Day of the dog

Setters, spaniels, pointers, retrievers and all manner of gundogs will descend on this year’s Fieldays when the New Zealand Gundog Trial Association demonstrates their stuff.

More than 25 gundogs and their handlers will perform three times a day from Thursday onwards over the Fieldays weekend.

The Art of Flight: Sherlock the German Short-Haired Pointer prepares to lift off mid-stride. Photo: Craig Richmond


South Auckland Gundog Club secretary Eugenie Clapham said the dogs will demonstrate a variety of tasks according to their specific breed and training.

“The retrievers obviously retrieve, whether that’s dead or wounded birds in the wild, whereas the spaniels are questing and flushing dogs, which means they find and scare up birds and that sort of thing.”

Some dogs will locate homing devices while others will complete various tasks to demonstrate their high level of training and obedience.

Clapham said that the while the pointers and setters are still gundogs, they are not generally used on birds.

“Because of their size, you’ll usually see them used to look for bigger game, like deer.”

Thirty-five gundog clubs from around New Zealand will be represented at the Fieldays, with a heavy focus on outreach and educating the public.

The clubs come under the umbrella of the New Zealand Gundog Trial Association and are closely affiliated with the New Zealand Kennel Club.

The affiliation means interaction with dog owners for the overall benefit of the community is heavily encouraged.

“Most of us are serious breeders and all our dogs are genetically tested,” said Clapham. “So if there was one slight disappointment last year it was that not enough people came and talked with us.”

Informational material will be available free to attendants of the demonstrations.

Clapham believes the public may be unaware of just what a champion gundog can do.

“I think that what will surprise people is the capabilities of the dogs. Even experienced gundog owners might be surprised by just how well trained you can get your dog, it just takes time, and that’s what we want to encourage.”