The American Kennel Club has been sanctioning Beagle field trials for over 100 years. With hundreds of Beagle clubs in the United States it wouldn’t be hard to find one you could visit or become a member. AKC field trials generally have four classes: 13” class, separated by males and females, and 15” classes also separated by males and females.
Beagles track rabbits with different levels of speed and gusto depending on their training and breeding. AKC has a trialing format for each of these types. There are Brace, Small Pack Option, Large Pack and Gundog Brace field trials if you prefer Hunt Tests.
Brace trials, the oldest type of AKC beagle field trials, consist of two or three beagles run as a brace. The emphasis is not place on the speed of the hounds but are judged more on how deliberate and accurate they are in tracking the rabbit.
Small Pack Option trials are run with the dogs in “small packs” of six or seven, and they are expected to independently find and pursue the rabbit with enthusiasm while still maintaining good control of the rabbit trail.
Large Pack Trials are held mostly in the north on fast-running hare with the dogs cast in larger packs. It’s not uncommon to have entries of 30 – 60 dogs in a single class. They are required to run for a minimum of 3 hours in the Open class, which is the class where you earn points for a Field Championship title.
If you think you might like to compete or attend an AKC Beagle Field Trial, visit the AKC website, AKC.org, to learn more and to find a club near you. Even if you don’t enter a dog you would be welcomed to observe and enjoy the camaraderie of Beaglers.