Retriever Hunt Test

Many of our clients turn to us for assistance with training their hunting retrievers so that they are ready to participate in American Kennel Club’s (AKC’s) Hunting Retriever Tests. Let’s look at the history of these tests and what categories they include.


History of Retriever Hunting Tests

Hunters have been using retrievers to assist them in their hunts for centuries. However, there were no standardized tests to assess a retriever’s hunting performance until the 1980s. The United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) worked together to create the modern retriever hunting tests we see today.

They introduced the first retriever hunting test in 1985. The first test included 13 events and several hundred participants. Modern day retriever hunting tests have over 300 events and thousands of participants.


How Down South Hunting Dogs Can Help Hunters that wish to get their canine ready to participate in retriever hunting tests can benefit from our training services. We can help train your canine to participate in any of the aforementioned categories and get them in tip top shape for future events. Take your retriever’s hunting game to the next level with Down South Hunting Dogs.

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What Do Retriever Hunting Tests Include?

Modern day retriever hunting tests fall into three broad categories. These are:

  • Junior Hunter
  • Senior Hunter
  • Master Hunter

Started/Junior Hunter

The Junior Hunter title is the easiest retrieving hunting test. Dogs in this category will be judged on single marked retrieves, which are generally simple and straightforward. This means there are no blind tests nor are there any requirements for steadiness. Your retriever will need to demonstrate their ability to mark and retrieve a single bird on land and over water.

Seasoned/Senior Hunter

The Senior Hunter title is more challenging than the Junior Hunter title, and is considered of intermediate difficulty. In this test, retrievers will be required to complete blind retrieves, honor retrievers for another canine, and also remain steady to gun.

The Senior Hunter title test is broken down into two series. In the first series, your dog will need to complete a double marked retrieve that is thrown across water.

The other series is a blind retrieve made with a combination of hand signals and whistles. Neither of these series are very complex, and you can get your dog ready for them with our training services.

Finished/Master Hunter

The Master Hunter title is the most difficult title for hunters and their retrievers to acquire. Anyone hunting retriever that earns this title is a “finished” retriever that understands how to think in the field. Most of the tests in this category are complex and include challenging marking situations, such as multiple birds before being sent. These tests also include blind retrieves that are incorporated into marking scenarios, so your canine must be obedient when retrieving in honor of another dog.