|Links and Member Articles|
Hunt Test 101
by Allison Schultz
There are several organizations that hold field events. Each has its own rules and tests. This can be confusing to people who have never tried field work, so I’ve written this just to give you some basic information. Field work is lots of fun for you and your dog even if you don’t compete. So come on out and try it sometime!
UKC Hunt Tests
UKC stands for the United Kennel Club. This is a registry just like AKC. They also have conformation and performance events (obedience, agility, hunt tests). For rules and information on how to register your dog go to http://www.huntingretrieverclub.org. One nice thing about UKC tests is that you can enter the day of the event, as long as they aren’t already full. (In AKC tests you must send your entry in advance)
There are 3 levels in the retriever tests. At each test there are 2 judges who set up the test, a Marshal who gets everyone in order to run the test one at a time, bird boys who throw the dead birds – usually ducks, and shoot a shotgun. Bird boys hide behind a blind in the field so the dog just hears a duck call, sees the duck thrown and hears a gunshot. Everyone wears hunting attire – cammo, or brown or green clothing to act as if you’re out hunting. The tests are pass/fail. There is not a ranking (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) either you pass or you don’t. If you pass you get a ribbon and a “leg” towards your title. You need multiple “legs” i.e. passes to get a title.
Started is the basic test. Judges will look for natural ability rather than trained performance. The Started Hunt Test is for young or inexperienced hunting retrievers. The Started hunt will have four tests. Two tests shall be marked water retrieves. Two tests will be marked land retrieves. “Marked” means that the judges are looking for dogs that can “mark” (see where the bird fell and run right to it) The Started Hunting Retriever can participate in all four tests regardless of whether or not the dog passes each test.
The dog does not need to be steady (you can take the dog to the line on leash and you can hang onto the collar until you let the dog go and retrieve the birds) The dog will retrieve 2 singles on land and 2 singles on water. A “single” is when one bird is thrown at a time. The dog runs out, picks up the bird and returns to you. Then you take the bird from your dog and line your dog up for the second single. The dog picks up the second bird and returns to you and you’re finished with that portion of the test. After everyone has finished both land singles, they move to water and all the dogs retrieve 2 singles in the water. (Sometimes the test starts with the 2 water singles, then goes to land and rarely they mix up the land and water.)
The dog does not have to deliver to hand – that means if the dog brings the bird back close to you but drops it on the ground – that is ok. The Judges will tell you how close is ok. You will never have live birds (flyers) shot at the started test. All birds will be dead when they are thrown, this makes it easier for inexperienced dogs. You may be required to handle a gun provided by the club, but most started tests don’t require this.
Seasoned is the next level. These hunting tests have longer retrieves on both water and land than Started Tests. The Seasoned Hunting Retriever must be steady on the line (dog must walk to the line off leash and stay until you send him to retrieve. When the dog returns he must “deliver to hand” (can’t drop the bird on the ground).
The Seasoned hunt will have five (5) tests. These five tests shall consist of at least the following:
(1) a double-marked land retrieve, (2 birds are thrown, the dog watches where both fell, then retrieves one at a time.)
(2) a double-marked water retrieve, (same as above but in water)
(3) a walkup (you and the dog are walking along when a bird is thrown in front of you, you must stop your dog (have him stop)– shoot towards the bird (with blanks) then upon the judges command you send the dog to retrieve the bird
or tracking (tracking a bird), or quartering test (searching a field for birds)
(4) a blind land retrieve, (dog does not know where the bird is in the field, you are told where the bird is, and you direct your dog there with whistle, verbal and arm commands)
(5) a blind water retrieve. (same as above but in water)
Part of the test must include a diversion, this is a bird thrown when your dog is returning to you with a bird in its mouth. The dog must not switch (drop one bird and pick up the other), but bring you the bird in its mouth, then you send him back for the diversion bird.
Finished is the top level in UKC. The maximum land test distance will not exceed one hundred-fifty (150) yards, but may be shorter. The maximum water test distance will not exceed one hundred twenty-five (125) yards, but may be shorter. The blind retrieve maximum test distance will not exceed one hundred (100) yards
The Finished Hunt will have at least four (4) tests. These four tests shall consist of the following:
(1) a multiple marked water retrieve (2 or more birds are thrown, the dog watches where both fell, then retrieves one at a time.)
(2) a multiple marked land retrieve (either or both the multiple marked water retrieve or the multiple marked land retrieve must include an honor, (your dog sits quietly next to you and watches another dog work) and a diversion retrieve
(3) a water blind retrieve
(4) a land blind retrieve. These blinds may or may not be included in one of the required multiple marked retrieves.
AKC Hunt Tests
AKC stands for the American Kennel Club. Most Flat coats are registered by the breeder with the AKC. AKC holds conformation and performance events (obedience, agility, hunt tests, etc.) For Hunt test rules and information go to http://www.akc.org/dic/events/hunting/retrievers.cfm
There are 3 levels in the retriever tests. At each test there are 2 judges who set up the test, a Marshal who gets everyone in order to run the test one at a time, bird boys who throw the birds – usually ducks, and shoot a gun. They hide behind a blind in the field so the dog just hears a duck call, sees the duck thrown and hears a gunshot. Everyone wears hunting attire – cammo, or brown or green clothing to act as if you are out hunting. The tests are pass/fail. There is not a ranking (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) either you pass or you don’t. If you pass you get a ribbon and a “leg” towards your title. You need multiple “legs” i.e. passes to get a title. A big difference in AKC and UKC tests is that if your dog fails a retrieve at an AKC test you are finished for the day. In UKC you can finish the other retrieves even if you have failed one. Which is nice if you have traveled far and paid a lot for the test!
Junior – is what the AKC calls their basic level of hunt test. It is the same as the above UKC Started with several exceptions. The dog must deliver the bird to hand at the Junior level. JH tests will also have a “live flyer” a live bird that is shot by the “gunners” out in the field. This is much more exciting for the dogs, and the dogs must learn to pick up a sometimes very much alive bird. So the JH test may be slightly more difficult than the equivalent UKC Started test.
Senior – is what the AKC calls their next level test. It is about the same as the UKC Seasoned description above. I’m sure there are some other small differences, but I have not yet run a dog at this level so I’m not sure what they are.
Master – is the top level in AKC. It is about the same as the UKC Finished description above, with a few differences. The Master test is sometimes so complicated that it takes 2 days to complete.
AKC also offers Field Trials http://www.akc.org/dic/events/fieldtrials/retrievers.cfm
This was originally the first type of hunt test offered, but it became so difficult that people wanted something easier and more realistic to hunting situations. Thus the Hunt Tests described above were developed Field trials have several categories, and multiple series of tests. You must pass each test to continue to the next series. Dogs are eliminated until there is a single winner.
Working Certificates/Working Certificate Excellent (WC/WCX)
These are hunt tests developed and held by each breed club to test their breeds working ability in the field. So a WC that a Labrador passes is a different test than what a Flat Coat has to pass to get the same title. You only have to pass the test once to get the title. (unlike JH or Started where you need multiple passes to get a title) You can take the test multiple times if you wish but that will not change the title you receive. **Very important *** you must go to the web site http://www.fcrsainc.org/wcx.html, print out the form and take it with you to the test if its not sponsored by a Flat Coat club. You must have the judges sign your form and then you mail it in to get your certificate approved. If approved you will receive a nice certificate in the mail.
At a WC/WCX you can wear any color of clothing that you wish. Bird boys and gunners wear white and stand in plain view to the dog. Birds are hand thrown. Pigeons or upland game birds are used on land. Ducks are used in the water.
For Flat coats – the FCRSA developed the following requirements for the WC which is the first level. There is a double on land (use of a live flyer is encouraged) and 2 singles on water (with dead ducks). It is a marking test for the dog so once the dog is sent to retrieve the handler can not say anything until the dog has the bird in its mouth. Dogs do not have to be steady and do not have to deliver to hand.
WCX is a triple on land (2 dead birds and the last bird thrown is a live flyer) and a double on water (use of a live flyer is possible). The dogs do have to be steady, and have to honor a working dog. Dogs must deliver to hand.
Steady and Unsteady Singles
I’ve only seen these tests held at the Flat Coat national specialty, I’m not sure about the history behind them but they look like a great test to enter!
Unsteady Singles Stake The purpose of this stake is to introduce novice dogs (six months of age or older) and their handlers to field work.
A dog may not be entered in the USS if it has ever passed any test or event requiring steadiness, such as but not limited to a Steady Singles Championship, WCX, Senior/ Master Hunter test, Field Trial stake, etc., sponsored by AKC, CKC, or any other club or organization. Further, a dog may not be entered in the USS if it is also being entered at this Specialty in any test or event requiring steadiness as set forth above.
To encourage participation by the novice handler, this stake shall be divided into two sections, based on the experience level of the handler. There will be a winner, placements and Judges’ Awards of Merit (JAMs) for each section. (If total entries in Sections A and B are less than 40 dogs at closing date, the sections may be combined and judged by one set of judges, using the same marks for all, but awarding separate placings and JAMs for each section.)
The winner of each section of USS shall no longer be eligible to enter the USS at future Specialties.
Section A. Novice Handlers . You may not enter a dog in Section A if you have ever passed or qualified with a dog in any event requiring steadiness as set forth above or if you are entering a dog at this Specialty in any kind of event requiring steadiness as set forth above. You should not enter Section A if you have received significant coaching from a professional or have attended several training clinics with a dog. A dog, which has received training from a professional trainer, may not be entered in Section A.
Section B . (Experienced dogs and/ or Handlers) Section B shall be open to those handlers or dogs not eligible to enter Section A. Professional trainers/ handlers are eligible to enter Section B, running only dogs that they personally own or co-own.
Unsteady Singles Stake Judging Requirements
1. The dog may be brought to line on lead and run with a buckle collar - no other type of collar allowed.
2. The dog may be held on line but shall not be sent until the judge has released the dog.
3. Delivery to hand is not required but the dog must return with the bird to the immediate area of the handler that will be clearly defined by the judges.
4. The distance to the marks should not exceed 150 yards.
5. No decoys will be used.
6. All dogs are guaranteed two retrieves.
THE STEADY SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP (SS)
The Steady Singles Championship, open to all dogs six months of age or older, is run annually as a friendly competition for the enjoyment of the owners of field-oriented Flat-Coats. Being a Championship stake, there shall be one winner, the Steady Singles Champion. The other finalists shall be awarded JAMs without ranking, as with BISS. (Should the number of entries require a split into two sections, the Champion shall be determined by a runoff between the winners of each section.)
Steady Singles Championship Judging Requirements:
1. Dogs must come to line off lead and without a collar.
2. Dogs must be steady. Breaks or controlled breaks shall result in mandatory elimination. If a dog creeps or jumps forward slightly as birds are shot/ thrown, and the handler makes no effort to stop or restrain him, it shall not be considered a controlled break unless the dog goes beyond a point acceptable to the judges. If the handler makes any effort to stop or restrain the dog, the judges shall consider the dog to have broken and eliminate him. The judges may require a dog that has crept or jumped forward within the acceptable distance to be brought back to heel position before being sent to retrieve.
3. Dogs must deliver to hand.
4. Distances and difficulty of the tests should be adjusted to the quality of the field but should not exceed 200 yards.
5. Decoys may be used.
6. All dogs are guaranteed two retrieves.
|About us||Join||Officers||Events&Seminars||Members Corner||Winners Circle|
|Rescue||Email us||Puppy Referral||Breed Standard||Links||Home|
Southern Skies Flat-Coated Retriever Club