Photo found on Iowa Sporting Spaniel Club
What are field trials?
A field trial is a rival competition where hunting dogs race against each other. Typically organized by kennel clubs or other gundog organizations, trials test the working capability of dogs in competitive situations. Trials resemble a day’s shooting in the field as closely as possible, and gundogs are expected to work with all varieties of prey, including partridges, hares, pheasants, and rabbits.
Video of Field Trials on Mike Carters youtube channel
What breeds can participate?
Field trials exist for pointing dogs, flushing dogs, and retrievers. However, there are events for specific smaller breeds, such as Dachshunds and Spaniels. AKC Recognized Breeds for pointing field trials include:
- English Setters
- Gordon Setters
- Spinone Italiano
- Wirehaired Vizsla
- Irish Red and White Setters
- Wirehaired Pointing Griffons
- German Shorthaired and Wirehaired Pointers
What training is involved?
If you determine that field trials sport is right for you and your dog, you can begin training. However, it is essential that both you and your dog are healthy and fit to work hard. You will need to be reasonably strong to trek across rough terrain encountered on many country shoots.
Are there clubs or organizations?
Clubs and their members are ideal ways to find out information about the sport before making a commitment to get involved in it with your dog. There are many field trial clubs nationwide. A few include:
- American Field
- AKC Pointing Dog Field Trials
- U.S. Complete Shooting Dog Association
- National Red Setter Field Trial Club (NRSFTC)
- Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America (AFTCA)
- Midwestern States Shooting Dog Futurity (MSSDF)
How do I get started?
If your dog comes from working stock, the breeder can likely advise you on developing your dog into a working gundog and introduce you to others with similar interests in your area. There are many large Game and Country Fairs held across the nation annually that are worth visiting if you decide to find out more details.