2016 Scottish National Sheep Dog Trials Come to Stranraer

This year the on the 18-20 August 2016 the Scottish National sheep dog trials will be heading to – Awirk Farm, Lochans, Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway.

National Trials are held by the Society annually each summer in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

During the three days of the National Trials, handlers will run 150 dogs over the course. Each handler can enter a maximum of three dogs, but only two of these may run, the third being an ‘alternate’ dog who may be substituted for one of the two. The handler’s aim is to gain a place in their National Team to represent their Nation at the Society’s annual International Trial. Each National Team has 15 places and one reserve place, so competition is fierce.

National Trials are run over a 400 yard course with five sheep, containing the standard elements (activities) of:

  • Outrun
  • Lift
  • Fetch
  • Drive
  • Shed
  • Pen
  • •Single

Two judges score each of the elements that the dog completes, allowing a maximum time of 15 minutes to complete all of the tasks.

The maximum points achievable (for the perfect run) is 220 points.

Additionally there will be a Brace (doubles) competition, where handlers will run two dogs, working with twice the number of sheep. The same tasks are required as for those of the singles, and judges  will be award points in the same way.

As far as possible, the conditions and work to be encountered in everyday shepherding on the hills and farms are followed at sheepdog trials. They are not intended as a succession of ‘tricks’ or gimmicky obstacles, but rather a practical demonstration of the skills the dog uses every day of his working life.

Many of the dogs you can see on the trials field will have been at work on the farm, probably that very morning before setting off for the trial. It is true to say that the skills they acquire in their everyday work are key to them gaining maximum points.

For more info check http://www.scottishnationalsheepdogtrials.org.uk/

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