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Hunt Tests

History of Retriever Hunt Tests


A hunt test is an event at which the natural ability and training of gun dogs are evaluated against a written standard.  Each dog that meets this standard earns a pass. This is unlike a field trial in which dog/handler teams compete against one another with only one dog being declared the winner.

Junior Hunting Tests consist of single marked retrieves on land and water and dogs are allowed to be lightly restrained at the line; Senior Hunting Tests consist of double marked retrieves, and relatively simple blind retrieves on land and water, as well as honoring the retrieve of another competitor; Master Hunting Tests are for the “truly finished and experienced hunting companion” and as such full refinement in trained abilities should be expected. Master tests consist of multiple marked retrieves on land, water, and land water combination. Master blind retrieves should be demanding and are done on land and water, one of which must be a double blind. Honoring is also required as well as a walkup situation, where the dog should be walking at heel, as the first bird is thrown in a marking situation.

AKC offers AKC Hunting Test for Retrievers program with titles offered for Junior Hunter, Senior Hunter and Master Hunter.

We are in the planning stages of a Fall 2024 AKC Junior Hunt Test and will share information as it comes available.  

Check back!  

AKC Retriever Hunting Tests were designed to give the dog owner a good, basic hunting dog and provide a place to run and compete. Here the dog is not competing against the other entries, but against a "standard." This "standard" was established by AKC as a means of judging good hunting retrievers and is modified periodically as and when needed. 

AKC Hunt Test Rules Document.

Junior Hunt Test

Junior Hunter title is the most basic mark of a great gun dog in training. Junior dogs are judged only on single marked retrieves, no blinds and the dog need not be steady. It will demonstrate the ability to mark and retrieve one bird on land and across water. Tests consist of two series. The first is two single marks thrown on land in a variety of cover conditions, and the second is a set of two single retrieves across water. In each scenario, the distance to the bird will generally not exceed one hundred yards.

Senior Hunt Test

Senior Hunter is the middle level in AKC titles. Here the dog, in addition to marked retrieves must also be able to deal with relatively easy blind retrieves, honoring another dog's retrieve, and be steady to gun. The test is two series. One series is a double marked retrieve (two birds) over land and the other is a double marked retrieve thrown over water. Blind retrieves, made with hand signals and whistles, are made independently of the marked retrieves and are not usually complex. A Senior Hunter certification indicates the retriever is ready for the blind and will always be a welcomed partner on every hunt.

Master Hunter

As the top level of AKC Hunt Test titles, the Master Hunter is a truly "finished" hunting retriever. This is a retriever that has been taught to "think" in the field. Tests are complex with difficult marking situations such as three or more birds down prior to being sent. Blind retrieves are integrated into the marking scenario and the dog must be rock solid in its honor of another working dog . This is where it really gets fun! Tests are passed only when the dog and handler work as a team to meet the standards of the event. Achieving the Master Hunter title is testament to an excellent training program. Be sure to talk with Jack about your dog's future as an AKC Master Hunter.

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