only real requirements (except for Nationals) are that you are a JRTCA member and have a Jack Russell Terrier. Oh yeah, and you have to want to have a good time! Trialing 101 helps explain racing, go-to-ground and conformation.
If you are interested in attending or participating in a JRTCA sanctioned trial, please view the Sanctioned Trial Schedule. If you are interesting in attending or particpating in a JRTCA Affiliate Club Fun Day, please view the Fun Day Schedule.
Adult terriers who are registered or recorded pay a lower per dog administration fee at sanctioned trials. The per dog administration fee for terriers who are NOT registered or recorded is $7.00. The administration fee for terriers that ARE registered or recorded remains at $2.00 per dog. This will not apply to new members who join the JRTCA the day of the trial (for that trial only). Puppies may apply for registration early, providing the Vet Certificate is completed no more than 30 days prior to application (i.e., at 11 months of age). If you need any help or have any questions about the registration or recording process, please call the Club Office to assist you.
The JRTCA sanctions trials throughout the US to ensure a fair and standardized competition and the safety of exhibitors and terriers. Trial rules have been established over many years, with the input of many people, both trial chairpersons and exhibitors alike. They are designed to ensure the integrity and consistency of sanctioned trials. The Trial Rulebook was designed to assist JRTCA members better understand what to expect at a sanctioned trial and the rules governing the actual running of the trial. It is an attempt to enable every trial to run smoothly and be an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Conformation classes are judged much like any other dog show. The winner is the dog that most closely matches the breed standard. In addition to conformation and movement, the dog is judged on temperament; as in all things having to do with Jack Russells, the best working dog is being sought. Conformation exhibiting has been very effective in the U.S. in promoting correct conformation according to the breed standard, thereby improving the quality of the breeding stock in this country.
Racing is perhaps the most exciting of all the terrier trial events. A sanctioned track is a straight course with a starting box at one end and a stack of straw bales at the other. A lure is attached to a string that is pulled along by a generator. The dogs are muzzled for safety. The first dog through the hole in the straw bales is the winner. Each race may be a series of heats, semis, and finals. A championship race is run in each division and is a competition between the winners of the flat and hurdle races. Here are some racing photos.
Go-to-Ground is an event that simulates a hunting situation. The terrier traverses a tunnel and attempts to find a quarry at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel has several turns to make it a harder for the terrier. The terrier with the fastest time to the quarry is considered the winner. The terrier must mark (i.e., bark, scratch, whine) to qualify the time. 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.
Agility is a trial event in which dogs traverse a maze of obstacles and compete for speed and accuracy. Terriers jump through tires, zip through tunnels, scale a 5'7" A-Frame, traverse a narrow "dog walk", negotiate a see-saw, zigzag through closely spaced, upright poles and soar over a variety of challenging hurdles. The sport has an overwhelming spectator appeal, largely because of the fast pace, the challenging and visually appealing obstacles and the contagious enthusiasm displayed by the dogs.
Obedience involves both the Jack Russell Terrier and the handler. Handler and terrier are required to perform a series of exercises that test the obedience of the Jack Russell Terrier. Each exercise is graded by the JRTCA obedience judge. Points may be subtracted for minor and substantial faults. You may praise dog at any time. You may reward with treat after each completed exercise and only after the judge says "Exercise complete". This applies to all levels.
Youth competitors are expected to be on time, neat and workman-like, listen to and follow directions and show a genuine effort to communicate and work with their terrier. There is a great need to offer things for our youth to do with their terriers, particularly as it also provides a chance to learn. Our youth are the future of the breed which we are all struggling so fiercely to protect. They need to know they will be ultimately responsible for the well being of this great working dog and they can help its preservation. And it's our job to teach them!
Trailing and Locating involves the terrier tracking and locating a quarry (above ground). The terrier is judged on his ability to follow a line in a simulated natural hunting environment, to locate, mark and open on the quarry. The terrier is judged on a combination of time and accuracy. The terrier with the fastest time is not necessarily the winner.
Many trials offer fun events for all terriers. These are non-sanctioned classes and are enjoyed by owners and their terriers. They can include: High Jump, Field Luring Courses, Timed Individual Racing, Super Earth, Weenie Bobbing and Retrieving, Muskrat Swimming Races, and more. Ask at the registration desk when you check in to see what is offered at the trial you are attending.