Irish Setter Breed Magazine - Showsight

Essence of the Breed—8-week-old puppy pointing a wing.

2010 National Hunt Test Gallery

What factors have influenced this increase in Dual Champions? In the late 70s the Irish Setter Club of America introduced the Versatility Certificate. Dogs earning the ISCA VC or VCX title had to demonstrate virtues in Conformation, Obedience and Field. Th is was a first step in promoting breeders and owners to identify inherited genetics for pointing ability. Th is program intro- duced many fanciers to field performance who would otherwise not have ventured into the field. During this same period of time, AKC picked up on the fact that many parent clubs were o ff ering field perfor- mance working certificates. Th e AKC Hunt Test was born. Hunt Tests provided entry level non- competitive competition that gave fanci- ers more opportunity to work with their dogs in the field, with the added plus of earning an AKC title. Junior Hunter is a

basic instinct test, Senior and Master Hunt Tests require more ability and training and demonstrate the abilities a hunter would want in a class gun dog. Th e Hunt Tests have been helpful identifying dogs with natural hunting instincts and pointing genetics. Th ere is no bigger thrill than seeing your dog on point for the first time. Once owners become familiar with the field perfor- mance and find out how much their Irish Setter enjoys the work they often move up into Field Trial competition. In 2001, a rotating ISCA National Hunt Test and Walking Field Trial was initiated. Th is event has been very instru- mental in bringing Irish Setter owners into the world of field performance and is responsible for sparking the interest for many of our current dual minded breed- ers and owners. Five of the last eight Dual Champions either started in Hunt Tests or also earned a Hunt Test Title.

During this same time period, the Irish Setter Club of America increased parent club support and recognition of those breeders and owners pursuing Dual Titles. Th ey did this by o ff ering more annual awards for dogs competing in combined Field, show and obedience events and by giving more recognition to dogs earning Dual Championships with annual awards, article in the Memo to Members and cover page advertising. In 2010, ISCA started the process to seek approval to o ff er an AKC Titled National Walking Gun Dog Champion- ship. Th is Walking Championship will rotate around the country and will give Irish Setters the opportunity to com- pete in di ff erent venues to earn not only a National Championship title but also points towards Field Championships. Identifying dogs with natural pointing genetics and hunting instincts is necessary to developing breeding programs that will

“The hunT TesTs have been helpful IDenTIfyIng Dogs wITh naTural hunTIng InsTIncTs anD poInTIng geneTIcs.”

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