Pointing Breed Field Tests evaluate a dog's hunting abilities on different elements of pointing and retrieving. These tests are non-competitive events in which the dog's ability to perform is judged against a standard of perfection established by the CKC Regulations. Dogs receiving qualifying scores at a number of tests achieve titles of Field Dog Junior (FDJ), Field Dog (FD) and Field Dog Excellent (FDX); each successive title requires more skill and training. Most Brittanys with a good degree of natural hunting instinct are able to earn a Field Dog Junior title with a minimum amount of training. Field Dog and Field Dog Excellent titles are successively more demanding and will require advanced training to achieve. A dog who has achieved Field Dog Excellent will be a finished, reliable hunting dog requiring little guidance from its handler.
Field Dog Junior tests are a good starting ground for novice dogs and handlers, and an excellent way to introduce yourself and your dog to the world of CKC field events.
Introduction to the Field Dog Junior Test
Adapted from the CKC FIELD DOG TESTS RULES & REGULATIONS for Pointing Breeds (Effective January 1, 2010)
The purpose of field dog tests for pointing breeds is to encourage the development and use of those natural abilities for which pointing dogs were originally bred. The tests are non-competitive and are intended only to assess the performance of the pointing dog in accordance with a standard.
Field Test Categories
For scoring purposes, the test is divided into eight categories. These categories provide a complete review of the dog's total performance. They include Desire to hunt, Style of running, Pace, Range, Pattern, Control, Pointing, and Reaction to shot. The breakdown of the available points in each category is as follows…
Desire to hunt 20 points
Style of running 10 points
Pace 10 points
Range 10 points
Pattern 10 points
Control 10 points
Pointing 20 points
Reaction to shot 10 points
Maximum Total 100 points
A dog that earns a total of 75 or more points in the test and not less than 50% of the available points in each of the categories tested, shall be presented with a qualifying ribbon.
To get a Field Dog Junior title, your dog needs three qualifying ribbons which have been earned under at least 2 different judges.
Below is a description of each of the categories in the Field Dog Junior Test…
1. Desire to Hunt.
The Field Dog Junior must show a keen desire to hunt. A perfect score would be given to a dog that demonstrates natural ability; displays confidence and enthusiasm for its work; and searches the field without continual encouragement from the handler.
Minimum performance: Some encouragement – slow but continuous.
Failure: Disinterest – frequent encouragement.
2. Style of Running.
A dog must check objectives quickly and thoroughly and exhibit a type of movement consistent with its breed. Excessive pottering should be penalized.
Minimum performance: Some pottering
Failure: Aimless running. Continuous pottering.
A perfect score would be given to a well conditioned dog which exhibits a consistent pace matched to terrain and weather conditions.
Minimum performance: Slows, but works continuously.
Failure: Aimless running. Dog unable to maintain a working pace during test time.
The dog must hunt the course for its handler at all times at a range suitable for a handler on foot and show or check in front of its handler frequently. It must cover adequate ground, but never range out of sight or sound for a length of time that would detract from its usefulness as a practical gun dog. Similarly, a dog that is working too closely to the handler should be penalized. A perfect score would be given to a dog that adjusts its range to the cover in order to search objectives quickly and thoroughly.
Minimum performance: Occasionally out of sight or sound; occasionally too close.
Failure: Out of sight or sound for long periods of time or constantly too close to handler.
To earn a perfect score, a dog must hunt the field, search the objectives and use the wind and terrain in a manner that shows it recognizes likely game bird cover.
Minimum performance: Some looping, some areas not covered, fair use of wind.
Failure: Continuous looping. Misses most objectives. Poor use of wind and terrain.
The Field Dog Junior should be under reasonable control by its handler at all times. The dog should handle well with a minimum of commands from the handler. Ideally, the dog should respond to commands and movements of the handler without excessive hacking or continuous repetition of commands.
Minimum performance: Slow, but responds – some repetition.
Failure: Little or no response to handler. Excessive hacking.
The Field Dog Junior dog must locate game and establish point and hold point long enough to demonstrate its natural ability to point. A “flash point” is not acceptable. Intentional flushing after substantial point has been demonstrated will not be penalized. Blinking will result in automatic failure. An FDJ dog that has multiple game contacts may earn a passing score if it clearly demonstrates natural pointing ability on at least one bird.
Minimum performance: Dog locates game, establishes a point in any manner on at least one bird.
Failure: Dog walks into bird or flushes bird with no intention of pointing or flash points. Failure to locate game. Sitting or lying down on point.
8. Reaction to shot.
A shot will be fired by the handler of a caliber not less than .22 long upon the flush of the bird on course to enable the judge to examine the dog for sensitivity to the gun. The shot is to be fired only when a bird is flushed. There must be a shot for every bird. A perfect score would be given to a dog that exhibits alertness and eagerness at the sound of gunfire.
Minimum performance: Softens but does not bolt – little or no response.
Failure: Gun shy. Bolts.