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Cuyahoga Valley Sheep Dog Trials

The Spicy Lamb Farm is honored to host the seveth annual Cuyahoga Valley Sheep Dog Trials. These sanctioned Open, Ranch, & Pro-Novice trials of the United States Border Collie Handler's Association (USBCHA).

2018 Entry Forms

The 2018 trials will take place on Saturday, October 13th and Sunday, October 14th. The trials begin each day at 9am with Open, Ranch, and Pro-Novice classes beginning run each morning and afternoon. Saturday evening is a potluck for handlers, volunteers, and sponsors.  See below for sponsorship opportunities. 

Spectators are welcome at this event. No non-competing dogs allowed. We ask that you bring your own chairs (& pop-up tents). Stray Dog Café will be a vendor at the event, or you can pack a lunch and tailgate. Please make sure you dress for the weather. This is a rain, snow, or shine event. Please park on the road heading east.


The Cuyahoga Valley Sheep Dog Trials (CVSDT) is a competitive trial in which herding dogs move sheep around a field, through gates, penning and shedding them as directed by their handlers. These trials have been held in this country since the 1880s. The CVSDT’s Open class is sanctioned by the United States Border Collie Handlers Association (USBCHA).

The trials are a test of the dog leaving the handler to fetch sheep at the far end of the field. The dog must lift the sheep from another handler at the end of the field setting out sheep and fetch bring them to the handler at the handler’s post. The handler then has to drive the sheep through a series of gates, including a cross drive where the dog is required to move the sheep in a controlled way in a straight line from one side of the field to the other. Then the dog and handler then move the sheep into a pen. For the Open class, the dog must separate the sheep; this shedding is done in a ring marked out on the ground. The Ranch class uses the same course but does not include the shed. For the Pro-Novice class the gates are moved closer to the handling class. 


The judge watches each run and assigns a score based on their judgment. Each test element is assigned a maximum score:

·        Outrun:20 points

·        Lift: 10 points

·        Fetch: 20 points

·        Drive: 30 points

·        Pen: 10 points

·        Shed: (Open class only): 10 points

Each competitor is assigned the full amount for each element before they start. As they negotiate each test element a judge deducts points for each fault. They must negotiate each element in sequence before proceeding to the next. A set amount of time for the whole course. If the competitor runs out of time then they will lose all the points for the element they were in the process of completing and all those that they have yet to attempt. The competitor's score is the sum of their score for all completed elements.