NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) is an excellent compliment to the existing activities of sporting dog breed clubs and field trial organizations.
It was created to supplement the activities of those clubs by providing a proven method of evaluating the performance of all versatile hunting dogs, consistent with North American hunting practices, regardless of breed. NAVHDA Clubs will sponsor training days (March – September) to assist handlers. Training days focus on field work, water work, and obedience.
The NAVHDA Testing System provides for testing at various stages of maturity. The NAVHDA system of comprehensive tests truly measures all aspects of work for the versatile hunting dog breeds.
NAVHDA chapters sponsor four kinds of tests:
The 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.
The Utility Preparatory Test measures the dog’s development midway through their training toward the Utility Test.
The 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.
The Invitational Test is the 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 advance work.
In order to eliminate direct competition between dogs, entrants in a NAVHDA test are judged one at a time, by three judges, with their performance scored against a standard. Each dog that meets or exceeds minimum standards in all areas of work is placed in one of three categories: Prize I, II or III. Prize I being the highest classification.
NATURAL ABILITY TEST:
ORGANIZATION AND SCOPE:
The Natural Ability is organized into 4 main segments, or phases as follows:
1.) Field Phase: The dog is hunted in cover where the presence of game has been assured by the releasing of game birds. Each dog is hunted a minimum of 20 minutes and is scored or evaluated on: Use of nose, search, pointing, desire, cooperation and gun shyness.
2.) Tracking Phase: The dog is given the opportunity to track a flightless running pheasant or chuckar. Each dog is evaluated on the following
items: Use of nose, tracking, desire to work and cooperation.
3.) Water Phase: The dog is tested for it's willingness to swim. They are required to enter and swim 2 separate times while retrieveing
The following items are evaluated during the water test: Water entry, desire to work and cooperation.
4.) Judgment of Physical Characteristics. A detailed examination of the dog is done after the water test they will look at teeth, bite, genitals, eyes, coat, etc. and all around physical soundness of the dog.