Retrieving Trials

RetrievingRetrieving Trial competitions are limited to the recognised Dogs Australia Gundog Breeds Only. To view the Dogs Australia Gundog breeds please click HERE >

The purpose of a Retrieving Trial [RT] is to test and determine the dogs’ natural hunting ability in the field, under natural conditions. Retrieving Trials allow the owner/breeder the opportunity to test the natural working instincts of their dogs, and a chance to select breeding stock based on preserving natural working instincts which have been developed over centuries.

RT’s in the Northern Territory are usually held ‘out bush or on private property, where the terrain can be quite challenging; it may be up hills, through gullies, and with thick cover. The cover may include tussocks or long grass, which conceal the ‘retrieve’ and force the dog to use its nose to scent it out. RT’s test dogs ‘runs’, and each ‘run’ includes heeling and general Obedience in the control area, plus the retrieves of course.

In the RT control area, the handler removes the lead and collar, takes the gun, and heels to the ‘firing’ point. The handler sends the dog for the retrieve and may use voice, whistle, and hand signals to control the dog if necessary.

Items to be retrieved are cast from a mechanical thrower and dogs must be able to determine the depth of fall of the ‘game’ and then be able to seek and retrieve the game and gently deliver it to the handler. All retrieving trials are held under the rules and regulations of Dogs Australia  and are held in all states around Australia. All dogs entered must be over six (6) months of age and trials are conducted in the NT by the Palmerston Gundog Club.

Retrieving trials are a great way to see our gundogs exhibiting their natural ability in the field. All types of gundogs compete and a Trial you can see breeds such as the Welsh Springer Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, English Springer Spaniel and various other breeds of gundogs.

Retrieving Trials are conducted at five (5) different levels, Beginners, Novice, Restricted, All Age and Championship.

Novice level: consists of three marked retrieves which are generally 60-80 metres but no more than 100 metres long. One (1) Mark retrieve must be in or through water.

Restricted and All Age: introduces the concept of the blind retrieve, where the game is placed instead of thrown, and the dog is directed to it. Also, more complex marks occur such as walk-ups, relocations, and marks thrown while the dog is on the way out/in from another retrieve. The maximum distance of retrieves in both stakes is 150 metres. Restricted Level must involve at least one (1) Blind find retrieve.

All Age: Must involve at least one (1) blind find retrieve and the dog must be tested for unsteadiness in a hide. A dog must win two (2) All Age stakes to earn the title of Retrieving Trial Champion.

Championship Stakes: A Championship Stake consists of not less than five (5) runs, with at least thirteen (13) items of game to be retrieved. At least two (2) blind find retrieves and tested for steadiness in a hide at least twice.

A National Championship consists of a minimum of eight (8) retrieves with at least seventeen (17) items of game, two (2) of which have to be ‘blind finds’ where the dog has to be tested for ‘steadiness’ from behind a hide twice. Championships are a great spectacle and a wonderful way to appreciate this group of dogs.

♦ The Dogs Australia Retrieving Trial Rules can be found HERE > 
More information on tests, latest trials and training is available from Retrieving Australia