There are a hand full of tests to put your Deutsch Kurzhaar through. Each consecutive test increases in difficulty. Don't worry though! Through training, your dog's abilities will increase and with each test you will gain experience in training your dog. With the right guidance, an inexperienced dog handler can put a dog through a test as well as an experienced dog handler. There are several books on training a versatile dog and you may always contact or email vom Adlerberg for advice. Testing regulations may be obtained through the NADKC or DKV. We do encourage any other JGHV or NAVHDA testing as well. Please understand that NAVHDA and the DKV system are entirely separate entities. The DKV does not recognize NAVHDA tests.
The following steps are a very general guideline on DKV testing to introduce new or potential DK owners on what they will encounter in the German testing system. Again, actual regulations may be obtained from the DKV or the NADKC.
Step one is just bonding with your puppy and building trust. The best dog is a well-rounded dog, and versatile dogs love to be around people. Gradually expose your puppy to different environments to socialize and familiarize it with people, other dogs, and objects. It is extremely important for your puppy to gain this exposure during the first several months of its life. Teach basic obedience, and be aware that some dogs learn faster than others, so be patient. Make sure your puppy has room to run around and expend its energy! This will take lots of patience and love! Remember your puppy looks up to you, so make his start a positive experience. Then start the actual in-depth training.
The Derby test. The Derby tests your dog's natural abilities and is easy to prepare for. They are held in the spring and as a general reference, your dog may be anywhere from 6 months old, up to around 15 months old, depending on when the pup was born. Abilities tested will be nose, search, pointing, cooperation, desire to work, and obedience. Remember, the Derby test is just a test of your pups natural abilities. Pup does not have to be steady to wing or shot but should have had plenty of exposure to the field and different types of terrain. The biggest key is exposure. A gun sensitivity test will also be performed. During the Derby, the Wesen-Test will be conducted (dogs will be on a ground stake) to determine the behavior of the dogs (whining, barking, trying to leave, etc), simulating a rest period during a hunt.
The Zuchtschau. During some point of owning your dog, it is a good idea to enter a Zuchtschau. We encourage a Zuchtschau to be done once while the puppy is under 18 months old and then again as an adult. If a dog is under the age of 18 months, the highest rating it can receive is an SG. We encourage junior Zuchtschaus because as an example, if your dog knocks out a tooth while hunting later in life, and you have no proof that the tooth did exist, your dog might be disqualified from breeding. It is wise to have your dog in its best shape, toned, ready to show off and used to being paraded on leash- it is a breed show!
The Solms/AZP/HZP is the fall test. Its purpose is just a little more in depth than the Derby. Basic, practical use of the dog for hunting must be established. If there are any "character and nerve" flaws in the dog, this test helps show them. Testing categories are field work, water work, hare or rabbit drag (feathered drag additionally for HZP), cooperation, obedience, desire to work, and manner of hunting. Again, the Wesen-test will be performed, this time without the stake or tie-out. If your dog cannot compete in the Solms due to influences beyond your control, you can test your dog in the AZP or Older Dog Breeding Test. The AZP is the same test as the Solms, yet also serves as a maturity test.
The VGP is the "master" of tests. It is held in the fall and is a challenge to both dog and handler. This is proof of a finished dog, the test rules are stricter, and utmost obedience from the dog is imperative. The VGP is a two day test that will test your dog in 28 categories or predicates and how well your dog can "switch gears" from fur and fox work, water work, and field work. For first time handlers, we highly recommend you see a VGP before training one. This will help you understand the test better and therefore, be better prepared in your training for one.
But wait! The testing doesn't stop here! There are several other tests you can train your dog for if you want to further partake in the testing system. These include blood tracking tests, retrieval proofing tests, up to the the Kleeman, IKP, and NAKP and more...