2022 NAHRA InVitational

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Qualifications/Eligibility

In order to qualify, the dog must be a NAHRA Master Hunting Retriever or higher, AKC Master Hunter, CKC Master Hunter, HRC/UKC Hunting Retriever Champion or higher. Dogs needing to qualify shall have qualified twice at a Licensed NAHRA Senior Field Test during the qualification period. Dogs earning their NAHRA MHR title during the qualification period with one pass will be required to earn a second pass to qualify for that year's NAHRA Invitational. All NAHRA GMHR’s or higher and any dog who qualified at the prior years Invitational are automatically qualified for the current years Invitational. The qualification period for the NAHRA Invitational is June 21st, 2021 - June 1st, 2022. Below are additional qualifications and requirements, along with a chart showing the qualification requirements for each title.

  • The owner and handler of all dog's entered will be required to be a current NAHRA member.
  • Handlers/Owners of dogs from other venues, without a NAHRA Master Hunting Retriever title, will be required to produce a copy of a title certificate to the Invitational Committee Field Test Secretary prior to participation.

Title   Qualification Requirement
NAHRA GMHR or Higher Automatically qualified no additional Senior passes required durning qualification period. Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA.
NAHRA MHR If qualified at the 2021 NAHRA Invitational Field Test, the dog is automatically qualified for the 2022 NAHRA Invitational. No additional passes are required during the qualification period.  Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA
NAHRA MHR A dog earning its MHR title during the qualification period with two passes during the qualification period will be qualified for that year's NAHRA Invitational. No additional passes are required durning the qualification period. Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA.
NAHRA MHR A dog earning its MHR title during the qualification period with one pass during the qualification period is required to achieve a second Senior pass during the qualification period to qualify for that year's NAHRA Invitational. Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA.
NAHRA MHR A MHR dog that did not earn his/her MHR title during the qualification period is required to earn two Senior passes during qualification period. Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA.
AKC MH or Higher Two NAHRA Senior passes during qualification period and copy of Certificate of Master Hunter Title or Higher. Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA.
CKC MH or Higher Two NAHRA Senior passes during qualification period and copy of Certificate of Master Hunter Title or Higher. Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA.
HRC/UKC HRCH or Higher Two NAHRA Senior passes during qualification period and copy of Certificate of Hunting Retriever Champion Title or Higher. Owner and handler, a current member of NAHRA.


Common Questions

Yes! If your dog does not qualify by the closing date, we will refund your registration fee minus a $50 administration fee.

If your dog comes in-season, you will need to provide a written request to scratch along with a veterinarian's certificate. Your refund will be processed minus a $50 administration fee.

If your dog was injured and will not be able to attend. Please provide a written request to scratch along with a veterinarian's certificate, and your refund will be processed minus a $50 administration fee.

Please provide a written request to scratch. Refunds will be made at the discretion of the Field Test Committee and, upon review of your request, will determine if a refund will be made. If a full refund is processed, it will be minus a $50 administration fee.

All purebred retrievers and other purebred sporting-group breeds registered with the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, Boykin Spaniel Society, or American Field Dog Stud Book are eligible to participate in NAHRA. There is no fee to register your dog with NAHRA. All that must be provided is a copy of the registration certificate from one of the eligible registries, and the owner must be a current member of NAHRA.

Below is from the NAHRA "Book of Regulations for Testing of Hunting Retrievers". To learn more about the NAHRA program be sure to check it out!

SENIOR FIELD TEST

Par. 1. A Senior Field Test consists of six (6) tests which will include the following: a triple marked water retrieve; a triple marked land retrieve; an upland hunting test (which will not be considered a marked retrieve); a trailing test; and a water blind retrieve and a land blind retrieve, at least one of which will be incorporated within one of the required multiple marked retrieves. (The Senior Hunting Retriever Field Test is for the finished dog. The Senior Field Test must consist of serious tests worthy of the hunter's retriever. The making of a Master Hunting Retriever (MHR) is a serious responsibility. Dogs should be tested on their natural ability and training accomplishments. A Senior dog should be under control at all times.)

Par. 2. A dog must be steady at the point of origin. (For marks, the point of origin is the point at which the dog is located at the time the first bird becomes visible.)

  1. Moderate commands are allowed to steady a dog at the point of origin.
  2. A dog will not be touched or patted at the point of origin.
  3. A controlled break in the marking test will not fail a dog, but it shall be considered a serious fault. (As soon as the dog leaves the point of origin and manifests the intent to make the retrieve without being so ordered, it must be stopped.)

Par. 3. A dog must deliver all birds to hand. (The dog shall return to the handler without delay).

Par. 4. A dog may be handled on marked retrieves with voice/whistle/hand signals, if, in the opinion of the handler, the dog can't find or has missed the mark. (The dog is being tested for its marking ability and memory, not handling; however, a crisp cast is preferable to a long hunt. Repeated evidence of lack of memory, marking ability or lack of control may be grounds for elimination.)

Par. 5. A dog may be cast from the point of origin, by its handler, only once. (see Chap II, Sec 1, Par 19 for more information on “recasts” and “no-goes”).

Par. 6. The handler may be required to handle an empty shotgun with both hands on the firearm and in the firing position.

Par. 7. Maximum test distance for land or water marks shall not exceed one hundred (100) yards.

Par. 8. Marking tests for this event will consist of triple marks on both land and water.

  1. Quadruple marks will not be used.
  2. The order and sequence (“selection”) of marked retrieves will not be determined by the judges. (Interrupting marked retrieves with a blind retrieve is considered “selection” and is not allowed).
  3. Dogs may be required to be placed at a point of origin at a distance from the handler.
  4. Simultaneous falls of birds will not be used.
  5. Delayed marks or falls may be used.
  6. Dogs may be required to honor another dog.
  7. Each mark is to have a separate and clearly defined area. (see Chap IV, Sec 10, Par 4 for more information and judging guidelines).
  8. Trails off marked retrieves will not be used.

Par. 9. Dry shots (a shot for which no bird is thrown or appears), game calls, and additional birds with or without shots may be used as diversions as a dog returns from a retrieve. A dog that drops and leaves its bird and retrieves the diversion bird (“switches birds”) shall be failed. (The NAHRA Board of Directors trusts that judges will not make diversion birds unrealistic. For example, a bird thrown in the dog's face or a live bird launched and shot over the dog are not appropriate. Diversion birds shall not be scored as a marked retrieve, but the dog must find and deliver the bird to hand. Requiring the diversion bird to be picked up before picking up any remaining marks is considered “selection” and is not allowed.)

Par. 10. Walkups to simulate jump shooting may be used in this event. The dog shall be brought to an area designated as the point of origin at heel or under control within ten (10) feet of its handler. Par 2 (above) shall be in effect. The judges may signal for the bird while the handler and dog are walking.

Par. 11. Blind retrieves on water and land will be used. Maximum test distances will not exceed one hundred (100) yards. (Handling in these tests must be done with precision. The dog must stop on the whistle and take a cast. Failing to stop on the whistle or to take a cast is a serious infraction. The judges must decide on the seriousness of the refusal by taking into account the conditions and situation at hand.)

  1. At least one of the blind retrieves must be incorporated within one of the required triple marked retrieves.
  2. Both blind retrieves may be incorporated with the required triple marked retrieves.
  3. Trails off blind retrieves will not be used.
  4. Diversion or poison birds may be used at any time before or during blind retrieves. A diversion bird’s purpose is to divert the dog’s course, attention, or focus, whereas a poison bird is single purposed based on not being able to retrieve it until after delivering the blind retrieve (or the dog is disqualified). Judges may require the handler to run a blind(s) before picking up a poison bird; this shall not be construed as dictating “selection.” (The NAHRA Board of Directors trusts that judges will not make diversion or poison birds unrealistic. Diversion and poison birds shall not be scored as marked retrieves, but the dog must find and deliver the bird to hand.)

Par. 12. An upland hunting test, with flush, must be used.

  1. The dog shall be required to seek birds as in upland hunting
    within gun range of the handler.
  2. A dog may be urged to hunt or handled by moderate commands.
  3. At least one bird must be located and flushed. (Birds may be dizzied and placed in the field, released from a mechanical trap or hand thrown for the flush. Additional dead birds or scent areas may also be used at the discretion of the judges. If located, the dog must pick up and deliver these additional birds to hand. If a trap or other mechanical flushing devices is used, the judges will determine the time of flush. However, judges should not allow dogs to come closer than 10 yards from the flushing device before releasing the flush. The NAHRA Board of Directors suggests a minimum of 10 yards to stress dog safety and to err on the side of caution. Judges that endanger a dog in this manner may be subject to disciplinary action.)
  4. The use of wing-clipped, shackled or dead birds, for the flush, is not allowed.
  5. Fly-aways may be used for the flush. (A shot must still be fired).
  6. If a flushed bird is downed within a reasonable retrieving distance, the dog should be required to locate it and deliver to hand. (The retrieve shall not be scored as a mark but must be delivered to hand.)
  7. A dog must be steady to shot and fall and will be disqualified if it is not. The handler has until the first shot is fired or, in the opinion of the judges, should have been fired, to have the dog under control. The dog may be sitting or may be standing with limited movement. (A dog that is not under control at the time of the shot shall be disqualified.)
  8. If the dog is steady to shot but then breaks at the fall and manifests an intent to retrieve without being so ordered, it must be stopped. If a dog is immediately brought under control, it shall be considered a controlled break and will be considered a minor fault.
  9. A rerun shall be granted if, in the opinion of the judges, a poor flush or short fall has caused the dog to be unfairly evaluated.

Par. 13. A trailing test will be used

  1. The dog is required to trail, locate a bird and deliver it to hand.
  2. The dog shall be scored on its natural ability and the use of its nose to locate and follow the trail.
  3. It shall not matter in what manner the dog follows the trail, e.g., The dog may stay precisely on the trail with nose down, or close quarter back and forth across the trail with head up, or run a few yards downwind of the trail with his head held high. It is the intent of this test to have a dog indicate scent, follow the trail and locate the bird in a natural hunting manner.
  4. A dog may be urged to hunt by moderate voice or whistle commands.
  5. Judges may restrict entry of the handlers into the area of the trail.
  6. Hand signals or any other effort to cast the dog in a specific direction are inappropriate and shall not be used other than to put the dog onto the beginning of the trail.
  7. Trails off of marks or blinds shall not be used.

In addition to the standard Senior test and judging regulations described in the NAHRA "Book of Regulations for Testing of Hunting Retrievers". The following additional elements will be tested.

  1. Honor – A dog must honor another dog's work in at least one series.
  2. Blind Retrieves - A total of Three Blind Retrieves will be required. There will be at least one Blind Retrieve on land and at least one Blind Retrieve on water. One of the blind retrieves shall be incorporated within one of the required triple marked retrieves. The other two Blind Retrieves will be run as a double blind retrieve.
    1. A double blind retrieve shall be defined as two blind retrieves in a back-to-back sequence from the same point of origin. It may be on land, on water, or a combination of both.
    2. The double blind retrieve should be a separate series and shall not be incorporated into a marking series. It is suggested that the double blind be on the first testing day of the Invitational.
    3. The sequence ("selection") of the blind retrieves will not be determined by the judges.
    4. It is acceptable to have both blind birds planted prior to running the first blind. It is not acceptable to have more than one bird at each blind location.
    5. Diversion birds shall not be used during the Double Blind Retrieve test.
    6. The Double Blind Retrieve shall be worth 10 points total. Each blind shall be evaluated separately and considered when determining the score for the Double Blind test.
    7. Judging and scoring of the blinds will be in accordance with the NAHRA Book of Regulations for Testing of Hunting Retrievers (Chapter II & Chapter IV).

No, the NAHRA Intermediate test would be the closest equal to the AKC Senior test. The NAHRA Intermediate test is 2 land marks, 2 water marks, land blind, water blind, quartering of a field, and trailing. The NAHRA Senior test is the Finished/Master level test. For details of what is included in this test, see "What is tested in a Senior test?"

The complete set of regualations can be found in the NAHRA "Book of Regulations for Testing of Hunting Retrievers".

To become a member of NAHRA click here.

NAHRA was created in 1983 to preserve the hunting instincts of our retriever breeds. For years, small groups throughout the country conducted gun dog stakes and tested dogs, one against another, to find the top dog.

NAHRA revolutionized the retriever world by testing dogs against a written hunting standard. Today, NAHRA has clubs throughout North America and continues to test and reward the hunting retriever and to maintain computerized records of those dogs and their working accomplishments.

The principal purpose of the corporation is to educate the public in the use of purebred hunting retrievers as conservation animals and to promote the field-testing of retrievers in simulated hunting situations.

NAHRA’s purpose in establishing this concept is to discover and reward dogs that can fulfill the hunter’s needs in the field by performing in a manner consistent with the demands of actual hunting conditions. The purpose is not to confront the dog with trick problems, but rather to test the dog’s natural ability and acquired training. NAHRA Field Tests utilize duck blinds, numerous decoys, boats, calls and other hunting implements in a manner simulating normal hunting. Under the NAHRA concept, the objective is to recover the bird as quickly and efficiently as possible, to create the least amount of disturbance in the marsh and upland and to give the hunter the maximum amount of time to actually take game.

Dogs are placed in five categories based on ability not age: Beginner, Started, Hunter, Intermediate and Senior. Dogs do not compete against one another for placements, but rather their performances are judged individually against a “standard.”

More can be found on NAHRA's website https://nahra.org

Keith Stroyan put together a great article detailing the history and purpose of the NAHRA Invitational from his many years of being part of the NAHRA program. It is a great read! Click here to read this article.


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