Does your dog get the zoomies?? Have you ever seen your dog’s prey drive arise as they react to a squirrel or rabbit running by?  Maybe the Canadian Kennel Club Chase Ability Test is something to try with your dog.

The Chase Ability Program was modeled after the Lure Coursing events that sighthounds compete in and allows all types of dogs from Papillons to Rottweilers and everything in between to unleash their natural prey drive by chasing a lure around either a 300- or 600-yard course. The course is usually in the shape of a figure 8 with no turns sharper than 90 degrees.

Dogs smaller than 12 inches at the withers or brachycephalic breeds run the 300-yard course while all other dogs run 600 yards. Dogs run the course individually and are judged on a pass/fail basis. A dog passes if they complete the entire distance of their course with enthusiasm and without interruption (so no stopping to roll in the grass or dig a hole).

Three passes under at least two different judges earns a CKC Chase Ability (CA) title.  An additional 7 passes (for a total of 10) earns a CKC Chase Ability Excellent (CAX) title and 10 more passes after that is a Chase Ability Excellent 2 tile.  For every further 10 passes, the dog may add a higher number after the CAX.

Chase Ability tests are non-competitive, and participants are more than happy to cheer on all the dogs running. Not all clubs run chase ability tests but if you’ve ever wondered how fast your dog can run, the Canadian Kennel Club Sprinter event is the one for you.

In Sprinter, the dog chases a lure attached to a string on a pulley. The lure is either white plastic bag or a squawker. The course is a 100-meter straight line, and the dog’s run is timed.

When it’s the dog’s turn, the person who is holding the dog enters the field and lines up behind the start line. Imagine trying to hold back a wheaten who sees the lure coming down towards him! It can be a challenge once they’ve figured out the game. As the lure passes the dog, the holder releases the dog and zoom – away he goes!

At the other end is the catcher, who is usually the dog’s person. Not all dogs get the game right away so it’s ok to call them to you and it helps to have a good recall. Cheering them on can also help them speed up. Once the dog has crossed the finish line, it’s the catcher’s job to get the dog back on leash. Some are so excited they play run away; others grab at the lure to try to get it off the line.

Sprinter is a fun event open to all dogs to enjoy the challenge of running a 100-meter dash. All dogs entered will receive a handicap score based on their height, and their time to finish will be converted to kilometres per hour. Titles are awarded upon the dog accumulating a given number of points. It generally takes a dog of average speed 3 to 4 runs to earn the 150 points necessary for a Novice Sprinter (NS) title.  Additional points earn Sprinter (S), Advanced Sprinter (AS) and Sprinter Excellent (SX) titles.

My Ruaírí was the first wheaten terrier in Canada to earn the Excellent title. His top speed is 42.8 kilometers an hour. Unofficially he was the fastest wheaten in CKC and AKC in 2022 and 3rd fastest in the lifetime statistics.

Regardless, whether your dog is Usain Bolt or Franklin the turtle, they’ll still have a blast chasing the “plastic bunny” the length of the course.

Check out the CKC website for events near you. You can also check out the Cascadia Coursing Facebook group for events in the Lower Mainland.

If you’d like to see Sprinter in action, click here

Wheaten, Ruari - sprinter trial