Herding: NWBCC Instinct Testing

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The American Herding Breed Association program allows herding dogs and the trainers to demonstrate herding skills at graduated levels of training. The AHBA Test program is run on a pass fail system. The first level leads to the title “Herding Capability Tested”(HCT). The second level leads to the title “Junior Herding Dog” (JHD). Dogs must be six months of age or older to enter.

HCT tests are held in the setting of a clinic, at the facilities of a herding trainer. The tests consist of two legs. The tester may handle the dog during the first leg. The owner may handle the dog during the second leg with assistance from the tester. First-leg tests may take the form of a basic instinct test and are fairly free form. Second-leg tests require a slightly more control. These tests require no previous training. The Bearded Collie Club of America will award the Herding Instinct Certified (HIC) title to any beardie completing the first-leg AHBA herding capability test. Any beardie already having an HIC may also enter at this level and earn an HCT title.

The Junior Herding Dog tests are fairly similar to the AKC Pre-trial test with the addition of a panel obstacle in approximately the center of the arena. The dog may be brought in on lead but the test is conducted off leash. Off lead, the dog must hold a controlled pause and is then released to gather or drive the stock. The stock must be taken through two corner panels and the center panel. The stock is then taken to the pen and the handler opens the gate while the dog is stopped, holding the sheep in place. After the stock has entered, the handler must close the gate. The dog must pass two legs of the test to earn the JHD title. A dog may enter the JHD tests without having previously completed the HCT tests. The BCCA will also confer the HIC title to any beardie completing a leg of the JHD test if it has not previously earned its HIC. Any beardie with the additional training necessary for the JHD test may enter at this level and earn the title.

For additional information on NWBCC AHBA Herding Events, please contact Jackye Dunn.

The BCCA Test Manual and materials are available on the BCCA Website at http://www.bcca.us.

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