Barn Hunt was created by Robin Nuttall, a keen dog sports enthusiast living in the USA. She had been working her dogs in sports from agility and obedience to IPO for decades, so when she acquired a Miniature Pinscher, she looked for a sport that would test the breed's natural ability to seek out and pursue rats. The American Kennel Club had devised a simulated rat-hunting sport called EarthDog, where terrier breeds travel through obstacles and along man-made tunnels to reach caged rats. Unfortunately, EarthDog did not yet allow Miniature Pinschers to compete, so with nothing else available, Robin decided to set up her own organisation dedicated to providing any breed with the opportunity to hunt down rats.
The sport of Barn Hunt has soared in popularity over the last six years, becoming one of the USA's fastest ever growing dog sports. It is hugely popular with not only terrier breeds but also with hounds, gundogs, herding and even toy breeds. There are no restrictions on breed or size, so almost any dog can compete. Unlike many sports, it is even open to dogs with disabilities.
IN THE UK
Barn Hunt recently began to expand outside of the USA, starting with Canada, then Norway and now the United Kingdom. The rules vary based on the country: Canada and the USA can train and use live rats in the sport, for example, but Norway and the UK must use dead rats due to stricter animal rights laws.
Barn Hunt UK aims to start offering taster workshops in southern England in the next few months. These will introduce you to the sport of Barn Hunt, provide you and your dog with the chance to try out all the elements of a course and challenge you to complete an Instinct or even Novice level competition course.
If you are interested in attending one of these workshops, please sign up to our mailing list.