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The VST test will challenge your dog to follow the tracklayer's scent across changing surfaces, including non-vegetated surfaces.  In order to be successful, your dog must demonstrate motivation, drive, and a willingness to persevere through a variety of scenting conditions.

Your dog must have already received its TD or TDU title in order to participate in a VST test.


If you've made it to the VST test, you already know what to expect at a tracking test, but VST test requirements are complex.  Click here to read the official AKC rule book.

The following is a simple overview of the VST test requirements:


  • A VST track is plotted on a minimum of three different surface types.  At least one-third and not more than two-thirds of the track is plotted on surfaces devoid of vegetation such as gravel, concrete, mulch, pavement, or sand.  

  • A VST  track is between 600 and 800 yards in length.

  • The scent on a VST track is between 3 and 5 hours old.

  • A VST track has 4 to 8 turns and includes at least three 90-degree turns, both left and right.  No acute angle turns are used.  Turns will be plotted on various terrain types.  There is at least one "moment of truth" 90-degree turn plotted on a non-vegetated surface on a VST test.

  • Each leg of a VST track is at least 30 yards long.


  • A VST track may be plotted along buildings and fences, through breezeways and other open structures, even across bridges, and up ramps and stairs.

  • There is no second flag in a VST test that will determine the direction of the first leg.​  The start and the first 20-yards of the track are plotted on a vegetated surface.

  • There are no cross-tracks or physical obstacles on a VST track.

  • There are four articles used on a VST track: one fabric, one leather, one plastic, and one metal.  The first article will be fabric or leather.  The second and third articles are dropped at wide intervals along the track.  The last article will be marked with a #4.  




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