What is Rally?

Together, you and your Basset Hound will navigate a course through 10 or 20 different signs following the instructions on each sign.  Though each Basset will be timed, it is most important that you and your dog work as a team with the dog under control.  This sport demonstrates both your dog's talents and your teamwork.  What could be more rewarding?

Rally is a fun sport for you, your family and your Basset Hound.  The sport of rally began in 2005 and seems to grow in popularity each year.  It is a perfect place to start for those new to dog sports.

Who May Participate?

To be eligible to compete, your dog must be:

6 months of age or older and have an AKC Registration number, AKC Canine Partner, or PAL number.

Bassets may be spayed or neutered, Females may not compete while in season.

Deaf dogs may participate, blind dogs may not.

No dog can compete if it is taped or bandaged or in any way has anything attached to it for medical purposes.

Learn the Basics

While navigating through a Rally Course which will include 10 to 20 signs, you are allowed to communicate with and encourage your Basset Hound by using hand signals and almost any form of praise.  The only things you may not do are touch your dog or use treats.  You will move through the course with your Basset on your left side, under control at all times.  Though the event is timed, it is important that you work as a team.

In Rally, you begin with a perfect score of 100.  Deductions for errors are made while you move through the course.  A qualifying score is 70 points.

How do I start?

Before you begin working in Rally, try to see an event in person.  It will help you become familiar with the event as well as you’ll see if this is something you and your dog might like to do.  Most people will be helpful and happy to answer any questions you might have.

Find Training Classes

Training classes are available nationwide, and they will help you learn this fun sport.  It is also a great introduction for those considering obedience, but might be a little intimidated by the regimented exercises.  As with all things that we learn, practice at home is essential to your success.  Most Basset Hounds will look forward to their time spend practicing with you.

5 Levels of AKC Rally Classes

Novice:  For those just getting started:

  • Your dog is on leash during all exercises.
  • There are only 10-15 signs.
  • Exercises vary from turning 360 degrees to changing paces.
  • You may talk, praise and clap your hands to encourage your dog.
  • Three qualifying scores are required to earn a Novice Title.

Intermediate or Advanced -  Handlers may choose which class they are ready to participate in after they qualify in Novice.  They may choose either the Intermediate or Advanced level based on what the handler feels like they are ready to participate in.

  • Intermediate level exercises are all on-leash.  No jumping is required.
  • Advanced Level exercises are performed off-leash, one jump is  required.
  • There will be 12-17 signs.
  • Three qualifying scores are required to earn either an Intermediate or Advance level title.

Excellent - Excellent courses are similar to Advanced, but with a few more challenging exercises.

  • Exercises are all performed off-leash.
  • Handlers must not pat their legs or clap their hands to encourage the dog.
  • Dogs will jump twice.  There will be 15-20 signs.
  • Three qualifying scores are required to earn an Excellent level title.

Master - The highest level of competition

The course is similar to the Excellent level, but with some more challenging exercises.  All exercises are performed off-leash.

  • Handlers are not allowed to pat their legs or clap their hands to encourage the dog.
  • Dogs must jump twice.  There are 15-20 signs.
  • To earn a title takes ten qualifying scores.

 How do I enter a Rally Trial?

A premium list is available for each Rally trial.  It will have information on the location, time, date, classes and judges.  It will also contain an entry form.  You will complete the entry form with the pertinent information and send to the trial secretary or superintendent.  After entries close a judging program will be mailed to you giving you the necessary information about the trial.  (You can find information about upcoming Rally Events on the which you should be familiar with before you go to your first trial. Website, www.akc.org and also download the regulations.

Learn the AKC Rally Rules and Regulations

As with all Events, it is a good idea to understand the rules and regulations regarding Rally.

If you have questions, be sure to ask your trainers, or seek help from the new friends you are making in this wonderful sport.  Visit the AKC Website and see videos of dogs competing in Rally.  There are many good learning resources available to you.

Make sure you and your Basset Hound have a great time doing Rally together.  Good Luck and be sure to enjoy yourselves.