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Versatile Hunting Dog Federation of Canada (VHDF-Canada) Homepage

Table of Contents

This webpage was mounted on April 3, 2015 and last updated on June 3, 2021 by Sheila Schmutz

The VHDF-Canada annual meeting was held on Saturday, January 23, 2021 by WebEx. A test is scheduled for September 11-12, 2021 near Alvena, SK, sponsored by the Saskatoon Gun Dog Club.

VHDF-Canada Bulletin #2 was mailed to members on 21 January 2021. Please email joe.schmutz@usask.ca if you did not receive your copy.

Photo credits: Most photos were taken by Dale Eslinger and used with permission.

Feature Story

Training Videos - a Covid Response?

As the Sunnynook I2 pups left, Joe demonstrated "Wing-on-a-String", as shown here with Inca. Patricia Oderkirk shot a short video of Joe doing this with Iltis, their pup. Patricia and Derek Oderkirk owned the sire, Sunnynook's Fergus.

Patricia Oderkirk also shot a short video of Joe demonstrating retrieving with Sunnynook's Gannet (2+ yrs old) and then Sunnynook's Iltis (15 weeks old). Additional information and references are available in you click on SHOW MORE below the description of this YouTube video.

8 April 2021

Field Tests

Hunters make diverse demands of their dogs, especially those hunters pursuing upland birds, waterfowl and possibly big game. Such a wide range of uses is possible because versatile dogs have been selected for a greater range of behavioural responses than any other type of dog. VHDF tests have been designed as a tool to help breeders maintain this exemplary range of performance in their breed.

Three levels of Field Tests are offered:

Detailed information about these tests is available on a separate webpage.

Since the beginning of VHDF in 2007, there has been an annual fall test in Saskatchewan, north of Saskatoon. In 2010, there was also a one day puppy test in June.

Blood Tracking Test

Big game hunters outnumber bird hunters, and many hunters pursue both types of game. By encouraging hunters to use their dogs of virtually any breed or mix, and by offering blood-tracking workshops, the use of dogs for hunting and game conservation can be increased.

The enormous benefit of dogs for tracking crippled big game was not widely recognized in North America when game laws were written. Hence, dogs were frequently excluded from big game hunting. Increasingly, this inadvertent oversight is being corrected in Canada and the U.S. In Ontario, the hunting regulations have been changed to enable the use of dogs for tracking, through the efforts of the Big Game Blood Trackers Ontario and other hunters. Our hope is that by providing workshops and a proven method of testing other provinces may follow suit.

A blood tracking test has been offered as an add-on to the VHDF-US Performance Evaluation (see #6 in those rules). A similar version is now offered separately by VHDF-Canada.

The date for the next test has not been set yet, but is planned for 2021 in Alvena, SK. Brent Grabowski is organizing this.

~ VHDF-Canada Blood Tracking Test Scores ~

Blood Tracking Tests, as separate tests, were offered beginning in fall 2015. The tests involves a 450 m trail laid in an S curve a few hours before the dog is allowed to track on leash with its handler. The time limit to complete the track and find the "mammalian game" at the end is 45 minutes.

A separate webpage contains more information about training as well as details for laying a track.

VHDF-Canada Judges

The popularity of the blood tracking option has influenced our appointment of judges in Canada. By approving judges separately for blood tracking and field testing, VHDF-Canada has been able to enlist experienced practitioners from the police-dog and trailing-dog community.

More detailed information and a list of approved Judges is available on a separate linked page.

Judges approved by VHDF-Canada are authorized to judge in the HAE (1), AHAE (2), and PE (3) levels of testing. Prior to approval, each judge has:

  • run at least one dog in level 1 and either level 2 or 3.
  • Provided a summary of their hunting experience which must include both upland and waterfowl hunting.
  • holds a "current" bird hunting license in their home province.
  • attended a workshop that discusses the VHDF testing and scoring philosophy and discussed the safety and educational responsibilities of being a judge.
  • passed a written online exam after reading the VHDF testing guidelines and other background material

Judges approved by the VHDF-U.S. organization are authorized to judge in any VHDF-Canada field test.

Blood Tracking Judges will undergo a separate approval process. Some may be authorized to judge only this test. As of January, 2019 these judges include: Brent Grabowski, Saskatoon; Matt Walpole, Saskatoon; Joe Schmutz, Saskatoon.


VHDF-Canada membership is open to anyone interested in running a dog in a field test or blood tracking test. People who are interested in training versatile hunting dogs or in training dogs for blood tracking big game are also welcome to join.

Most dogs used for field tests are purebred dogs of one of the versatile breeds such as Brittany Spaniel, German Shorthair, German Wirehair, Griffon, Large Munsterlander, Pudelpointer, Viszla, etc. However dogs used for blood tracking can be of any breed or cross.

See How to Join or Renew Membership for more information.

VHDF-Canada Officers - 2021

  • President: Craig Wilson (caw238@protonmail.com)
  • Vice-President: Brent Graboski (bnebne@sasktel.net)
  • Treasurer: Patricia Oderkirk (ddpoder@gmail.com)
  • Secretary: Sheila Schmutz (sheila.schmutz@usask.ca)
  • Director of Judging: Joe Schmutz (joe.schmutz@usask.ca)
  • Director-at-Large:
    • Todd Shury, SK (twshury@sasktel.net)
    • Jim Baker, ON (jjlbaker@Rogers.com)

  • Webmaster: Sheila Schmutz (sheila.schmutz@usask.ca)

    Blood Tracking Proposal Subcommittee

    • Guy Pulvermacher, Bruno, SK
    • Nell McKim, Humboldt, SK
    • Joe Schmutz, Saskatoon, SK

    Bird Tracking Method Subcommittee

    • Jim Baker, ON
    • Todd Shury, Saskatoon, SK
    • Craig Wilson, Saskatoon, SK
    • Joe Schmutz, Saskatoon, SK

Honourary Lifetime Member

Ed Bailey, Ontario

**

Calendar of Events

Annual Meeting: Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 1:00 PM by WebEx. Hosted by Craig Wilson, President

VHDF-Canada Judging Workshop

  • Three 8-10 PM Central-Time Zoom Meetings, Feb. 8, 15 & 22, 2021
  • Reading material sent in advance
  • Multiple Choice Exam to follow
  • Designed for approved apprentice judges, (application information)
  • Judges and dog owners welcome if space allows
  • Contact joe.schmutz@usask.ca


For more information on the U.S. VHDF, visit Versatile Hunting Dog Federation

For more information on VHDF tests held in Canada from 2007-2021, visit VHDF Tests in Saskatchewan