Border Terriers are energetic, active little dogs that excel in a wide variety of events. Because of their breeding, they are naturally driven to excel in the field and love nothing more than working closely with their handlers. Today, Border Terriers and their handlers use these skills to compete in nearly every competition available to them. In order to honor those Border Terriers that take advantage of their wide variety of skills and to encourage their handlers to participate, the Border Terrier Club of America created the Versatility Award.
The Versatility Award is designed as such that your Border Terrier doesn't have to be an all around champion in order to receive one. It is designed so that the average dog and handler can earn one, with some effort. In order to qualify for a Versatility Award, the Border Terrier must earn a title in three different fields and earn seven points. The Border Terrier Club of America reports that as many as thirty dogs earn this title every year. Many Border Terriers that earn a Versatility Award go on to earn their Versatility Excellent Award, which they can earn by receiving a title in four fields, of which one may be a working title, and twelve points, although this will certainly take a bit more commitment from the handler and the dog.
Because conformation isn't included in the fields in which a Border Terrier can earn a title, this award is open to both pets and champions, so that even the average handler who likes to spend time with his Border Terrier participating in events can earn one. Thanks to this rule, there are many pet Border Terriers that have earned their Versatility Award. It is not unusual for a Border Terrier to be five or six years old before he has earned enough points to be rewarded with a Versatility Award, but there have been plenty of dogs that have earned theirs even younger.
The major fields in which Border Terriers can earn titles are Obedience, a highly stylized set of skills that the handler and dog perform together, Tracking, in which dogs show their skills in finding downed birds or rabbits, Field, in which dogs test their skills as hunting companions, and Agility, an obstacle course that a handler and dog complete as a team. Another event that is gaining in popularity in the United States and Canada that can make your Border Terrier eligible is Flyball, which is a relay race with a team of four dogs. Working certificates are also accepted, including Search and Rescue, hunting working certificates, certified therapy certificates, or passing a Temperament Test. The events do not all have to be from the same kennel club, and most major kennel club association events are eligible, including AKC, CKC, AWTA and UKC.