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Shows and Competitions for Your Beagle

A Beagle's intelligence and energy makes it a natural in the show ring. Showing your Beagle is also a great way for the two of you to bond. You might even have a champion in the making.

Obedience competition

Basic obedience background is essential for any canine sport, so one of the best places to start is with obedience competition. Try attending an AKC- or UKC-sanctioned obedience competition to see how it works, or attend less-formal obedience events sponsored by your local dog club.

  • Canine Good Citizen test: A 10-part exam that tests a dog ability to demonstrate good manners and proves he can act like a good citizen in public.

  • Obedience trials: Formal obedience trials test the dog's ability to follow commands amid numerous distractions. Check out the AKC and the UKC for rules and information on how to get started. Bear in mind, the independent Beagle might have a hard time keeping his mind on his work for this event.

  • Rally: In Rally, dogs and their handlers (that's you) compete on a course of 10 to 20 stations, performing an obedience task at each one. Beagles find Rally a much more exciting activity than straight obedience; consequently they can do quite well with a little effort. Check with the AKC about Rally.

Conformation shows

At a conformation dog show a trained judge analyzes each dog to determine which dog most closely matches the written breed standard. Your dog must be registered with a purebred dog registry like the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC).

Spayed or neutered dogs may not participate in conformation shows.

Canine freestyle

If your Beagle is better at funny tricks and precision commands, and you've got a modicum of amount of grace, the two of you may love to compete in canine freestyle— a competition that combines obedience moves with choreography. You pick the song, you make up the moves, and then you and your Beagle perform for the crowd.

You should attend a few events to see what it's all about. Check out the Canine Freestyle Federation and the World Canine Freestyle Organization, Inc. and then try out the doggie version of Dancing with the Stars.

Field trials

The purpose of field trials is to give breeds designed for field work the opportunity to exercise their natural abilities. In a Beagle field trial, your Beagle will track small game through dense brush and alert hunters to the location of the game (don't worry, no wildlife gets hurt). This is one of the Beagles great specialties and they usually excel without a lot of training.

If you're interested, you should visit a field trial or two to see what it's all about. To find a field trial in your area, check out the AKC field trials information.

Beagles were bred in the 1500s to hunt rabbits. This built-in ability allows them to excel at field
Beagles were bred in the 1500s to hunt rabbits. This built-in ability allows them to excel at field trials.

Tracking tests

Although Beagles were built to hunt their incredibly sensitive noses allow them to find just about anything. If your Beagle loves to follow a scent, consider tracking. Tracking is a fun, addictive, outdoorsy sport — kind of a competitive form of canine search and rescue. Your Beagle can earn tracking titles, and you'll have fun watching him use his natural nasal abilities. Check out an AKC-sponsored tracking event to learn more.

Beagles have one of the best senses of smell of any dog breed.
Beagles have one of the best senses of smell of any dog breed.

Agility trials

Agility is hot these days because everyone loves to watch it. Who can resist dogs jumping through hoops, running over teeter-totters, and tunneling through chutes all on one fast-paced obstacle course? The dogs can't resist it, either. The athletic and energetic Beagle will enjoy agility.

Agility is so much fun that it may become an every-weekend activity for you and your Beagle. You can find agility events through the AKC's agility page or your local dog club.

Training to compete in agility trials gives your Beagle a good workout and allows the two of you to
Training to compete in agility trials gives your Beagle a good workout and allows the two of you to bond.

Flyball

If your Beagle wants to get in touch with his inner Beagle, you and he may want to take up flyball, a sport that's as exciting and fast-paced as agility. In Flyball, dogs work as a team in a sort of doggie relay race. Each dog runs to a ball launcher and uses his paw to press the release, then he chases after and catches the ball, and then he runs over hurdles to get back to the starting line. Then the next dog in line starts the cycle all over again.

To find out more about flyball and find competitions to watch, check with the North American Flyball Association or Flyball Dogs.

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