HPR Spring Pointing Tests

HPR Spring Pointing Test Guidelines
The emphasis of these tests is to be on the natural working ability of the dog on open ground assessing ground treatment, hunting and pointing with an element of steadiness. Spring Pointing Tests are an evaluation of potential in a pointing dog. Dogs to be run and graded as individuals not in competition with other dogs.

Categories – The Tests are judged in two categories:

JUNIOR – For dogs over 6 months of age and under two years of age on the 1st January in the year of the pointing test, to be judged on partridge, pheasant and grouse, ground game to be judged for steadiness only.

ADULT – For dogs over two years of age on 1st of January in the year of the pointing test to be judged on partridge, pheasant and grouse. All other game to be judged for steadiness only. An excellent grade can only be awarded on partridge. Very good or good may be awarded on pheasant at the judges’ discretion.

Basic Requirements

• Each dog shall be run singly into wind, to quarter a beat of at least 100 metres on open ground.
• Each dog shall be run for a minimum of 10 minutes before being considered for a grading. Each dog will be allowed 1 minute to settle unless out of control.
• Dogs are required to hunt, point, hold game and flush on command.
• Judging emphasis to be on the natural ability of the dog in the following order of priority: Ground Treatment: Game Finding: Pointing: Steadiness.
• Each dog graded to be given a verbal critique by the Judges and an Assessment Certificate at the end of the day.

The ideal pattern is when the dog is searching for game and is completely in tune with the handler. The dog should hunt with drive, purpose and with good pace, ranging wide always turning into the wind and covering its ground with style. All game birds on its beat should be pointed and all other game honoured.

Good ground treatment/regular pattern – Turning into the wind – Natural ability to hunt without intervention – Game finding – *Good pace – *Correct head carriage (*when considering these aspects the judges must take into account the individual style of the different breeds.) – Steadiness to flush – Quiet handling.

Stickiness on point – Persistent False pointing – Persistent pointing of ‘larks’ – Persistently casting back on the wind – Unsteadiness – Catching healthy game.

Elimination Faults
Out of Control – Failure to Hunt or Point – Not covering sufficient ground – Chasing Game – Deliberately Flushing Game without pointing – Missing game birds on the beat – Whining or barking.

Assessment of EXCELLENT
The dog must work to the ideal pattern and exhibit all credits.

Assessment of VERY GOOD
The dog must be close to the ideal pattern without any persistent faults.

Assessment of GOOD
The work must be of a good standard showing natural aptitude but without high quality.

Judging Notes:• Dog to quarter with its nose on the wind with correct head carriage, enabling it to make contact with game scent.
• Quartering and turning on each flank into wind.
• Spending little or no time on ground or residual scent, giving only an indication of its presence.
• Positive indication of game, ideally holding until handler is in close contact and working forward with determination to final point. With correct head carriage the dog should directly flush, not losing contact and not foot scenting the game.
• Positive flush of game with dog steady. Game not to be chased in flight but exuberance quickly brought under control may be allowed for junior dogs.
• A grading can be considered if birds flush off the dog’s point on their own accord when the handler is not in close contact.
• Dogs which complete the card in their first run and are graded will not be required to run again.

Only dogs of sufficient standard, which have not obtained a grading in their first run, are to be considered for a second run. Judges should not be tempted to run a dog a second time to try and upgrade it if they have been able to give it a grading on its first run.

Reproduced with due acknowledgments to original author(s).

Weimaraner Field Trial Firsts:

Kimm Bakker & Tara

Weimaraner Field Trial Firsts:

HPR Field Trials:

Along with the German Short Haired Pointer, the Weimaraner has a long history in trialling in the UK. When the first Weimaraners were imported into the United Kingdom in 1952, there was no such thing as Field Trials for dogs which Hunt, Point and Retrieve. Weimaraners ran in Pointer & Setter trials in the 1950s. It wasn’t until the GSPC (in the 1960s) and the WCGB (1970s) began putting on field trials for HPRs, and in the shooting season, was the retrieving of shot game really tested at trials.

Winning a first place in a Novice HPR Field Trial is generally accepted as qualifying a dog for Open Field Trials. However, as far as Open Trials are concerned, the clue is in the name – the trial is open to all dogs of sufficient standard, and in the assessment of whether a dog has achieved that standard, the fact that it has been placed first at a Novice trial (or first or second at an All-Aged trial) will simply gain the dog a preference in the draw for the Open trial, should there be in excess of 12 entries.

There is no bar, other than the draw preference system, to any dog being entered into an Open Trial. What is certain is that in the modern era, a dog which has been placed first in a Novice field trial will not be permitted to enter further Novice trials.

This was not always the case, as in the early decades of HPR field trialling dogs were only barred from further Novice field trials if they had won two Novice firsts. This position obtained until the early 1980s. Dogs were also barred if they had won one first and two other places in Novice, or a first in an Open Trial.

A preference system for draws in All-Aged stakes is operated by many HPR breed societies, as the Kennel Club regulations allow for eligibility for entry in All-Aged to be restricted by any requirement imposed by the promoting society, other than age.

In recent years, the Weimaraner Association (WA) has run a “Weimaraners Only” All-Aged field trial, which would, it follows, have allowed any first or second placed dog to be given preference in a draw for an Open Trial, if it had not previously earned that entitlement in competition with other HPR breeds.

It was not unusual for “Weimaraners Only” Novice trials to be run by the Weimaraner Club of Great Britain (WCGB) in the early days of HPR field trialling. However, there were not many other HPR clubs running trials in existence in those days, nor many dogs of other HPR breeds trialling in the country except for mainly GSPs, and Hungarian Vizlas.

Novice Trial Winners:

A total of 26 Weimaraners have been placed first in Novice field trials, handled by 20 handlers. Three dogs have picked up a second 1st place when entry into further Novice trials was still permitted, to make 29 Novice 1st places in total.

The very latest win at a Novice trial came in the 2014/15 season just ended, with handler Kimm Bakker handling her Dutch bred Ostara Van De Tuindershof (b) (born 23/09/2008) to that coveted 1st place under judges M Wakeham and T Bennett at Ammerdown Park, Somerset, hosted by the BWWGS.

Twelve first places have been at awarded at WCGB Novice trials, with two of those first places being won in “Weimaraner only” trials in the early 1980s, the remainder have been in competition with other HPRs. The latest win at a WCGB Novice trial was at the Glassenbury Estate, Kent on 29/12/2012 with Suzi Burton’s Trubon Delta Truffe (b) (born 05/05/2008) under judges Mrs R Dockwray-Howard and L Anderson.

A further two first places were awarded at WA trials, one at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 06/11/1995, to Christine Carpenter’s Aschfahl Liberty Belle (b) (born 04/07/1992) under judges Mrs M Davison and T Rigby. The other went to Dave Pilkington’s Quadet Caterin (b) (born 04/08/1999) under judges C Wilkinson and R Day at Skirbeck Farm, Benniworth, Lincolnshire on 29/01/2003.

Double Firsts:

Lt. Col. HD Tucker’s Lotti Go-Lightly (b) (born 10/05/1962) was the first Weimaraner to achieve a first place in Novice, in the GSPC trial at Wynyard Hall, Stockton-On-Tees on 11/10/1967 judged by GC Sterne and Mrs M Sanderson.

Lotti Go-Lightly was also the first Weimaraner to win a second 1st place, just under five years later, this was in the WCGB trial at Flixton, Suffolk, on 07/10/1972 under judge Mrs M Sanderson once again, with co-judge G Sherring.

Costas Wilkinson’s Heronshaw Silver (b) (born 18/02/1977) won two first places in Novice, one at a WCGB (Weimaraners Only) trial at Tisted, Hampshire on 18/01/1980 under judges D Layton and T Horsefield, and the other the following season on 11/10/1980 at a GSPC trial at Burton-le-Coggles, Lincolnshire, under judges Mrs M Davison and E Wheeler.

The third and last double Novice winner was Mrs J Turner’s Ch Czolkins Platinum Cirrus (d) (born 26/05/1979); first at a WCGB (Weimaraners Only) trial on 13/01/1981 at Tisted, Hampshire under G Kew and J Field; and then on 09/10/1983 at a LMC Novice trial at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield under R Kuban and P Howard.

Double Handling:

Trevor Horsefield was the first handler to win Novice trials with two different dogs. The first win was with Waldemar Titus (d) (born 10/09/1970) at a GSP trial on 27/11/1976 at Eyke, Hollesley under judges Mrs L Petrie-Hay and Maj. G. Wilkinson MBE.

Trevor repeated the feat with Titus’s daughter, Hillbrow Quest (b) (born 27/11/1975) the following year in the WCGB trial at Dullingham on (21/10/1977) again under judge Mrs L Petrie-Hay, with CL Church co-judging.

Christine Carpenter picked up her second 1st place with Liberty Belle’s daughter, Aschfahl Chrystabelle (b) (born 04/05/1998) at a BWWGS Novice trial at Ammerdown, Somerset on 09/01/2004 under judges F Alcock and J Burns.

In between her two Novice first places, Christine handled Aschfahl Liberty Belle to an All-Aged win at a GSPC trial at Conholt Park on 19/10/1996 under judges Mrs M Nixon & Mrs V Ashton.

A Third In The Hand:

To date two handlers have managed to win Novice trials with three different dogs; Liza Brown and Suzi Burton.

Liza’s first win was with Emmaclan Escort (d) (born 03/02/1985) under judges G Nixon and P Howard, at a WCGB trial on 21/01/1987. On 12/12/1992 at a HGS trial, Liza’s Belvoirvale Bracken (b) (born 11/08/1989) was awarded 1st place by judges Mrs M Nixon and C Wilkinson. Eleven years later, on 18/10/2003, at a GSPA trial judge Mrs M Nixon, and her co-judge A Russell awarded a Novice win to Brakabreeze Bravehawk (d) (born 17/05/1999).

Emmaclan Escort was to go on and win a GSPC All-Aged trial on 02/12/1989 under judges Mrs M Nixon and J Breckon.

It is worth mentioning that on 02/12/2003, the sire of Brakabreeze Bravehawk, Chris Spree’s Brakabreeze Goshawk (d) (born 17/05/1999) won a WCGB Novice trial at Stourhead Estate, Wiltshire, under judges CL Church and Mrs LA Brown.

Three of Suzi Burton’s dogs have won Novice trials. The first win came on 26/01/2005 at a NSHPRFTC trial at Great Priory Farm, Braintree, Essex with Trubon Arade Tribute (“Fenny”) (b) (born 01/05/1999) under judges F Alcock and S Eyeington. Fenny’s sire was Chris Spree’s Brakabreeze Goshawk, which was also the sire to FT Ch Quadet Caterin.

The next Novice win was at a WCGB Novice trial on 29/12/2012 at the Glassenbury Estate, Kent with Trubon Delta Truffe.

The third of her Trubon dogs to win Novice was Trubon Flysse Trevive (b) (born 11/04/2011) at a Dukeries (Notts) trial at Blenheim, Oxfordshire on 14/12/2013 under judges A Russell and P Smith.

Fenny’s daughter, Trubon Chyna Treasa (b) (born 12/06/2006) won out of Novice by winning a WCGB All-Aged field trial at Glassenbury Estate, Goudhurst, Kent on 14/01/2011 under judges M Firmin and Mrs V O’Keeffe.

All-Aged Field Trials:

It has been mentioned that promoting societies may hold field trials with a variety of entry restrictions (other than by age of dog). In the modern era, All-Aged trials are generally seen by those involved in trialling to be an intermediate level between Novice and Open.

In an All-Aged trial it is usual to find dogs which have been placed in Novice trials (a common requirement applying as a preference in the draw) competing against dogs which have won out of Novice and which may have competed, and even been placed, in Open trials. The draw preference system will often also seek to prefer members with the particular breed of the promoting society.

The Kennel Club regulations pertaining to field trials (the “J-Regs”) do not specify a harsher judging regime to apply to the differing field trial stakes, although handlers generally expect that judges are looking for a higher standard of work from both dog and handler at All-Aged Trials. For Open Stakes which carry a qualification for the title of Field Trial Champion, the regulations explicitly state that a higher standard of work is expected.

All-Aged Firsts:

There have been seven All-Aged first places awarded to Weimaraners. The first Weimaraner to win an All-Aged trial was Di Arrowsmith’s Wobrooke of Fleetapple (“Brooke”) (d) (born: 17/11/1979) at a LMC trial at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, Bucks on 14/01/1985 under judges Sir M Leighton Bt and Mrs M Nixon. Brooke won first again, also at a LMC trial a year or so later on 20/01/1986 at Clapham, Nr Settle, Yorkshire, under judges G Nixon and Mrs M Nixon.

No other dog or handler has won more than one first at All-Aged trials.

Liza Brown’s Emmaclan Escort, Christine Carpenter’s Aschfahl Liberty Belle and Suzi Burton’s Trubon Chyna Treasa All-Aged firsts have been mentioned earlier.

Ch Tasairgid Talked About (d) (born: 13/05/1984) owned by Mr & Mrs S Chant, and handled by Steve Chant, won out of Novice by virtue of an All-Aged first awarded by judges EG Hardman and C Wilkinson at a GSPC trial on 06/01/1990.

The same distinction applies to Suzi Burton’s Trubon Chyna Treasa and also to PH Wassall’s Roxberg Prince Kharis of Eigerwand (d) (born: 06/01/1987) which won its first place at a GSPA trial on the last day of the shooting season on 01/2/1991 under judges DM Layton and I Elliot.

Open Firsts:

Given that there have only been two Field Trial Champion Weimaraners, it is not surprising that it is a very exclusive company of Weimaraners which have the distinction of being placed first at Open field trials. Two first places confer the title of “Field Trial Champion” to a dog.

Both Field Trial Champions won out of Novice by being placed first.

Di Arrowsmith’s FT Champion Wobrooke of Fleetapple (d) won three first places in Open trials. The first was at a Lothian and Borders Gundog Association trial on 22/10/1988 under judges Mrs M Nixon and PG Nixon. The title-conferring second win was at a GSPC trial a month later on 18/11/1988 under judges Mrs I Sanderson and Mrs M Nixon. And as if to amplify its FT Champion status, Brooke won again at a GSPC Open trial on 06/12/1989 under judges Lord Joicey DSO and DM Layton.

Dave Pilkington’s FT Champion Quadet Caterin (b) (“Holly”) got a “leg up” by winning an Open first on 30/12/2004 at a WCGB trial at Netheravon, Wiltshire under judges PG Nixon and S Chant. The all-important second Open win came two days later on 01/01/2005 at a GSPA trial at Little Dalby, Leicestershire under judges A Russell and Mrs V O’Keeffe.

Intense Competition:

In the early days the main competition for HPR field trial awards came from German Shorthaired Pointers which even then were more numerous in the field. In the modern era both GSPs and Weimaraners now compete with a host of other continental HPR’s which were introduced into the United Kingdom much later than these two breeds.

In the 2013/14 trialling season, 77 GSPs ran, compared with just 24 Weimaraners. Indeed, not only were the Weimaraner numbers eclipsed by the GSPs, they were exceeded by the GWPs (30), and HVs (25), while remaining ahead of the other 8 HPR breeds which ran.

The 2013/14 season was notable, however, as it saw a mini-resurgence in the number of Weimaraners and handlers entering field trials, with 20 handlers running 24 dogs, and 8 handlers winning 17 awards with 9 dogs.

Competition for awards is intense at all levels, but especially so in Open trials. Suzi Burton’s two Open dogs will be joined by Kimm Bakker’s Tara for the start of the 2015/16 season in having preferential status in the draw for places in Open trials.

Nigel Wroe

Click for pdf version of Weimararaner Firsts with Summary Table.

Guide To The Weimaraner – Gillian Burgoin 1985
HPR Championship – T Horsefield – HPR FTA
Kennel Club Stud Books to 2012 – Kennel Club
Kennel Club “J” Regulations

Thanks to G Carpenter for edit suggestions.

Water Proficiency Testing for HPRs

Kassie Boreham FT

HPRFTA Conference 2015 (08/02/2015)


I want to state my position on the question of the water test applicable for field trials.

I think we are all agreed that the HPR of whatever breed should be proficient to retrieve from and over water. It is written as a basic requirement in the J-Regs.

However, the conduct and even concept of the water test at field trials is persistently questioned, usually as a result of some trigger, such as a poor standard rewarded at field trials, or too high a standard demanded relative to the stake or other trials, or outstanding performance as a hunter and game finder on land, and in work after the shot let down by inappropriate conduct at the water, or the water situation is simply inadequate and any pass at that water is an affront to dogs who have met with a greater challenge elsewhere.

Dare I also say inconsistent judging?

And then there is the incidence of inclement weather conditions which present at trials from time to time.

These scenarios lead to the perennial question of the suitability of the water test at field trials.

In evaluating the all round versatility of the HPR we should aim for a certain, well defined, high standard of proficiency in water. The current variable state of water tests at trials does not meet this aim, and if dogs ARE being trained to a higher level of proficiency it is to meet the random challenge involving water while the dog is working its beat.

Water is hardly ever met in these conditions.

At a recent trial the water intended for the water test was only available before a set time, and so, on a mild winter’s day, water certificates were used.

Some will or have argued for the wholesale abandonment of a water test at field trials and replacement by a water certificate. It is suggested that more grounds for trialling would then become available and more daylight available to reward deserving dogs with more work to allow it to fill its card. That seems to be too revolutionary and leads to a fear that a water certificate issued in summer/autumn would undermine the training for winter water scenarios, and even undermine the essential versatility of the HPR.

So we find ourselves debating the question year in year out, drowning in a pool of fears and apprehension. Meanwhile the perceived problems mentioned earlier continue to dog us and our sport.

We already have the concept of spring or grouse pointing tests. I wasn’t around at the time of their establishment, but the aim I understand was to emulate those tests of the pointing breeds on the Continent.

Was the complaint ever heard that such tests would undermine the ability of dogs to point at trials, flush on command and be steady to shot and fall? Probably, and yet such tests are an accepted part of the calendar, although there are complaints that they were never intended to be held in woodland!

By the way, these tests, so far are not regulated by the Kennel Club.

So I am proposing the establishment of annual WATER PROFICENCY TESTS to be run by HPR clubs, judged by a panel judge or judges only, always involving cold game. These tests would be more demanding than any water test scenario ever encountered in line at a field trial or at the water test we are familiar with.

The suggested scenarios should be extremely challenging if they are to incentivise handlers to train their dogs to reach the standard. I would therefore not label them as Novice and Open, but more as Standard and Elite, just as we have Junior and Adult for pointing tests. Standard and Elite can be graded if necessary, especially unless or until they are relied upon at field trials.

These WPT awards or certificates may or may not ever replace the field trial water tests, but we need to acknowledge the simple possibility that if they should ever reach a universal level of respect and acceptability, they just might. This will depend on the challenges set, the timing, and the judging, as well as the availability of suitable water to set up the various scenarios.

On reaching a defined level of proficiency and passing the test, a Water Proficiency Certificate can be issued by the organising club. It may be appropriate to hold these tests at GWT venues, or at special events. They will ultimately lead to training events leading up to taking the WPT. In fact cold game training days often train for more elaborate water scenarios.

I can elaborate on a couple of suggested formats for the two levels of proficiency being certified. My inspiration would be those held on the Continent. More later or off-line if you like.

We do not need to lobby the Kennel Club for the replacement of the FT Water Test right now by these prospective tests, but highlight by their success and acceptability that we may seek to do so in the future.

Possession of a current Water Proficiency Test Certificate could be a pre-requisite for example at an All Aged Field Trial, at a venue where there is no water. At this stage I would suggest that the WPTC has been awarded by two panel judges, or an A Panel judge and any other judge, panel or non-panel.

The WPTC should be issued by the organising club and just as for draw preference on a field trial entry form, the details should be disclosed and the WPTC presented on the day if necessary.

It might come to pass that a central registry would need to be established but that is years ahead.

Nigel Wroe

Click for pdf version of Water Proficiency Testing for HPRs – with suggested Test Formats