The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is expanding its Pointing Breed Field Trial program with several...
The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) is expanding its Pointing Breed Field Trial program with several new offerings: the AKC Walking Gun Dog Championship and two new titles, Grand Field Champion and Grand Amateur Field Champion.
“We’re pleased to add the Walking Gun Dog Championship and the Grand titles to the activities available in AKC’s field events program,” said Doug Ljungren, VP of Companion and Performance Events. “AKC hunting tests and field trials allow for participation at many different levels, from novice dogs and owners to the highly experienced. The AKC wants to provide an opportunity for all sporting dog owners to enjoy their dogs in the field. The Walking Gun Dog Championship and the Grand titles add to the breadth of AKC’s field activities.”
AKC Walking Gun Dog Championship
Walking field trial stakes, where the handler is on foot, make it easy to get involved in pointing breed field trials. Today, more than 20% of AKC’s gun dog stakes are walking, which represents a fourfold increase over the past ten years. Walking stakes have encouraged the owners of dogs earning the Master Hunter title in the Hunting Test program – where all handlers must walk, like a hunter normally would -- to transition into walking field trials, where there is no requirement for a horse.
To acknowledge and promote this growing segment of the sport, the AKC has created the AKC Walking Gun Dog Championship. The inaugural event will be held at the Mingo Sportsman Club near Bloomingdale, Ohio (50 miles west of Pittsburgh, PA) starting Saturday, April 27, 2013. The event format will be one-hour, single series, non-retrieving. All dogs that have earned a placement in any AKC gun dog stake or have been awarded the Master Hunter title are welcome to enter. The winner of this annual event will be crowned National Walking Gun Dog Champion (NWGDC).
New Titles: Grand Field Champion and Grand Amateur Field Champion
Two new field titles are planned for Pointing Breeds: Grand Field Champion (GFC) and Grand Amateur Field Champion (GAFC). The titles will allow owners who have put in the work and time to develop a fully trained field trial dog the opportunity to continue working toward a goal and participating in field trials.
In order to earn points toward Grand titles, a dog must already have earned a Field Champion or Amateur Field Champion title. Points toward the Grand titles must be earned in one hour or longer stakes which will be called “Grand” stakes. To be awarded a Grand title, a dog will need to earn six points under the existing point system in Grand stakes, including one three point or greater win. The new Grand stakes are additions to the existing field trial program and can be offered at the discretion of the host club. Starting in July 2013, clubs may start applying for Grand stakes to be offered at trials held after January 1, 2014.
Clubs without the resources to offer Grand stakes may continue to run their trials like they always have. Clubs interested in offering Grand stakes could run the stake by adding a course, running it on Friday or Monday, or hosting an additional trial if the grounds allow.
The last time a new title was added to the AKC field trial program was 1966 when the Amateur Field Champion title was introduced.