The United Kennel Club has been in existence since 1898 and is the largest all-breed performance dog registry in the world. The mission of the United Kennel Club’s Beagle Program is to preserve the Beagle breed for its intended purpose – to bring a rabbit around to the gun, while showing the fewest faults possible. Casts are randomly drawn at the local clubhouse and are sent to the field to be run on wild rabbits, and are judged under simulated hunting conditions. No rabbits are taken at beagle field trials. As it states on their website at http://www.ukcdogs.com, “Dogs are scored with the lead of the pencil rather than the lead from a shotgun shell.”
UKC offers 2 formats for slightly different styles of gundogs: Hunting Beagle events and Performance Pack events. In Hunting Beagle events the participants are given the opportunity to participate in each 4-dog cast as an active handler. By working as a team, the handler and his dog attempt to outscore the three other handlers and dogs.
In Performance Pack events dogs are drawn to 5-dog casts and sent to the field with a judge who stays with the dogs as they run the rabbit track. Judges evaluate each dog on its ability to accurately run a rabbit. In the end the judge tabulates the scores he has accumulated on each dog and a winner is announced.
UKC also offers bench shows at their Beagle field trials, and the dogs are judged for the proper conformation, and rewards the hound that exhibits the physical traits that most closely meet the breed standard.
To see a list of upcoming UKC Beagle events and locations, visit their website and check out their user-friendly Events Calendar.