Water races are held so dogs can compete for titles of Water Race Champion, Grand Water Race Champion and Supreme Grand Water Champion. The Novice Race class is open to dogs not yet Water Race Champions and is a fun class for beginners. The Open Class is for points, whether a dog has won the first title yet or not.
In the water race, a well-scented lure or a raccoon in a cage is floated or suspended on water in such a way that the dogs cannot contact it. Boundary markers designate the entry and exit points and swimming course. The home tree is 20 yards or more from the opposite shore. The dogs are released simultaneously. The handlers are taken around the pond by a marshal, and not allowed to encourage their dogs—or discourage anyone else’s dogs.
Dogs that get outside the boundary markers are disqualified. The line winner is the first dog to correctly follow the scent to the home tree and indicate on it. The tree winner is the first dog to enter the designated circle around the home tree and bark appropriately. Treeing has to happen within five minutes of exiting the water to count.