“Women and cats will do as they please; and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea” – Robert Heinlein
Field Trials are competitive events that test a dog’s ability to work game.
Field Trials are usually sanctioned by a group such as the AKC, The American Field Sporting Dog Association, the National Shoot to Retrieve Association, etc. Most Field Trials are actually run by local Clubs, sometimes with support from their parent organization.
The Texas Coastal Brittany Club usually holds a Field Trial in the Fall (December) and again in the Spring (January). (You can check the upcoming year’s schedule of ABC-affiliated Field Trials under “Calendar of Events“)
Field Trials offer different stakes to challenge dogs of different ages and levels of experience, as well as to accommodate both amateur and professional handlers. The various stakes have different judging criteria. The adult dogs will be judged on their stamina, ability to locate and point game, style on point, bold and attractive style of running, and manners on birds, among other things.
The dogs run in “braces” of two at a time, and are placed 1st through 4th in each stake (Puppy, Derby, Gun Dog, All-Age). Because the dogs are expected to cover a lot of ground during their timed runs in a Field Trial, they are usually handled from horseback. There are, however, Walking stakes where horseback handling is not allowed.
Observers are welcome to follow in “the Gallery”, but must stay well back from the dogs, handlers, and judges, so as not to interfere.
In AKC-sanctioned Field Trials the dogs compete toward Field Championship (FC) and/or Amateur Field Championship (AFC) titles. The AKC Field Trial Rules for handling, judging, and scouting are complicated, but any observer can see the excitement in the dogs, and experience the thrill of watching them do what they were bred to do!
If you’d like to know more, or get involved in Field Trials with your Brittany, please contact VP Jim Crawford.
We currently hold our Spring and Fall Field Trials at the Boyd Ranch, just North of Mexia, and South of Wortham, Texas.