In Performance

It is amazing and exciting to see a Pointer working birds. Pointers have been bred for generations to be biddable birdy, gun dogs, with a natural intensity to find birds. The chances of a puppy becoming your personal hunting companion is great. Find out more about pointers in the field, as companions or event participants.

Personal Hunting Companion

The Pointer has long been considered the “Cadillac” of bird dogs and been used to find birds for his owner’s table before there were guns to shoot.  Pointer’s were taught to “stand tall” and “steady to wing and shot” so the gunner could get a clear shot and a retriever could be sent to fetch the bird. Today, the pointer is used for personal hunting and often retrieving. He is expected to hunt to his master’s voice and to retrieve kindly to hand.

Pointers are biddable, personable dogs with a single objective when turned loose in hunting terrain, that is to find birds. They tend to run hard, fast, and cover as much ground as possible to accomplish their aim.  The Pointer may be a considerable distance from the handler at the time of the bird-find, therefore, he must also be trainable, so that he will “stand” his bird until the handler arrives.  Although a natural hunter, a little bit of training will make your day a memory to savor.

Hunt Tests

Hunt Tests are a good way to test your dog’s natural ability and evaluate progress in a non-competitive format.

These pass/fail tests are divided into 3 levels, Junior Hunter, Senior Hunter and Master Hunter.  Dogs must be at least 6 months old to participate.  Junior Hunter typically is designed to test the dog’s natural talents, while Senior and Master require a more controlled and finished hunting dog.  Handlers and their dogs walk a course toward the “bird field” where birds are planted for the dogs to find. Each dogs gets and evaluation on his/her abilities.

Several of the local Pointer Clubs offer hunt tests each year.  Whether participating or just watching is always fun and a great way to meet people in your area.  Check out the events page for upcoming dates.

The APC National Specialty has a hunt test held in conjunction with the National Specialty.

Field Trials

APC typically has a field trial held in conjunction with the National Specialty.  This is often the place where Pointers and their owners get their first “field” experience with lots of positive camaraderie. The National Specialty Field Trial is a walking field trial held during the National Specialty week.  Dogs and handlers walk a course where birds have been planted.  Judges look for the style the dog uses in hunting and their run in covering ground.  Stakes offered include Puppy (no birds on course), Derby, Amateur Gun Dog, and Open Gun Dog.  There can also often be a non-regular class called Amateur Walking Hunting Dog, which is run on Derby rules and allows dogs older than 2 years (Derby limit) to compete.

In addition, our local Pointer Clubs have field trials (both riding and walking) during the year. Be sure to check the events page for upcoming dates. You do not have to participate, but will enjoy watching Pointers doing their favorite activity.

APC National Field Trial Championship 

In 1994 the American Pointer Club requested that the American Kennel Club grant permission to the APC to hold a National Championship Stake and a National Amateur Championship Stakes for Pointers beginning in the fall of 1996.  The “Championship” is held once each calendar year and rotates between the western and eastern United States.  The National Field Trial Standing Committee is charged with the responsibilities of running the trial, determining the location and the dates of the trial and budgeting for the event.  They also select the judges.

The trial is open to all AKC Registrable Pointers six months of age or older and is a riding field trial with handlers on horseback.  APC National Championship and APC National Amateur Championship qualifications:  Dogs must have placed first, second, third or fourth in any Open or Amateur Gun Dog or All-Age Stake.  This is the “cream of the crop” hoping to be designated as the APC National Field Champion or APC National Amateur Field Champion.  Additional stakes include Open Puppy Classic, Field Futurity, and Open Derby Classic, which have age qualifications to compete.

APC Field Futurity Competition

Similar to the conformation futurity competition, the field futurity looks at the potential of young dogs to be stars in the field. It can also be a good predictor of a future Field Champion.  Field Futurity nominees are eligible to run at the APC National Field Championship during their second year.  A portion of the nomination fees is divided among the 1st through 4th place winners on a sliding scale.

Top Field Pointers

The APC honors not only the winners of the National Championship and Amateur National Championship each year, but also annually recognizes the top Pointers in all AKC field trial competition.

Scent Work

Scent work is a Performance Event under AKC rules and it mimics the work of detection dogs to locate a scent (such as in airport or police duties) and communicate to the handler that the scent has been found.  In AKC trials there are different levels and types of detection but all using their noses!  Rather than searching for drugs or the like, in AKC Trials the dogs search for cotton swabs saturated with the essential oils of Birch, Anise, Clove, and Cypress. The cotton swabs are hidden out of sight in a pre-determined search area, and the dog has to find them and the handler has to respond to the judge that the dog found it.  There are multiple levels and types of searches so our Pointers stay highly motivated and do quite well.