Frequently Asked Questions

What is NAVHDA? And what is the difference between NAVHDA International and Texas NAVHDA?

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to foster, promote, and improve the versatile hunting dog breeds in North America; to conserve game by using well trained reliable hunting dogs before and after the shot; and to aid in the prevention of cruelty to animals by discouraging nonselective and uncontrolled breeding, which produces unwanted and uncared for dogs. NAVHDA is an excellent complement 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.

NAVHDA is organized on two levels:

  • The first level, NAVHDA International operates under bylaws approved by its membership. These bylaws provide for officers elected by popular vote who, together with appointed directors, constitute an Executive Council charged with furnishing direction and guidance to NAVHDA programs.
  • The second level, local chapters of NAVHDA, are the “grass roots” organizations, which sponsor the training and testing programs. There are sanctioned chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Texas NAVHDA is one of the two sanctioned local Texas chapters.

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 test use, 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.


How is your Texas chapter organized?

We are a 501(c)(3) tax exempt entity. Our chapter’s founders saw the importance of maintaining consistency over time, so they developed a set of by-laws, which are the basic rules and guidelines that govern the internal management of our chapter. Bylaws are reviewed on an ongoing basis, revise as needed, and avaiable to members. There are four elected officers (President, Vise-President, Secretary, and Treasurer), who make-up the Executive Council. Regular elections for officers and board members keep our chapter’s prospective fresh, relevant, and in the hands of our members.


I don’t know how to train a dog; will I be the only one who has never done it?

We have members at all levels, from beginners to members who compete with their dogs. Advanced members help those who have less experience, which is one of the chapter’s goals: sharing knowledge and experience with those who are interested in learning.


I don’t want to compete with my dog, is this okay?

Yes! Testing is a tool that measures a dog’s natural abilities and advanced skills according to a set standard. Dogs don’t compete against each other, so everyone can potentially prize. However, if you don’t have a need or desire to test your dog, you still benefit by being a member of the chapter by having access to training grounds, experienced trainers, training equipment, and birds.


I want to run my dog in tests. What do I need to do?

To participate in a test, the testing dog MUST be registered in NAVHDA, fill out a test entry form, and pay testing fee to the chapter’s Test Secretary. The Test Secretary develops a running order, and updates handlers as test date approaches. The owner and/or handler doesn’t need to be a chapter member to participate in a test; however, there’s a member and non-member testing fee. NAVHDA Test explanations and needed forms are on the Home Page.


How do I join the Texas Chapter?

There’s a Texas Chapter Membership Application and NAVHDA International Membership Application on the on the Home Page with instructions. Membership meetings are held twice a year, and there are several events throughout the year where members gather to test, train and hunt with our dogs.


What dog breeds are considered Versatile Hunting Dogs (VHD)?

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association defines versatility as, “the dog that is bred and trained to dependably hunt and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water.” ~ NAVHDA Aims, Programs, Test Rules

NAVHDA recognizes 28 Versatile Hunting Dog breeds as possessing the broad range of hunting skills necessary to perform in NAVHDA-sanctioned tests, and to perform these same skills while hunting. VHD breeds, as we know them today, are products of Europe. No distinctive VHD has been developed in North America.

In the field, a VHD should exhibit a fine nose, staunch pointing, the desire to search for, track and retrieve game in a cooperative manner. A VHD needs to further prove his/her independence, stamina and quality of nose by transferring his/her search for, and retrieving of game, to the water. NAVHDA’s testing program provides an opportunity for dogs to exhibit these characteristics while remaining obedient and in control at all times. A true VHD should perform all tasks with enthusiasm and willingness to work with and for his/her handler.


We enjoy doing things as a family, is this chapter family friendly?

It better be! We love family participation. We understand that today’s children are NAVHDA’s future; therefore, we encourage children of all ages to participate at a level appropriate for their age. NAVHDA offers educational and testing opportunities for our younger members through Youth Programs.