WORKING TESTS vs FIELD TRIALS
The Large Munsterlander Club hold an annual working test, usually on the first weekend in July, at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
Gundog Working Tests are events held out of the shooting season. The various elements are designed to test the ability of the dog in all areas of gundog work, relevant to the HPR in a non-shooting situation. There are normally a minimum of three classes: Puppy, Novice and Open. However, some societies also run special classes, for example, Special Beginners or Graduate.
Tests involve hunting, possibly with caged game for pointing, retrieving and water (if available). Puppy tests are generally very simple and test the basics - obedience, heelwork, steadiness and simple retrieving. Novice tests are more difficult and are designed to test the mature HPR's abilities, with more complicated retrieves over longer distances, blind and seen retrieves, often with the sound of a shot, multiple retrieves in the same test, maybe over obstacles, through gaps in hedges, round corners. Open tests are over much longer distances - cold game and shot is often used. See Working Tests 2015 for more information.
Working Tests are very sociable, and provide an excellent forum within which to see HPRs working. All dogs are welcome. Unentered dogs may attend. It is a good opportunity to both socialise puppies and for new owners to come and see what gundog work is all about.
Field Trials are the pinnacle of competition for the working dog - held during the shooting season they endeavour to simulate, as closely as possible, the conduct of a normal day’s sport. A pair of experienced and qualified judges observe the dogs entered and evaluate their working ability.
Each dog is allocated an area of ground in which it is expected to seek and find game, indicate the presence of said game, and present the game to be shot. The dog is then required to retrieve the game and deliver it undamaged to its handler. Having performed these functions, the dog is then tested on its retrieving ability in water.
Before you consider entering a Field Trial, you and your dog should have some experience of rough shooting. Your dog must be steady to shot, and retrieve on command. The retrieves may be seen or blind, so you must be capable of directing your dog onto a bird at some distance.
Contact Andy Robins, Field Trial Secretary, for more information.