To get started in Bloodhound Trials, your best approach is to contact one of the two breed clubs in the UK which hold trials - The Association of Bloodhound Breeders and The Bloodhound Club.
You must meet certain straightforward criteria to participate:
- Your hound must be a pure bred Bloodhound and must be registered with the Kennel Club
- Your hound must be at least 12 months old on the first day of a trial (it can be entered 'not for competition' at four months old)
- Your hound must have a Working Permit issued by either the Bloodhound Club or the Association of Bloodhound Breeders. (Hounds from Belgium, Denmark, Holland or Sweden may compete if they hold a Working Permit issued by the appropriate Bloodhound club of their country)
- You should be familiar with the Working Trial & Bloodhound Trial Rules and Regulations beforehand.
You will undoubtedly want to train your hound before entering a trial, and the best source of advice is experienced owners, whom you can contact through the breed clubs. The clubs also hold training courses from time to time which can prove an invaluable opportunity to 'learn the ropes' and to meet fellow Bloodhound owners and handlers.
Once you have started training your hound and understand more about Bloodhound Trials, you will want to think about entering a trial. To be sure you are prepared, take a look at the Bloodhound First Trial Tips page. Be aware that trials span several days; after you have entered you will be sent details of the meeting place and your reporting time (which is decided by a draw). As the competitors and judging teams usually move in convoy from line to line, you may need to arrive well ahead of your start time. Any hound which is not present at least an hour before its published start time may be disqualified by the Judge.
Only one person may handle a hound during a trial; punitive correction or harsh handling is forbidden, and hounds may not be withdrawn without first notifying the Stake Manager.
For information on where to go next after your first trials, see Progressing in Bloodhound Trials.
It is advisable for the owner of a hound to train the hound to respect both livestock and game from an early age and to apply for a stock test early on in the life of the hound (the hound has to be 12 months old before an official stock test can take place). Until stock tested, hounds must be hunted on leash. They cannot compete at all in the Senior Stake unless stock tested, but it is advisable not to wait until the last minute (i.e. the Intermediate Stake) before having the hound tested. Tests can be arranged by contacting either of the breed clubs.
Certificates of Merit
Judges may award a Certificate of Merit in all stakes to any unplaced hound which has given a good performance.
Bloodhound Working Trial Certificates
A Bloodhound which wins a Senior Stake at a Championship Bloodhound Trial may be awarded a Kennel Club Bloodhound Working Trial Certificate (a 'ticket'). The Judge must consider that the hound has clearly identified the runner at the end of the line, and the hound must have worked without assistance throughout the line.
The highest accolade in Bloodhound Trials is the title of Working Trial Champion (WT Ch), which is awarded to a Bloodhound which has won two Working Trial Certificates under two different Judges.