Lure Coursing Ability Tests
Lure coursing allows enthusiasts to test their dog's natural ability to chase prey by allowing the dog to chase an artificial lure across a field. The lure is usually a plastic bag called a "bunny" that moves across the field at speeds up to 50 mph. The Hunt Master operates a mechanical pulley system and adjusts the speed to keep the bunny just out of reach of the chasing dogs until the course is completed. The course may have turns to simulate the natural movement of prey and can be from 300 to 600 yards in length.
AKC Lure Coursing events and titles have traditionally been opened to limited breeds of dogs, mainly sight hounds but in February 2011 the new Coursing Ability Tests (CAT) were introduced to the fancy. The CATs are open to all dogs at least 12 months of age that are registered with the AKC, FSS, PAL or the AKC Canine Partners program. Lame dogs and bitches in season are not allowed to compete.
Any club licensed to hold an AKC Lure Coursing event is automatically licensed to hold a Coursing Ability Test. All Breed clubs that are licensed to hold conformation, obedience or agility can also apply for a license to hold a CAT event. The club designs the course with safety in mind. Dogs run singularly and the course will not have any turns greater than 90 degrees.
Dogs that are shorter than 12" at the withers will run a 300-yard course and dogs over 12" will run a 600-yard course. At the judge's discretion, a veteran dog larger than 12" may be allowed to run the 300-yard course. To get a qualifying score, the dog must complete the course with enthusiasm and without interruption within the maximum time allowed (1 1/2 minutes for the 300-yard course and 2 minutes for the 600-yard course).
This is a pass or fail event decided by the judge. A pass will be awarded a ribbon and count as a qualifying run towards an AKC title. Three qualifying runs will earn the dog a CA (Coursing Ability) title, ten qualifying runs is a CAA (Coursing Ability Advanced), 25 qualifying runs is a CAX (Coursing Ability Excellent) and 50 qualifying runs is a CAX2 (Coursing Ability Excellent 2). For every additional 25 qualifying runs, the dog will be awarded a higher numbered CAX title.
In 2011, over 100 CAT events were held. The AKC awarded a total of 412 CA titles, 25 CAA titles and 1 CAX title to 91 different breeds (including a category for Mixed Breeds). There were three Chinese Cresteds awarded CA titles. Interestingly enough, Mixed Breeds were awarded the most CA titles (37) and Bulldogs were awarded the most CAA titles (4).
To find upcoming events in your area, visit the AKC's website.
Contributor: DeLisa Parker,
Belews Chinese Cresteds