What’s In A Title – Hunt

| June 7, 2011 | 0 Comments
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Zeus Is A New AKC Junior Hunter!  Thanks Chuck Hilton!

Zeus Is A New AKC Junior Hunter! Thanks Chuck Hilton!

Introduction

This is a part of a series explaining various types of competition and how to obtain various titles in conformation, hunt, obedience, agility, tracking, etc. This article is an introduction to the types of hunt titles that exist and how to achieve them. It will also help you understand what those letters mean at the end of a dog’s AKC name. It is by no means comprehensive, just enough to whet your appetite and encourage you to get out with your dog and compete. For hunt test rules and regulations, please visit the American Kennel Club and North American Hunting Retriever Association sites which both sponsor a different set of titles.

Hunt tests originated from the desire to “test” dogs for their hunting ability without having to compete in field trials. The tests are designed so that dogs compete against a “standard”, not against other entries. The tests are designed to simulate, as closely as possible, true hunting situations with hazards, obstacles, etc.

AKC Retriever Hunting Titles

Eligibility. To achieve an AKC Retriever Hunt title, the dog must be at least 6 months of age to compete and be one of the following breeds:

  • Chesapeake Retrievers
  • Curly-Coated Retrievers
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
  • Irish Water Spaniels
  • Standard Poodles
  • American Water Spaniels (effective 4/1/11)

Note: Spayed and neutered dogs as well as dogs with limited registration are eligible to participate. Bitches in season are NOT eligible to participate.

Criteria. Each dog is evaluated by two independent judges in the following ability categories on a scale from 0 – 10: Marking (memory), Style, Perseverance (Courage, Hunting), and Trainability (Steadiness, Control, Response & Delivery). For Junior Retriever Hunting tests, a qualifying score is awarded when a dog achieves at least an average score of 5 in all ability categories with an overall average score of at least 7 for the entire test. For Senior and Master Retriever Hunting tests, a qualifying score is awarded when a dog achieves at least an average score of 5 in ability categories related to Marking and at least an average score of 5 in all ability categories related to Blinds with an overall average score of at least 7 for the entire test. The dog will not receive a qualifying score if the dog is graded zero by two judges for the same ability. Retrieves at all test levels should not exceed 100 yards.

The following titles are offered by the AKC:

Junior Hunter (JH) – awarded to a dog who achieves qualifying scores at 4 Junior Hunt tests. Each test consists of 4 single marks, 2 on land and 2 on water. Dogs must retrieve to hand.

Senior Hunter (SH) – awarded to a dog who achieves qualifying scores at 4 Senior Hunt tests. Each test consists of 5 tests that include 1 land blind, 1 water blind (that may be run as a double blind on land and water), 1 double land mark, and 1 double water mark. At least one diversion shot, walkup, and honoring of another dog is included.

Master Hunter (MH) – awarded to a dog who achieves qualifying scores at 5 Master Hunt situations. Each test consists of at least 3 series which include multiple land marks, multiple water marks, multiple marks on water and land, a land blind and a water blind (at least one that shall be a double blind in any combination). At least one diversion bird and/or diversion shot, walkup, and honoring of another dog is included.

Note: A dog does not have to earn a JH before earning a SH before earning an MH. While attempting to qualify for a title, the dog can still compete to earn other hunt titles; however, once the dog receives a SH, he cannot compete in the Junior Hunt Test level and once the dog receives an MH, he cannot compete in the Junior and Senior Hunt Test level.

Master National Hunter (MNH) – awarded to a dog passing 3 or more Master National Events. As a dog continues to pass multiple Master National Retriever Hunt Tests (MNRHT’s), a new title reflecting the dog’s achievement will be awarded. (e.g., a dog that passes four MNRHT’s will earn “MNH4”, which supersedes the MNH. A dog that passes a fifth event will be earning MNH5, and so on.)

Note: The Master National will continue with its other internal award programs including recognizing dogs passing 2 MNHTs with a Master National Retriever (MNR) title (this “club title” was changed from the previous MNH to avoid confusion with the new AKC title).

North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA) Hunting Titles

Eligibility. To achieve an NAHRA Retriever Hunt title, the dog must be one of the following breeds registered with American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, Boykin Spaniel Society, American Field Dog Stud Book or America’s Pet Registry:

  • Chesapeake Retrievers
  • Curly-Coated Retrievers
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
  • Irish Water Spaniels
  • Standard Poodles
  • American Water Spaniels
  • Boykin Spaniels
  • Barbet

Criteria. A qualifying score is awarded to a dog that passes all tests in the ability categories with a final average score of 80% or better.

Started Hunting Retriever (SR) – awarded to a dog who achieves qualifying scores at 4 Started Field Tests. Each test consists of 5 single bird marking tests – at least 2 of which are marked water retrieves and at least 2 of which are marked land retrieves. Dogs are not required to deliver to hand.

Hunting Retriever (HR) – awarded to a dog who achieves qualifying scores at 4 Hunter Field Tests. Each test consists of a double marked land retrieve; a double marked water retrieve and a trailing test. Dogs are required to deliver birds to hand. No blind retrieves are required at this level.

Working Retriever (WR) – awarded to a dog who achieves qualifying scores at 4 Intermediate Field Tests. Each test will consists of 6 tests which will include the following: an upland hunting test; a blind retrieve on land, a blind retrieve on water; a double marked land retrieve; a doubled marked water retrieve; and a trailing test. Walk-ups (to simulate jump shooting) or dry shots and game calls (used as diversions) may be used at this level.

Master Hunting Retriever (MHR) – awarded to a dog who achieves qualifying scores at 5 Senior Field Tests. Each test consists of 6 tests which will include the following: a triple marked water retrieve; a triple marked land retrieve; an upland hunting test (which will not be considered a marked retrieve); a trailing test; and a water blind retrieve and a land blind retrieve, at least one of which will be incorporated within one of the required multiple marked retrieves.

Grand Master Hunting Retriever (GMHR) – awarded to a Senior dog who qualifies in 15 Senior Field Tests. Senior dogs that qualify in 50 Senior Field Tests are awarded the title, Grand Master Hunting Retriever Champion (GMHRC). Both of these titles exhibit a long term commitment and consistency of performance in the NAHRA program.

Get Ready

If you have the opportunity to go to a field test to observe the competition, you should go. To prepare for competition, ask around for trainer recommendations or come back to Retriever Life in a few months and visit our Trainer Listings. There are many nuances in the testing and judging for these events so please make sure you know the rules and attend events prior to participating. We hope you enjoy training and bonding with your retriever doing what it’s been bred to do. Good luck and good hunting!

Category : Hunt Test, What's In A Title

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

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