Several of the pointing breeds have a heritage of retrieving from water. These breeds are required to pass the AKC Water Test in order to be awarded field trial or hunting test titles. An ongoing issue that owners have faced is the lack of water tests.
To address this issue, the AKC Performance Events Department is offering a Virtual Water Test. The owner or handler submits a video of a dog performing the water test. The dog’s performance is evaluated by two field trial or hunting test judges. The owner will receive an e-certificate proving their dog passed the test. The Virtual Water Test will be a convenient option for owners to demonstrate their dog’s ability to retrieve over water.
Passing a water test is a requirement to earning a Field Champion (FC) or Amateur Field Champion (AFC) for the Wiemaraner and GWP. It is also required for the Spinone and GWP in order to earn a Senior Hunter (SH) title or Master Hunter (MH) title. While this is not required for other breeds, water tests are open to all pointing breeds 6 months of age and older.
What is a Water Test?
Water tests are graded as pass/fail and judged by 2 field trial or hunt test judges. All water tests are conducted in the same manner as described in both the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds and the Regulations for AKC Hunting Tests for Pointing Breeds which states:
The dog shall retrieve a dead game bird or pigeon from the water after a swim of about 20 yards to the bird. A blank pistol shall be fired while the bird is in the air. The handler shall stand (6) six feet from the water and the dog may be restrained by holding its collar. The dog must demonstrate its willingness to enter the water, to swim, and to retrieve, at the direction of its handler without being touched or intimidated. The dog shall retrieve the bird to within two steps of the handler. The handler may give multiple commands. However, at some point the Judges must conclude the dog is unwilling to enter the water and the dog shall fail. Style shall not be considered. The dogs shall not be placed, but shall either pass or fail. The Judges shall certify on the judging sheets the particulars of each dog that passed the test.
How does my dog enter a Virtual Water Test?
- The owner or handler must conduct the water test as described in the rules or regulations shown above in a location which provides enough depth of water, so the dog is able to swim rather than lunge over most of the required distance.
- The entire test must be captured on video. It is important to consider lighting and camera angle so the test can easily be viewed by the judges from start to finish. If the video quality is poor, preventing the judges from viewing the dog’s performance, a passing grade will not be given. Prior to the start of the retrieve a close-up shot showing the front and side of the entered dog must be included in the video. The video must include the bird being thrown, the sound of the shot, and the dog making the retrieve all the way back to the handler.
- Once you have the test on video, you will need to upload your video file to a shared location such as YouTube or Facebook. You may be asked to setup an account. This will enable you to create a shared link which you will need to complete your entry. Be sure to check the permission settings for your video link so that anyone with the link can view it.
- All entry requirements as found in Chapter 8, Sections 1-7 of the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds must be followed. The fee to enter is $25 and is non-refundable.
Now that the dog has completed the test and you have your video link, you are ready to complete and submit the Virtual Water Test Entry Form!
My dog entered the Virtual Water Test, now what?
After the Performance Events Department has received the Virtual Water Test Entry Form, the test will be forwarded to two judges for their review. Upon the Department being notified by the judges, the owner will be emailed the outcome. If the dog passed the test, a water test qualification will be applied to the dog’s win file, and for your records, a digital e-certificate will be emailed proving the dog passed.