CKC Hunt Test Basics

The Titles:

To earn a Junior Hunt title (JH) you and your dog must have a record of having acquired qualifying scores in 3 CKC approved hunt tests.

For the Senior Hunt title (SH) you must achieve qualifying scores in the Senior Hunting Test at 4 CKC approved hunt tests.

Once a dog has been recorded by CKC as a Senior Hunter, that dog will be recorded as a Master Hunter (MH) after having acquired qualifying scores in the Owner Handler Master Hunt Test or Master Hunt Test at 5 CKC approved hunt tests.

Grand Master Hunter - GMH. This working pair has earned qualifying scores in 10 CKC approved Owner Handler Master, Master Hunter Tests or National Master Hunt Tests. - WHEW....

National Master Hunter Title (NM) must have qualified at a National Master Hunt Test stake.

Let's start with the basics of the Junior and Senior Hunt Tests:

The Junior Hunt Title

This test consists of 4 single marks: 2 on land and 2 on water.

Dogs need not be steady and may be brought to the line restrained gently or held gently by a collar until sent to retrieve. Dogs should be brought to line tractably at heel and must be under control.

A dog must retrieve to hand!

Junior Hunting dogs shall not be handled on more than one mark, and if handling is required, it must be accomplished crisply and cleanly.

Senior Hunt Test

Dogs shall be tested in a minimum of 5 hunting situations which shall include:

(a) One land blind.

(b) One water blind.

(c) One double land marks.

(d) One double water marks.

(e) An upland hunting test. The dog shall be required to locate birds as in typical upland hunting and within gun range of the handler. The dog may be urged to hunt or handled to maintain his range and position. One (1) to three (3) birds must be placed in cover within the test area. When located, the birds must be retrieved by the dog to the handler. Dead birds shall be used.

There shall be no walk-up test in senior hunt test.

The blinds may be run as a double blind, one placed on land and one placed on water.

A diversion shot(s) shall be used. A diversion shot is a shot in which no bird is thrown and shall be fired in Senior Tests.

A dog shall be required to honour a working dog at least once,

Blinds should be no longer than 73.1m (80yards) and as open as possible.

Standards of Performance - What the judges are looking for...

1. MARKING: Marking, or memory of falls is very important. Ability to mark does not necessarily imply pin-pointing the fall, but a dog should proceed directly to the area of the fall and establish a hunt.

2. STYLE: Style is apparent in every movement of a dog by the gaiety of its manner, by its alertness, by its eagerness and speed on retrieves, by its water entry, by its pick up of birds, and by its return with them.

3. PERSEVERANCE: Perseverance/courage/hunting is shown by a dog’s determination to stick at it and complete the task at hand (i.e., systematically, aggressively, and without faltering) to search for and find the bird it has been sent to retrieve.

4. TRAINABILITY: Trainability, or the abilities acquired through training, is generally understood to be composed of four (4) components – steadiness, control, response and delivery. Control includes walking tractably at heel, off lead, assuming and staying in any designated position on line, as well as remaining quietly on line beside the handler after delivery of the bird.

5. CONTROL : includes walking tractably at heel, off lead, assuming and staying in any designated position on line, as well as remaining quietly on line beside the handler after delivery of the bird.

* Another section one should read carefully are the faults and deductions (section 16 - Classification of Faults - CKC Handbook)

WC Hunt Test Basics

These tests are designed to test the natural abilities of your retriever. The Working Certificate trials are designed to be somewhat 'easier' than the Hunting and Field (Retriever) Trial competitions, as they realize that most Retrievers will not be as thoroughly trained as those who compete in hunting trials. The Work Certificate trials are devised to be simple land and water tests using ducks, game birds, or pigeons. These tests are designed to demonstrate the following natural abilities of a retriever: accurate marking and memory of falls, intelligence, attention, style, good nose, perseverance, desire and trainability.

The CKC offers 3 levels of Working trials, the WC (Working Certificate), WCI (Working Certificate Intermediate), and the WCX (Working Certificate Excellent). Working Certificate tests are non-competitive, meaning there is just qualifying and non-qualifying scores, and the dogs are not actually competing against the other dogs in the trial. In the Working Certificate Tests, dogs need only qualify once at each level to earn a title. The Working Certificate Titles are also non-competitive so the titles (WC, WCI, and WCX) follow a dog's registered name. Working Certificate Trials are CKC sanctioned event, and they are open to all of the retriever breeds (i.e., Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake, Curly-Coat, and Flat-Coat), as well as Irish Water Spaniels and Standard Poodles. To enter a trial, your dog must be CKC registered. 

WC (Working Certificate) This is the most basic level of competition. A dog is required to retrieve back-to-back singles on land and in the water. Dogs do not have to be steady. Retrieves are between 50 to 75 yards on land and 25 to 40 yards in water. 

WCI (Working Certificate Intermediate) 

The tests for a WCI are:

(a) Land double. 

(b) Honour on the land test 

(c) Water double. 

Dogs should be steady, under control, show desire and a willingness to work and be able to use their nose. The dog must deliver to hand and come to line off lead. The falls on land are approximately 75 yard in moderate to moderately heavy cover. The retrieves on water are approximately 40 to 50 yards. 

WCX (Working Certificate Excellent) 

The tests for the WCX are: 

(a) Walk-up test with a land double or land/water double. 

(b) Honour on walk-up. 

(c) Water double. 

(d) Land blind. 

(e) Water blind.

The WCX dog should be a steady, reliable worker that would be an asset to have along on a hunt.