Crofter's Dream.......working Cairn Terriers             

  Home             About Us          All about Cairns        Photo gallery            Photo gallery pg 2   Earthdog photo gallery    Agility photo gallery

 History      Performance      Our Cairns        Related Cairns      Favorite Links     Cairn Terrier Grooming     Kona's Page   Hattie's Page    Puppies!


At the present time, we participate in 3 AKC performance areas.  In addition to AKC conformation titles, performance titles are available in Earthdog Trials, Rally Obedience and Agility Trials.   

cairn terrier earthdogs

4  Junior Cairns complete their first leg at the Oregon  Trails End Earthdog Club Trials in Turner Oregon

L to R David Delyea with O'Rourke, Greg Perry with Kona, Val Perry with Recee and Vicki Havlik with Mary and Oliver.   (Oliver is a Master Earthdog)

cairn terrier earthog, CH Cairngorm Coffee Tea or Me

 Kona completing his Junior  Earthdog title in Crosswicks, New Jersey

Cairn terrier earthdog, CH Cairngorm Coffee Tea or Me
Val, Greg and Kona celebrating his new Senior Earthdog title, Whidbey Island, WA

 A goal of cairn terrier fanciers, and enthusiasts of other earthdogs, is to maintain the breed's working heritage. Obviously, earthdog breeds have little opportunity for such work today, so the AKC and other kennel clubs have developed earthdog tests to keep these skills alive. For quarry, the AKC test employs lab rats, which are securely caged for safety. Dogs must track the quarry through an artificially constructed tunnel then "work" them for a specified period of time. Work is defined as digging, barking and lunging, or any other action which indicates that the dog is attempting to attack the quarry. Three AKC titles - Junior Earthdog (JE), Senior Earthdog (SE) and Master Earthdog (ME) - are available based on passing increasingly difficult variations of the test. The United Kennel Club, the American Working Terrier Association and assorted terrier breed clubs have similar tests with corresponding titles.


Click here to see more Earthdog Trial photos!

Click here to see our Earthdog Journal!


Earthdog Trials
This is what terriers are all about.  American Kennel Club created the AKC Earthdog trials to show cairns still have what it takes. Earthdog trials are a lot of fun. This is how it works. The dogs follow the scent of the rat down into a small tunnel that's approx. 9x9 inches. The dogs enter and crawl through the tunnel and at the end is a caged rat.  The dogs have a time limit to start working the rats (quarry) by barking, digging or lunging at it and have to continue working for a specified period of time.   There are four tests, Intro to Quarry, Junior Earthdog, Senior Earthdog and Master Earthdog, and only three titles. You don't get a title for the Intro to Quarry.
Intro to Quarry
Intro to quarry is for beginning dogs to get a taste of the work. They have a shorter tunnel to go through and judge is allowed to help. The tunnel is 10 feet long with one 90 degree turn.
Junior Earthdog (JE)
The junior test is harder in that the tunnel is 30 feet long with one 90 degree turns. To get your JE your dog  has to qualify in the Junior earthdog test two times.
Senior Earthdog (SE)
The senior test has a tunnel is 30 feet long with three 90 degree turns, a false den and exit.    Your dog has to have earned at least a JE title to enter this class. To get your SE you have to qualify in the Senior earthdog test three times.
Master Earthdog (ME)
The Master test has a tunnel is 30 feet long with three 90 degree turns, a false entrance, den and exit. The dogs work in pairs (a brace).  Your dog has to go to the right entrance, and honor another working dog. Which really means he has to wait and let another dog work without being too noisy. You have to have earned at least a SE title to try this test. To get your ME you have to qualify in the Master earthdog test four times.

To find out more about AKC Earthdog Trials, click here.

Kula, cairn terrier, rally novice title Kona, Cairn Terrier, Rally Novice title

Val and Kula completing her Rally Novice Obedience Title                                                             Val and Kona completing his Rally Novice Title

Rally Obedience

What is Rally?

AKC Rally is the new dog sport that is taking the nation by storm, a successful stepping stone from the AKC Canine Good CitizenŽ program to the world of obedience or agility. Rally offers both the dogs and handlers an experience that is fun and energizing. The canine team moves at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.

A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication between handler and dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required, but there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler. The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.

Rally Signs

The signs may be any color and they include descriptions as well as directional arrows of exercises. Signs are numbered to make it easy to find the next station when navigating the course.

All signs are placed to the handler's right side. The signs are large enough to be easily recognized when going through a course. The exercises designated on the signs will be performed in close proximity to the sign itself, either in front, back of, or beside the sign.

Role of the judge

The judge must arrive one hour before judging in order to set up the course for the class. Judges are open to questions that the handlers may have regarding the course during the walk-through period.They must post a copy of the course at ringside so that the exhibitors know what to expect and where to go once they are in the ring. The judge must evaluate the performance of each exercise and the sense of teamwork between the dog and handler between the stations as stated in the AKC Rally Regulations.

The orders "Are you ready?" and "Forward" are given to each handler who enters the ring.

Levels of Competition

The three levels of competition in AKC Rally:

Novice-This is the first level for those just getting started in the competition.

bulletAll exercises are performed with the dog on leash.
bulletThere is a requirement of 10-15 stations to complete with no more than five stationary exercises.
bulletThe exercises performed vary from turning 360 degrees to changing paces during the course.
bulletExhibitors at this level may clap their hands and pat their legs through the course.

Advanced - this is the second level, which includes more difficult exercises throughout the course.
bulletAll exercises are performed off-leash.
bulletThere is a requirement of 12-17 stations with no more than seven stationary exercises.
bulletExercises include a jump as well as calling your dog to the front of you instead of to a heel position.

Excellent - this third and highest level of AKC Rally is the most challenging.
bulletExercises are performed off-leash except for the honor exercise.
bulletThere is a requirement of 15-20 stations, with no more than 7 stationary exercises.
bulletHandlers are only allowed to encourage their dogs verbally. Physical encouragement is not allowed at this level.
bulletThe Excellent-level exercises include backing up three steps, while the dog stays in the heel position and a moving stand, while the handler walks around the dog.

Qualifying Performance

A qualifying performance indicates that the dog has performed the required exercises according to the AKC Rally Regulations. Each performance is timed, but times are only counted if two dogs earn the same score.

Qualifying Score

All dogs and handlers begin with a perfect 100. A dog and handler team is awarded a qualifying score if it retains at least 70 points after the course has been completed. Once the team has completed the course, their score will be posted ringside.

To find out more about AKC Rally Obedience, click here.


Agility  Kula, cairn terrier agility tunnel Kula, cairn terrier agility weaves 

Click here to see Agility Photo Gallery!

What is AKC Agility?

It is the fastest growing dog sport in the USA!s

bulletAgility is a sport that appeals to young people and to senior citizens. It has great spectator appeal. Agility is designed to demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dog and handlers negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.

bulletThe AKC offers two types of agility classes. The first, Standard Class, includes contact objects such as the dog walk, the A-frame, and seesaw. Each of the contact obstacles has a "safety zone" painted on the object and the dog must place at least one paw in that area to complete the obstacle. The second is Jumpers with Weaves. It has only jumps, tunnels and weaves poles with no contact objects to slow the pace.

bulletBoth classes offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice, Open, Excellent and Master titles. After completing both an Excellent Standard title and an Excellent Jumpers title, owner and dog teams can compete for the MACH - faster than the speed of sound! (Master Agility Championship title.)

bulletAgility began in England in 1978. The AKC held its first agility trial in 1994.

bulletAgility is the fastest growing dog sport in the United States and is the fastest growing event at the AKC.

bulletA trial is a competition. Clubs hold practice matches, then apply to be licensed to hold official trials. At a licensed trial, handlers and dogs can earn scores toward agility titles.

bulletAn advantage to AKC participation is that dogs can earn titles in a variety of events such as conformation, lure coursing, earth dog, retrieving and field trials, obedience, rally (as of 1/1/05), and tracking, as well as agility.

bulletIn the first year of AKC agility there were 23 trials. In 2003, there were 1,379 trials. The number of trials held in 2004 will be more than 1,670.

bulletIn the first year of AKC agility (1994), there were approximately 2000 entries in AKC agility trials.

bulletAKC agility is available to every registerable breed. From tiny Yorkshire Terriers to giant Irish Wolfhounds, the dogs run the same course with adjustments in the expected time and jump height.

bulletThe classes are divided by jump heights in order to make the competition equal between the different size of dogs.

To find out more about AKC Agility Trials click here.


Canine Good Citizen

Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step in training their dogs. The Canine Good Citizen Program lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you'll discover the many benefits and joys of training your dog. Training will enhance the bond between you and your dog. Dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with-they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. We sincerely hope that CGC will be only a beginning for you and your dog and that after passing the CGC test, you'll continue training in obedience, agility, tracking, or performance events.

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").


All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to regular collars.

The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.


Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but these items should not be used during the test.

Failures - Dismissals

Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.

To find out more about Canine Good Citizen click here.


Home  About Us  History Our Cairns Related Cairns All About Cairns Performance Links Photos1 Photos2

Kona's Page Hattie's Page