Field trials are a competitive sport involving the team of dog and handler. A trial gives a handler and his or her dog the opportunity to compete in the field with their peers. The purpose of a spaniel field trial is to demonstrate the performance of a properly trained spaniel in the field. The performance should not differ from that in any ordinary day’s shooting, except that in the trials a dog should do his work in a more nearly perfect way. A field trial has an Open All Age Stake, Amateur All Age Stake and a Puppy Stake (for dogs under 2 years of age).
- AKC Rules Governing Spaniel Trials
- The Conduct and Judging of Spaniel Field Trials (The Blue Book)
- ESSFT.com – ESS FT dates and results
Hunt Tests by contrast evaluate a dogs’ performances against a set of AKC standards. Under the classifications of junior, senior or master hunter, dogs participating in hunt tests are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for their performances in five categories: hunting ability, bird-finding ability, flushing ability, trained abilities and retrieving abilities.