Lure Coursing:
Judging 101

By Ping Purring
Judging Lure Coursing
Primarily judging is one person’s opinion of how your dog runs a course.  It’s completely subjective. It’s the judge’s opinion of that run, on that course plan, on that terrain, with that lure operator, on that day.
In ASFA and AKC there are 5 categories on which a judge assigns a numerical score for the run.  The categories are: enthusiasm (overall ability for AKC), follow, speed, agility and endurance.  The easiest things to judge are follow and speed, but speed can be relative depending on the other dogs in the course as well as the dog’s position in the field.  Many course designs don’t give you much to judge on agility unless the dog does something pretty amazing.
Each dog is judged against the others in the course as well as the other dogs in his or her stake or flight.  As a judge you keep in mind how the previous courses have run and compare the current run in relation to the others.  Obviously it’s not easy to judge the speed of a dog in the first course against a dog in the third course. Sometimes you can tell the overall speed of a course from the sound of the lure equipment if it’s close by.
It’s important to keep in mind the entire course.  The score for the course should not be based on what happens in the last quarter or third of a course.  When I am judging I break up a course into quarters or thirds and make notes as to which dog was best and why in that part of the course. Many times the dogs will trade off during the course.   
Photo by JAX
Photo by Steve Surfman