Retriever Hunting Tests
You’ve played ball with your Retriever about a million times in your backyard or at the park, but do his fetching abilities automatically mean he’d make a good hunting companion? Not necessarily. The only way to really know is to participate in a Retriever Hunting Test.
Ever since the first AKC retriever hunting tests were held in 1985, the focus has been on how well your dog retrieves birds under all types of conditions. You don’t compete against other handlers and dogs; each dog is assessed based on his own merit (as opposed to competing in a Field Trial where a winner is chosen).
There are three hunt test levels – Junior, Senior, Master, and titles can be earned at each level. Judges score dogs on their natural ability to mark and remember a fall, on their hunting style, perseverance or courage. They are also scored on learned abilities such as steadiness, control, response and delivery. This non-competitive environment creates a very warm and communal atmosphere where everyone encourages each other to succeed. Even though you have to remain quiet during the test, you should hear the round of applause afterward! It’s not to be missed.