Hunting Tests (The Short Course)
AKC licensed Hunting Tests can be a wonderful way for you to work as a team with your Brittany buddy. These tests are non-competitive, but that doesn't mean that you won't have to train your dog in order to participate in these events! There are three levels on which a dog can be judged, with a title awarded for each level passed the required number of times (at least four passing scores.) Dogs in hunt test events run in pairs, known as “braces.”
The Junior level is the least advanced and has nothing to do with the dog's age. Any dog over 6 months old (and with no maximum age) can participate in Junior Hunt Tests. Each dog is judged against a standard of performance, with a grade of 0 to 10 being given in each of several categories. To pass a test, the dog must receive a minimum score of 5 in any category and must have an average score of at least 7. The categories on which Junior level dogs are scored are hunting, bird finding ability, pointing, and trainability. All passing dogs must find and point game in order to pass, but the Junior dog is allowed to chase the bird after establishing point. The handler fires a blank pistol when the bird is flushed. Many Brittanys are able to pass a Junior level test with little more than its natural instincts although prior exposure to birds and hunting conditions is highly recommended.
Two additional categories -- retrieving and honoring -- are added in the two advanced levels (Senior Hunter and Master Hunter). The primary difference between the Senior level and the Master level is in polish. The Senior dog must find and point game, but is allowed to "break" (go for the retrieve) as soon as the shot is fired.
The Master dog must wait for a release signal from its handler before going to retrieve the bird. (This is known as being "steady to wing and shot.")
At the advanced levels, a dog is required to "honor" or “"back" its bracemate (stop when it sees another dog on point and remain stationary until its bracemate has finished working the bird.)
In the Senior level, the handler is allowed use voice commands to bring the dog to a complete stop in order to honor, then to hold onto the dog until its bracemate has been sent on after pointing and retrieving a bird. At the Master level, the dog must stop to honor its bracemate without commands or signals from its handler and the handler is not allowed to touch the dog while it is honoring. Both of the upper levels require the dog to retrieve, but the Senior dog merely has to bring the downed bird within a reasonable distance of its handler while the Master dog must deliver the bird directly into its handler's hand.
Hunting Tests (the Long Course)
For more detailed information on hunt tests, click here .
How to fill out a Hunt Test Entry Form