Meeting Of The Kennel Club Field Trials Liaison Council








ITEM 2.          TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 10 JUNE 2014 (Previously circulated)






(To be tabled on the day)



a.Mr K Doughty                                                               Cambridgeshire Field Trial Society


Proposal to insert a new Regulation J(B)7.d.(8) as follows:


For a dog to be awarded first place in a Novice, All-Aged or 12 dog one day Open Stake, a dog should have a minimum of five retrieves.

For a dog to be awarded first place in a 24 dog two day Open Stake, a dog should have a minimum of six retrieves.

(Insertions in bold)

Cambridgeshire Field Trial Society considers the proposed insertion is necessary as at present there is no Regulation to state how many retrieves a dog should have completed in order to be awarded a first place. The Society's view is that five retrieves in a Novice Stake, All Aged Stake, or a 12 dog Open Stake is enough to test the dog's ability and temperament.  In previous trials a dog has been known to have won with only three retrieves in a one day Stake.

Likewise, for a first place in a two day Stake the Society considers that six retrieves over two days is a fair judgement of the dogs.  It has also been known for dogs to qualify for the Championship having completed just four retrieves. 


  1. Mr G Ford                                                                    Gamekeepers National Association


Proposal to amend Regulation J6.a.(5)


All judging contracts are subject to cancellation at the discretion of the Kennel Club in the event of the judge being subject to the relevant disciplinary action.  Should an official complaint be made against a Judge, further contracts may also, at the discretion of the Kennel Club, be suspended until the conclusion of any investigation.

(Insertions in bold)

The Gamekeepers National Association considers that to protect the integrity of the sport, where there is a serious allegation to answer, the Kennel Club must have the right to refuse judging appointments until such time as an incident has been resolved.


c.Mrs S Kuban                                                                            German Shorthaired Pointer Club


Proposal to amend Regulation J(E)10.a.:


a.In Open and All Aged Stakes, the water retrieve is a blind retrieve from across water, where possible, or from open water.  If a dog returns by land, it should not be penalised for this unless it wastes time thereby.

(Insertion in bold)

The German Shorthaired Pointer Club's view is that this could alleviate the difficulty in finding suitable water for Open Stakes by allowing the test to be carried out as an unseen retrievefromopen water rather than fromacrosswater. This is particularly relevant in Scotland where often the rivers are either shallow or raging torrents and there are lochs close by. The proposed amendment would lessen the need for issuing Water Certificates and competitors having to travel long distances after a trial to get their dogs tested. The Club does not consider an unseen retrieve from a large expanse of water is too easy; willing entry on command is important in any water test and such a test would require good handling. This alternative test should only be allowed if a retrieve from across water is not possible.


d.Miss S Whyte                                                                          Lincolnshire Gundog Society


Proposal for an amendment to Regulation J9(b)(11).



Only in cases of physical disability, and with the permission of the Judges, may a handler carry a stick whilst working his dog.No competitor may carry a stick whilst working his dog at a driven trial and only in cases of physical disabilities, with permission of the Judges, may a competitor do so at a walked up trial.

Lincolnshire Gundog Society considers that the existing Regulation is being exploited by some handlers especially at driven trials. Handlers are using their stick as a tool to warn their dogs as to behaviour, similar to the situation a few years ago when handlers were using water bottles in a threatening manner. The Society feels that to tackle this issue promptly, no sticks should be allowed at driven trials because unlike walked up trials large amounts of ground are not being taken in by the handler and are thus far less physically taxing.


e.Mr D Capel                                                                                     Midland Gundog Society


Proposed amendments to Regulations J(B)3.(a) and Regulation J(B)3.(c), as follows:

Regulation J(B)3.(a)


The order of running shall be the order of the draw unless,inexceptional circumstanceswith the Judges approval it is decided to split the competitors.

Regulation J(B)3.(c)


All dogs, unless discarded, must be tried in the first two rounds by more than one Judge if there are three Judges, or by more than one pair of Judges if there are four.  Whether the Trial is run in numerical order or splitinexceptional circumstancesdogs must not come into line in the second round under the same Judges as in the first round.

Midland Gundog Society considers that the removal of the words 'in exceptional circumstances' in both of the above Regulations  would allow judges more freedom to use the odds and evens system wherever they felt that it would be advantageous and contribute to the smooth running of the Trial. There is a body of opinion that the odds and evens split provides significant advantages when used at driven trials judged on the four judge system.

The wording of the current regulation inhibits judges from using this split, the advantages of which are not dependent on there being exceptional circumstances.

f.Mr S Russell                                                                                                    Spaniel Club

Proposal for amendments to Regulations J9.b.(12), J(A)1.c. and J(A)1.d.

Regulation J9.b.(12)


  1.                         i.            No competitor may withdraw a dogor leave the Trial groundwithout the permission of a Judge or Chief Steward.

(ii) In order to show respect for the host, guns, keeper, etc., a competitor, whose dog has been eliminated/discarded, should not leave the trial ground unless there are exceptional circumstances which have been thoroughly explained to the Chief Steward.  All competitors are requested to stay until the end of the presentations and demonstrate their interest in the support of land/shoot owners and their fellow competitors.


Regulation J(A)1.c.


The Chief Steward should liaise closely with the Steward of the Beat who will have planned which ground is to be used for the Trial.  He or she should, where necessary, welcome all on behalf of the society and introduce the Host, Steward of the Beat, Judges, Guns and other officials.  The Chief Steward, moreover, should explain the outline of the day, with instructions about transport, lunch, toilets, request that all competitors remain on the trial ground and not leave until after the presentations and demonstrate their interest in the support of land/shoot owners and their fellow competitors and other arrangements.  The Chief Steward should also issue warnings on safety.

Regulation J(A)1.d.


At the end of the day, the Chief Steward should ensure the Host, Guns, Judges and officials are properly thanked in the presence of all competitors/as many competitors as possible.

(Insertions in bold)

The proposals relate to management, conduct and judging at Field Trials.  At a recent Spaniel Club meeting, great concern was expressed with regard to the increasing lack of respect for hosts, guns, keepers and judges, noting that with regard to one particular ground this situation has led to no more trials being held there from this season.

It has become common practice for the majority of eliminated owners/handlers to leave the trial ground before the presentation of the awards, thus they are not present to give either their own personal thanks to guns, keepers, stops and other helpers or to participate in the usual applause when thanks are given by the Secretary/Chief Steward.  Consequently insufficient recognition is given to the efforts of those involved in providing a good trial.

Although the Spaniel Club acknowledges that competitors cannot be forced to remain on the trial ground, it is anticipated that the proposed amendments to current Regulations will raise awareness.

The Club also notes that there appears to be an increasing lack of attention to dressing appropriately for the sport - this applies to Judges as well as handlers. This can also be seen as a decline in respect when guns, hosts and other helpers dress for the sport in the appropriate manner. 

If the Council does not support the proposed amendment to Regulations, the Spaniel Club requests the Council to discuss other means by which the issue may be addressed, such as by the use of appropriate statements on the schedule and the result of the draw.



a.Mr K Doughty                                                               Cambridgeshire Field Trial Society

Cambridgeshire Field Trial Society requests the Council to discuss a proposed amendment, as follows:

Regulation J4.a


To qualify for entry into the Kennel Club Stud Book the number of runners permitted is as follows:


(1)Two-day Open Stakes - maximum 2428, minimum 20. The first 24 dogs would be drawn in the usual way. Numbers 25 - 28 are reserved specifically for the judges from the previous year's Open Stake. 

            (Deletion scored through. Insertion in bold).


Should a judge not wish to take up the offer, the stake would be run with 27 dogs.  If two judges refuse, the stake would be run with 26 dogs and so on.  The offer of a run cannot be carried over for subsequent years.)

The 24 dog two-day Stake has not been amended for over 70 years and does not take into account the increased numbers taking part in the sport and the formation of relatively few clubs since the 1990's, so the pressure on clubs running open stakes is immense, regularly receiving 160 nominations for the draw.

Pressure of time would not be an issue as the vast majority of two day stakes are over by lunchtime on the second day, and 16 dog stakes are run and finished in a single day. 

It is anticipated that the amended Regulation would have several advantages over the present number:

  • Field Trial Secretaries will have an easier task appointing A and B Panel judges willing to accept an appointment early in the year.
  • They will not have the need to resort to judges who no longer run dogs in competition.
  • Committee recommendations for judges will be more likely to result in an appointment so that the secretary does not have to contact a number of judges to find one who is available.
  • Judges will be more willing to commit themselves if they are guaranteed a run the following season.


b.Mrs W Knight                                                                Eastern Counties Spaniel Society

                                                                                                    Kent Working Spaniel Club


The Eastern Counties Spaniel Society and Kent Working Spaniel Club consider that societies should be able to see a list of the nominations sent by societies to judge the championships and know how the final choices are made from this list.  The Society and the Club feel that there should be more transparency in how the results are obtained.


  1. Mr R Proctor                                                                         English Springer Spaniel Club                                                                                                 Midland English Springer Spaniel Club


Because of the number of Open qualifying Stakes and the number of dogs that qualify for the English Springer Spaniel Championship, it is currently held over three days, which limits the range of suitable venues as very few estates can offer three days. Therefore the English Springer Spaniel Club and the Midland English Springer Spaniel Club wish to discuss the possibility of the Championship returning to being a two day event which would allow for it to be hosted in more locations. To achieve this, the following are presented as discussion items:

(i)    Historically when action has been required the level of qualification has been raised, Therefore the suggestion is that a dog or bitch must win one open qualifier and be placed first, second or third in another open qualifier, to qualify to run in the championship.

(ii)   The number of open qualifier stakes be limited, for example to fifty, A draw is held and those societies not drawn would automatically hold an open qualifier the next year with the fifty being drawn for the remaining numbers.


  1. Mr R Proctor                                                                         English Springer Spaniel Club

                                                                                         Midland English Springer Spaniel Club


The English Springer Spaniel Club and the Midland English Springer Spaniel Club wish to suggest that the Field Trial newsletter be used as a method to convey information regarding the health issues and testing requirements of the Assured Breeder Scheme for the gundog breeds.  The view of the two clubs is that there are very few Field Trial English Springer Spaniels which are currently being tested. This limits the stud dogs available to any English Springer Spaniel breeder who wished to be part of Assured Breeder Scheme. 



  1. Mr G Ford                                                                 Gamekeepers National Association


The Gamekeepers National Association requests that the Council discuss whether the Kennel Club should provide judges' ledger sheets, pre-printed with the formats as recommended for keeping a judging book.  If judges are to follow the example and promote the style of bookkeeping advocated by the Kennel Club, it would be logical to have the prerequisites pre-printed on the pages of the judges' note books. In the case of a novice judge this may help to concentrate their thinking into what they should be looking for and recording, and would also save time in marking which would allow the trial to flow smoothly.


f.Mrs J Hay                                                               Golden Retriever Club of Northumbria


The Golden Retriever Club of Northumbria wishes to discuss the application of the three Judge system as described in Regulation J(B)7. Trial Procedure. The Club's view is that the Regulation is not clear, particularly for newer judges who are not familiar with the three Judge system and it should be reworded to improve understanding.

The Council is asked to consider whether the three judge system could be more adequately explained in the Regulation by stating that the lowest number dog should be on the right i.e. dogs 1&2 on the right, dogs 3&4 in the middle and 5&6 on the left in the first round.  In the second round the Chief Steward should then send dogs to the appropriate judge where there is a vacancy in the line.


g.Mrs T Salaman                                                                        Cornwall Field Trial Society


The Council is requested to discuss the issue of education programmes for Field Trial judges.  The vast majority of these are either classroom based or are based on artificial scenarios with dummies and/or cold game such as Field Trial Training Days (those run specifically for judges and stewards training rather than for dog training where most handlers would prefer already qualified judges to run the day). It is proposed that potential non-panel judges should be able to attend a trial and run a book together with the Official judges to learn the job in a real-time situation whilst not contributing to the decision making.   The Society's view is that it would make more sense for this to happen at Open trials where the official judges would have a high level of experience and the time/ability to pass on their knowledge to an observer.

The cost would be borne entirely by the trainee judges and it is proposed they would have to attend at least two trials in this capacity before taking on a non-panel judging appointment (this could be signed off by the judges on the day).

It is noted that some Spaniel clubs have already started employing the four judge system in order to provide some real-time training for judges.


h.Miss S Whyte                                                                        Lincolnshire Gundog Society


The Lincolnshire Gundog Society would like the Council consider whether the names of clubs/societies nominating judges to the A or B Panel should be published in the Field Trial Newsletter alongside the names of those Judges who have been approved to Panel A or Panel B status. This would show openness in this part of the application and would hopefully encourage more clubs to engage in the process.


i.Mr D Capel                                                                                     Midland Gundog Society


Midland Gundog Society requests the Council to discuss the advice given in the guidance note published in the winter 2014 Kennel Club Field Trials newsletter relating to handlers with two dogs.  It is in agreement with the advice given on the specific situation described, but feels that the penultimate sentence should not have been included and should be rescinded.

The published guidance note reads as follows:

'Handlers with two dogs in a Stake by Phil Highfield and Graham Cox

Guidance was requested by the Field Trials Liaison Council about a situation where a handler has two dogs off the lead in a drive, a bird was shot and wounded, the judge asks the handler to send his dog, but before doing so, puts his other dog on a lead and hands it to a deputy. Would this make the dog sent a second dog? Arrangements for managing the situation when multiple handling occurs in a stake are set out clearly and in some detail in Regulations J(B)9. The accepted practice in walked-up trials is set out in J(B)9.a. and that for driven trials follows in J(B)9.b. J(B)9.c., meanwhile, emphasises that these procedures apply in both the body of the stake and the run off. The situation should, therefore, be anticipated and arrangements for the smooth and prompt changing of dogs should be in place. Certainly no undue delay should ensue. It is perhaps worth remembering that Regulation J (B) (7) uses the word 'significant' to characterise the delay which must occur if the first dog sent is not to be penalised as a first dog failure when it and others have failed to find the game. After all, a dog is second down if the delay in sending it would in other circumstances have enabled one dog to be sent to the fall, hunt it reasonably and be called up before the dog in question is sent. To repeat: that sort of 'significant delay' should never occur as a result of multiple handing arrangements being in place.'

The item suggests that a conservative estimate of the delay time implied by this sentence would be two minutes. To suggest that a dog would still be treated as 'first dog down' after such a delay is totally at odds with the current practice and as such would cause upset if applied.

The Society's view is that what constitutes a significant delay must be left to the judges to decide when considering the circumstances of any particular situation.  They must decide if the delay was such that it significantly compromised the dog's ability to complete the retrieve.


j.Mr S Russell                                                                                                   Spaniel Club

The Spaniel Club would like to hear the views of the Council on the suggestion that the English Springer Spaniel Championship should be moved back to December each season rather than at the end of the season in January. It is felt that there may be less pressure on grounds to produce the amount of game required, and there would not be the concern over possible deteriorating weather conditions.


k.Mr J Castle                                                       Lothian and Borders Gundog Association


The Council is requested to discuss the Club's view that it would be helpful to Field Trial Societies if the Kennel Club would publish a list of Non-Panel Judges who have successfully passed the Kennel Club's Judges Examination. This information would assist Societies in the selection of Judges of non-panel status, who have demonstrated a proven degree of knowledge of J Regulations and by so doing, are making themselves available for further judging experience.


l.Miss A Faulds                                                                   Tay Valley Gundog Association

             Scottish Gundog Association


The above Societies request that the Council discuss the new process being used for Retriever draws for societies based in Scotland which has been in use since July 2014.  Their view is that whilst there should have been a process of consultation with a senior member of the Kennel Club, rather than a regional representative, the general response from the membership has been favourable as dog owners and handlers see that the procedure has produced a level playing field in terms of obtaining a running place in field trial draws.  This has created a broader perception - not only in Scotland - that the procedure would benefit from being used more widely in the British Isles.  The Societies would like the Council to consider whether it would be beneficial to all societies and Field Trial competitors for the Kennel Club to carry out all Field Trial draws.

If the Kennel Club continues the process of carrying out the draws it is suggested that the current form is amended as errors have occurred in identifying members and non-members, the Council is requested to consider any necessary amendments.


m.Mr J Bailey                                                   The Welsh and English Counties Spaniel Club


The Club requests that the Council consider the following:

To set a standard for all clubs for the draw for a Field Trial to take place two weeks before the Trial itself.  At present this varies greatly from 8-10 days to almost three weeks, and as a result some competitors find it difficult to book time off work once the draw result is received, if at the shorter time.


n.Mr J Bailey                                                                                            Gwynedd Spaniel Club

The Club requests that the Council consider changing the Kennel Club's Judges Education Seminar and Test Title to Rules and Regulations Education Seminar and Test.

The Club is concerned that that some people may be mislead by the current title into thinking that once they have passed the test they automatically become qualified to judge trials, irrespective of their experience in competing, training and handling gundogs. Several people have been approaching secretaries to request judging appointments which is wholly inappropriate.  As required by Regulation J6.a.(1), a society will invite a person to judge a trial who is deemed sufficiently experienced and ready to undertake the task.



The Council is invited to note that that next meeting will take place in May 2016.  The exact date will be confirmed in due course.





(Written notice of items is required prior to the meeting due to time constraints)

Related Topics

Field Trials
Copyright © The Kennel Club Limited 2019. The unauthorised reproduction of text and images is strictly prohibited.