NAVHDA Testing

Overview

There are 4 levels of testing in the NAVHDA system:

  1. Natural Ability (NA)

  2. Utility Preparation Test (UPT)

  3. Utility Test (UT)

  4. Invitational

Below is a brief outline of each test and the skills required for each test.

For more information about testing requirements and all other NAVHDA tests, please refer to the “Aims, Programs and Test Rules Book.”

Natural Ability (NA)

The Natural Ability Test 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. 

 

Dogs are eligible for a Natural Ability Test up until, and including, the day they reach 16 months of age. Dogs over 16 months may be run for evaluation only. Dogs over 16 months may only be run if space is available. No prize classification can be awarded to dogs that are run for evaluation.

The Natural Ability Test is organized into four main segments:

  1. Field Phase - Each dog is hunted for a minimum of 20 minutes and is evaluated on:

    1. Use of Nose

    2. Search

    3. Pointing

    4. Desire

    5. Cooperation

    6. Gun Shyness

  2. Tracking Phase - The dog is given an opportunity to track a flightless running pheasant or chukar.

  3. Water Phase - The dog is tested for its willingness to swim.

  4. Judgment of Physical Characteristics.

 

The following are judged throughout the Natural Ability Test:

  1. Use of Nose

  2. Desire to Work

  3. Cooperation

  4. Physical Attributes

 

No game is shot, and no retrieves are required during the Natural Ability Test.

Utility Preparation Test (UPT)

The Utility Preparatory Test measures the dogs’ development midway through their training toward the Utility Test. No previous testing required.

The Utility Preparatory Test is divided into three main segments:

  1. Field Group – Each dog is hunted for a minimum of 25 minutes and is evaluated on::

    1. Search

    2. Pointing

    3. Steadiness on Game

    4. Retrieve of Shot Bird

    5. Retrieve of Dragged Game

  2. Water Group​

    1. Water Search

    2. Walking at Heel

    3. Steadiness by Blind

    4. Retrieve of a Duck

  3. Judgment of Physical Characteristics​

 

The following are judged throughout the Utility Preparatory Test:

  1. Use of Nose

  2. Desire to Work

  3. Cooperation

  4. Obedience

Utility Test (UT)

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. No previous testing required.

The Utility Test is divided into three main segments:

  1. Field Group – Each dog is hunted for a minimum of 30 minutes and is evaluated on::

    1. Search

    2. Pointing

    3. Steadiness on Game

    4. Retrieve of Shot Bird

    5. Retrieve of Dragged Game

  2. Water Group​

    1. Search for a Duck

    2. Walking at Heel

    3. Remaining by Blind

    4. Steadiness by Blind

    5. Retrieve of a Duck

  3. Judgment of Physical Characteristics​

 

The following are judged throughout the Utility Preparatory Test:

  1. Use of Nose

  2. Desire to Work

  3. Cooperation

  4. Obedience

  5. Stamina

Invitational Test

The Invitational Test is our highest level of testing. Only those dogs that 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 advanced work.

The test is divided into two groups: Field and Water.

  1. Field work consists of a search, pointing, steadiness, backing and retrieving with the dogs being run in braces.

  2. Water work consists of a blind retrieve, double-marked retrieve and honoring a retrieve.

  3. Cooperation, obedience, desire and nose are judged throughout the entire test.

 

The Invitational Test is not necessarily the same at each venue or each year because tests can be, and are, modified to accommodate the available terrain and weather conditions. Please note that any modifications are done to achieve the best evaluation of your hunting dog in a hunting scenario that is as true to life as possible.

Dogs successfully completing the Invitational Test with a passing score will receive the title of “Versatile Champion,” further recognized by placing VC before their names.

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