What are Retrieving Competitions?

The ability and intelligence of well-bred and well-trained gundogs is remarkable. Dogs Victoria and various affiliated clubs conduct competitive retrieving trials for registered gundogs. Retrieving Ability Tests may also include Associate Gundogs. Click here to see what qualifies as an Associate Gundog.

These events are designed to test the various breeds in the type of work for which they were developed over hundreds of years. They provide breeders with the opportunity to test the natural working instincts of their dogs and therefore the chance to select breeding stock on the basis of appropriate temperament and for preservation of their invaluable working instincts.

These trials provide the opportunity for owners to experience the pleasure of working closely with their dogs in competitive field sports.

Championship titles and minor titles are available based on performance. Retrieving competitions are run under ANKC rules. The types of trials are outlined below:

Retrieving Ability Tests for Gundogs (RATG)

The RATG is open to both Registered Gundogs and Associate Gundogs. It is a test of basic retrieving ability. The tests are designed so that they might be held in conjunction with either obedience trials or perhaps show events depending on the area that is available.

Titles are awarded at two levels; novice retrieving ability (NRA) and open retriever ability (ORA).

Novice level consists of four exercises; walking to heel, a recall, and two single mark (sighted) retrieves.

Open level also consists of four exercises; walking to heel, one minute stay with recall (incorporating a stop on command), walk-up retrieve, and either a double mark retrieve or a double rise retrieve.
To review the RATG rules and have more understanding of the retrieves, click here.

Retrieving Trials

Retrieving trials are competitions for registered (purebred) Gundogs where dogs are tested for obedience, and natural retrieving and hunting abilities. The trials are set in areas that can as close as possible imitate natural hunting situations. Any dog in Group Three (Gundog Group) is eligible to compete.

The purpose of a retrieving trial is to test and determine the dogs retrieving ability in the field, under natural conditions. Items to be retrieved are cast from a mechanical thrower and dogs must be able to determine the depth of the fall of the ‘game’ and then be able to hunt out the game, retrieve it and gently deliver it to the handler. All retrieving trials are held under the rules and regulations of the ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council), and are held in all states around Australia. Retrieving trials are conducted at five different levels, beginners, novice, restricted, all age and championship.

A Beginners Test is the entrance level for new triallers. It consists of two runs (retrieves), one on land and one in or through water which is of sufficient depth for the dog to swim. Handlers are given instruction on the procedure for the conduct of the test, and shown the mechanics of the run over which the dog is required to compete. It is a great way to be introduced to the sport of retrieving trials.

On the opposite end of the scale are the state and national championship stakes. A national championship has to consist of at least seven retrieves with at least 15 items of game two of which have to be blind finds where the dog has to be tested for steadiness from behind a hide. Championships are a great spectacle of working gundogs and generally attract many competitors from other states. A ‘blind’ is where an item of game is placed on the ground (up to 150 metres away) and the dog directed to it by hand signals from the handler.

Retrieving trials are a great way to see our gundogs exhibiting their natural ability in the field. It is great to see the different breeds Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Large Munster-lander, Brittany, Flat Coated, Retriever, Weimaraner and various other breeds of gundogs all competing against each other.

To view the retrieving rules please click here

If you have a gundog, inquire about participation through a retrieving club or Dogs Victoria.