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AKC course A is an arena course modeled after that of the ASCA course. The following information provided by Joel Levinson.

Course Description

     The arena shall be a fenced area of between 100 X 200 feet to a maximum of 200 X 400 feet for sheep and cattle, 50 X 100 to 100 X 200 for ducks.   There are four obstacles and a handler's post at all trial levels.

Handler's post

Started: the post is 30 feet from the top and 12 feet from the side of the arena, on the same side as the Y chute.

Intermediate: the post is to the immediate left at the lower end of the center line panel.

Advanced: the post is in line with the centerline panel, opposite the exit from the Y chute.


centerline panels: two panels are placed on the centerline of the arena, approximately 16 feet apart, parallel with the long side of the arena. The midpoint of the opening is approximately 1/3 of the length, measured from the top.

Y Chute and Hold/Exam Pen (Runway panel in started)

The top edge of both of these obstacles are 2/3 of the way from the top of the arena. The length is 16 to 24 feet for sheep and cattle, 8 to 12 feet for ducks. The obstacles are formed by using the arena wall to form one side of the obstacle, and paneling to form the other. The panel is four feet out from the arena wall (2 feet for ducks).

Z Chute

The Z chute is placed at the bottom end of the arena, in the middle of the fence line. The alleyway for the Z chute is also four feet out from the fenceline.


     The dog enters the arena off lead. Dog and handler begin the run at the handler's post.  Dog will outrun from that point. Handler may move freely throughout the course after the sheep have passed the handler's post.  Handler and dog will move the stock from the handler's post, in a straight line down the fence to the Y chute.  Through the Y chute along the fenceline, turning right at the corner, through the Z chute, also in a straight line.  Turn right at the next corner and thru the runway panel, continuing in a straight line.  Reaching marker number 4, turn right and take the stock through the opening in the center line panel, continuing across the arena to marker number 5.  Turn left and continue to the repen gate.  Hold the stock in a location off but near the gate, handler opens the gate, and the dog repens the stock.


     Dog and handler both start at the intermediate handler's post.   Handler will send dog on its outrun, and must remain at the handler's post until the sheep have exited the Y chute.  Handler must then remain in a zone going across the width of the arena, between the intermediate handler's post and the advanced handler's post.  The sheep will go around the handler's post and into the Y chute.  Upon exiting the Y chute, the sheep will move around the fenceline, into the Z chute. Continuing around the fenceline, into the hold/exam pen.  Stock will settle in the hold/exam pen and be held there until judge says okay, approximately one minute. Handler may take the stock out of the pen in any manner they wish - using the dog, or going into the pen themselves.  From there, continuing along the fence to number 4, thru the opening in the centerline panel, to number five.  Remember, the handler must stay in the zone until the stock reach number five.  Turn left at number 5 to the repen. Handler opens the gate and dog repens the stock.


     Handler remains at the advanced handler's post during the outrun, lift and fetch.  Handler then has a choice to remain there, or move to the top corner of the hold/exam pen while the stock are moved through the Y and Z chute.   Once the sheep have passed marker number 3, handler may move to the top corner of the hold/exam pen, where the handler must remain until stock reach number five.   Stock are held in the pen for approximately one minute after they settle.   Then continue down the fenceline to marker number 4, turn right off the fence and through the opening in the center line panel to marker number 5.  Turn left at number 5 to the repen gate, handler may then move to the repen gate, and open the gate while the dog repens the stock.


    AKC A course is a line course. Scoring is done from marker to marker, not obstacle to obstacle.  Thus, the scoring for the Y chute will commence once the stock have passed the handler's post, and continue until the stock reach number 2, in the corner between the Y and Z chute. Z chute scoring is from number 2 to number 3.   Hold/exam pen (runway panel in started) is from number 3 to number 4.  Runway panel is from number 4 to number 5. Repen from number 5 to the repen.

     It is best when running on A course that if you come close to an obstacle but do not get the stock through the obstacle to keep going.  You will lose more points for going back and making a reattempt - you already lost miss points, and now you have lost retreat on course points.

Except for the centerline panel in started, it is an automatic NQ if the handler walks through any obstacle.

Points Breakdown

Outrun/lift/fetch               20
Y Chute                            15
Z Chute                             15
Hold/Exam (Runway)     15
Centerline Panel              20
Repen                              15
Total                              100


You need 60 points in all classes, with no category scored at less than 50% of the available points in that category.

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