Gundog Tests

by admin on February 14, 2012

Gundog testsOne way to measure the standard you have reached in your gundog training is to take a test. 
In the UK there are two main types of  gundog test. 

Competitive gundog tests

The main difference between the two is that Kennel Club gundog tests, also known as ‘working tests’  are competitive.   Dogs are measured against other dogs, and the best dogs on the day are placed in order,  1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.  

It does not matter how good your dog is on the day if four other dogs are better than you.  Only the best on the day come away with an award. 

Because dogs compete against other dogs,  and because only the best trained will win, you will not find gundogs in the early stages of training entering KC working tests,  and you will need to get your dog to a good standard of training before you enter your first  test. 

You can find out more about KC working tests from the Kennel Club, using the link in the right hand side bar.   Or from your local KC field trial club or society.

The Pros and Cons of competition

Of course the great thing about competition is that it raises standards.  

People have to work hard to win, and though an element of luck does come into it on each individual occasion, repeated winning over several different tests  is not possible without effort and skill.

The downside of competition is that it can be very disheartening for those just starting out with gundogs and it is not an appropriate way of testing dogs that are still very young and at the beginning of their training journey.    

Training a gundog takes many months and until the Gundog Club training scheme was launched gundog owners had no way of accurately measuring their progress along the way, against any kind of consistent standard.  

It was easy to get lost and disheartened.   Our training scheme has changed that.

Non competitive gundog tests

The Gundog Club tests, also known as ‘Field Tests’, provide a non-competitive testing system for those gundog owners that want to measure their progress but do not wish  to compete. 

This might be because their dog is too young and inexperienced to begin competing or because the owner is not interested in competitive testing.   

The Gundog Club’s Graded Training scheme tests dogs from the very first stages  in gundog training right up to Open Working Test standard and beyond. 

The aim of the tests is to assess the dogs and their owners as they make their way along the gundog training path and throughout the entire journey so that each dog can move step-by-step from one level to the next. 

The Graded Training Scheme takes away the whole competitive element from gundog testing and enables the student to concentrate on specific skills at an appropriate level for each grade. 

*In addition to gundog working tests,  the Kennel Club also run Field Trials which are competitions for top-notch, fully trained gundogs that have field experience.    This article is about gundog tests,  we will look at the exciting world of field trials another day.


Cary January 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Hi i have a hungarian vizler 4 and 1/2 yrs old, and would be interested in any local low key to start off with, competitions, and would be grateful for any info.
Many thanks

admin January 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hi Cary,
The Gundog Club does not run any competitions, our graded field tests are all non-competitive. Competitive gundog events are run by the Kennel Club and you can find out more on their website.

Sam bates April 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

What is the cost in taking each of the tests?

admin May 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

Hi Sam,
Private individual tests start at £38 for Grade One. It is cheaper to take the test as part of a group, and the group cost depends on the size of your group.
Give the office a call for more details. (We are closed for the first week in June). 01428 717529

claire July 28, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Hi could I take the test at my local trainers venue? And at a time to suit me ? Or is it just group bookings on certain days at certain places?
many thanks

admin July 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Hi Claire, you can take the test at your own trainer’s venue provided we have an instructor close enough to you. You can also book the test at a time to suit you, though group bookings are more cost effective.

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