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What defines a Versatile Hunting dog?

       It is a dog that is bred and trained to dependably search for and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water.  They were developed to work before and after the shot under a variety of conditions in the field, forest and water on feather and fur.  The demands placed on the versatile hunting dog require them to be intelligent, with the willpower to persevere and the ability to concentrate under various conditions.

The versatile breeds, as we know them today, are products of Europe. No distinctive versatile hunting breed has been developed in North America.


AKC Performance Tests

The purpose of the AKC Hunting Test program is to provide an opportunity for a dog to demonstrate its field abilities in a manner as consistent as possible with the demands of actual hunting conditions.

Junior Hunting Test - Junior hunting dogs are expected to show a keen desire to hunt, be bold and independent, and have a fast, attractive manner of hunting. They should demonstrate intelligence in seeking objectives and the ability to locate game. A Junior dog must establish point, but no additional credit shall be given for steadiness to wing and shot. A “flash” point does not qualify as a point. A blank cartridge shall be fired by the handler. Junior dogs are expected to show reasonable obedience to their handler’s commands. A Junior hunting dog must achieve four qualifying scores to receive a Junior Hunter (JH) title.

Senior Hunting Test - Senior hunting dogs must show all the attributes of a Junior dog. In addition, they must be steady to wing, staying in position until the bird is shot or they are released. A senior dog must retrieve, but the retrieve need not be perfectly to hand. Whenever it encounters its bracemate on point, a Senior dog is expected to honor (stop and acknowledge a dog on point), but it may be given a verbal command to do so. A Senior dog is expected to stop on a wild-bird flush but it may be commanded to do so. A dog that renders a bird unfit for the table or that steals its bracemate’s point shall not receive a qualifying score. A Senior hunting dog must achieve five qualifying scores to receive a Senior Hunter (SH) title, except that if the dog has earned a JH title—then it will receive a SH title once it has achieved four qualifying scores.

Master Hunting Test - A Master hunting dog is expected to be a finished and experienced hunting companion. It must show a keen desire to hunt at a range suitable for a handler on foot. It must cover ground and intelligently hunt the objectives without ranging out of sight for a length of time that would detract from its usefulness as a practical hunting dog. It must handle kindly with a minimum of noise from its handler. Intelligent use of the wind and terrain, accurate nose and intensity on point are essential. A Master dog must locate game, point staunchly, and must be steady to wing and shot on all birds. The handler shall not command the dog to retrieve until positive steadiness has been demonstrated. The dog must retrieve promptly, tenderly and absolutely to hand. Whenever a Master dog encounters its bracemate on point it must honor on its own. All commands to the dog while it is on point or while it is honoring are expected to be quiet and infrequent. A Master hunting dog must achieve six qualifying scores to receive a Master Hunter (MH) title, except that if the dog has earned a SH title—then it will receive a MH title once it has achieved five qualifying scores.


North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association

Natural Ability Test which is designed to evaluate the inherent natural abilities of young dogs and gain insight into their possible usefulness as versatile gun dogs. It rates seven important inherited abilities: nose, search, tracking, pointing, water, desire and cooperation. 

Utility Preparatory Test measures the dogs’ development midway through their training toward the Utility Test. 

Utility Test evaluates trained dogs in water and field, before and after the shot, as finished versatile hunting companions as well as many other specific tasks. 

Invitational Test is our highest level of testing. Only dogs who have achieved a Prize I in Utility are eligible. This limits the entry to exceptional animals who have demonstrated a high level of training and tests their skills in the advanced work.

Test information for you and your Spinone

Contact Info  Looking for help getting started with Hunt Testing?  Check the contact list.

Helpful websites for hunt test information

AKC Junior Hunt Test FAQ

NAVHDA Natural Ability Test FAQ

Testing Do's and Don'ts