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USBCHA Rules for Cattledog Trials




  1. Sanctioning Trials
  2. Judges and Judging
  3. Contestants
  4. Ties and Re-Runs
  5. Scores and Awards
  6. Humane Rules
PART III: USBCHA Open & Nursery Cattledog Finals
PART IV. General Course for Cattledog National                    Finals
PART V: Touching Stock


Cattledog Rules

Click here for
Sheepdog Rules

Rules -Continued


PART VI: Commands and Style
PART VII: Disqualification
PART VIII: Qualifying Trials
PART IX: Entry Fee & Number
PART X: Cattledog Judging Guidelines 
PART XI: Nursery Cattledog Rule
PART XII:  Standards of Conduct
  1. Release and Waiver
  2. General Provisions & Principles
  3. Filing, Response & Notice Requirements
  4. Grievance Committee Review Process
  5. Board of Directors' Action
  6. Grounds for Discipline & Guidelines for Sanctions
  7. Emergency Action

The most recent changes voted on by the Board of Directors on January 21, 2016 are shown in red.



  1. Every trial competitor (USBCHA members and non-members), trial host, trial official and judge has a responsibility to read and understand the USBCHA ("Association" or "HA") rules and regulations before entering, conducting or officiating at an HA event. Failure to know these rules is not an acceptable excuse for failing to follow them. These rules are available on the HA website.

  2. By entering a USBCHA trial, each competitor acknowledges that participation is a privilege and not a right. By paying membership dues, members accept all rules contained herein, and rules and/or policies adopted hereafter, by the Board of Directors (BOD). The Board of Directors shall have the authority to amend any rule(s) by majority vote. (this last sentence was out of place on its own in a section titled Amendments, so I moved it here)

  3. USBCHA dues are payable on January 1. Any member who does not reinstate by January 1, and any member who has resigned by notifying the HA Secretary in writing, will automatically become a member in arrears and shall not be considered a "member in good standing." Any Director may, at his discretion, receive payment for dues from a member. It will be the responsibility of the collector to forward monies to the HA office immediately.(this last part was on its own before but I think fits better here)

  4. Members must be in good standing to earn points towards participation in the USBCHA Open Finals and qualifying legs for the USBCHA Nursery Finals. To participate in the USBCHA National Finals, one must also be a member in good standing of the American Border Collie Association (ABCA).

  5. By the act of paying HA membership dues or entry fees to HA sanctioned events, members/participants waive all claims against trial management and USBCHA for injuries sustained or property damaged at any HA sanctioned event. The HA assumes no responsibility for injury or damage to the person, property or animals of any owner, contestant or assistant at an HA sanctioned event.

  6. All members shall receive a copy of minutes of all meetings, including all Board of Directors meetings, either by direct mail, e-mail, or publication on the HA website. Facsimile transactions and email communications are acceptable forms of communication, provided they can be confirmed by a "hard copy" (i.e., a printed copy of email or a return acknowledgment of received fax).

  7. A member or non-member placed on suspension will not be permitted to compete in any trial or event sanctioned by the HA during the period of suspension. An event that allows suspended individuals to enter will not be eligible for USBCHA sanctioning.

  8. Members may file a complaint, grievance or protest (see Part IV for procedure).

  9. For further rights, privileges and possible loss of privileges, see Part IV, Standards of Conduct, Protest/Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures.


  1. SANCTIONING TRIALS: These rules and regulations apply only to USBCHA sanctioned trials and approved events.

    1. Trial/Class Schedules:
      The HA Secretary or Webmaster shall maintain a list of all sanctioned trials, and shall publish on the USBCHA website the number of trials to be run in each sanctioned class during the course of the overall trial.

    2. Deadlines:

      1. Trial hosts must apply to the HA Secretary for sanctioning at least thirty (30) days prior to the trial entry opening date. The number of trials to be offered in each sanctioned class (e.g., 2 Open trials and 2 Nursery trials) must be specified. If the HA Secretary deems it necessary, the President or appointed committee, if any, will review the request and either approve or disapprove. The President may waive errors or omissions by the trial host and his/her decision will be final.

      2. All trial information must be published thirty (30) days prior to the trial opening date on the USBCHA website for Upcoming Trials. Trial information should include trial name and dates, contact name, phone number, email or web site address, and location. Upon request, the HA may furnish local district mailing addresses to the trial host.

      3. Should an entrant withdraw from competition, entry fees, or any part thereof, will not be refunded after the competition begins. Trial management has the right to establish cutoff dates for trial withdrawal refunds.

    3. Sanctioning fees:

      1. A four (4) dollar sanctioning fee (beginning January 2, 2009) shall be charged for each dog entered in a sanctioned Cattledog trial (Open and Nursery). If he should run in both classes, for class points, he must pay two sanctioning fees.

      2. The $4.00 sanctioning fee, along with the trial results form, is to be mailed to the HA Secretary's office not later than twenty one (21) days after the trial. The HA Secretary will notify the Grievance Committee or President if trial management fails to abide by this rule.

    4. Trials ineligible for USBCHA Sanctioning:

      1. Trials sanctioned by other national or international organizations, including but not limited to the American Kennel Club, the American Herding Breed Association, and the Australian Shepherd Club of America, are not eligible for sanctioning by the USBCHA.

      2. Trials hosted or sponsored by, affiliated with, or benefiting any organization that advocates or supports conformation breeding or showing of Border Collies, and trials held in conjunction with any event sanctioned or sponsored by such an organization, are not eligible for sanctioning by the USBCHA.

      3. All sanctioned trials must conform to the rules and regulations of the HA. Allowing a suspended individual to enter a trial will result in automatic loss of USBCHA sanctioning. Trial hosts requesting sanctioning will be kept notified of individuals suspended by the USBCHA. Individuals under suspension (both members and non-members) are barred from participation in any HA sanctioned trial as either dog owner or handler.

    5. Minimum number of entrants:

      1. Change the qualifying percentage from 20% to the top 30% in Open and Nursery trials. Five 5 dogs minimum in Open and Nursery and round a .5 point up to the nearest whole Number

      2. Example ( 5 dogs would be 1 point for 1st and .5 for 2nd. Five nursery dogs would qualify 2 dogs and 5 Open dogs in a trial would have 2 placing.

    6. Nursery class sanctioning and participation:

      1. At a trial where no Open classes are offered, only one Nursery class per day may be sanctioned.

      2. At a trial where Open classes are offered, the total number of Nursery classes sanctioned may not exceed the total number of days that the trial is sanctioned for. The scheduling of the Nursery classes is at the discretion of the trial host; however, no more than two sanctioned Nursery classes may be run in one day.

      3. No nursery dog may compete in nursery trials after the August 1 cut-off if that dog is not eligible to compete in the nursery program for the next year. For additional rules on Nursery qualification, see Part III.E.


    1. When by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the BOD, a certain individual is deemed incompetent to judge HA sanctioned trials, that person shall not judge any HA sanctioned trials/events for a period set by the BOD.

    2. Judges are encouraged to read and follow the Judging Guidelines and International (ISDS) rules, posted on the HA website.

    3. Judges accepting an invitation to act at any USBCHA sponsored trials will be held, by their acceptance, to have been given a responsibility to judge strictly according to the rules laid down by the HA and agree that they will not favor any dog, man or country.

    4. Judges shall conduct themselves in a manner fitting and proper to one afforded the honor of officiating a USBCHA approved or sponsored trial. Any misconduct on the part of the judge at any HA trial, the use of abusive language, showing favoritism to, or discrimination against, either an individual or a dog performing in the trial, or any other action unbecoming to one in that position, either on the grounds or elsewhere during the entire trial, will make the judge subject to disciplinary action.

    5. Points/deductions for each competitor shall be recorded on an acceptable score sheet and the judge is required to review each score sheet at the completion of the run to ensure accuracy. The score sheets are to be retained by the trial secretary for a period of not less than thirty (30) days. The trial secretary may make a copy of the score sheet if requested by competitor. Judging sheets are available for download on the HA website but it is not essential that trial hosts use the HA judging sheets.

    6. Judges may not be changed after a trial begins except in cases of sickness of injury. The trial committee is then responsible for appointing a new Judge.


    1. A handler must be a current paid member of USBCHA before that handler's dog receives Open qualification points or Nursery qualification legs for the Finals.

    2. Each contestant must be ready when called by the Course Director or an assistant. Anyone failing to answer the call may be disqualified. Contestants should note that the order of the runs will be strictly followed, unless the trial committee or Course Director authorizes changes. The Course Director or trial committee, however, cannot guarantee the exact time a competitor will run.

    3. A contestant wishing to have the course explained or any other point clarified must question the Course Director before he/she starts his/her run.

    4. By commencing the run, a contestant is presumed to understand the course and is expected to follow it.

    5. Once a contestant starts his/her run, it is entirely in the hands of the judge. By deviating from the course, the contestant may be disqualified or suffer a point loss as the judge considers suitable, having regard for all circumstances.

    6. A contestant who receives assistance of any kind while running his/her dog may be disqualified.

    7. If a contestant is disqualified, no points will be earned.

    8. If a contestant is called for expiration of the time limit, points earned to that time will count. After being called off, the contestant will stop running the course and will collect the sheep and remove them from the trial field unless directed otherwise by the Judge or Course Director. A contestant who retires or leaves the field, without the judge's permission, will forfeit all points.

    9. A contestant who intentionally harasses the stock after his/her run will be disqualified at the discretion of the judge, in conference with the Course Director, and may be subject to further disciplinary action by the HA.

    10. Neither contestants nor any others shall take dogs onto the trial course before the competition starts, except with permission of the Course Director or trial management.

    11. No contestant, or other person, shall engage in any form of misconduct or harassment toward trial management, judges, or HA officials. Trial management has the right to disqualify or refuse entry to any contestant or other person for violation of this rule. Any contestant so denied access may request that the District Directors determine if the trial manager's decision was appropriate, and if it was not, what action should be taken. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision of the District Directors, they may appeal to the BOD. This appeal may or may not be heard by the Grievance Committee, at their discretion.

    12. A contestant may drop out of any contest due to injury to himself, his dog, or due to sickness/death in his family.

    13. A contestant shall not at any time withdraw from any trial he or she is participating in due to dissatisfaction, grievance with the judge/judges, trial management, or other contestants without forfeiting all money/prizes he may have won in previous runs at that trial.

    14. A contestant shall not enter the trial field at any time with any kind of training device. The trial management, representative, or judge must disqualify a contestant if he/she enters the trial field with any such equipment, and all entry fees and/or premiums pertaining to said contestant shall be forfeited. Such devices include, but are not limited to, electronic collars, dummy or weighted collars, a leash or rope that is not detached before the dog is sent, and any device used to distract or cause pain to a dog while it is working. The judge has the right to inspect the dog for any violation to this rule.

    15. Handlers with physical disabilities may be allowed to use tools that are not normally accepted (binoculars are an example). Handlers needing these tools should notify the judge/trial host of their needs before the trial starts. The USBCHA encourages those with physical disabilities to participate in our sanctioned events and believes that trial hosts and judges should make reasonable efforts to accommodate these handlers.

    16. Contestants (and trial officials) may be required to be properly attired for any competition. Dress should be acceptable for weather and magnitude of occasion. Good judgment should prevail.

  4. TIES and RE-RUNS

    1. If two or more competitors stand equal in total points, the judges shall settle their priority either (1) by their points for the outrun, lift and fetch, or (2) ordering re-trials of any kind, or (3) dividing the prize money involved. In cases of equality where a trophy is at stake and the judge orders re-runs, the re-runs will decide not only the trophy but also all cash prizes involved.

    2. The judge may stop a dog at any point of a trial run and order a rerun if he/she feels circumstances warrant such action. The rerun will commence where the original run was stopped and points as scored before the stop will stand.

    3. In the case of a rerun ordered as the result of the wrong number of sheep having been let out, or sheep being wrongly marked, or one or more sheep being unsound for working, the judge shall decide if the rerun will commence at the beginning and if not, at which point it will start. If decided that the rerun starts at any point other than the beginning, the points scored up to the point of rerun shall stand.


    1. By the conclusion of the trial all scores must be posted. Trial officials shall confer with the Judge and determine whether the deductions for each phase of work shall be posted.

    2. Awards announced at any HA trial are subject to correction of any error discovered within two weeks of trial completion. Any discovered error will be corrected, and the awards as announced adjusted accordingly. In such a case, awards may be recalled and will be returned to trial management.

    3. All prizes and awards for any trial shall be paid within one month of trial completion.


    1. A veterinarian shall be in attendance, or reasonably available at every trial.

    2. No stock belonging to either contestant or stock contractor should be confined to vehicles beyond a period of twenty-eight (28) hours without being unloaded and properly fed and watered. If animals are carried in conveyances in which they do have proper food, water, space and opportunity to rest, the provision for unloading shall not apply.

    3. No sick or injured animals, discovered before or after the draw, may be used in competition. To the extent possible, animals will be inspected and objectionable ones eliminated before drawing. Judges and course directors will be responsible for inspection.

    4. At the recommendation of the veterinarian or at the discretion of the judge, a sick or injured dogs will not be allowed to compete.

    5. It is recommended that, particularly in warm weather, water always be available on the field for cooling a dog. Handlers should be allowed to direct a dog to the water and the dog use the water with no points penalty. Handlers should not leave the post to go to the water with the dog. However, if the handler is moving to the shedding ring or moving to the pen, he/she may detour to the water. The clock will not be stopped. Actions of the stock are still being judged and may result in a loss of points, up to disqualification if the stock leaves the trial area.


USBCHA Rules for Cattledog Trials


A trial committee will be appointed annually for the HA National Open and Nursery Cattledog Finals by the HA President.  This committee shall have the power to make decisions regarding any question of interpretation and/or administration of rules which may arise during the trial, to make decisions regarding the laying out of the course, and in general, to supervise the running of that trial.  Minutes shall be taken of all meetings of the Cattledog Committee (with the exception of meetings held at the trial site for the purpose of resolving questions about the trial course and conduct of the trial), and copies of those minutes shall be furnished to the Board of Directors and posted on the HA website in a timely manner.

The trial Committee may appoint a non-contesting HA member to act as liaison between contestants and trial management.

No eye test is required for the National Finals.

All questions and disputes in connection with the National Trial not already settled the judge(s) or Trial Committee shall be decided by the BOD whose decision shall be final and binding and not subject to Court of Law. Five (5) board members shall be a quorum.

In all cases of dispute, the trial will proceed without delay under existing USBCHA rules. Any contestant or person connected with the contestant altercating or arguing with judges may be disqualified from that run, fined or suspended from any further USBCHA trials, until further notice.

Entries must be postmarked by August 15th for the National Open cattle and the Nursery cattle finals. If entries are not accepted because a dog did not make it into the top 60 the entry fee will be returned.

The last day to qualify a dog for the Cattledog Finals (open and nursery)is July 31.

Two judges are to be used at the Cattledog Finals. No judge may be used for the Cattle or Sheep Dog finals that are on an AKC approved judging list.

The scores from the two (2) qualifying runs at the National Open Cattle Finals will be added to determine the dogs that compete in the final round. If there are 40 or more entries, 20 dogs will compete in the final round; if there are 39 or fewer entries, 15 dogs will compete in the final round. Final placements will be based on the final round alone without consideration for scores in the preliminary rounds. *Only two dogs per handler in the final round (short go) run, even if the handler has three qualified

Placing in the final round for dogs that have retired, or have been disqualified shall be determined by the Judge(s) immediately upon the conclusion of the trial.

Qualifying for the National Open Cattle Finals.

  1. Method of qualifying is described in Article XVI of the Bylaws.

  2. Open and Nursery classes must have 5 or more entries to be sanctioned.  The top placing 30% of all dogs competing in a sanctioned Cattle trial will acquire points based on the total number of dogs running in each trial. Dogs may accumulate points from their top five point placing trials in the qualifying year. After the cut off date, anyone may send their entry for the National Finals to the HA Secretary, who will accept the top 60 point earning dogs who enter, subject to Section 7 P. In the event of a tie, all dogs tied at the 60 dog level will be accepted. Points will be based on the following chart: 

(1) 30% of all dogs competing in a sanctioned Open and Nursery Cattle trial will acquire points based on the total number of dogs running in each trial. Dogs may accumulate points from their top five point placing trials in the qualifying year. After the cut off date, anyone may send their entry for the National Finals to the HA Secretary, who will *accept the top 50 point earning dogs who enter, subject to Section 7 P. In the *event of a tie, all dogs tied at the 50 dog level will be accepted. Points will be based on the following chart:

(2) Example ( 5 dogs would be 1 point for 1st and .5 for 2nd. Five nursery dogs would qualify 2 dogs and 5 Open dogs in a trial would have 2 placing.

Example, 30% qualifications

# of Dogs









5 dogs









6 dogs









7 dogs









8 dogs









9 dogs









10 dogs









11 dogs









12 dogs









13 dogs









14 dogs









15 dogs









16 dogs









17 dogs









18 dogs









19 dogs









20 dogs









21 dogs









22 dogs









23 dogs









24 dogs









  1. Points will be awarded to dogs according to their placing in the go around that included all the dogs entered. Points will be awarded to all dogs allowed to run regardless of trial rules on the number of dogs that may place at the trial.

  2. Trial Hosts should supply the HA Secretary with the following information.
    1. Number of dogs that ran in the Open and Nursery classes.

    2. Actual placing of dogs in go around that included all entered dogs.

    3. Information should include the placing of the top 30% of all dogs competing even if they are not eligible for placing in the trial.

Election of Judges for the Cattledog Finals. At least 8 months prior to the Cattledog Finals, the HA Secretary shall send forms to all USBCHA and ABCA directors on which they can nominate judges for the Finals, and shall post a notice on the HA website inviting members to submit suggestions for judges to their directors.  Directors must contact and obtain the consent of persons they wish to nominate.  Seven months prior to the Finals, the Secretary shall mail ballots to all USBCHA and ABCA directors, on which the names of all the nominees submitted by the directors are listed.  Each director shall vote for as many nominees as he or she chooses.  Directors shall indicate their preferences by writing next to the name of their first choice a number equal to the total number of nominees, writing next to their second choice the next-lowest number, and so on until they have voted for all the nominees they wish to vote for.  (For example, if there are a total of 8 nominees, directors will write the number 8 next to their first choice, 7 next to their second choice, 6 next to their third choice, and so on.)   Ballots shall be returned to the Secretary at least 6 months prior to the Finals, and the Secretary shall total the numbers assigned to each nominee by all the directors and, after confirming his willingness to serve, shall notify the directors of the nominee (or nominees, if more than one judge is required for the Finals) receiving the highest total, who shall be deemed elected.  If for any reason an elected judge cannot serve, the nominee receiving the next highest number of points shall be substituted

Any trial, if designed to exclude specific people or regions, is not eligible for USBCHA points. Or, conversely, any trial that is designed to INCLUDE only a specific set of people or a specific region cannot be awarded USBCHA points

Eligibility to run in the USBCHA Open and Nursery Cattledog Finals is limited to citizens of the United States and/or Canada, and to non-citizens who have been physically present in the United States and/or Canada for a least nine months of the qualifying year for the Finals they seek to enter, and who have not run in the National Sheepdog or Cattledog trial of any other country during the same calendar year as the Finals they seek to enter. 

At the National Finals there will always be water available on the field so the dogs can cool themselves and that handlers are allowed to direct their dogs to the water and the dogs may use the water with no points penalty. Handlers may not leave the post to go to the water with their dog. If the handler is on the way to or in the shedding ring or on the way to the pen they may detour to the water. The clock will not be stopped. Handler and dog are still being judged on the actions of the stock and anything that the stock do may cause a loss of points or if the stock leave the trial area disqualification. The HA recommends that all HA sanctioned trials adopt this rule.

Any judge that feels that a dog is not capable of continuing with his run because he is showing signs of stress should disqualify that dog and handler. This would include over heating, lameness or demonstrated inability to do the work required.


  1. The course shall consist of an outrun and  lift (being judged), fetch, a drive, and finish with a pen and/or other obstacle(s) as the Cattledog Committee, the Judge and the trial Management determines to be appropriate after considering the terrain, the disposition of the cattle, and the trial facilities.


    1. The drive shall begin immediately following the end of the fetch.

    2. There shall be a drive away to the first drive obstacle(s), a cross drive to the second drive obstacle(s), and a fetch to the handler/pen area. There will be five (5) points awarded for each head of cattle that successfully negotiates each obstacle for a possible maximum of fifteen (15) points per obstacle. See SCORING 4.c., below.


    1. As stated above, trial management, the Judge, and the cattledog committee shall appraise the course, the cattle and the trial facilities and make a determination as to what type of obstacle(s), if any, should be added to/or instead of, a pen.

    2. All cattle must be in or through obstacle(s) for the dog to earn the fifteen (15) points awarded at completion of obstacle(s).

    1. The outrun will be judged (20 pts.) the lift will be judged (10 pts).

    2. Five (5) points will be awarded for each head of cattle that successfully negotiates the gather obstacle(s).

    3. There are fifteen points to be awarded at each of the two drive obstacles, five (5) points for each head of cattle that goes through the obstacles successfully.  Once the cattle have gone through or around the drive obstacles, the handler must proceed on to the next obstacle(s).

    4. The handler is not restricted in number of attempts at the last obstacle(s), but all cattle must be in or through in order to get awarded the fifteen (15) points for the obstacle(s).


    1. Points and total time shall be used to break ties when the dogs involved have finished within the allotted time.

    2. Breaking Ties Per USBCHA BOD Minutes 1-18-12

      1. If total points are tied, then the tie shall be broken by the lowest total time.
      2. If total points and total time are tied, then the tie shall be broken by using the highest combined outrun and lift points.
      3. If the placing is still tied after using procedures A. (1) and A. (2) then the tie shall be broken by using the designated time line



    In any Handler Association sanctioned trial, a handler who touches the stock in order to move them shall be  disqualified or penalized by loss of points as the judge thinks


    1. In considering "Command" on the outrun ad lift, the handler who gives the fewest commands and who works his dog quietly shall be preferred to the handler who over-commands and works his dog noisily, regard being given to the circumstances.

    2. Style may be otherwise defined as a dog's attitude to his work and his method of doing it on the outrun and lift.



    1. A handler who prods, or hits the cattle in order to move them may be disqualified in any section of the course or be penalized point wise in Phase One (1) and Two (2) of the Gather.

    2. A dog may be disqualified in any phase of work for excessive harassment of the cattle, i.e., excessive gripping, excessive running of the cattle, etc. If the judge disqualifies the dog he will instruct the Course Director to notify the competitor immediately.

    3. A competitor so disqualified will not be entitled to a prize of any kind, notwithstanding that before the disqualification he had earned points entitling him to a prize.

    4. A competitor whose dog damages the cattle will be liable to pay for the damage.

    5. The judge may stop a competitor at any point of the trial or withhold any prizes on the ground of insufficient merit.


    1. Qualifying trials may be timed trials, partially timed trials, point and timed trials, fully and partially judged trials, arena trials or field trials.

    2. To receive sanctioning as a qualifying trial, the Open class must have a minimum of five dogs competing and the Nursery class must have a minimum of five dogs competing.


    1. Entry fee for the National Cattledog Finals will be $250 per dog in Open and $250 per dog in Nursery.

    2. There will be a two dogs per handler limit in both the Open and Nursery classes.

    3. If there are less than eleven (11) entries in the Nursery finals the scores of the two (2) go-rounds will be     combined to determine the winner.


    The cattledog trials sanctioned by the USBCHA vary in style and format across the nation. Unlike sheepdog trials, which were modeled directly after trials in Britain, no such model or “Rules for Trials” or “Notes for the Guidance of Judges” (as developed by the ISDS) exist in relation to cattledogs.

    Therefore, these initial Guidelines, which at this writing deal solely with the first two phases of the gather, have been generated via a collaborative effort of a number of cattledog handlers and judges.They are meant to represent a basic foundation on which to build while serving as a ready reference for both judges and competitors alike.

    These Guidelines are subject, at all times, to the judges’ consideration and interpretation of relevant trial circumstances and should not be interpreted as “rules” that must be strictly applied

    1. GENERAL
    2. The object of a Trial Course is to test and challenge the ability of a dog to manage cattle properly under the differing circumstances that may be encountered in everyday ranch work across the nation. The guiding philosophy behind judging a run should, at all times, be related as closely as possible to the practical aspects of real ranch work.

    4. The Gather shall consist of three phases. Phases One and Two will be worth a total of thirty (30) points as outlined in Items 3.A. and 3.B. and will be judged.; Phase Three will not be judged, and therefore not a subject of these Guidelines at this time

      1. >Phase One - worth a total of twenty (20) points.

        1. The set out crew shall keep the cattle settled as near to the established set-out area as  reasonably possible until such a time the dog makes contact and/or causes movement of the cattle.

        2. Difficulty in settling/holding cattle at the established set-out area should be considered a relevant trial condition and judged accordingly.

        3. A dog that works Phase One in the most quiet, calm and efficient manner possible, in consideration of the draw (cattle), shall retain more points than a dog who does not.

        4. Suggested Point Deductions:


        Fault Description

        Point Deduction

        1.  Dog runs too square at the beginning and/or too wide   as to be out of contact with the cattle


        2.   Dog is recalled for a resend


        3.   Dog takes a redirect while in motion


        4.   Dog stops, or is stopped by the handler, and takes a redirect


        5.   Dog stops, or is stopped by the handler, and fails to take a redirect


        6.   Dog crosses over, without disturbing cattle


        7.   Dog crosses over, disturbing the cattle


        8.   Dog demonstrates lack of enthusiasm, interest, and focus and/or is sticky


        9.   Dog stops short or overruns, adversely affecting the direction of travel of cattle, but then recovers without a redirect


        10.  Dog stops short or overruns, adversely affecting the direction of travel of cattle, requiring a redirect


        11.  Dog detours to holding pens (or elsewhere) requiring minimal commands to get back on task


        12.  Dog detours to holding pens (or elsewhere) requiring excessive commands to get back on task


        13.  Dog goes off course


      2. Phase Two – worth a total of ten (10) points.

        1. A dog that works Phase Two in the most quiet, calm and efficient manner possible, in consideration of the draw (cattle), shall retain more points than a dog who does not.

        2. A dog that makes confident contact with the cattle absent weakness, keeping the cattle grouped and moving, shall retain more points than a dog who does not

        3. Suggested Point Deductions:

        Fault Description

        Point Deduction

        1.   Dog makes weak contact with cattle


        2.   Dog requires excessive commands


        3.   Dog works in an unnecessarily rough or overly aggressive manner


        4.   Dog deliberately drives cattle away from the handler



        1. Qualifying trials will be the same as for the open cattle.

        2. Age requirement:

          1. To qualify for the Cattledog Nursery Finals, the dog may not have turned 4 before December 31 of the year of the Finals. (For example, to compete in the 2016 Cattledog Nursery Finals, the dog may not have turned anytime before December 31, 2016.)

          2. Imported dogs are eligible for the nursery, only if imported before they reach one (1) year of age.

        3. The handler of the dog must be a current paid member of the USBCHA before he competes, for the dog to receive qualifying points. A dog can qualify by competing against a nonmember's dog as long as all dogs competing comply with the USBCHA rules.

        4. The dog receives qualification, not the owner or handler.

        5. In the National Nursery Cattle Finals the scores of the top five (5) dogs from each USBCHA district will be combined to determine the District Team Championship.

        6. No Nursery dog may compete in nursery trials after the April 30 deadline if that dog is not eligible to compete in next years Nursery program.

        7. There will be a two dogs per handler limit in the Nursery Cattle Finals.

        8. The USBCHA Secretary shall mail every paid member a listing of all sanctioned Nursery trials for the upcoming quarter by the first of each quarter.

        9. If there are less than eleven (11) entries in Nursery Finals the scores for both go-rounds will be combined to determine the winner.

        10. For sanctioning Nursery trials, see Section 2, B

        11. The USBHCA Secretary must receive a trial result form upon completion of a sanctioned trial. The result form must be accompanied by a sanctioning fee of four (4) dollars for every dog in the class.

        12. The Nursery Finals will be held in conjunction with the Open Cattledog Finals.

        13. A nursery dog may qualify for the Finals in any of the following:

          1. The top placing twenty percent (20%) (rounded to the nearest whole number) of dogs competing in a sanctioned nursery class of five (5) dogs or more will qualify for the nationals.

          2. In a class within a class (open and nursery) where at least five nursery aged dogs are competing. A sanctioning fee of four (4) dollars per dog in each class must accompany the results form.

          3. If a nursery dog is competing in an Open class where there are at least ten dogs competing and places in the top 20% of the class, he is qualified. 





          1. As a condition of membership, all member-participants in HA sanctioned trials or HA approved special events, affected in any manner whatsoever by a decision of the BOD or any person or committee authorized by the BOD to handle disciplinary matters, hereby releases the HA, their affiliated, related, or subsidiary companies, their officers, directors, and employees, any and all committee members jointly and severally, individually and in the official capacity, of and from any and all claims, demands, damages, and causes of action whatsoever, in law or equity, rising out of or in connection with any individual committees to whom disciplinary matters may be authorized by the BOD or by a Hearing Committee.

          2. If any member institutes litigation in which the HA is included as a defendant, in an effort to recover damages, to overturn enforcement or interpretation of the Bylaws or Rules, or for any other reason whatsoever, and does not prevail in said litigation by the recovery of all relief requested, that member shall be liable to the HA for its attorney fees, costs of court, and other expenses incurred in connection with such litigation. Venue for any litigation which the HA is included as a defendant shall be determined by the BOD.


          1. By virtue of their entry in any event in which one or more trials have been sanctioned by the USBCHA, the competitor acknowledges and agrees to comply with the HA rules and regulations, to accept any sanction or penalties that may be imposed in accordance with this Part IV for failure to comply, even if the competitor is not a USBCHA member or is not competing in a class or trial sanctioned by the USBCHA. The trial host and judge share in the responsibility for maintaining the USBCHA standards of conduct.

          2. Participants in USBCHA sanctioned events are expected to show a positive, respectful attitude for everyone involved. Disrespect for the judge, trial officials, and other handlers undermines the sport. The USBCHA will not tolerate conduct that is detrimental to the association, the competition, the dogs, or any participant in the trial. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to: harassment or belittling of the judge or trial officials, physical violence or the threat of physical violence toward anyone at any time at the site of the trial or at any event associated with the trial, and verbal abuse directed toward anyone at any time at the site of the trial or at any event associated with the trial.

          3. Members or participants in USBCHA sanctioned events may be sanctioned for a violation of any USBCHA Bylaw or Rule. Specific rules and sanctions are set forth in Section E of this Part IV but nothing in Section E is meant to limit the authority of the BOD to find a violation and impose discipline for a violation of any other rule of the USBCHA.

          4. Nothing in these rules prohibits a Judge or trial host from taking immediate action for observed misconduct. Similarly, a grievance may be filed and action taken by the BOD even if the Judge and/or trial host took no immediate action for observed misconduct. For example, the Judge or trial official may or may not immediately disqualify the handler for improper training, abuse or other rule violations. Whether or not a member was disqualified at the time, a subsequent complaint may be filed and sanctions may still be imposed by the Board.

          5. Definitions:

            1. Protest: A protest is a complaint against any trial official or Judge, alleging the erroneous application of the rules during the course of a HA sanctioned trial or the incorrect award of any prize. Protests based on what are generally considered a judgment call by a Judge will not be considered. A protest may only be made by USBCHA members who were in good standing at the time of the alleged rule violation.

            2. Complaint: A complaint is a formal concern regarding any violation of any USBCHA Bylaw or Rule. A member, non-member, or judge may file a complaint for any alleged rule violation, but the complainant must have first-hand knowledge of the conduct alleged.

            3. Grievance: A grievance is the collective term used in these rules to refer to either a protest or complaint.

            4. Complainant: The complainant is the individual(s) who files either a protest or complaint.

            5. Respondent: The respondent is the member against whom a protest of complaint is lodged.

            6. Conflict of Interest: Any person who files a grievance or is the subject of a grievance to the alleged conduct is considered an interested party and may not participate in the investigation (other than as a witness) or in the decision-making by either the committee or the BOD. If a member of the BOD is an interested party, they shall recuse themselves from all deliberation and shall not be included in any communications concerning the grievance. The President or the Grievance Committee may raise and rule on any other conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest that may exist.

            7. HA: refers to the "Handlers' Association" and both terms are short for USBCHA (United States Border Collie Handlers' Association.

            8. BOD or "Board": USBCHA Board of Directors.

            9. Committee: The USBCHA Disciplinary or Grievance Committee as appointed by the President.


          1. Any person desiring to file a grievance (protest or complaint) regarding any alleged violation of these rules may do so by submitting the grievance in writing to the HA President either directly or through HA Secretary's office. The requirements of this paragraph must be met for a grievance to be considered. Failure to meet the requirements will result in dismissal of the protest or complaint.

            1. A grievance may consist of either a letter or email directed to the President or Secretary of the HA dated within 14 days of the alleged violation or the closing of the trial involved, whichever is later. Protests or complaints not filed within 14 days will be dismissed and no extensions shall be granted.

            2. The grievance must state the name of the complainant, contact information (including email), name of individual(s) involved and their contact information, the date and time, and location of the conduct in question, any witnesses and their contact information, and a detailed factual description of the incident. If there are no known witnesses other than the parties, the complainant must so state in the complaint/protest.

            3. A fifty-dollar ($50.00) check. If the protest or complaint is sent by email, the check must be postmarked and sent to the Secretary within 5 days of the email or letter sent pursuant to subsection (a) of this paragraph. Failure to meet this deadline will result in dismissal.

          2. Upon receipt of a grievance, the President shall notify the respondent(s) in writing (email or mail) of the grievance against them and shall provide the respondent with a copy of the materials submitted by the Complainant. Respondent shall have 10 days to submit a written response to the President. The response should be sent by mail or email to the President or as otherwise directed by the President and should comply with paragraph 1(b) of this Section.

          3. Time limits stated in days exclude the day of the event that triggers the time period and includes every day (weekends and holidays), ending on the last day of the period. (For example, 10 days commences the day following the event or end of trial as specified and ends on the 10th day.)

          4. Every notice required by these rules may be served by delivering a copy of the notice to the person to be served, or the person's attorney, either in person or by email, or first-class mail to the address set forth in the grievance or, if none, to the last known address as it appears on the HA records. Such notice shall be deemed received by such person when it is deposited in the United States mail or sent electronically.

          5. Videos may NOT be used in review of runs when a grievance is filed. This does not limit the use of videos in the review of other conduct or activity that is the subject of a grievance.


          1. Unless otherwise specifically provided in these rules, all grievances will be handled according to the procedures set forth in this Section C. Unless otherwise specifically stated in a particular subsection, the process for handling both protests and complaints shall be the same.

          2. The President shall refer a properly filed grievance to the HA Grievance Committee. The President has the authority to appoint additional members to the committee from the HA membership or BOD. Committee members must be members of the HA in good standing.

          3. The Grievance Committee shall initiate review of the protest or complaint within 14 days of receipt of the grievance from the President. The committee shall promptly notify the parties that they may be heard, in person or by counsel, and may present evidence in their own behalf and refute evidence offered against them. This may be done through the course of the investigation as outlined in paragraph 5, and it is acceptable for the committee or its investigators to meet with the parties by means of a telephone conference call, followed by a written report or recorded statement.

          4. The Grievance Committee may delegate two or more members to be the primary investigators of any grievance. The committee shall develop and follow a protocol for the review of all grievances. Such protocol must include the following:

            1. A telephone call to the complainant(s) to obtain additional information about the grievance. The designated primary investigators shall make notes of the call to share with the rest of the committee.

            2. A telephone call to the respondent(s) to obtain additional information about the response to the grievance. The designated primary investigators shall make notes of the call to share with the rest of the committee.

            3. The Committee shall ask the parties for witnesses to the alleged conduct. All necessary witnesses will be contacted and asked to provide either written statement of their observations of the incident or shall be interviewed by the investigator(s).

            4. All interviews, whether in person or telephonic shall be conducted by at least two members of the Committee.

          5. The assigned investigators shall prepare a brief written report to submit to the Committee for its initial determination. The Committee shall meet (electronically or telephonically) to discuss the preliminary findings, modify the report and recommend a decision to the BOD. If the Committee has not assigned investigators to the grievance, the Committee chair or designee will prepare the preliminary report.

          6. The committee shall complete the investigation within 30 days of initiation of the investigation. The committee may request an extension of time from the President upon a showing of good reason for additional time.

          7. Details of all grievances under these rules and the decision reached by the committee shall be reported to the complete BOD in the form of a Report and Recommended Decision for review and action by the BOD, along with copies of all notes containing the statements of respondent, complainant, and all witnesses. A majority decision of the committee is required to forward the Recommended Decision to the BOD.


          1. The BOD shall make a decision on the committee's report within 14 days of receipt. The President will grant an extension of time if the BOD requires further investigation of the grievance or if the President determines that there is good reason to grant additional time for the BOD's review. If the BOD fails to act with the time provided, the committee's Report and Recommendation shall become the final action of the BOD.

          2. The BOD may adopt the committee's report in whole or in part as its final action, refer it back to the committee for further investigation or take any other action consistent with the rules.

          3. The BOD may request that the complainant and respondent "appear" by telephone before the Board.

          4. Ten (10) members of the BOD shall constitute a quorum for the purposes of disciplinary action.

          5. The decision of the BOD shall be final and binding on all parties.

          6. The Board's decision on any grievance shall be recorded and filed with the committee's report and the Secretary shall maintain a log of all discipline. The Board is expected to review this log and use it as it endeavors to be consistent in discipline and to insure that the sanction imposed is proportionate to the offense.

          7. Deposit refunds:

            1. If the committee determines, after investigation, that there are grounds for possible disciplinary action the $50.00 will be returned to the complainant.

            2. If the Hearing Committee determines, after investigation, that no further action is warranted, the complainant will be notified and no further action will be taken. In this case the $50.00 will not be returned to complainant.


          1. Fines and Suspension:

            1. Any member or non-member may be disciplined, placed on probation, fined, or suspended from all HA privileges whenever it shall have been established by a preponderance of the evidence that such member, or nonmember, has been found to have violated the stated rule or rules. Except as may be specifically provided in these Rules, a fine shall not exceed $500 and a suspension shall not exceed 1 year.

            2. When the rule in question contains a specific punishment provision, any disciplinary action recommended by the committee must be consistent with that provision. Upon finding good reason to do so, the committee may recommend and the Board may impose a punishment different from the one specifically provided in the Rule.

            3. If no specific penalty is provided in the subsections below, the committee may recommend a penalty and the BOD may impose a penalty that is proportionate to the offense.

            4. The BOD may also require any member to whom a prize has been paid or delivered to return the same. The member shall be bound to do so within the time fixed by the BOD.

          2. Misconduct: The following provisions regarding misconduct at or in conjunction with a HA sanctioned trial, while not all-inclusive, are to be considered as violations of these rules.

            1. Attempting to fix, bribe, influence, intimidate or argue with the judge, trial secretary, timekeeper, course director, or any other trial official may result in disqualification at that trial, will result in a minimum fine of $100, and/or a minimum of thirty (30) day suspension. This provision does not preclude a participant from properly contacting the course director or other trial official to clarify a rule or the accuracy of a score sheet. (Ex. A handler may ask the course director to have the score rechecked for a mathematical error). When reviewing grievances against judges and against handlers who talk about scores and judging, the Disciplinary Committee and BOD should distinguish normal comment and criticism from intimidation and harassment. Review of such grievances should also take into account whether the conduct in question was distracting to the judge, trial officials or other handlers.

            2. A judge shall not intimidate, or attempt to intimidate, a contestant. The penalty for violating this subsection will be a minimum fine of $100, and/or a minimum of thirty (30) day suspension from the Association.

            3. Consuming or bringing alcoholic beverages into the judge's stand while a HA sanctioned trial is taking place.

            4. Altering or attempting to alter the draw will result in disqualification at that trial and a fine of $25-$250. This rule does not preclude a trial official from accommodating handlers as necessary for the conduct of the trial or for unforeseen circumstances.

            5. Tampering with competition livestock will result in disqualification for the remainder of that trial and will be subject to a fine of $25-$250.

            6. Unsportsmanlike conduct. The severity of the unsportsmanlike act will determine the severity of the resulting disciplinary action.

            7. Fighting on the trial site - immediate expulsion from the trial. The BOD may impose further sanctions.

            8. Threatening or actually inflicting bodily harm or injury to another person based upon that person's actions, conduct, or decisions in any official capacity for the HA or for any HA approved or sponsored event shall call for suspension for one (1) year.

            9. Using abusive language on the trial field.

            10. Attempting to aid or distract another competitor while they are competing may result in immediate disqualification in that trial, suspension, or fine as the committee may decide.

            11. Behaving in a manner discrediting to the HA.

            12. Participating in training activities while on the trial grounds other than in designated areas is prohibited.

            13. Inhumane treatment of dog or stock on the trial field or grounds.

            14. If trial management discovers inhumane treatment to dog or livestock, they may bar the responsible party from further participation in the trial. The decision as to inhumane treatment of animals may be based on the consultation with a veterinarian. If trial management determines, in its sole discretion, that the welfare of the animal requires immediate action and a veterinarian is not available, trial management may take any action that they deem appropriate to ensure the safety and well being of the animal(s). If trial management deems on field behavior to be inhumane treatment during a competition, trial management may consult with the judge of the trial before taking any action allowed by this Section. If any action is taken, within 10 days of the completion of the trial, the trial officials shall notify the President or Secretary of the HA of the details of the occurrence and the matter shall be referred to the Grievance Committee to consider disciplinary action against the responsible party. Notification of the conduct and action taken shall constitute a complaint under this Section.

          3. Warnings: The following provisions identify conduct that should be avoided. While not generally subject to discipline, the following items (and others as determined by the Board) may warrant a warning and, if the circumstances are egregious or interfere with the judge or a handler, may be subject to discipline at the discretion of the BOD.

            1. Talking with the judges about any trial related matter throughout the duration of the trial or discussing with the judge any ideas or methods of judging or handling except at approved handlers' meetings. This provision does not apply to a judge's clerk/scribe or to anyone that the judge is willing to mentor as a potential judge.

            2. Making comments within a judge's hearing regarding any work taking place on the field.

            3. Creating excessive delays.

            4. Failure to exercise diligence in the control of the behavior of a dog.

            5. Any other conduct that is inconsistent with the rules and principles of the HA and which the Committee determines does not rise to the level of requiring discipline in the nature of a fine or suspension.

          4. Failure to make payments due:

            1. Trial organizers, or producers may be suspended for any of the aforementioned offenses and, in addition, any of the following offenses:

              1. Failure to make payment due

              2. Failure to pay added money as advertised.

              3. Leaving bad debts in any town connected with the production of a USBCHA sanctioned trial.

              4. Failure to pay sanctioning fee.

            2. Any member or non-member may be fined, placed on probation, or suspended, from all HA privileges for failure to pay any obligation owing to the HA or for giving a worthless check for entry fees, office charges, stock charges, premiums, or any other fees or charges connected with the exhibition of herding dogs, provided however, that this person (member or non-member) shall be given twenty one (21) days written notice of the amount due and the intention of the HA to fine, place on probation or suspend. Any suspension under this rule shall terminate upon full payment of the obligation due the HA.

            3. Any member or non-member passing a bad check or checks at a HA sanctioned trial or event which would effect the image or benefit of the local trial management will be fined $25 for each such check and must make check good for first offense; second offence, member shall be fined $100; third offense, member will be suspended and must appear before the Disciplinary Committee for reinstatement AFTER restitution of check or checks has been made and payment of a fine of $100.

          5. Penalty enhancement: The BOD may enhance the stated sanction set forth in these rules by increasing the suspension and/or penalty for repeat offenders of HA rules and regulations to a maximum of indefinite suspension of membership privileges and/or fine up to $1,000.

          6. Effect of Membership Suspension: During a BOD imposed suspension, the suspended party shall be ineligible to participate in any HA sanctioned event, shall be ineligible to judge a HA sanctioned event, and may not host a HA sanctioned trial. Suspension does not preclude the suspended party from entering a HA sanctioned trial that is scheduled after the termination of suspension. During the period of a suspension, failure to comply with these restrictions and any other express conditions or restrictions of any disciplinary action may constitute grounds for further disciplinary action.

          7. Publication: When the BOD has ruled on a complaint and disciplinary action has been taken against a member, or non-member, the person's name, the rule violated, and the disciplinary action taken shall be published on the USBCHA website. Suspensions will remain published through the expiration of the suspension. Fines and warnings shall be published for a period of one month from publication date.


          1. The President may call a special meeting of the BOD at any time or place or by telephone conference call where at least seven (7) directors are present to consider emergencies such as alleged rule violations of such magnitude as to appear to be detrimental to the best interests of the HA or to its practices, policies and/or objectives. A vote of at least five (5) Directors shall be binding for motions passed during any such special BOD meeting.

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