About The National Trial

National Trials are held by the ISDS annually each summer in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The top 150 Irish sheepdogs and their handlers compete for a chance to represent Ireland at the Annual International Trials each year, usually held in September. Each handler can enter a maximum of three dogs, but only two of these may run, the third being an ‘alternate’ dog who may be substituted for one of the two.

The Irish National takes place over three days; the five highest scoring competitors from each day win a place in the Irish team. At the end of the third day's competition, there is a runoff between the winners from each day to find the overall Irish Champion and the Irish team captain. Each National Team has 15 places and one reserve place, so competition is fierce.

During the lunch break every day, whilst the singles competitors and singles judges seek refreshment, the best Brace teams in Ireland compete before the Brace judges to find the Irish National Brace Champion. They also have the honour of representing their country at the International Trial.