L'Etoile du Nord Kennel
"When nothing but the best is good enough"
Field Trials are the proving grounds for dogs. They are intended to provide a venue for picking the dogs that are worthy of breeding.
I have been around the United States and to France competing in the field. Many of my dogs have been very successful, most notably Vern.
Field Trials give you a chance to assess many different things about a dog. Nose, can they find birds when conditions are not ideal. Intelligence, do they hunt smart, using the wind to their advantage, and choosing the most likely places to find birds. Temperament, are they able to run with strange dogs in the field that they have never seen. Biddability, are they hunting with you, or for themselves. Are they listening to your commands. Stress, are they able to travel long distances, get out and get down to business, and be surrounded by people and dogs they have never seen before, both in the field, with Judges and gunners, and back at the car with handlers and dogs constantly walking by.
Many people think Field Trial dogs are big running dogs almost out of control. That really is not true in the least. Yes, a dog has to range to find birds, but they have to work with the handler to successfully handle the birds they find. Manners are very important, as often it can be small differences in handling a bird that makes a dog shine. There is a little Showmanship, in presenting the dog to the Judge in the best possible light, but when you are competing with 150 dogs in some trials you have to have a dog that excites the Judge and sticks in their mind.
Field Trials are also about meeting people and developing friendships. Many enduring friendships are made at Field Trials over a cold beer when the trial is done for the day, and you are eating good food and shooting the breeze about the dogs.