To return to top of page use your browser's back button

USBCHA Articles and Rules for Cattledog Trials



Article I     Name & Place
Article II   Objectives
Article III   Income & Property
Article IV  Types of Membership
Article V   Directors
Article VI   President
Article VII  Vice President
Article VIII  Secretary-Treasurer
Article IX   Audit Report
Article X   Authority to Sign Checks
Article XI   Directors Meetings
Article XII  Annual Meetings
Article XIII  Termination of Membership
Article XIV  Amendment of By-Laws
Article XV   Proxy voting


SECTION 1: Membership 
SECTION 2: Sanctioning of Trials
SECTION 3: Protest Process
SECTION 4: Disciplinary Procedures
SECTION 5: Determination of Competency to Judge
SECTION 6: Instruction to Judges


Cattledog Rules

Click here for
Sheepdog Rules

Rules -Continued

SECTION 7: Contestants
SECTION 8: Course Director
SECTION 9: Time Keepers
SECTION 10: Litigation
SECTION 11: Amending Rules
SECTION 12: National Finals Secretary
SECTION 13: Entries
SECTION 14: Running Order
SECTION 15: Humane Rules
SECTION 16: Ties
SECTION 17: Re-runs
SECTION 18: Awards
SECTION 19: Scores
SECTION 20: Dress Code
SECTION 21: USBCHA Open & Nursery Cattledog Finals 
SECTION 22. General Course for Cattledog National Finals 
SECTION 23: Touching Stock
SECTION 24: Commands and Style
SECTION 25: Disqualification
SECTION 26: Qualifying Trials
SECTION 27: Entry Fee & Number
SECTION 28: Cattledog Judging Guidelines 
Nursery Cattledog Rules


The name of this association shall be the United States Border Collie Handler’s Association, Inc., hereinafter called the Association.

The principle place of business shall be 2915 Anderson Lane, Crawford, TX 76638, but its members or officers may be residents of any state, territory or country, and business may be carried on at any place convenient to such members or officials as may be participating.


The objectives of this Corporation shall be to collect and preserve the history of the Border Collie dog, to promote the breed through obtaining, maintaining and disseminating information pertaining to their breeding and training as working dogs; to promote dog trials, exhibitions, publicity for the breed, and to work specifically for the improvement and preservation of Border Collies as working dogs.


The income and property of this Association shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objectives of the Association directly or indirectly, as a dividend, bonus or as a profit to the members of the Association. However, nothing shall prevent the proper sum being paid to any official, servant or member of the Association in return for services actually rendered to the Association; or the presentation by the Association to any member any prize or prize money earned by the member in any trial or other competitive event duly promoted and held by the Association in accordance with its objectives; or the presentation to any person or organization, by payment or award, for special services rendered to the Association.


Members of the Association shall be admitted, retained and expelled in accordance with such rules and regulations as the Board of Directors may, from time to time adopt. Membership shall be of three categories:

1. GENERAL MEMBERS: Shall consist of those persons who have run a dog in any trial, (i.e. Novice, Pro-Novice or Open) sanctioned by this Association within two (2) years. Any person holding a general membership shall have the right to vote at all meetings of members regularly called, either in person or by proxy, provided such member has paid to the Association the set amount of the annual dues in the amount of twenty five dollars ($25.00) for General Membership preceding the Annual Meeting.

2. LIFE MEMBERS: Shall consist of those persons who qualify for General Membership, and in addition thereto, pay a one time fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) and no annual fee thereafter shall be required. Life members shall have the right to vote at all meetings of members regularly called, either in person or by proxy.

3. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS: Shall consist of those persons who are interested in being members of the Corporation and receiving information disseminated by it. Said members shall pay an annual associate member fee in the amount of twenty five dollars ($25.00). Associate Members shall have no right to vote on any matter.

All fees required by the Association shall be payable in United States funds.


The Board of Directors of the Association shall consist of twenty-three (23) Directors. Each of the ten (10) Districts to be represented by two (2) Directors. Each Director elected shall be domiciled within the district he or she represents by actual residence therein. The remaining three (3) Directors shall be elected from the membership at large without any restrictions as to that person residing within any particular district. To be eligible for election to and serve on the Board, an individual must be a member in good standing of the Association as a General or Life member.

The term of office for each District Director is two years. Terms are staggered so that one (1) Director term from each district expires at the end of each year. There are three Directors At Large. One (1) Director at large term expires at the end of each alternating third year.

The eight (8) districts of the United States for determining Directors shall be as follows:
1 - Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii
2 - Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota
3 - Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas
4 - Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
5 - Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana
6 - Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia
7 - New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine,
8 - Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia

The two (2) districts of Canada for determining Directors shall be as follows:
9 - Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Quebec
10 - British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan

The Board of Directors shall select from the membership, the President, Vice President and a Secretary-Treasurer to serve for a period of two (2) years.


The election of Directors shall be conducted by mail ballot. No later than 100 days before each Annual Meeting, the Secretary-Treasurer shall mail nominating forms to all members in good standing, soliciting nominations to fill all directorships which are due to expire at the end of that year, and stating that nominations must be received in the HA Office on a date at least sixty (60) days prior to the Annual Meeting. No later than forty-five (45) days before each Annual Meeting, the Secretary-Treasurer shall mail to each member in good standing a ballot listing all of the nominees for each position for which that member is eligible to vote, in alphabetical order. So that the ballots may remain secret, each voter shall place his or her marked ballot in a sealed, blank envelope, and place that blank envelope into an envelope addressed to the Secretary-Treasurer, with a legible return address and marked with the word "Ballot," and shall sign his or her name on the back of the outer envelope so membership can be verified. The Secretary-Treasurer, or her designee, shall check the returns against the list of members in good standing prior to opening the outer envelopes and removing the blank envelopes, and shall then pass the blank envelopes on to the tellers to be counted. The results of the voting shall be announced at the Annual Meeting. Ballots faxed to the HA Office on or before the voting deadline shall be deemed valid and counted, provided they are signed so that membership can be verified. There shall be no voting by proxy for Directors."


The President of the Association shall preside at all meetings of the Association and of the Board of Directors. He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and shall perform such other duties as usually pertain to this office.


The Vice-President shall perform all the duties of the President in the absence of the President.


The Secretary-Treasurer shall give due and proper notice of all meetings of the Association and the Board of Directors and shall record the proceedings of same. The Secretary-Treasurer shall have charge of the Association’s office, shall receive all monies and keep an accurate account thereof, and make such reports of the receipts and disbursements in such form and manner as the Association may direct.


An Audit will be conducted by a Certified Public Accountant to examine the financial records of the Association each year. The audit shall be conducted prior to the Annual Meeting of the membership and the Audit Report shall be given by the Treasurer at each Annual Meeting.


All checks drawn on the funds of the Association shall be signed in the name of the Association by the Secretary-Treasurer. If required by the Board of Directors, the Secretary-Treasurer shall give a surety bond at the expense of the Association.


PLACE AND NOTE OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS: Regular and Special Meetings of the Board of Directors may be held upon notice sent by any usual means of communication, not less than five (5) days before said meeting. The business to be transacted and the purpose of all special meetings of the Board of Directors shall be specified in the notice or waiver of notice of such special meeting. Notice of an adjourned meeting need not be given if the time and place are fixed at the meeting adjourning so long as the period of adjournment does not exceed ten (10) days in any one (1) adjournment.

Action taken by a majority of the Directors or members of a Committee without a meeting is nevertheless Board or Committee action if written consent to the action in question is signed by all the Directors or members of the Committee, as the case may be, and filed with the minutes of the proceedings of the Board or Committee, whether done before or after the action is taken.

If a meeting of Directors otherwise valid is held without proper call or notice, action taken at such meeting otherwise valid is deemed ratified by a Director who did not attend unless promptly after having knowledge of the action taken and of the impropriety in question, said Director files with the Secretary or Assistant Secretary of the Association that Directors written objection to the holding of meeting or to any specific action so taken.

Any one or more Directors or members of a Committee may participate in a meeting of the Board or Committee by means of a conference telephone or similar communications device which allows all persons participating in the meeting to hear each other and such participation in a meeting shall be deemed present in person at such meeting.

A Member of the Board of Directors may vote by proxy, by assigning his proxy to another Director to vote, or the Director may provide specific instruction to the holder of this proxy as to how his proxy shall be voted.


An annual meeting of the members shall be held for transaction of any business which may regularly come before the HA . Members shall be given at least fifteen (15) days notice of such meeting.


Membership in the USBCHA is a privilege, not a right. Membership may be terminated or rejected by the BOD for cause detrimental to the interest of the USBCHA, its trials, policies and/or objectives. Termination under this article shall be conducted under the HA Disciplinary Procedures for notice, hearing and temporary suspensions.


These By-Laws may be amended at any Annual Meeting provided, however, that notice of the intention to amend these by-laws and the substance of such amendment shall have been submitted to HA Office at least ninety (90) days prior to such meeting and mailed to each eligible member of the HA by mail at least 45 days prior to such meeting. The approval of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present and those voting by proxy shall be required for adoption of any amendment.


Any member in good standing wishing to vote on any specific matter relating to the Association may do so by mailing a proxy expressing his wishes, properly witnessed and signed, to the Secretary-Treasurer at least thirty (30) days before the Annual or Special Meeting of the Association. Proxies may be voted on only by members in good standing or by designated individuals indicated on the proxy statement.  This Article does not apply to the election of Directors, which must be conducted in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article V.

USBCHA Rules for Cattledog Trials

A. Dues are payable on January  lst. Any member who does not reinstate by January lst or any member who resigns by notifying the USBCHA (HA) Secretary of his intent in writing, will automatically become a member in arrears.

B. Members will receive the HA Newsletter.

C. Members will have the right to vote on matters brought before the membership.

D. Members in good standing may participate in the National Cattledog Finals and in the sheepdog Finals.

E. Members will receive a current copy of the rulebook.

F. Any Director may, at his discretion, collect membership dues. It will be the responsibility of the collector to forward Moines to the HA office immediately.

G. By the act of paying membership dues, members accept all rules contained herein and rules and/or policies hereafter adopted by the Board of Directors (BOD).

H. By the act of paying membership dues, or entry fees to HA sanctioned events participants waive all claims against the trial management, or HA, for injuries he or she, or their property may sustain in any HA sanctioned event.

I. The HA assumes no responsibility for injury or damage to the person, property or animals of any owner, contestant or assistant at a HA sanctioned event.

J. As a condition of membership, all member-participants in HA sanctioned trials or HA approved special events, effected 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, Hearing 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.

K. All members shall receive a copy of minutes of ALL meetings, including all BOD meetings / Conference Calls. This may be done by direct mail, e-mail, Facsimile or by publishing them.

L. Facsimile transactions and email communications are acceptable forms of communication provided such form of communication can be confirmed by a "hard copy". (I.e.- a printed copy of email or a return acknowledgment of received fax.)

M. All HA members are responsible for reading and knowing the prevailing rules of the HA as well as those provided by management of individual trials in which they participate. Failure to know these rules is not an acceptable excuse.

N. Any member or non-member placed on suspension shall not be permitted to compete in any trial during the period of his suspension or event sanctioned by the HA. Any event that allows such suspended individuals to enter the trial will not be sanctioned by the HA.

O. Members may file protest (see Section 3 for procedure).

P. For further rights, privileges and possible loss of privileges see Section 4: Discipline.

A. These rules and regulations apply only to HA sanctioned trials and approved events.

B. New trial hosts, as well as existing hosts, must apply for sanctioning to the HA Secretary at least sixty (30) days prior to the OPEN trial date. If the HA Secretary deems it necessary, an Approval Trial Committee will review the request and either approve or disapprove. Errors or omissions by the trial host may be waived by the Trial Approval Committee and their decision will be final. All trial information must be published prior to the trial in at least one Border Collie Magazine, or a local association newsletter, or a flyer to members in that district. Upon request, the HA may furnish address labels to the trial host for the district mailing.

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

D. The four (4) dollar 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 sanctioning committee if trial management fails to abide by this rule.

E. All sanctioned trials must conform to the rules and regulations of the HA. Since both members and non-members who are under suspension are not allowed to participate in any HA sanctioned trials as either the owner of a dog, or as a handler, allowing a suspended member to enter a trial means that the trial will automatically lose its sanctioning. All trials hosts requesting sanctioning will be kept notified of suspended members or non-members of the association.

F. The HA Secretary shall maintain a list of all sanctioned trials.

G. Judges sheets will not automatically be mailed to trial host. Trial host must request judging sheet from HA'S secretary.  Judging sheet may be found on web site home page. 

H.        (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 ineligible for sanctioning by the USBCHA.
            (2)Trials hosted or sponsored by, affiliated with, or benefiting any organization which 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 ineligible for sanctioning by the USBCHA.

I.   No eye exam is required for National Finals.

A. Protests under this section may be made by members in good standing only. One must be a member in good standing PRIOR to the occurrence of the alleged rule violation being protested.

B. Any member desiring to file a complaint regarding any alleged violation of these rules may do so by submitting the complaint to the HA President through the HA Secretary's office. Said letter shall be accompanied by a fifty (50) dollar cashier's check payable to the USBCHA. The complaint must be filed with the HA within fourteen (14) days of the closing date of the trial involved. Upon receipt of said letter, the complaint will be referred to the appropriate Hearing Committee for investigation and consideration. 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 fifty (50) dollar will not be returned to complainant. A majority decision of the Hearing Committee will be binding.

C. If the Hearing Committee determines, after investigation, that there are grounds for possible disciplinary action the fifty (50) dollars will be returned to the complainant. The HA President shall be notified and the matter will be scheduled for a hearing before the HA BOD.

D. Any member may lodge a protest signed by him/her against any contravention of any rule for trials, against any prize being awarded, delivered or paid, or protest a judge's decision upon submission in complaint stating alleged errors made by judge or judges. All conditions above must also be met. The Hearing Committee 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 Hearing Committee.

E. Details of all protests under these rules and the decisions reached by the Hearing Committee shall be reported to the complete BOD by the HA Secretary.

F.  No person shall make a derogatory remark, nor take, nor threaten to take, adverse action against a HA trial sponsor, its agents, volunteers or employees. Any person who violates this rule is subject to disciplinary action and is also responsible to the HA for any loss or damage caused by a violation of this rule.

G. A judge may present in writing, within seven (7) days of the occurrence, any grievance he/she may have against contestants or trial officials to the HA President or Director who will present the grievance to the HA. Procedures established in the Protest Process section will then be followed.

H.  If any trial official or HA Officer/Director witnesses a grievance against a judge, that individual must report it to the HA immediately.

I.  Video evidence may NOT be used in review of runs when a complaint if filed. 

A. Any member or non-member may be disciplined, placed on probation, fined (not to exceed five hundred (500) dollars), or suspended from all HA privileges (not to exceed one year) 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.

B. The HA President may appoint a special Hearing Committee to conduct any disciplinary hearing. The committee shall have a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of nine (9) members and a majority shall constitute a quorum for hearing purposes. Members of the committee must be HA members in good standing.

C. Five (5) members of the BOD shall constitute a quorum for the purposes of disciplinary action.

D. The decision of the BOD or Hearing Committee shall be final and binding on all parties.

E. When the rule in question contains a specific punishment provision, any disciplinary action taken by the Hearing Committee must be consistent with that provision.

F. When a fine or penalty is not contained in the rule pertaining to the complaint, the Hearing Committee or BOD shall assess same in accordance with the severity of the rule infraction.

G. When anyone shall be accused, by the BOD or by a Hearing Committee of any rule violation, the accused party shall be sent a letter by the HA outlining the alleged violation and given not less than fifteen (15) days notice of time and place for hearing such accusation, and at which time and place they shall have the opportunity, in person, or by council to be heard and to present evidence in their own behalf and to hear and refute evidence in their own behalf and hear and refute evidence offered against them. It is acceptable for the Committee and the accused to meet by means of a telephone conference call, which shall be followed by a written report or recorded statement.

H. Every notice required by these rules may be served by delivering a copy of the notice to the person to be served, or his attorney, either in person or by certified mail, postage prepaid, to his last known address as it appears on the HA records and upon mailing, such notice shall be deemed received by such person when it is deposited in the United States mail.

I. No continuance shall be granted unless requested in writing at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing, and good cause shown. A continuance shall be granted or denied at the sole discretion of the HA President or Chairman of the Hearing Committee.

J. When the BOD or a Hearing Committee 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 in the HA newsletter.

K. 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.

L. 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 (25) for each such check and must write a letter of apology and make check good for first offense; second offence, member will be suspended and fined one hundred (100) dollars; third offense, member will be suspended and must appear before the Hearing Committee for reinstatement AFTER restitution of check or checks has been made.

M. The following provisions regarding misconduct at, or in conjunction with, a HA approved event or a HA sanctioned trial, while not all inclusive, are to be considered as violations of these rules. If any of the following subsections do contain penalties, these rules should be followed. If there are no penalties spelled out in the subsections below, then a violation of these rules will call for a maximum five hundred (500) dollar fine and/or maximum one (1) year suspension.

1. Attempting to fix, bribe, influence or intimidate the judge, trial secretary, time keeper, course director, or any other trial official will result in disqualification at that trial, suspension and a minimum fine of one hundred (100) dollars.

2. 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.

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

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

5. Intimidating or attempting to intimidate or argue with a judge or a course director will result in a minimum fine of one hundred (100) dollars, and/or a minimum of thirty (30) day suspension.

6. Altering or attempting to alter the draw will result in disqualification at that trial, and a fine of not less than twenty-five (25) dollars nor more than two hundred and fifty (250) dollars.

7. Tampering with competition livestock will result in disqualification for the remainder of that trial and will be subject to a fine of twenty-five (25) to two hundred and fifty (250) dollars.

8. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

9. Fighting on the trial site.

10. 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.

11. Using abusive language on the trial field.

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

13. Behaving in a manner discrediting to the HA.

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

15. Inhumane treatment of dog or stock on the trial field or grounds is prohibited at HA sanctioned trials. 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 consult with the judge of the trial before taking any action allowed by this Section. (See Section 3, PROTESTS FOR FURTHER GUIDANCE).

16. The HA BOD shall be notified of the occurrence in (15) so a hearing to consider disciplinary action against the responsible party may be scheduled.

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

1. Failure to pay added money as advertised.

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

3. Failure to pay sanctioning fee.

O. A special meeting of the BOD may be called by the president at any time or place or by telephone conference call where at least fifteen (15) directors are present to consider emergencies such as serious 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 simple majority vote of at least fifteen (15) directors shall be binding for motions passed during any special BOD meeting.


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

A. Judges, judging the USBCHA/ABCA National Finals trial should read and follow "Instructions to Judges" listed within the body of the USBCHA Rule Book.

B Every Judge accepting an invitation to act at any of the Associations sponsored trials will be held, by his acceptance, to have given an undertaking that he will judge strictly according to the rules laid down by the Association and that he will not favor any dog, man or country.

C. A judge shall conduct himself in a manner fitting and proper to one afforded the honor of officiating at any Association approved or sponsored trial. Any misconduct on the part of the judge at any Association 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 his position, either on the grounds or elsewhere during the entire trial, will make the judge subject to disciplinary action.

D. Judges of the National Cattledog Finals are encouraged to read and follow the USBCHA rules..

E. Under no circumstances will a published judge be permitted to enter the trial for which said judge was approved.

F. A judge shall not discuss with any contestant previous scores, events, or related happenings during a trial.

G. A judge shall not intimidate, or attempt to intimidate, a contestant. The penalty for violating this subsection will be a minimum of six (6) months suspension from the Association.

H. Each Judge's points for each competitor shall be recorded by the secretary on score sheets supplied to them, which shall be aggregated by the secretary and double checked by a secretarial assistant.

I. Judges should review each score sheet at the completion of the run to insure accurate point deductions.

J. 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.

K. See Section 3-G.

L If any trial official or HA Officer/Director witnesses a grievance against a judge, that individual must report it to the HA immediately.

A. 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 while the order of the runs will be strictly followed, unless changes are authorized by the trial committee, the exact timing can not be guaranteed.

B. Any contestant wishing to have the course explained or have any other point clarified must question the Course Director before he starts his run. Contestants can not ask questions once their run is started.

C. By commencing the run, contestants are presumed to understand the course and are expected to follow it.

D. Once contestants start their runs, they are entirely in the hands of the judge. By deviating from the course they are liable for disqualification or point loss as the judge considers suitable having regard for all the circumstances.

E. Any contestant, who receives assistance of any kind while running his dog, may be disqualified. If the contestant is disqualified he shall earn no points. If a contestant is called for expiration of time limit, points earned to that time will count.

F. After being called off, a contestant will cease working his dog and will collect the livestock and remove them from the trial field.

G. Any contestant who retires or leaves the field, without the judge's permission, will forfeit all points.

H. Any contestant who intentionally harasses the stock after his 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.

I. 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.

J. 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.

K. Any contestant so denied access may request that the regional (district) Directors determine if 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 regional directors, they may appeal to the BOD, which the Appeal Board may or may not hear at their discretion.

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

M. A contestant shall not at any time withdraw from any trial he 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.

N. If contestant refuses to compete in the finals (except for above mentioned reasons), any money/prizes won will be forfeited. In the event money/prizes have been distributed before the finals, it must be refunded/returned within fifteen (15) days after the refund request is made, or the contestant will be suspended until the money/prizes have been refunded/returned.

O.  Should a contestant withdraw from competition, entry fees, or any part thereof, will not be refunded after contest starts. Trial management has the right to establish cutoff dates for trial withdrawal refunds. P.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 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, or 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.

P.   No handler may compete in an event (Open or Nursery) at the National Cattledog Finals if that event is being judged by a close relative (parent, spouse or sibling). 

A. The Course Director shall be a person selected by the Trials Committee.

B. The Course Directors shall call competitors in their turn according to the program, unless directed otherwise by the Trials Committee.

C. If requested by the competitor before the run starts to explain the course, he shall do so. After the run starts he shall not assist the competitor by giving advice or in any other way.

D. He shall see that each lot of cattle, when let out, is placed to give each competitor a fair and equal chance.

E. He shall be available at all times during the trial to convey to the competitor any instructions from the judges.

F. He is responsible at all times for keeping the course clear and ensuring that competitors or their dogs are not interfered with in any way while competing.


A.. It is the time keepers duty to accurately start the stopwatch at the beginning of each competitor's run and to promptly call time when the allotted time for the course has expired.


A.  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, Rules or for any other reason whatsoever, and does not prevail in said litigation by the recovery of all relief requested, said 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.


A.  The USBCHA BOD shall have the power to repeal, revise, modify or amend the Rules of the HA at any annual or regularly scheduled meeting of the BOD. A simple majority vote by the Directors present shall be binding.


A. The Finals Trial Secretary shall work jointly with the Trial Committee, Course Directors and local trial committee. Trial Secretary shall furnish running order, judge's sheets and be responsible for checking and posting scores. The Secretary will have premium checks ready for disbursement by the end the Finals. The secretary will know at all times who the Course Director is and who is the spokesperson for the trial committee. The secretary will perform duties requested by the course director and/or trial committee spokesperson as is necessary to assure an orderly running of the Finals Trial.

B.  The Trial Secretary or her assistants may not divulge information to any contestant about judge's decisions or his individual preferences in the handling or scoring during the competition.


A.  Entry forms must be duly completed and logged at the Trial Secretary's office by the entry deadline. Entry fees for all dogs shall be of such sum as is determined by the trial organizers and must be paid on entry.


A. Any competitor running two dogs will run his/her second dog after all other competitors with two dogs have run their first dog. Handlers MAY NOT designate which dog is to run first.

B. To implement this, all handlers with one dog will be drawn randomly, one at a time, and divided alternately into two lots. Entries of handlers with two dogs will be added to the first lot. Entries of the first lot will then be drawn for running order. First dog drawn runs first, second dog drawn runs second, etc. When a handler with two dogs is drawn a second time that entry will be placed in the second lot for re-draw. Upon completion of drawing the first lot, the trial Secretary will randomly draw the second lot to continue the running order.

C.  The HA suggests that where local trials allow three dogs to compete that the running order be drawn as follows: All handlers with one dog will be drawn and randomly divided into three (3) lots. All handlers with two (2) dogs will be drawn and randomly placed in two of the three lots. All handlers with three (3) dogs will be drawn and added to each of the three (3) lots. Beginning with the first lot each lot shall be drawn to determine the running order.


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

B. 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, properly fed and watered, provided that when 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.

C. No sick of injured animals, whether discovered before or after the draw will be permitted to be used in competition. Animals will be inspected and objectionable ones eliminated before drawing. Judges and course directors will be responsible for inspection.

D. Sick or injured dogs will not be allowed to compete at the recommendation of the veterinarian or at the discretion of the judge and course director.


A.  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 judges order re-runs, the re-runs will decide not only the trophy but also all cash prizes involved.


A. The judges may stop a dog at any point of his trial and order a re-run if they consider the circumstances warrant such action. The re-run will commence where the original run was stopped and the points scored before stopping takes place will stand.

B.  In the case of a re-run being ordered because of a wrong number of livestock having been let out, or one or more livestock being unsound for working, the judges shall decide whether the run should be from the beginning or from which point it is to re-start. If decided that the re-run starts at any point other than the beginning, the points scored up to the point of re-run shall stand.


A.  All awards announced at any HA trial are subject to correction of any error discovered within two weeks after the trial. Any error that may be discovered will be corrected, and the awards as announced readjusted accordingly. If such is the case, awards may be recalled and will be returned to the trial management.

B.  All prizes and awards won at any trial shall be paid within one month after trial.


A Official score sheets are no longer required by trial host.   The original score sheets are to be retained by the trial secretary for a period of not less than thirty (30) days.  Score sheet may be printed from the home page.

B. By the conclusion of the trial all scores must be posted with the amount for each deducted, for each phase of work, and the total of points awarded.


A.  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.

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 February 1st 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.

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 (60 dogs) at the National Open Cattle Finals will be added to determine the top twenty (20) dogs moving into the final round. The top twenty (20) will compete with a clean slate.

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.

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

b. 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) 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.

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









c. 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.

d. 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 20% of all dogs competing even if they are not eligible for placing in the trial.

           Eye exams:  All dogs must be examined by a certified Diplomat of the College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists   
           (DACVO) before participating in a Finals Trial or at the eye clinic during the Finals.  The certificate that is issued 
           will be good for 25 months from the date of the examination, or for 25 months if the interval between trials is more
           than one year

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


 A. 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.


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

b. 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.


 a. 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.

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


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

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

c. 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).

 d. 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).


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

b. Ties, when the dogs have not finished in the allotted time, will be broken first by the combined scores of the outrun and fetch.  If a tie still exists then it will be broken by the time line, which is at the exit of the gather obstacle(s).



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


A.  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.

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


A.  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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

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

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


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

B. 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.


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

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

 C. 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.


 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.



 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.

 a.  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.

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

c. 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.

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.

 a.  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.

 b.  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.
 c.  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



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

 B. Age requirement:

 1. Dog must be thirty-six (36) months or younger on or before December 31 of the year previous to the Nursery Finals. To be eligible to compete in the National Nursery Cattle.  Cattle Dog Finals:  A dog must be born on, or after, Jan 1 2009 to compete in the 2012 Cattledog Finals.

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

 C. 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.

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

 E. 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.

 F. 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.

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

H. 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.

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

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

 K. 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.

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

 M. 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.