We want to preserve and enhance all the characteristics which make up our Versatile hunting dogs; temperament, hunting ability, health. We want to breed better dogs.
You can enjoy testing your dog, but the tests are not a game. They are important.
Setting up of these tests give the dogs the opportunity to show how they handle each situation in terms of their being a versatile hunting dog. This is how we can ascertain the abilities of individual dogs to carry out the work they were developed for.
Individual dogs are not expected to fit into a breed "box"; they are evaluated on how they perform as a versatile hunting dog.
They are not evaluated on an individual judge's whim. There are 3 judges to discuss and score.
"The functional definition of what a versatile hunting dog is:
A dog that is in control of its temperament; a dog that has the correct balance of dependence and independence; a dog capable of changing speed to suit the situation and conditions, who can shift up and down the gears as the occasion demands; a dog with a high degree of cooperation. These criteria are not mutually exclusive and in no order of importance.
Together, they make for a high degree of trainability." (Ed Bailey).
Each test doesn't just show if a dog can, say, run out and retrieve a bird. It shows many other things; self control, temperament, dependence/independence, attitude/desire, nose/use of nose, rapport with handler and so forth.
What the owner gets is an understanding of the dog's qualities and shortcomings as a versatile hunting dog. It also shows where training is required.
The test set-up:
Due to the logistics of running these tests, dead game is used above NA level, apart from the pointing test. This enables the very few of us organising these tests to collect game and store it for later use.
In NZ the Assn has had to adapt to what is legally allowed.
With only a handful of people organising and running the testing, simplification is essential and use of cold game essential. Or no tests.
The tests themselves are fairly fluid. Adaptations can be made to enable the running of each test in various areas of NZ where the terrain may differ markedly. A swamp may be available or very little water at all.
Please remember it is what we are testing for - not the test itself - that is important.
A test that has a bird placed a distance away into heavy plant cover is to find out if the dog will hunt cover, can use its nose, search methodically, and persevere. The test is not about the regulation distance.
The test regulations all state that they are a guideline, that adaptations may be made in the set up of a test, but the integrity of the test must not be compromised. It is what the dog is being tested for that dictates the test, not the dog fitting into a set in cement rule - not painting by numbers.
In the Intermediate Test your dog is expected to have had retrieve training.
(Please read the retrieving articles posted on site)
Also your Intermediate dog is expected to have had either a seasons hunting or at very least been taken "hunting" without a gun, and with training situations set up similar to actual hunting. Now when you practise drags it would be a good idea to have a stranger lay a few for you.
Don't overdo your training; though obedience is an important part of the Intermediate test, the judges are evaluating how your dog performs rather than how you tell it to.
Strict obedience and serious training are part of the Utility Test. This test will not be held until membership grows and a large number of people have tested at Intermediate level.
Whilst the natural ability test is to evaluate the inherent abilities of your pup, these instincts will be masked if you neglect to give your pup the opportunity to develop them. Exposure to field, water and game/scents is essential.
These tests are for hunting abilities and your puppy must be given the chance to succeed, exposure & experience is essential.
Make the effort and you will be rewarded.
Older dogs may be tested in the NA and Int Test, but they are ineligible for a Prize Grading.
Prize Grading: Throughout Germany & Europe the breed clubs and JGHV hold non competitive testing, these clubs all award a certain standard with Prize 1, Prize 11 or Prize 111.
Any number of dogs can be awarded a Prize rating. Whilst NZ could call this Grade 1, Grade 11 and Grade 111, this Assn is based on the German system of testing and will continue this tradition as the Assn is endeavouring to uphold their ideals.
A data base is kept by the Assn of test results. These test results are available to all members.
The data base is very important as in the future this will enable positive breeding choices. You have test results to enable you to make informed decisions on breeding to improve characteristics of our versatile dogs which we do not have in NZ at this time.
The results of all dogs tested are entered on the Assn data base.
As well, your dogs are evaluated for coat, temperament, teeth checked and conformation (body structure) checked for any serious defects. These are noted on the dogs test records.
Tests are generally held in the early spring and autumn.
When you join the Assn and when you enter a test you sign a form stating that you agree to the Rules & Regulations of this Assn.