Frequently Asked Questions
How do I join the Greatland Chapter?
There is a membership application on
this site that you can print, complete and mail. There is also a
link to the NAVHDA International membership application.
Membership meetings will be held about twice a year, and there
are several events throughout the year where Chapter members
gather to test, train or hunt our dogs.
It is necessary for me to join NAVHDA?
NAVHDA International membership is encouraged for all Chapter
members. It is required for anyone who holds Chapter office,
enters a NAVHDA-sanctioned test, or enters the NAVHDA Apprentice
What is NAVHDA?
The North American Versatile Hunting Dog
Association is a legally recognized nonprofit organization
dedicated to fostering, improving, promoting and protecting the
versatile hunting dog in North America.
Underlying these aims
is the desire to serve the interests of game conservation,
prevention of cruelty to animals, and the gun dog hunter by
helping the hunter to train a dog to work before and after the
shot, on land and in water.
NAVHDA is an
excellent compliment to the activities of sporting dog breed
clubs and field trial organizations. It was created to
supplement the activities of those clubs by providing a proven,
standard method of evaluating the performance of all versatile
hunting dogs, consistent with North American hunting practices,
regardless of breed.
What breeds of dogs are versatile hunting dogs?
There are 28 registerable breeds that
are recognized by NAVHDA as possessing the broad range of
hunting skills necessary to perform acceptably in
NAVHDA-sanctioned tests, and to perform these same skills in the
field. Information on the breeds may be found on the "VHD
Breeds" page within this site.
Pointing breeds such as Gordon Setters, English
Setters, Irish Setters and Pointers, although not commonly
thought of as versatile dogs, have done very well within the
Only pointing breeds registerable with the
are eligible to enter NAVHDA tests. NAVHDA testing is open to
dogs registered or registerable with NAVHDA's Registry.
What is a NAVHDA-sanctioned test?
These are events scheduled by local
NAVHDA Chapters that meet the requirements of a Natural Ability
Test (NA), a Utility Preparatory Test (UPT) or a Utility Test
(UT). These tests require acceptable grounds (cover, water,
etc.) for conducting the
test, acceptable birds for use in the test, and three approved
judges from NAVHDA's Approved Judges List. Tests are registered
and scheduled in advance with NAVHDA and are announced
nationally to increase participation and recognition.
Where can I learn how to train my VHD?
NAVHDA International published training books and videos
applicable to VHD breeds. The Greatland Chapter has members who
are willing to offer demonstrations and advice on training
issues. There are hundreds of books and magazines with reference
or "how to" training information and advice. Professional
trainers offer their services, typically at their location,
which requires shipping or delivering your dog to the trainer.
Most importantly, the Greatland Chapter offers training
clinics, handler's clinics, mock tests, field shoots and other
training activities that are a benefit of membership, generally
at very low cost.
What can I hunt with a VHD in Alaska?
In Alaska, dogs may be used to hunt
and retrieve upland game birds and waterfowl. It is not
currently legal to hunt game other than birds with dogs in
Alaska. However, it is legal to use a leashed dog to track
wounded big game. The rationale is that using dogs trained for
blood tracking decreases losses of wounded game and is therefore
a contribution to conservation and sound game management.
What breed of VHD should I buy?
As with any breed, many factors should be considered when
making the decision to acquire a dog, whether you are purchasing
from a breeder or adopting a dog from an animal shelter or a
rescue organization. It is a tenet of many versatile hunting dog
breeds, and their parent breed clubs, that VHD's should only be
sold to people who intend to hunt with them, and who will commit
to testing their dogs. Several breed organizations and their
affiliated breeders have enforceable contract restrictions on
breeding animals sold to individuals.
Among the versatile hunting dog breeds, there are subtle
differences in temperament, birdiness, the speed and distance at
which they range from the hunter, steadiness to flush, shot and fall,
and other factors that may or may not suit your hunting style
and the specific game you prefer to hunt.
Some VHD's, or lines within a breed, differ in their
adaptability to harsh climate and thick brush, their
receptiveness to training, and other factors that merit your
discussing these issues with individual breeders prior to
committing to a purchase.
Bear in mind that most dog owners will favor the breed of dog
they own for the same reason they acquired it in the first
place. The same applies to breeders. You may want to seek out
dog owners who have handled and trained a variety of versatile
hunting dogs to get a more balanced perspective on matching your
desires to a specific VHD breed.
An excellent place to get a broad range of experience and
advice on virtually all VHD breeds is the Greatland Chapter
membership. Come to a chapter meeting or other event and strike
up a conversation!