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Coursing Ability Test (CAT) is an easy, low-stress way to get involved in the world of dog sports. A Coursing Ability Test (CAT) is designed specifically for newcomers. The first thing to know about the CAT is that dogs do not compete against each other. Each dog runs individually and chases after an artificial lure on either a 300- or 600-yard long course and must finish in less 1 ½ minutes and 2 minutes, respectively. Because the course is for beginners, it is set up with safety in mind because we recognize that many of the dogs are new to the sport and might not possess the agility of an experienced sight hound. Don’t worry about being judged: Dogs only earn a pass/fail, and the maximum time is not meant to be difficult to achieve. Yes, your dog will need to run, not walk, to earn a passing grade. But even if he doesn’t do his best, don’t worry! Think of it as just a fun day out for both of you to meet other dogs and dog lovers.

Getting Started 

There’s not much you need to do to prepare for your first CAT besides get your dog in shape! You can also play with him often by giving him things to chase in your yard like plastic bags on a windy day, or toys and balls to run after. Just get him used to seeing something and chasing after it. As with all Coursing Ability Tests, the goal is not to harm any living animals so make sure you don’t encourage him to chase after any squirrels or other creatures running through your yard.


To compete, your dog must:

  • Be 12 months or older
  • Have an AKC number

In addition:

  • Spayed females and neutered males are eligible to participate but females in season are not.
  • Blind dogs are not eligible.
  • No dog can compete if it is taped or bandaged or in any way has anything attached to it for medical purposes.

Conducted by:

Deep South Dog Sports

Lauren Smitherman

Mobile, Alabama

Getting an AKC Number

Select the AKC licensing process that best fits your needs:

Purebred Dogs

AKC Registration

All-American Dogs (mixed breed)

AKC Canine Partners,

Purebred dogs that cannot be fully registered:

Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program,

Breeds on the road to full AKC recognition:

Foundation Stock Service®(FSS),

AKC Titles (suffixes)

CA - Coursing Ability

CAA - Coursing Ability Advanced

CAX# - Coursing Ability Excellent

CAT Links

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