Terrier Racing

Terrier Racing

Terrier Racing is a fun addition to any Summer fundraiser

Terrier racing is a long time favourite of country shows. It makes a great addition to any Summer Fundraising Fete or Fair.

Whilst you could charge entrants a fee, terrier races are probably best viewed as a simple, but fun, extra attraction for an outdoor event.

If you can attract a good crowd to any fundraiser you can always raise cash by working all your other fete and fair favourites.

These quick dog races are a nice bit of fun, a bit of a novelty, and an extra incentive for people to attend your event.

In both the USA and Europe there are clubs who hold regular race events. There are also a small number of "display teams" who will, for a fee, put on terrier races at your fundraising event.

It is however a lot more fun to set up and run your own.

What you need

Terrier Racing Starting Gate
  • Traps - although owners holding and releasing their dogs is acceptable
  • A Lure - something rat like but fluffy; attached to a strong cord
  • A Winding Mechanism - usually an upturned and converted bicycle
  • Straw / Hay Bales - to prevent the dogs hurting themselves at the end of the course

The dogs

The other "must have" ingredient of course is terriers to race.

If you advertise your event well in advance hopefully a few local owners will fancy their dogs as potential champions. If you are going to the effort of setting up a race however it will probably make sense to know that a few locals will be definite entrants.

Traditionally racing was for farm dogs and country terriers, often Jack Russells and other "Rat Terriers" . These days however small terriers particularly border terriers are popular urban pets and their owners just as keen to try their dog.

In fact many events will feature an anything goes category - often called "scruff dog racing" when any dog from Dalmation to Dachshund can test their mettle.

The course

This should be about 50m long. It is usual to mark off with netting, ropes or bales along the sides.

Posh events have greyhound type traps (starting stalls) for the dogs where one lever releases all the racers.

At smaller events however it is possible for a line of owners to all hold their dog and release on an agreed signal.

The end of the course is blocked with hay bales. a small hole being left for the lure to " escape" into.

The lure

Terriers love to chase things so any flappy, wriggly, furry thing racing along the ground should prove irresistible. The lure is often waved in the dogs faces before the races just to get their dander up even further!

Terrier Race Equipment

The lure is attached to a stout cord which runs the length of the course. This is attached to a winder - usually a converted bike. As the bike pedals are turned it winds in the cord around the wheel. A "strong in the arm" person to wind is needed to keep the lure in front of the chasing dogs.

The races

Races will usually involve 3 to 6 dogs at once. The dogs are placed in the trap at one end and released to chase the lure the length of the course. They will cross a finishing line near the end but will continue chasing the lure until it disappears into the hole in the hay bales.

Terrier Race Finish

You may like to have a dog person ready at this end to grab the dogs before they decide to take off, or take out their frustrations on each other.

Unless you have a lot of entrants a few quick fast and furious races a couple of times during your event will probably work best.

Have a sign up with times of the sessions so people know when to come and watch. You can also make announcements on your public address system to send spectators over to watch the fun.

Terrier Racing Champion

So there you have it terrier racing.
Lots of fun and a great attraction for any outside event.


Funds to the Rescue
Susan Daffron

If you are  seeking to raise money for animal rescue groups (particularly dog shelters) this is the book we recommend. Its full of great fundraisers, often with a canine twist.

Definitely one of the better books for fundraisers.


Available on Amazon please click your store for more details


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