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 on the day of the event.
- AKC Registered (Limited Registration is acceptable).
- Spayed or neutered dogs are eligible to enter.
- Bitches in Season are not eligible to enter and may not be on the grounds of the event.
For all information regarding eligibility, please refer to the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Spaniels.
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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