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Field Trials (The Short Course)

Field Trials are competitive events that offer a practical demonstration of a dog's ability to perform the functions for which it was bred. The Brittany is a pointing breed and is judged on its ability to cover ground, search out likely cover, and to find and point birds with efficiency and style.

There are a variety of "stakes"” or classes in which dogs can be entered at field trials. Puppy (6 months to 15 months) and Derby (6 months to two years) stakes are for young, relatively untrained dogs that are judged on their potential. Puppies and Derby dogs can earn a limited number of points towards a field championship, but no dog can be awarded a field championship without winning in Adult stakes requiring steadiness to wing and shot, staunch and stylish pointing, as well as intelligence and initiative in covering ground. Certain stakes also require retrieval of downed birds.

Each dog in a field trial is paired with another dog in what is known as a "brace" and runs a predetermined course on which birds have been released (a few field trials run on courses with a natural bird population, but most in the U.S. use released birds. Puppy stakes do not required released birds.) Every dog is compared with every other dog until the two judges have selected a winner and second through fourth place dogs in each stake.

However, judges may elect to withhold any placement if they feel there was no performance worthy of recognition. Withheld placements are fairly common. The winner is awarded points towards its Field Championship. The judges may elect to withhold any or all of the four placements.

The number of points awarded is based on the number of dogs entered in that particular stake. A second place dog may also earn points provided the total number of dogs entered in that specific stake exceeds 13 dogs. Third and fourth place dogs do not receive championship points except in large amateur stakes. To complete its championship, a dog must earn 10 points with at least one adult win in a Brittany club sponsored trial in which the total entry of that specific stake is 13 dogs or more (known as a Brittany major.)

Field trial dogs may earn a Field Championship (shown as FC in front of the dog's name) or an Amateur Field Championship (AFC). "Amateur"” refers to the handler. Many dogs carry the FC/AFC title, indicating they have met the requirements for both the Field Championship and the Amateur Field Championship. Many people hire professional handlers to run their dogs in open stakes (open to both professional and amateur handlers) while handling their own dogs in amateur stakes (closed to professional handlers), although a good many run their own dogs in both open and amateur stakes and are quite successful against the professionals.

A dog that has completed both the FC title and the show Championship title (Ch.) will earn the prestigious Dual Champion or DC title. In the breed's history, over 400 Brittanys have earned a Dual Championship title and this is more than all other pointing breeds combined!

Most field trials are held with judges and handlers on horseback, however, some clubs sponsor walking trials and/or walking stakes, and any handler may elect to walk in any stake. Horseback handling is not required in any field trial.

Need to know where the next field trial might be? click here.

F ield Trials (The Long Course)

For more detailed information on AKC field trials, follow this link to the AKC website for an in-depth explanation of what is expected in Puppy and Adult stakes and how participating dogs are judged.

Some field trials are also run under the rules and regulations of the American Field. For more information on those trials, see

Do you have an article or photo about field trialing you would like us to see? Email us or submit an article to us!

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