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AKC Hunting Tests for Spaniels – Standards of Performance

Provided by the Hunting Committee of the ESSFTA

Section 1. Junior Hunting Test. A Junior hunting dog must show a desire to hunt in an enthusiastic manner and an ability to flush and to retrieve. It is not necessary that a dog be steady to wing and shot. The dog should show no fear of cover, a reasonable response to commands (whistle, hand, or verbal), and maintain a reasonable working distance from its handler.

Junior hunting dogs should complete their retrieves to close proximity of handler, but need not retrieve completely to hand. Handlers may control their dogs by hand, whistle, and/or verbal signals but only in the quiet manner that would be used in the field.

A Junior hunting dog may be restrained gently on the line at water.

Section 2. Senior Hunting Dog. A Senior hunting dog must show all of the attributes of a Junior hunting dog. In addition the dog must show true boldness to cover, a pattern addressing the course objectives and an intense desire to hunt. A proper working distance and independent hunting sense must be maintained. The dog need not be steady to wing and shot on land but should not show uncontrollable chasing in a missed bird situation. The dog must be line steady at water, must retrieve eagerly to hand, and exhibit the ability to “hunt dead” on a blind retrieve.

Section 3. Master Hunting Dog. A Master hunting dog must show all of the attributes of Senior hunting dogs, but must also give a finished performance and demonstrate clearly that it deserves to be qualified as such. It must be under the handler’s control at all times, and must handle kindly, with an absolute minimum of noise and hacking by the handler. A Master hunting dog must show a keen enthusiasm to hunt, must have a bold and attractive manner of running, and must demonstrate not only intelligence in seeking objectives, but also excellent ability to find game. The dog must hunt for its handler at all times at a suitable gun range, showing a fine Spaniel pattern and experienced hunting independence. The dog must locate game, flush well and must be absolutely steady to wing and shot without excessive handling in both land and water testing. Intelligent use of the wind and terrain in locating game, accurate nose, and intensity are essential. After the shot, a Master hunting dog must positively demonstrate its steadiness to wing and shot. The handler shall not command or signal the dog to retrieve until steadiness has been demonstrated.

Click here for The AKC Regulations and Guidelines for Spaniel Hunting Tests