Spaniels are undeniably cute, with a happy and gentle personality. But did you know they are also hardy and skillful hunting companions retrieving water fowl and flushing game birds in all conditions.
Spaniels competing in trials will be judged on game-finding ability, steadiness and retrieving. A spaniel’s work in the field is a compilation of many elements that must be demonstrated and observed by judges throughout a trial such as control at all times, scenting ability-use of the wind, manner of covering ground, perseverance and courage in facing cover. Other aspects such as marking the fall of game, ability and willingness to take commands, prompt style of retrieve and delivery to hand are all reviewed. The idea of the trial is to simulate as close as possible to a real day’s shoot. The function of the hunting Spaniel is to seek, find and flush game in an eager, brisk, quiet manner and when game is shot to mark the fall or direction thereof and retrieve to hand.
All dogs six months of age or older from the following breeds are eligible to participate in Spaniel Field Trials:
To compete, your dog must be:
- At least 6 months of age.
- In both excellent physical and mental condition and up-to-date on all inoculations and health check-ups.
- Have an AKC number.
- Spayed and neutered dogs are eligible to compete in these events and are welcome.
- Blind dogs are not eligible.
- No dog can compete if it is taped or bandaged or in any way has anything attached to it for medical purposes.
- Dogs with the Purebred Alternative Listing Program/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP) are not eligible to participate.
- Dogs of these breeds with Conditional registration are not eligible to participate.
- Bitches in season are not eligible to participate.
- Dogs with Limited Registration are eligible to participate.
The first step is to find a training class for Spaniel Field Trials at your local AKC club. Some offer practice sessions and you might find someone willing to take you out to work your dog. Training involves retrieving and game-finding using seen and hidden dummies and learning good directional control.
We recommend you attend a few Spaniel field trials in person and get the rulebook because the more trials you see, the better you will understand how they work.
Ultimately, when you’re ready to compete, you’ll need to choose the right event for you. There are several types of Spaniel Field Trials including a Qualifying Stake; Open, Limited, Special and Restricted All-Age Stakes; Amateur All-Age Stake; and more. Choose the right trial for you and your dog, and request an entry form.
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