The Shelties Who Track
 

In the sport of tracking, a dog follows the scent left by a person who has earlier walked through an area. The dog is given the scent at the beginning of the track from an article that has been handled by the tracklayer. The dog must follow the track, through several turns, and locate one or more articles that have been dropped by the tracklayer. The final article is at the end of the track.

The people who train Shelties to track are few in number, but are very dedicated to the sport. Since the beginning of AKC tracking in 1936, when passing a tracking test was a requirement for a Utility Dog title, over 400 Shelties have achieved AKC tracking titles.

Shelties are not the first dog breed people think of when they think about dogs using their noses to follow a human scent. But Shelties can track, and, as their trainers and handlers have discovered, they can track very well.

My inspiration to develop this web page came when I was working on the article, Tracking the Tracking Shelties, which was published in the 2001 Handbook of the American Shetland Sheepdog Association.  In the process of researching this article, I accumulated an enormous amount of material about so many tracking Shelties, and about their owners.  After I finished my article, I wanted to organize my information in a way that would be readily available to anyone interested in the history of Shelties in tracking and in Search and Rescue work.  This is my set of lists of Shelties who have achieved tracking titles.  I started them when I was writing the article, and several years ago I put the lists on the Internet at the request of another handler of tracking Shelties.  There are almost certainly errors and omissions–which I would like to hear about.  Very few of the links to individual dogs will be published, because much of that information is from copyrighted publications.

Anyone interested in Sheltie tracking history can start with any of the buttons above, and dive in.  I hope there are not too many broken links, other than links to individual dogs.  If you find any errors or omissions, I would certainly appreciate hearing from you so that I can correct them.  AMK

 

Tracking Titles Awarded by the American Kennel Club

I happen to live in Colorado, so I'm most familiar with AKC titles.
Tracking titles are also awarded by the Canadian Kennel Club and the Australian Shepherd Club of America.

ABBREVIATION

 TITLE

EXPLANATION

TD

Tracking Dog

Title awarded to dog who passes an entry level tracking test that is 440 to 500 yards in length. The track is the scent of a stranger, 30 minutes to 2 hours old, and makes three to five turns. The dog is given the scent from an article at the beginning of the track. The dog must follow the track and find a glove or wallet dropped by the tracklayer at the end of the track.

TDU

Tracking Dog Urban

Title awarded to dog who passes an urban tracking test that is 400 to 500 yards in length. The track is the scent of a stranger, 30 minutes to 2 hours old, and makes three to five turns. The dog is given the scent from an article at the beginning of the track. The dog must follow the track and find two additional articles dropped by the tracklayer. While considered an entry level test, the pass rate is far below that of a TD test.

TDX

Tracking Dog Excellent

Title awarded to a dog who passes an advanced field tracking test some 800 to 1000 yards in length. The track is the scent of a stranger who has walked through the field 3 to 5 hours earlier, and makes five to seven turns. After being given a scented article at the start of the track, the dog must follow the track and find three additional articles dropped by the tracklayer, and must negotiate two physical or scenting obstacles. In addition the track is crossed twice by fresher diversionary tracks of two other people.

VST

Variable Surface Tracker

Title award to a dog who passes an advanced tracking test 600 to 800 yards long, that is laid out in an urban situation. The track is the scent of a stranger who has walked through the area 3 to 5 hours earlier, and makes four to eight turns. Between one third and two thirds of the track is on non-vegetated surfaces, such as asphalt and concrete. The track may go up stairs, across balconies, through breezeways, along buildings, across roads and between parked cars. After being given a scented article at the start of the track, the dog must follow the track and find three additional articles dropped by the tracklayer.

CT

Champion Tracker

Title awarded to a dog who has passed TD (or TDU), TDX and VST tests. As of March, 1918, only eight Shelties have earned this incredibly difficult title.


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