Sth Island Test:

Entry form - click here

(shrink to fit page when printing )

Note:  Intermediate test is open to all ages over 16mnth  and over.

NZ Gundog Trials Assn has accepted our Test Pass results which will be forwarded to DogsNZ to go on your
dogs pedigree.
Natural Ability Older Dog Tests will not have result on pedigrees, but will get a certificate of grade obtained.

The Assn also has a facebook page where members may put photos.
The entry forms are also loaded to the page as a file.

NZKC members can now manually load health test results onto pedigrees via your home page.

The end of our financial year is 1st March 2020
Subs are now due. $10
ANZ 010702 0105851 00  

Secretary contact email:

Executive elected for 2019

President:  Gail Blankley
Vice President:  Lawrence Hill
Sec/Treas:  Margaret Cotton
Patron: Dick Tyson

Working Committee:  Nth island - G Alan Cowden, Dick Tyson, Bryan Wood, Gareth Williams & executive.
                                    Sth Island - Lawrence Hill, Rose Gilbert, Stu Gerritsen, Lisa Terry,  Maritna Utz & executive.

Thank you everybody, especially those who have voluntered for the working committee so we can plan future test dates.
Thank you also those who have paid subs, and in particular those who have paid in advance.

Anyone wanting to read JGHV test regulations they are found at 

Look in Service section.

(Anyone wanting NZGDTA field trial schedules emailed to them please contact Sec.)

Renewal of annual subscription due 1st March 2019
Subs:  $10 single  $5 extra family member
Post to The Secretary, 122 Emano St, Nelson.
or by direct credit (stating name & Subs) to  ANZ - Nelson - VHDTA(NZ) -  01 0702 0105851 00

The joining form link is on the opening page of this website

A small membership fee of $10 allows you to enter members site and read test regulations, results etc.  It  also gives us funds toward running the tests, and holding training days.  In the future getting 
judges  "down south" to  run tests.   Please support the aims of the VHDTA with your subscription.

The VHDTA (NZ) is affiliated to the NZ Gundog Trials Assn, and hence the NZKC.

Why dummy or toy for NA water test and not a bird?

The reason we use a bird as a last  resort, is that the test is a measure of the dogs confidence and willingness to enter the water, not a retrieve.
The dummy is used to give the dog a reason, ie: a target.  Ideally dogs should need no such enticement, they should just go, the same as when
you release them into the field, however, this is a test for puppies. 

 The bird taps into the dogs Prey Drive  and a dog with little affection for the water will overlook this if they have a strong desire for birds, but we are evaluating a pups natural inclination to enter water - "water love" so no bird except as a last resort.

Entering the Natural Ability Test


From the arrival of your new pup you should begin training; training as a game, training in a no pressure fun manner.

With the help of tasty treats pup will first learn to sit and to come to call.  Each day do a couple of fun retrieves with a special toy, up the hallway is ideal.
Within a few months pup will be learning to walk quietly beside you and to lay down and stay put for a short time.

Most importantly you will have taken your puppy as often as possible for enjoyable romps in many different places, the sort of places you hope pup may find some birds and definitely different scents to figure out.

You cannot teach a dog to hunt, they learn about scent and wind, birds and animals, ponds and streams, grass and gorse as they grow up.  All this because you made sure they have the exposure to sights, sounds, terrain and above all game so they use all their innate natural abilities and learn from their experiences.

Judges will not expect from a 6 month pup what they will from a 16 month old.  An older pup should have had a seasons hunting and be more advanced in training.  A 6 month pup is at the beginning of your hunting adventures.

If your pup has not had the opportunity to follow a running pheasant or wounded bird, you will need to give pup that experience.  You can drag a bird or even just walk out in fresh green grass and leave a treat or favourite toy at the end of your track. 
Start short and slowly extend the distance as pup improves.
Following your tracks is also how pup will find you when hunting in heavy cover.

You will need to introduce gunfire as a blank shot will be fired to check pups reaction in the test.  A gundog must hunt for the gun.  Be careful how you go about introducing gunfire, pup must be involved in other business when you fire from a distance, watch pups reaction and plan your future conditioning from there.
Whatever you do, don't let pup associate gunfire with something bad, even someone scolding another dog at the time of a shot can cause pup to relate the two together.

Overtraining of a pup for the Natural Ability test will be noticeable to the judges from the dogs demeanour, and will be marked accordingly.

Walk in the normal manner you do out hunting, carry the gun as you normally do and behave in the same manner as when you are hunting with your dog.  Some interaction is expected, but too many commands and excessive control will lower your score.

If your pup points, approach fairly briskly from the side or front.  Either flush the bird or carry pup away.  Don't worry if pup chases the bird, walk off in another direction and whistle pup to come along.
The judges just want to see if pup has some pointing instinct, that the point produces some game (whatever that may be) is not a sight point, and is not a false point.

To recap:  Your puppy must be old enough and keen enough to be leaving your side and hunting for game.
                 Your puppy must have been introduced to gunfire (we only use primers to test puppies)
                 Your puppy must have been introduced to water and willing to go into it and swim (with a little encouragement of course).

                  This all boils down to YOU making sure you puppy has exposure to these things.  A run in a mown park is not enough, puppy must be "in the wild" on a regular  basis to give it the chance to develop those natural instincts.  Take puppy alone for these walks so puppy learns for itself - just a 1/4hr hunting expedition you and the pup before you let the other dogs out will be enough, but that 1/4hr you and pup are HUNTING.  Not playing, not you talking or dreaming along -  HUNTING !                       

   What would have been the outcome if Motzart never was given the opportunity to play a piano?     

The Intermediate test is for dogs that have done a seasons' hunting.  It involves a lot of retrieving land and water, and tracking.  Your dog must retrieve a duck to hand and have had some experience at following a drag (track).  Your dog must display basic obedience.  More obedience is required of those that enter in the "older dog test"  as these dogs are evaluated as seasoned  workers.

About Testing - the reason for testing  dogs with the VHDTA.

At this early stage, the Association needs  much positive feedback, encouragement and assistance.  Only a very few people are putting a lot of dedication into making this work for our NZ Versatile Hunting Dogs, so let's get on with the vision.  All the test regulations describing how the dogs are evaluated, what makes up a truly versatile hunting dog and training articles are available for members inside this site. 

Test scores are available in members section.

Entering a Natural Ability Test:  This test is for pups 6 months to 16months of age.  You can enter an older dog for a grading, but the dog is not eligible for any Prize classification.

A pup needs to have been given the opportunity to fossick and romp about in the fields and woods, learning about scent and maybe finding a bird or two. The pup needs to be taken into hunting areas with no other dog, so that it can learn all about hunting by itself, gain confidence and not rely on an older dog finding game for it. The pup needs to have been introduced to water in a manner that allows pup to feel safe and gain confidence in swimming.  The pup also needs to be conditioned to the sound of shot.

Entering an Intermediate Test:  This test is for young dogs 16 months up until they reach 30 months of age. Again, an older dog can be entered for a grading but is not eligible for any Prize classification.

This dog should have at least one hunting season behind it, it should be obedient to basic commands, be confident to enter water, and a reliable retriever.  The dog will be expected to retrieve gamebirds, and optional fur.
As this test involves some tracking of game, it certainly would be advisable to practise a few drags with your young dog prior to the test.  The game should be dragged with the wind at your back, the ground cover should be lush, the dog shouldn't see you setting the track, leave the game for the dog to retrieve but continue around in a circle down wind of the drag back to the dog.  Practise with your dog on a leash if the dog wants to range rather than concentrate on the drag.

On joining the Assn ($10) you are able to view the test regulations in the members section.


Joining the Assn  in the members section you can print off a copy of the test regulations.  These tell you exactly what is expected of your dog, and tells the judges what to look for in evaluation of the dogs.  Everything you need to know.
It is essential you read these regulations before you run your dog in a test.

Training supplies:



The below articles have been generously given by the authors for publication on this site. We hope they will give you some assistance in training your versatile hunting dogs to their best abilities.  Please remember these articles are copyright to the authors.

Article - How Dogs Learn    

Article - On Tracking

Article - Retrieve Steps

More on Retrieving

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Occassionally amongst the show dogs you will come across some hunting lines worth consideration. - NZ DOG SITE

4 month old GWP puppy duck search & retrieve (well worth a look)

Link to photo's of Deutsch Drathaar working large & small game.

Link to photos of working DK in Germany - go to fotoachievem

Weimaraner Finland

Weimaraner news

1080 opposition website:

Useful links:


Don't forget to visit Jenny & Marg's information site on Versatile Hunting Dogs.  Here you will find many informative articles and photo's of working versatile hunting dogs from around the World.