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AKC announces 2003 National Tracking Invitiational

-- September Event to be Held at Biltmore Estate--

New York, NY - The American Kennel Club is pleased to announce that a National Tracking Invitational will be held September 20th and 21st, 2003 at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. All dogs that have earned the Champion Tracker (CT) title prior to June 23, 2003 will be invited to participate; however, entry is limited to 10 dogs.

Tracking, the foundation work of canine search and rescue, involves training dogs to use their highly developed sense of smell to find lost humans or animals, detect drugs, bombs or other articles.

"In addition to showcasing many dedicated and talented dog and owner tracking teams, this event will also offer spectators a fascinating look at the unique scenting skills of our canines," said Pat Krause, AKC AVP of Companion Events. "Never before has a dog's innate ability to follow a scent seemed more critical or relevant than in today's world where canine search and rescue teams are increasingly being used in military and rescue operations. Dogs are often the first line of defense in bomb detection and recovery of victims from disaster and we are proud to exhibit and celebrate their invaluable skills."

The AKC has approved a separate tracking event to showcase the top tracking dogs in the country as a result of the interest generated from the National Tracking Exhibition held in conjunction with the 2002 National Obedience Invitational in June. This event will provide owners of CT (Champion Tracker) dogs an opportunity to participate in an event designed especially for them.

Facts About the AKC 2003 National Tracking Invitational:

The tracks will comply with AKC Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) requirements, with the following modifications:

Turns: 5 - 8

Age of Track: 3 - 5 hours

Length of Track: 800 - 1,000 yards

Articles: 4 (metal, leather, cloth, plastic)

Cross-tracks: 1 cross-track

Surfaces: Terrain and surfaces as available

Eligibility: All dogs that have earned the Champion Tracker (CT) title prior to June 23, 2003 will be invited to participate. Priority will be given in the draw to participants who did not exhibit in the 2002 AKC Tracking Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois.

Entry Limit: Entry is limited to 10 dogs. If more than 10 entries are received, a draw will be conducted in accordance with the Tracking Regulations Chapter 1, Section 12.

Judges: Team 1 -
John Barnard, Chicago, Illinois
Joyce Klamut, Dover, Ohio

Team 2 -
Robert Brown, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Jill Jones, Brownville, Oregon

Closing date: July 8, 2003

Draw: July 9, 2003 - AKC Companion Events office, Raleigh, NC

Entry fee: $150.00 (Entry fee will include cost of event pass and the banquet Saturday evening).

Location: Biltmore Estate, the home of George W. Vanderbilt, occupies 8,000 acres and is the largest privately owned home in the United States. Exhibitors, workers and spectators will be able to tour Biltmore House, gardens and winery at their leisure. More information: http://www.biltmore.com.

Competition: Five (5) dogs will be exhibited on Saturday under Team 1 judges and five (5) dogs will be exhibited on Sunday under Team 2 judges. All dogs will be allowed to complete their tracks under the observation of the judges and will be individually critiqued.