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Cuyahoga Valley Sheep Dog Trials

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

CVSDT 2017 Entry Form

The 2017 trials will take place on Saturday, October 14th and Sunday, October 15th. The trials begin each day at between 8am and 9am with Open (advanced dogs and handlers) competing first. The Ranch and Pro-Novice classes follows until all entries around 2:30 to 3:30 pm depending on the number of dogs. A Nursery class will be run with the Ranch if there are five dogs entered. Saturday evening is a potluck for handlers, volunteers, and sponsors. Canine behaviorist Ken McCort will be speaking before dinner.

Spectators are welcome at this event. We ask that you bring your own chairs (& pop-up tents), pack a lunch or preorder a lunch with the farm. (There will be a lunch break.), and dress for the weather. We also offer sponsorship opportunities. 


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. 


We're offering sheepdog sponsorships for the 2017 Cuyahoga Valley Sheep Dog Trials. Each of the dogs will get a sponsor to support. Dog supporters will be randomly assigned a dog after the running order is established.  You can request a dog and we'll do everything possible to pair you with your favorite athlete. Cost: $100/dog Sponsor a Sheep Dog  

Where Your Money Goes

  • For trophies and prizes at the Sheepdog Trials
  • Offsets the cost of operations for the Trials (Sheep, judge, announcer, logistics, staff)
  • Covers Dog Sponsorship program costs
  • Cost of feeding and caring for the sheep

Dog Sponsorship Package (what you get for $100)

  • Free entry for 2 people each day of the event
  • Photo of Dog/Handler & Supporter
  • Listing on the farm website
  • Listing in Program, next to sponsored dog
  • Announced each time sponsored dog runs
  • Invitation to the potluck/BYOB dinner Saturday night with handlers