Westminster Hunting Test Set For September 23

Making its annual return to its sporting dog roots, The Westminster Kennel Club will hold its sixth annual Licensed Hunting Test for Pointing Breeds on Sunday, Sept. 23, in the beautiful scenic fields at Tamarack Game Preserve in Amenia, NY.

While the world knows Westminster for its famous all breed dog show held every year since 1877 at Madison Square Garden, The Westminster Kennel Club was in fact the first (2008) and is still the only all breed kennel club to hold an American Kennel Club licensed hunting test for pointing breeds.

"This is an excellent site to test your dog's ability and perhaps win a ribbon or complete your hunting title," says Test Committee Chair Steven M. Bedford. "We encourage entries for all pointing breeds for a day of great performances and fun for all."

The entry closes at 4 pm ET on Monday, Sept. 17 and is limited to the number of dogs that can be run safely during daylight hours. Drawing of the order will take place that day at 4:30 pm ET.

The Master Hunting Test is scheduled for 8 am, with the Senior Hunting Test to follow. Junior Hunting Test will be concurrent with the Master Test.

Click here for the premium, rules and entry form. For additional information or to receive a premium via mail, contact Hunt Test Secretary Harvey Wooding at (212) 213-3026.

The Westminster Kennel Club was begun back in the mid-1870's as a gentlemen's sporting club, with its primary activity being bird hunting, primarily with pointing breeds.

Beginning in the late 1800s, Westminster gradually began to shift its focus a bit to that of the dog show ring. There, they could show their own dogs and also help dog fanciers exhibit their own dogs for the world to see. But at the same time, the original intent of the club's forefathers was firmly evident: protect and promote the purebred dog and its abilities to do what it was bred to do.

A hundred years later, in 1986, the American Kennel Club created a hunting test and Westminster hosted the first demonstration in Pine Plains, NY. The February 1987 issue of Town & Country reported it thusly: "Top pointers, spaniels and retrievers were sent afield under the whistles of amateur handlers, while about 800 members of the bird dog fraternity from across the country stood staunchly on the rolling hillsides to honor the AKC's new, noncompetitive program for judging a dog's steadiness to wing and shot."

Many specialty clubs have staged hunting tests since then, but up until September of 2008, no all breed club had done so. It was appropriate that the Westminster Kennel Club, the country's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs, would do the honors and open the way for other all breed clubs to follow.


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