The Role of the Field Trial Sub-Committee

The Field Trial Sub-Committee's primary purpose is to support the working side of the Flatcoated Retriever through running Breed Working Tests in the summer months and Breed Field Trials during the shooting season.

The Flatcoated Retriever Society has permission from the Kennel Club to run “Breed Only” Novice and Open qualifying Field Trials. 


Our aim is to encourage handlers to the pleasure of working their flatcoat in competition, as well as encouraging more owners to work their dogs at shoots. We will support those aims by providing training days and training contacts across the UK.


In addition to area Working Tests tests that will be run by the Area Working Test organiser, we shall also run the Shirley Radburn Nationals and the Inter-Area Team Challenge. The team event is designed to encourage new handlers into working tests, be alongside more experienced handlers who hopefully will help new handlers relax and enjoy participating.


We will also try to run Shooting Dog Certificate days, which is an assessment for Flatcoated Retrievers, primarily for the purposes of breeding which demonstrates the dog’s retrieving capabilities but without being under a competition environment, first set up by the late Hon Amelia Jessel in 1981/82. The day is run at a shoot, usually only four dogs, a member of the FTSub committee attends together with a panel Field Trial judge. The aim is to assess the dog on a normal shoot day. The dog should be quiet, either off the lead, or on the lead, depending on how steady the handler thinks their dog is at a drive, retrieve birds tenderly to hand when instructed to by the judge and then handler. Complicated handling is not expected but some degree of control of the dog is expected, it is also expected that the dog when picking a bird comes straight back to the handler with that bird, just as one would expect on a picking up day. Picking up a bird, then putting it down and picking another bird would not be acceptable. Here is a link to some history and guidance for handlers about the SDC: 


We hope that these schemes will assist members and breeders alike to maintain the retrieving qualities and temperament required of the breed for future generations and encourage more people to work their flatcoat.


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