“Our dog’s potential is created or destroyed by the belief we have in them and about them.”

Shibas are very smart and very athletic, but they can also be very aloof. Dog sports and events are a great way to bond with your dog and offers some training as well. I love working with my dogs and seeing the progress we make and the better team we become. The average Shiba is harder to work with than the average Golden Retriever, but that makes it even more rewarding. I love trying new events with my dogs and seeing what they enjoy doing. For example, I knew the first time Ruby ran Fast CAT that she loved it and that I needed to let her run again. I look at each event as a form of enrichment for them. Whether you’re buying a puppy on full registration to show in Conformation or on limited registration, you can register your puppy with the AKC to compete in other AKC events and earn AKC titles.

Getting Started in Dog Sports and Events


The purpose of conformation events is for a judge to evaluate dogs to see which dog best resembles the breed standard. Breed standards are written by the national club of the breed. Breed standards include a breed’s ideal structure (how the dog’s skeleton is formed – controls movement), gait, type (how the breed should look), and temperament. For the Shiba Inu Breed standard please visit: Shiba Inu Breed Standard

American Kennel Club

Championship (CH)A total of 15 points including 2 majors (minimum 3 point win) won under 2 different judges
Grand Championship (GCH)A total of 25 points won including 3 majors under 3 different judges. At least one champion of record was defeated at 3 shows (competitive wins). Bronze Grand Champion: 100 points. Silver Grand Champion: 200 points. Gold Grand Champion: 400 points. Platinum Grand Champion: 800 points.
  • The number of points awarded depends on how many dogs are entered in an event. The number of dogs needed for a major depends on the area of the show. To check point schedules visit: AKC Conformation Point Schedule
Father & Son | Malone (left) & Sly (right)

American Kennel Club Canine College: Conformation for Beginners

Lure Coursing: Fast CATS and CATS

Fast CATS are a timed 100 yard dash; the dog chases a lure (plastic bags on a string pulley system). To figure out your dog’s speed you take 204.545 divided by your dog’s time. That will leave you with the dog’s mph. Once you have the mph you can convert those into points which get added up to titles. There’s also a handicap depending on the size of the dog. Dogs below 18 inches (like the Shiba) have a handicap of 1.5 so you multiply the mph by the handicap to calculate your dog’s points.

Ruby running a Fast CAT. Photo by Bad Azz Dogz.
Height in inchesHandicap
Below 122.0
12 inches, less than 181.5
Ruby running a Fast CAT. Photo by Bad Azz Dogz.
FCAT (followed by a number)Each additional 500

CATS (Coursing Ability Test) are either a 300 or 600 yard run depending on the height of the dog. For Shiba they must run 600 yards when competing in CAT. Dogs pass or fail depending on if they follow the lure throughout the course and if they complete the course in the time allowed. Veteran dogs (7+ years old) can run 200 yards (for the 300 yard run) or 400 yards (600 yard run) at the owner’s discretion.

The 300 yard course is for dogs that are shorter than 12 inches at the withers or brachycephalic dogs. This course must be completed in less than a minute and a half.

The 600 yard course is for all dogs that can’t run the 300 yard course. This must be completed in less than 2 minutes.

TitlePassing runs
Coursing Ability (CA)3 times under 2 different judges
Coursing Ability Advanced (CAA)10 times
Coursing Ability Excellent (CAX)25 times
Coursing Ability Excellent 2 (CAX2)50 times

Dogs should be physically fit and structurally sound before competing. Please have your vet check your dog to make sure they can safely compete. Recall is definitely recommended for Fast CATS/CATS.

For more information visit: Lure Coursing Rulebook

Barn Hunt

Barn Hunt is a fun activity that isn’t as physically straining (in the beginning levels) and allows a dog to ‘hunt’ without harming any animals. The objective for Barn Hunt is to have your dog locate and correctly distinguish the tube/s with the rat in it. It’s a great scent exercise for the dog.

There are multiple levels to Barn Hunt, each level of course getting progressively more difficult. Each level has a time limit of when all requirements must be completed.

Barn Hunt is a separate registry – in order to compete your dog must be registered with the Barn Hunt Association. (Barnhunt – register)

Titles can be recorded with AKC via this form: AKC Barn Hunt Title Application

Class (title)RequirementsPassesTime
Instinct (RATI)Dog must correctly indicate the tube with the rat1One minute
Novice (RATN)Dog must correctly indicate the tube with the rat. Dog must put all 4 feet on hay bale – Climb. Dog must go through the straight tunnel – Tunnel.3Two minutes
Open (RATO)Dog must correctly indicate the two tubes with a rat. Dog must put all 4 feet on hay bale – Climb. Dog must go through the straight tunnel – Tunnel.3Two minutes and 30 seconds
Senior (RATS)Dog must correctly indicate the four tubes with a rat. Dog must put all 4 feet on hay bale – Climb. Dog must go through the straight tunnel – Tunnel.33 minutes and 30 seconds
Master (RATM)Dog must correctly indicate the tubes with a rat. (one – five tubes will have rats). Dog must put all 4 feet on hay bale – Climb. Dog must go through the straight tunnel – Tunnel. Handler must indicate when all the rats have been found.5 – under 2 or more judges4 minutes and 30 seconds

For more information visit:

About Barn Hunt | Barn Hunt Rules

Trick Dog

As the name applies, AKC’s trick dog title is about showing off your dog’s tricks. There are 4 titles – Novice Trick Dog (TKN), Intermediate Trick Dog (TKI), Advance Trick Dog (TKA), and Performer Trick Dog (TKP). Each level has a list of tricks to choose from.

Please check this link to see what is required for each level:

About Trick Dog

I would also recommend you check out the Trick Dog Evaluator Guide for a more in depth explanation of tricks/requirements:

Trick Dog Evaluator Guide | Twelve Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Malone earning his AKC Trick Dog Novice title


Rally is a great start if you’re interested in agility. Rally is a combination of both obedience and agility, but less strenuous. The dog and owner go through a course with different stations and it’s the dog and owner’s job to move throughout the course as a team. Each course has a varying number of directions that the dog and handler must make together with the dog remaining on the left side of the handler. The dog must sit on command at certain stations, down on command, and follow the handler’s directions all on loose lead. Taken from the AKC website “The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.”

Class (title)RequirementsPasses
Novice (RN)Dog must receive qualifying scores in Novice classes at three licensed or member rally trials.3 – under 2 or more judges
Intermediate (RI)Dog must receive qualifying scores in Intermediate classes at three licensed or member rally trials.3 – under 2 or more judges
Advanced (RA)Dog must receive qualifying scores in Advanced classes at three licensed or member rally trials.3 – under 2 or more judges
Excellent (RE)Dog must receive qualifying scores in Excellent classes at three licensed or member rally trials.3 – under 2 or more judges
Advance Excellent (RAE)Dog must have received qualifying scores in both Advanced B and Excellent B at 10 separate licensed or member rally trials.10
Master (RM)Dog must receive qualifying scores in the Master class at ten licensed or member rally trials.10 – under 2 or more judges

For more information on Rally:

AKC Rally information

AKC Temperament Test

Taken from the AKC website:

The AKC Temperament Test (ATT) was developed to bring focus and provide a meaningful evaluation to assess the temperament of our canine companions.

The ATT tests how a dog reacts to a variety of stimuli. Desirable traits are that the dog will be emotionally stable, inquisitive, cooperative, appropriately social for its breed, biddable and demonstrates the ability to recover from a startling situation in a reasonable amount of time.

Undesirable traits are fear, shyness, lack of cooperation and an inability to recover from unfamiliar or unexpected situations. Examples of undesirable behaviors include being afraid of friendly strangers or unfamiliar stimuli, obsessive barking, and aggression.

In the ATT, dogs are tested in 6 categories of stimuli that include:

  1. Social
  2. Auditory
  3. Visual
  4. Tactile
  5. Proprioceptive (motion)
  6. Unexpected stimulus

To learn more about AKC Temperament Testing and how to earn your dog’s ATT title visit Earn an ATT title.


Agility is a great exercise both mentally and physically. Treats and toys cannot be used during competitions. The American Kennel Club also has a program called Agility Course Test (ACT). With two passing runs your dog can have either an ACT1 title and/or ACT2 title. This is only available if your dog hasn’t already earned an agility title.

For more information on Agility please check this link (this covers the AKC ACT program as well):

AKC Agility Rulebook


Obedience is one of the most challenging dog sports. Obedience requires dogs to obey their handler’s commands on the first request, off leash, and without any toys or treats allowed.

For more information on Obedience:

AKC Obedience Rulebook