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Showing Dogs/Hunt tests


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Just wondering if any of you show dogs in conformation competitions, or perform at hunt tests or field trials. I live in SW Minnesota and am hoping to begin with conformation events. I am wondering if anyone has any advice or opinions on these types of events. I know that the hunt trials/field tests are down the road for me, I have a lot of work to do with my dogs, but I am passionate about the lab breed. I am not out to make money doing this but to hopefully help to improve the breed the best way I can. But, living where I do, I am limited to not knowing where some of these events may be. Any help is appreciated.


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Haven't 'shown' a dog since the late 80's. You'll find it is VERY political. My advise to you? Have a veteran judge or handler look at your dog and give you an honest assessment as to what they feel your dog will do in the ring. Mny owners hire pro handlers to show their dogs as they know what to do with each judges pereption of the dog. Unless you're just looking at the experience of doing it, I'd get an honest evaluation prior to dumping any real money into showing a dog... An idea if you want, next time you're in the Twin Cities, schedule a hip evaluation with Dr. Fran Smith, and get her honest take. Killing 2 birds with one stone. Hip pre-lim and an assessment of your dog. She is known natioanlly in both the ring and the field. In fact her clinic is putting on an eye and micro-chip clinic very soon... maybe go to that and talk to her. Get your dog's eyes cerf'd, a micro-chip and talk 'show dogs' with an expert.

As far as field comps go... my advise? Concentrate on hunt tests. Not to say you couldn''t have succcess in field trials, but the average Joe cannot get his dog to the level of pefection needed to run those with any success or consistancy. You can run some derby, maybe a qual. and some club trials to get wet behind the ears (as I did) and then realize that 99% of the dogs will need to be with a pro for some period of time to get them to any level of training needed to run those trials.

Hunt tests are more within the realm of most handlers and by thoroughly reading the rules and maybe taking in a few tests to get the feel of them will get you wll on the way. Remember the dogs aren't "placing" in a hunt test as they do in a trial (ie: 1st, 2nd and 3rd place), but rather trying to beat a set standard. In other words every dog in that event has a potential to qualify that day and go home with a ribbon. The competition isn't agaist other dogs and handlers, but a book of standards put forth by the AKC or other host association.

So there you go, my take of your question. You can go to the AKC HSOforum and get a print out of all shows, trials and hunt tests along with the host clubs and secretary's info.

Hope you and the pooch have a good time running those different comps... but be careful! They can be highly adictive!!!

Good Luck!


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We spent some time at conformation shows this winter looking for a breeder. Good place to find a dog, but we decided it's not for us. Ours will be a companion dog, possibly doing some rally or weight pulling.

Have you attended some conformation shows? Labs has some good advice. It can get quite spendy to show a dog and there's not really any money in it unless your dog is "Westminster" quality. I'd make sure my dog looked pretty good to a judge before I sunk too much money into showing.

Like mentioned, go to the AKC HSOforum and you can search for events in the area. Looking forward, I see an all-breed show in St. Peter on May 24th-25th and one in Jordan on June 7th-8th.

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I actually to all and both. Field trials, dog shows and the hunt tests. As Labs said the trials are a whole different game. The hunt tests are at varied levels and can be easy and fun to perticipate in. There is a dog show in Eau Claire Ap 12-13. The easiest way to search is the akc dot org web page and event search. Lots of show coming up this Summer. Price is cheaper to enter the dog show than the hunt test. It is an experience and yes there are pros doing them too. I compete against all of them and do well. Depends on the dog and how you show them, mostly. After that it can have politics but it is just one person's opinion for that day on that dog. there should be some dog training center or clubs in your area that you can get into to see more of what goes on.

Just a few starter pointers. Good luck and post if you need more info.

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