About Working Tests
Working Tests help to promote and encourage a gundog’s natural working instincts and ability. They also allow the handler to practice and impliment everything learnt through training.
Dogs are sent to find and retrieve dummies which are used to replicate shot game, and the tests are created to simulate game shooting conditions as closely as possible.
They are designed to suit the different working abilities of three of the four gundog groups – Spaniels, Retrievers, and breeds which Hunt, Point and Retrieve (HPR). There are no Working Tests for Pointers and Setters.
In Working Tests for Retriever breeds judges will look for (amongst others):
- Marking ability. The ability of a dog to watch a thrown dummy land, head directly to that location, and then pick the dummy to complete a marked retrieve.
- Memory. The ability of a dog to watch a thrown dummy land, be distracted (or watch another thrown dummy land elswhere), and remember the location of the first dummy. Then head directly to that location, and following instruction from the handler, to complete a memory retrieve.
- Control. For example – the ability of a dog to follow instruction from the handler to retrieve an unseen dummy. A blind retrieve.
- Hunting up skills. The ability of a dog to search for a dummy using it’s scenting skills in an area sent to by the handler.
- Quick pick ups
- Fast returns
- Quiet and steady handling capabilities
- And – everything done with style
Working tests are divided in to various categories or classes as listed below, and are broadly based on either age or previous results and skill levels. The following classes of competition are recognised by the Kennel Club:
- OPEN. Open to all dogs of a specified breed or breeds, although preference may be given to dogs which have gained a place or certificate of merit at a Field Trial, been placed First, Second or Third in an Open Working Test, or won a Novice Working Test.
- NOVICE. Confined to dogs which have not gained a place or certificate of merit at a Field Trial, been placed First, Second or Third in an Open Working Test or First in a Novice Working Test held in accordance with Kennel Club Rules and Field Trial Regulations.
- PUPPY. Confined to dogs of specific breed or breeds less than eighteen months of age on the date of the test.
- UNCLASSIFIED. Open to all dogs of a specified breed or breeds, but may be restricted by conditions as determined by the society. To include Water and Team Tests. A Water Test can include dogs of any sub-group competing together. However, if dogs of more than one sub-group are competing as a Team, each sub-group will compete and be judged in accordance with the Kennel Club Gundog working Test Regulations relating to that group.
‘Classes of Competition’ excerpt courtesy of The Kennel Club.