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Thread: History of Retriever Field Trials

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default History of Retriever Field Trials

    I just came acoss an interesting article on the AKC website on the history of field trials. The AKC basically says that AKC field trials started out running under British field trial rules and continued so for about 10 years.
    Here is a link to the article:

    Here is an excerpt:

    1931 saw the organization of the Labrador Retriever Club, with Mrs. Marshall Field as its first president. On December 21 of that same year, it put on the first field trial for Retrievers in America on the eight-thousand acre Glenmere Court estate of Robert Goelet in Chester, New York-deliberately holding it on a Monday so that it would not attract a gallery. The George Foley Dog Show Organization of Philadelphia managed the event for the few dozen wealthy competitors. Although the program states that it was held under AKC and Labrador Retriever Club rules, the accounts of the trial indicate clearly that it was run under British rules. Mr. and Mrs. Field took first and second placements respectively in the Open All-Age Stake. W. Averell Harriman won the American-Bred Stake.

    The trials that followed continued through the 1930s in the hunting tradition of the British rules until increased entries and the development of sophisticated training methods assured the impracticality of British trialing procedure in America. Controlling the dogs by whistle, voice, and hand commands (handling) revolutionized the sport, starting in the 1940s. Today's trials for Retrievers, in spite of the dictates of the AKC rules, no longer represent practical hunting situations."
    The American Gundog Club seems to be headed back toward the beginning:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I'm glad to see that there are some interest in a type of trial that gets back to the original feild trial. I feel this will be good for the future of actual hunting dogs in america. My hat's off to whom ever came up with this idea.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default trials

    I have dabbled n the UK format fun trials, hunt tests and AKC field trials for several years and feel they all have something positive to offer. Since your not necessarily bound by any rules perhaps you can blend certain aspects of all the games to test for the attributes you desire.

    I ran some trials before that had a combination of the moving walkup but mixed in static tests where each dog got the same test such as a nasty poison bird blind or water double(Mr. Milner judged us in one about 5 years ago). IMO these are scenarios are very useful for the US hunting dog to know but are difficult to fairly test with the pure british format.

    Just an opinion. If the strictly UK format is offered I'll still enjoy running it, but there are useful skill sets in the US games I enjoy training for.Hope to see the new games succeed.

    Bill Billups

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