May Chairman's Report
Pointing breed field events are some of the oldest sporting dog activities in the country. The recent AKC Pointing Breeds Gun Dog Championship held outside Reno, NV with nearly 200 entries demonstrates that the rich tradition and pleasure of watching dogs work in the field is alive and well. The competitors that just concluded this championship event represent the culmination of years of training to create the ultimate hunting companion.
A new owner's first exposure to field work is often through the AKC Hunting Test program. There are three AKC Hunting Tests, for pointing breeds, retrievers, and spaniels. All tests are designed to showcase what a dog and hunter may be required to do in a normal day's hunt and also focus on each breed's strengths.
The first AKC Hunting Tests were held in 1985. Today, AKC licenses more than 550 clubs that host 900 events with more than 50,000 entries in all three programs. Hunting Tests are set up to measure dogs hunting ability against an established performance standard at three different levels - Junior, Senior and Master. The non-competitive nature of this test makes it inviting for many participants. Hunting Tests are planned so that a dog must receive a certain number of passing scores in order to be awarded a title for that level. The tests grow increasingly difficult as one progresses. This allows handlers to challenge themselves and their dogs at a higher level as they gain knowledge and experience.
All three hunting test programs include a Juniors Program that will allow dogs with a Master or Senior title to be entered at the Junior Hunter level with a junior handler - in essence allowing a seasoned dog to help show young people (ages 9 to 18) the ropes. For more on the Junior Handler in Performance Events visit:http://www.akc.org/kids_juniors/index.cfm.
One often hears the saying "form follows function." AKC Conformation events demonstrate form, while AKC Performance Events provide an opportunity for a breed to demonstrate their function. These two events, when taken together, enable breed supporters to maintain the true essence of the breed.
In addition to field trials and hunting tests, AKC Performance Events include lure coursing, herding, earthdog events and the working dog sport. All together almost 100 breeds are eligible to participate in performance events.
Not only are performance events a great place to work your dog, but an excellent opportunity to build sportsmanship among fellow dog enthusiasts, and enjoy magnificent outdoor venues. I urge you to consider entering your dog in a performance event. Your dog will enjoy it and so will you. To learn more about AKC performance events, please visit: http://www.akc.org/events/index.cfm.
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