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Earthdog is to test a dog’s ability to follow game and "work it".

Either artificial or cage-protected live quarry are used for the tests.

MCFTC uses cage-protected rats. Tests are open to small Terriers and Dachshunds

six months of age or older that have been either individually registered with the AKC,

 recorded with the Foundation Stock Service (FSS), individually registered with

 a foreign or domestic registry organization whose pedigrees are acceptable for AKC registration,

or dogs of an eligible breed that have been granted a Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL/ILP).

 A dog with an AKC Limited Registration shall be eligible to be entered in Earthdog tests, as are spayed and neutered dogs.

For copy of complete Regulations for Earthdog Tests for Small Terriers and Dachshunds Click Here


Visit our Events page for EDT Practice and Event dates.


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Class levels in American Kennel Club Tests


Endurance Earthdog (EE)

 A new earthdog title for those who choose to pursue a goal after their dog has achieved the Master Earthdog title. The Endurance Earthdog (EE) title is earned when a dog, on five occasions, passes both the Senior and Master classes at the same event (one event number).

Junior Earthdog Class and Title (JE)

Open to all eligible breeds of dogs. In order to be recorded as a Junior Earthdog, a dog must be registered with the AKC and must have a record of having qualified in the Junior Earthdog test in two (2) licensed or member club events under two different judges. A dog that has been recorded as a Junior Earthdog may continue to enter the Junior Earthdog test but no further Junior Earthdog certificates will be issued


Senior Earthdog Class and Title (SE)

Open to dogs that have acquired the Junior Earthdog title and to dogs that have been recorded by the AKC as Senior Earthdogs and Master Earthdogs


Master Earthdog Class and Title (ME)

Open only to dogs that have acquired the Senior Earthdog title.


Introduction to Quarry (IQ)

The beginner’s instinct test, which is for practice only with no titles awarded.  It is for the dog that has never gone to ground before.  IQ introduces the dog to the tunnel & rats. MCFTC uses a tunnel that is approximately 9” x 9” upside down U-shaped liner with an earth floor. The tunnel is 10 feet long with a right angle turn and at the end is a cage with 2 rats. There is a rat scent trail leading into the tunnel and to the rats. At IQ level the handler can encourage the dog into the tunnel and tell the dog to “Get that Rat “and help get the dog working at the rats by shaking the cage or making a noise to incite the dog's instincts. Working quarry includes, but is not limited to barking, lunging, pawing, digging and generally harassing the quarry


EDT Terms you should know


False Den

Pile of bedding material, heavily scented to simulate the litter/bedding found in most natural dens.


Go to the ground

Follow quarry, ranging from rats to badgers, into their dens.



Wait quietly while another dog works.



Live quarry in the form of two rats is most commonly used. The rats are kept in a wire cage with food and water. The cage is kept separate from the dogs. Artificial quarry properly scented and capable of movement may also be used.



For Introduction to Quarry, Junior and Senior tests, all collars and leads are removed from the dogs prior to entering the test area. Dogs may be placed on the ground before release or may be released from a point no higher than waist level. Throwing the dog in the direction of the den entrance is not permitted, and shall cause the dog to fail the test. The handler may at the time of release give the dog one short command with no penalty, but then shall stand quietly at the release point and shall not move until instructed by the judge.


Scent line

An invisible line that has been scented with rat, fox or raccoon scent.  The rat scent is usually obtained by soaking fouled rat bedding in water.  This is popularly known as "Rat Tea".



Test tunnels are dug so that a 9" by 9" wooden liner can sit flush with the surface of the ground. The liner covers the sides and top while the floor of the tunnel is bare earth, scented with rat.



Working is defined as digging, barking, growling, lunging, biting at the quarry cage, or any other action which, in the opinion of the Judge, indicates the dog's interest in the quarry (two rats or an artificial quarry). Staring does not count as work.




The AKC has approved the following breeds

classified as eligible to participate in Earthdog Tests




American Hairless Terrier (effective 10-01-18-2018)

Glen of Imaal Terriers

Rat Terriers

Australian Terriers


Russell Terriers

Bedlington Terriers

Lakeland Terriers

Scottish Terriers

Border Terriers

Manchester Terriers

Sealyham Terriers

Cairn Terriers

Miniature Bull Terriers

Silky Terriers

Cesky Terriers

Miniature Schnauzers

Skye Terriers


Norfolk Terriers

Welsh Terriers

Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Norwich Terriers

West Highland White Terriers

Fox Terriers (Smooth & Wire)

Parson Russell Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers (effective 08-01-12)


For a complete listing of the breeds eligible to participate in AKC Earthdog events,

 Please visit the AKC website



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