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A Dalmatian Road Trial is a performance event designed to
evaluate the Dalmatian's ability to "coach", or follow the horses. Exhibitors
compete as handler on horseback or in a horse-drawn cart or carriage, with dog(s)
off leash. The Dalmatian Standard of the American Kennel Club states that the
Dalmatian "should be capable of great endurance, combined with a fair amount of
speed", qualities essential to his successful use as a horse/rider and
horse/coach escort. The purpose of a Road Trial is to demonstrate the use of
purebred Dalmatians as a companion of man in the role that they have been bred
There are three levels of Road Trial Competition. The "Coaching Certificate"
test evaluates the Dalmatian's ability to coach. The "Road Dog" class evaluates
coaching ability and moderate endurance. The "Road Dog Excellent" class
evaluates coaching ability and extended endurance. Road Trials demonstrate
Dalmatians' ability to behave in public places, such as riding trails, in the
presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport
and on purebred dogs. The performance of dog and handler over the Road Trial
course must be accurate and correct, and must conform to the requirements of
these Regulations. It is also essential, however, that the dog demonstrates
willingness and enjoyment of his work throughout.
Road Trials are sport, and all participants should be guided by the principles
of good sportsmanship at all times. Dalmatian Road Trials are sanctioned by, and
titles awarded by, the Dalmatian Club of America.
Special thanks to GPDC members Jennifer Furlong and Gayle
Geiger for these road trial pictures.
To find out more information on Road Trials - please see
the DCA Offical site