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Hunting the Clean Boot


Bloodhounds can hunt the clean boot at competitions from 12 months old. It is something they enjoy and is a pleasure to watch. They need a permit to enter competitions and the procedure to obtain one is outlined below.


Training can start long before this and there are members around the country who can give guidance on getting started.

The ABB hold Bloodhound Championship Trials in March and October and have regular training days.



The Association encourages members to train their hounds to hunt the ‘clean boot‘. This is vital if the breed is to maintain its accepted prowess at hunting a human quarry on a cold line.


Before competing at Working Trials, hounds have to obtain a working permit.

The Association of Bloodhound Breeders now has a standard procedure in place for the testing of hounds for working permits to enable those interested to compete in the twice yearly Champion Bloodhound Trials. The procedure for a hound applying for a full permit remains the same. The hound will be asked to hunt a line one mile long, half an hour cold, going across country and if possible hunting through farm stock, in particular sheep. The hound will also be required to be seen running free through sheep.


A hound holding only the first part of a permit, who comes back at a later stage for a stock test, will be asked to fulfil part two of the procedure.


Part Two of the permit - the Stock Test - requires the hound to hunt a line half a mile long and half an hour cold, through a substantive number of sheep, without chasing or worrying the sheep. After successfully hunting through the sheep the hound is then taken back into the sheep unleashed and some of the sheep are driven across in front of the hound. The handler must remain silent and the hound must not chase the sheep.


Application for a permit test must be made in writing to the Secretary. Telephone applications will be accepted but written confirmation must be sent to the Secretary before the test takes place. The Secretary will then make arrangements with an approved judge and inform the owner of the hound accordingly. A Working Permit card will be sent by the Secretary to the Judge concerned prior to the permit test unless the hound already has part one in which case the owner must take the permit card to the test. The Judge will be asked to report back to the Secretary the result of the test.

A.B.B. and B.C. permit cards are not to be mixed, a hound must have both parts approved by the same club.


The Association has a number of experienced judges with access to sheep in sufficient numbers for stock tests. The Secretary will endeavour to use a venue as convenient as possible for the handler but this will depend on circumstances prevailing at the time.

The ABB also hold WT Special stakes
  • Brough Cup - hounds obtaining 1st or 2nd place in the senior stake at the Association of Bloodhound Breeders' spring and autumn trials may compete for the Brough Cup on lines six hours cold.                                     The Brough Cup was first held in 1926 at Savernake in Wiltshire on the 16th November. The trophy was presented by Mr Edwin Brough. It was previously known as the Bloodhound Challenge Cup, originally presented to the Kennel Club by the ABB in 1897 . Mr Brough had won it three times with Ch. Babbo in 1897, 1898 and 1901, this entitled him to keep it. In 1926 he presented back to the ABB as the prize for working trials. Mr Brough was keen to promote the ability of bloodhounds to hunt long cold lines. The lines are aprox. 3 miles long on 6 hours cold.

  • Bracken Trophy - the winner of the Brough Cup and hounds awarded a certificate of merit in that stake, may compete for the Bracken trophy on lines 12 hours cold.                                                    The Bracken Trophy was first suggested  to be held between the Brough and Marlwood Beaker. The concern by the committee of the time was that the line would need to be walked in the dark and it was not until 1986 that it was introduced. The trophy was donated by Fred Daniels and his son Chris. It takes its name from Fred's first Bloodhound Gaidheal Bracken, 1962-75. This hound was the 8th generation from the Dumfriesshire out cross and had Dual Champion Easebourne Tarquin on both sides of his pedigree. Tarquin was owned by Mr Arthur Langdale, vice president 1966-77.

  • Marlwood Beaker - the winner of the Brough Cup, the winner of the Bracken Trophy and hounds awarded a certificate of merit in that stake,  for the Marlwood Beaker on lines 24 hours cold The Marlwood Beaker was presented by Mr Mellor in 1933.

1978 Brough Cup at Springkell,

Taliesins Colorado at Aspencade

If you've a Bloodhound and wondering where to begin  to learn about training your hound , Contact Frankie Watts for a  friendly chat on how to get started

Marlwood Beaker 2008  Thixendale. Judge Jane Crease awarded to Ian Sayles and WT CH Cilgwri Uncanny Keano

Reminder to All Trials Judges

From 2022 it is a KC requirement for everyone to take the online refresher Judges exam every 5 years in order to be able to continue 

judging Bloodhound  Trials .

It is currently free on the KC website.

Trials entry

members £20

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Trials entry

Non members £25

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WT Ch Chasedown Jaega

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