Working Gundogs and Field Trials

Working Gundogs, Working Tests and Field Trials

Lady Fairhaven presents the winners trophy to Terry Harris, April 2009

Lady Fairhaven presents the winners trophy to Terry Harris at the MHGC Open Stake, April 2009

The essence of a gundog is it’s ability to do a job.  In gundogs a dog that has won 3 Challenge Certificates under different judges becomes a Show Champion. In order to become a full Champion a dog has to prove it’s ability in the field as well as in the show ring, and can do this by gaining a place at a Field Trial or Working Test, or gaining a Show Gundog Working Certificate, demonstrating it’s ability to locate game and (in the case of the retrieving breeds) return game intact to the handler.Competition is very strong at Field Trials. Stakes are run for Puppies, Novices and Open Stakes. Two wins at Open stakes confer the title of Field Trial Champion. A handful of dogs having reached the top level in both the field and in the ring become Dual Champions – a rare distinction indeed.
The working abilities of gundogs have been perfected over the centuries, by careful breeding and lengthy training, and taking one on is not to be taken lightly. Anyone wishing to have a working dog is advised to first of all see that breed at work, and gain an understanding of which bloodlines work well and are biddable. Access to training facilities must also be checked beforehand as many landowners are understandably not keen on beginners disturbing their carefully-nurtured game. Training classes are strongly recommended – many of the problems you will encounter will have been seen before, and experienced advice is always helpful. Having done all the planning, only then is it time bring the puppy home – then the fun really begins! English Setter in heather
Field Spaniel Puppy Three of the gundog subgroups, Retrievers, Spaniels and HPR’s have Working Tests organised for them, and these are an ideal way to find out about the work of those breeds. Contact the relevant breed club, or local gundog training club for details, or ring the Kennel Club Field Trials dept.