World Trial - What you need to know!

The World Sheep Dog Trials take place once every three years, over four days. The first two days are qualifying days, day three is the semi-finals and the finals take place on day four.

All the world's countries, where there is a recent history of sheepdog handling, are invited to attend the World Trial. The numbers from each nation are set by the ISDS and broadly indicate the level of activity in each country. The handlers and dogs have been ranked by their home organisation from qualifying competitions the year prior (e.g. 2019 qualifiers for 2020 World Trial). Therefore, for most nations, these represent the best.

It is possible that a handler can run twice during the World Trial, as they may have qualified with two dogs. In addition, every handler, whether entering with one or two dogs, is permitted to enternan Alternate dog. The reason for this is that after qualifyiing, a whole year is a long time in a dog's life and the dog may not be fully fit or able to travel. Therefore the handler may elect to run their Alternate dog, providing they inform the organisers the night before their run.

During the qualifying stages which take place during days one and two, there are three fields in use at the same time, each with a seperate pair of judges. The semi-finals are run on day three, and the finals are run on day four, and only one field is used. There are five judges in place for both the semi-finals and finals, none of whom will have judged at the event during the qualifying runs, and the same set of five judges are in place for both the semi-finals and finals.

Each nation of five or more will select a team of five different handlers with a nominated dog; these are typically the highest placed in their nation. These five are entered in to a Team Competition in which their points from days one and two are totalled to determine a winning nation.