A squirrel dog is any dog that will hunt squirrels. The job of a squirrel
dog is cruising the woods, scenting the squirrel and then announcing the
find by barking at the base of the tree. Good squirrel dogs instinctively
follow a fleeing squirrel merely by listening for scratches on the bark
and the whoosh of the branches as the squirrel jumps from tree to tree.
It is a lot of fun to follow a dog through the woods untill it sniffs out
a trail or spots a bushy tail and gives chase and keeps it at bay until
The primary food of squirrels is nuts and you will find them
in forests that consist of oaks, beech, butternut, walnuts, hickories and
other nut trees. The instinct to go after sqiurrels occurs in Dachshunds,
Terriers and a broad group of dogs known as curs and feists which have been
bred to do the job for hundreds of generations.
The difference between a
cur and a feist is the size, with a feist being smaller. These dogs have
terrier ancestry to some degree.
Pure bred Dachshunds and Terriers are
relatively new to the sport and training with experienced individuals and
dogs is commonplace. A talented mountain cur usually requires little training.
A cur with talent does the job automatically, or will quickly learn it by
watching other dogs.
There are many breeds of true curs - it seems as if
a new breed appears every few years. The most popular cur breeds, though
- mountain, American leopard, treeing Tennessee brindle and blackmouth -
have their own breeder organizations that work to standardize and promote
their dogs. In the large, primarily rural sport of tracking and treeing
dogs, squirrel dog hunting and trialing is far less developed and commercialized
than coon dog and beagle trialing but is quickly growing into one of the
most popular outdoor canine sports.
Our early pioneers brought their early cur/terriers with
them from rat infested
Great Britain. It was soon found that small game became a principal source
of providing food as it was plentiful and it was what could be most easily
harvested with the primitive weapons they had. More than 200 years would
pass before a choke system was devised. Compared to modern shotguns, these
muskets could be truly called "scatterguns". These dogs were
also used to herd escaped livestock back into pens, protect chickens and
eggs from vermin and to hunt for small game. At night, the dogs slept outside
to warn of Indian attacks.
The settlers who went through the Cumberland
Gap from Virginia to Tennessee and Kentucky brought these dogs with them
in baskets on horse or mule. It was here that the squirrel dog would survive.
It has been said that those Southern Mountains couldn't have been settled
without the dogs. Up to about 50 years ago, when the U.S. and Canada were
rural, every farm had an all-purpose dog that would go after many things.
Squirrel Dogs were popular. All one had to do to locate one was ask around.
Then America and Canada got modern and the sport lost favor. Squirrel dogs
even in the Cumberland Gap declined being replaced by the melody -voiced
treeehounds. However it is from this cradle region that the sport is re-gaining
Squirrel dog trials are designed to simulate squirrel hunting. Dachshunds,
Terriers, Feists and Curs are eligible. Dogs must be registered with the
National Kennel Club and should have registry with the AKC, CKC, UKC or
with the respective Cur/Feist Association. Point system: First place-40
; second-35 ; third-30 ; 4th-25 ; 5th-20 ; 6th and 7th-15 ; 8th and 9th-10
- Squirrel Dog Champion: a dog must obtain 100 champion points
and one 1st place. Grand Champion Squirrel Dog: must win 5 champion hunts
(only Champions allowed to compete).
- Super Grand Champion Squirrel Dog: must win 8 Grand Champion
Hunts (only Grand Champions allowed to compete).
some of the rules: On plus points: Majority of cast must see squirrel (2
persons in either a 3-dog or a 2-dog cast)...When dogs are treed, cast may
move at moderate pace close enough to see dogs working but must wait 3 minutes
after dogs are declared treed, unless all dogs are treed or hunt time expires,
before going in and searching the tree for game. After 3 minutes, tree is
closed to other dogs, 10 minutes time is allotted to search tree for game.
Squirrel must be seen in tree treed upon or trees that squirrel could have
crossed overrto and not over 30 steps from where dogs are treed. Dogs declared
treed may receive plus points on squirrel if tree barking at squirrel seen
running from tree to tree or on the ground even if squirrel goes into den,
etc. On minus points: When dog declared treed leaves the tree before cast
arrives and ties dog. When dogs are declared treed, dog must bark 2 minutes
until cast arrives within sight of the dogs. When dog trees on tree that
obviously contains no squirrel, not within 30 steps of large tree and no
squirrel is seen. Dogs can be scratched from the trial for various infractions,
including getting lost, chasing domestic animals or fighting. Dog owners
also can be disqualified for fighting.
- Dogs will hunt in the following weight classes:
(1) 25 pounds and under
(2) 26 to 40 pounds
(3) 41 pounds and over
- Tree points awarded shall be 1st-125 ; 2nd-75 ; 3rd-50
- Casts shall be 3 dogs wherever possible
- Dogs are scored by awarding plus or minus points,
with plus points for good performance and minus for infractions.
The governing bodies of the trials
are the National Kennel Club (NKC) and the National Cur and Feist Breeders
Association. (N.C.F.B.A.). The N.C.F.B.A. has members throughout the U.S.
Contacts: National Kennel Club
- (Squirrel Dog Registration - AKC and CKC registered breeds welcome)
:Melvin Hopper, 1556 Cherrybrook Dr., Knoxville, TN 37912 615-938-8995 or
615-938-8321 National Cur and Feist Breeders Association ( AKC and CKC registered
- President: Dave Burgess, Rt. 6, Box 174, Logansport, IN 46947 219-722-9604
Secretary-Treasurer-Membership: Claude Thomas, 713 E. Sycamore Street, Jasonville,
IN 47438 812-665-3263
All NKC Squirrel Dog Trials are advertised in FULL CRY
magazine. FULL CRY, PO Box 10, Boody, Illinois 62514 217-865-2332
Fax (217) 865-233422
Tel (217) 2332
I keep a complete list available for email.
If you would like me to email you the list, email me
(E-mail your club info for inclusion to email@example.com)
- - Southern Illinois Squirrel and Coon Club, Rt. 1, Box 635, DuQuolin,
IL 62832 618-542-3803
- - Elnora Outdoor Club, 713 E. Sycamore, Jasonville, IN 47438 812-665-3263
- -Southern Indiana Squirrel Hunters Association, c/o Frank Cox, HC 70,
Box 79, Bristow, IN 47515 812-357-7492
- - Louisiana Cur & Feist Association, 39021 Camp Drive, Prairieville,
- - Foothills Squirrel Hunters Club, P.O. Box 309, Moravian Falls, NC
- - Canadian Cur Breeders Association of North America, 5501 Eaton Road,
Bucyrus, OH 44820 419-562-7161 * ( Canadian Contact - David Rogers, Route
1, Thornton, Ontario Canada LOL 2N0 705-458-4064)
- - North Central Ohio Cur Dog Club, 750 Main Rd. 5, Ashland, OH 44805
- - Carter Cur Association, 924 E. Owens Road, Chattaroy, WA 99003 509-276-7071111
November2/96 - Tennessee State Squirrel Dog Championship and Event -
and CSANHC sanctioned - hosted by The American Squirrel and Nite Hunters
Association - At the The Outback Events Building behind the Days Inn,
Jellico, Tennessee. Contact Rocky Jenkins at (423) 784-9850 for details.
November 9&10/96 - ASANHA 2nd Annual World Championship Squirrel Hunt -
Wilburton, Oklahoma - Contact Jerry Rutledge at (918) 754-2840 or Keith
Sutmiller at (918) 426-4876 for details.
Dec 14 & 15/96 - The National Kennel Club Championship Hunt and Bench
Hosted by Mid-South Squirrel Hunters - At the Fairgrounds, Highway 1,
Forrest City, Arkansas. Contact Jim Rhea at (501) 238-4441 or (501)
or Claude Thomas at (812) 665-3263 for details.
Photos Copyright 1995,1996 by Billy Hustace Photography and
Dennis Reay, all rights reserved.
Copyright 1995-1996 by Dennis Reay, all rights reserved.
Dennis Reay, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org