Retrieving Trials

 The ability and intelligence of well-bred and well trained gundogs is remarkable. DOGS Victoria and various affiliated clubs conduct competitive trials in the field for registered gundogs.

These events are designed to test the various breeds in the type of work for which they were developed over hundreds of and even thousands of years. They provide breeders with the opportunity to test the natural working instincts of their dogs and therefore the chance to select breeding stock on the basis of appropriate temperament and for preservation of their invaluable working instincts.

 These trials provide the opportunity for owners to experience the pleasure of working closely with their dogs in a fascinating range of competitive field sports.

Championship titles and minor titles are available based on performance. Gundog trials are run under ANKC rules. The types of trials are classified as follows:


 Retrieving trials are competitions using registered purebred Gundogs (eg Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and German Short-haired Pointers etc) where dogs  are tested for obedience, and natural retrieving and hunting abilities. The trials are held on properties throughout Victoria and are set in areas that can as close as possible imitate natural hunting situations.

 The purpose of a retrieving trial is to test and determine the dog’s natural hunting ability in the field, under natural conditions. Items to be retrieved are cast from a mechanical thrower and dogs must be able to determine the depth of the fall of the ‘game’ and then be able to hunt out the game, retrieve it and gently deliver it to the handler. All retrieving trials are held under the rules and regulations of the ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council), and are held in all states around Australia. All dogs entered must be over six months of age and trials are conducted by various Gundog Clubs during the year. 

Retrieving trials are conducted at five different levels, beginners, novice, restricted, all age and championship.


 Beginners is the entrance level for new trailers. A beginners test is a test for dogs that have not previously won a beginners test or been placed in any other retrieving trial stake. A beginners test consists of two runs (retrieves), one on land and one in or through water which is of sufficient depth for the dog to swim. Beginners handlers are generally given instruction on the procedure for the conduct of the test and shown the mechanics of the run over which the dog is required to compete. It is a great way to be introduced to the sport of retrieving trials.

 On the opposite end of the scale are the championship stakes. One championship stake is conducted in each state in Australia each year. The one exception is the year the National Retrieving Trial Championship is conducted in the state, which is held in addition to the state championship. A national championship has to consist of at least seven retrieves with at least 15 items of game two of which have to be blind finds where the dog has to be tested for steadiness from behind a hide.

 Championships are a great spectacle of working gundogs and generally attract many competitors from other states.



        Competitors at the 2004 National held in Queensland  


2005 National NSW


     Central Highlands Working Gundog Club Trial October 2015

 Retrieving Ability Test

The RATG is open to both registered and associate gundogs. It is a test of basic retrieving ability. The tests are designed so that they might be held at either obedience trials or perhaps show events depending on the area that is available.


Titles are awarded at two levels; novice retrieving ability (NRA) and open retriever ability (ORA).

Novice level consists of four exercises; walking to heel, a recall, and two single mark retrieves.

Open level also consists of four exercises; walking to heel, one minute stay with recall (incorporating a stop on command), walk-up retrieve, and either a double mark retrieve or a double rise retrieve.

There are may other Sports you can get involved in with your dog such as Obedience, Field Trials,Tracking, Agility, Dances with Dogs,Track and Search, Rally O these are just some of the disciplines, visit Dogs Victoria’s web site to find out Moore. 


You can obtain information about Retrieving on CHWGC face book page “Working Gundogs Australia”

  •  Field Trial: This is a competitive event at which hunting dogs compete against one another in the field hunting live game. There are field trials for retrievers, pointing dogs and flushing dogs. Field trials are usually organised by Kennel Clubs or other Gundog clubs.


  • Obedience Trial: Obedience training is the pre-requisite for a well behaved dog. The dog performs commands, ranging from the simple sit, drop, come, stay (etc) through to high level competition where additional commands, accuracy and performance are judged and scored. The first level of obedience is on leash but off leash thereafter. Dogs respond reliably under the direction of the handler. Obedience is very very rewarding for handler and dog.


  • Rally Obedience: Also known as Rally-O is a relatively new fun dog-sport based on traditional dog obedience but carried out in a more informal and relaxed style, with course signs set up for the dog and handler to follow. Rally-O is super fun to compete in and not that difficult to learn at all!


  • Tracking: A tracking trial is an event to encourage dogs to make use of their strongest faculty, the ability to follow a scent trail. The competition emulates the finding of a lost person or article in a situation where the performance of the dog can be fairly assessed. Tracks laid are reasonably straightforward. Dogs compete in harness, on a longline.


  •  Agility: Agility is the FAST, FUN and EXCITING sport of a handler directing a dog around a course of obstacles to beat the clock. In competitions, the course is set by a judge with the aim of the handler having the dog complete the course within a time and with no faults. The course will consist of various jumps, tunnels, elevated walks, weave poles, an A-Frame, and a see-saw of which must be completed in the correct manner.


  • Endurance: Involves either biking or running with your dog over a distance of track on a loose two metre leash. The endurance test is over 20km split into three sections with breaks in between. You’ll need to spend a suitable amount of time to get both you and your dog fit to compete in this sport. It is not advisable that labradors under two years old compete in this sport, until they are fully mature and finished growing.


  • Dog Shows ( Conformation) Conformation shows are competitions where the judge assesses your dog against the breed standard to find the best examples of the breed in appearance, structure and movement. Champions look like Labradors, move like Labradors and in all ways help to preserve the typical Labrador type. The judge chooses the dog and bitch which, in his/her opinion, most closely conforms to the breed standard. Each judge has their own interpretation of the standard, so shows produce different results with each judge’s adjudication.


  • The letters in the registered name are the titles that dog has earned in competition,sanctioned by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
  • Ch                 Champion (show ring)
  • Grd Ch         Grand Champion (show ring)
  • Ntl RT Ch    National Retrieving Trial Champion
  • Grd RT Ch   Grand Retrieving Trial Champion
  • RT Ch           Retrieving Trial Champion
  • AARD          All Age Retrieving Dog
  • RRD             Restricted Retrieving Dog
  • NRD             Novice Retrieving Dog