The Brittany is the smallest if the pointing breeds and was really bred to be a gentleman's (or woman's!) walking gun dog. The are not a long ranging dog - like say a Pointer or Setter, but meant to work closely beside the walking hunter, pointing upland birds. For us in the South, it is all quail. For other areas of the country it can include woodcock, grouse, pheasant, Huns. Just so you know..at the hunt test are firing blanks, but when we practice, we take birds in season to our limits...and we do eat them....quail cooks up like a small Cornish hen and is quite delicious! So..the first goal for us is our Junior Hunt title. For pointing breeds the dogs run with a brace mate but the are scored individually. Each dog is given a score between 1-10, and an average score of 7 will earn you a qualifying leg. To receive your JH title you need 4 qualifying legs. A typical event is run on Saturday and Sunday, so each dog entered has the opportunity to earn up to 2 qualifying legs over a weekend. They are given scores in the following areas: hunting, bird finding, pointing and trainability. There is a Senior Hunter and Master Hunter title also, where more skills are added and the level of difficulty is much higher. One if my favorite blogs is 2 brown dawgs They do lots of hunt and field work, she has great photos and really explains the finer points to the sport. I need that other person to take the photos while I'm working my dogs! I haven't had my dogs out in the field for over a year...so my approach was I just wanted them to have fun and get their feet wet again. Well, we did that and then some! Tristan received one qualifying leg on Sunday with very high scores! He handled really well on Saturday and nice scores in "trainability"...which means your dog listens to your commands. I was very pleased with this. Meaning when I called him he didn't just take off and run the other way. He wasn't able to find any birds on Saturday though. They do a random drawing for the running order. He got the 2nd brace after lunch. It was the heat of the day and almost 80.
The birds were down and it was hot, hot hot! In spite of the heat, he ran really well...my dogs are used to hot and humid.
had a ball and got 2 qualifying legs. Her overall scores were not as high, but she qualified both days! These events are so fun for the dogs. They love being able to get out there and do their thing. I have a ways to go with my skills, but practice will get us all there. It is also a fun weekend in the RV with great dog people. There were a lot of different pointing breeds at the event. There are a lot of Vizslas here, as well as German wire haired and short haired pointers. We had a few Gordon setters and an English setter as well. Conditioning is super important for your dog when you enter any if these performance events. If your dog is overweight or out of condition...you really shouldn't enter until your dog is ready. There is a LOT if excitement for the dogs and I think if your dog isn't in shape, you put them at risk by turning them out there.
We do a lot of running in warmer weather as well as strength and conditioning exercises to keep in shape. It really pays off when your dogs are going hard and fast!
for performance events keeps their minds and bodies working. What do you do with your dogs to keep them mentally and physically active? While all this seems exhausting...working a high energy breed out is the way to go....if you leave them to their own devices to work off their energy, you might not be happy with the outcome! A tired dog is a good dog!