Bench and Field
Dog World|March 24,2017

Pointing breeds test their field trial skills at KC training day

David Hudson

EVERY March the Kennel Club runs two weekends dedicated to training pointing breeds – or perhaps I should say training the owners of pointing breeds – to work on grouse moors. The courses are open to all pointing breeds, both the British and the Continentals and on March 4-5 there were 14 different breeds ready and eager for their time on the hill. The British were represented by Pointers, Irish Setters and Gordon Setters and the Continentals by German Short haired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers, German Longhaired Pointers, Hungarian Vizslas, Hungarian Wirehaired Vizslas, Italian Spinones, Bracco Italianos, Weimaraners, Longhaired Weimaraners, Braques Francais and Large Munsterlanders.

The Bridge Inn at Grinton provided a very welcoming place for the meet, where Peter O’Driscoll welcomed the trainees and introduced them to their trainers: Phil Pearson, Mick Canham, Colin Organ, Julie Organ, David Hall, Godfrey Card, Lester Anderson, David Wisner, Maureen Nixon and Rory Major. The 45 dogs split into five groups with two trainers for each group and we headed offup the hill out of Grinton and on to the heather where Lord Peel and head keeper Des Coates generously provide training ground for these courses.

There are no qualifying standards to be met by either dogs or handlers: these training days are open to everyone from experienced handlers to owners who have never set foot on a grouse moor – and the same goes for the dogs. Quite a few of the trainees were from the show side of the dog world while others were aiming to run their dogs in field trials or use them in the shooting field. Some perhaps were just there for the sheer enjoyment of spending a couple of days on the hill with the feel of rock and heather under foot and the chance to hunt and point a few grouse, to hear the bubbling song of the curlew, the piping call of the golden plover and the occasional blast of a Thunderer whistle as someone’s dog got a little over enthusiastic for the job in hand.

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