When it comes to choosing a new gun dog, there are a lot of things to consider. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you are prepared for the commitment of owning a dog. A new puppy will require time, patience, and training in order to become a well-behaved member of the family. In addition, you will need to provide your new pup with plenty of exercise, socialization, and proper nutrition. Once you have decided that you are ready for the responsibility of dog ownership, it is time to start looking for the perfect puppy. When selecting a pedigree, it is important to do your research and choose a reputable breeder. A good breeder will be able to provide you with information about the parents of your puppy, as well as any health clearances or titles that they may have earned. In addition, a good breeder will be able to answer any questions that you may have about the breed. By taking the time to find a good breeder, you can be assured that you are getting a quality pup who has the best chance for a long and happy life by your side.

AKC Titles: American Kennel Club

Hunt Tests- These titles are found at the end of the dog’s registered name. For more information on AKC hunt tests, click here.

MNH: Master National Hunter

MH: Master Hunter 

SH: Senior Hunter 

JH: Junior Hunter

 Field Trials- These titles are found at the beginning of the dog’s registered name. For more information on AKC field trials, click here.

NFC: National Field Champion

NAFC: National Amateur Field Champion

FC: Field Champion

AFC: Amateur Field Champion

QAA: Qualified All Age (This is not a true title because it isn’t found on their pedigree certificate, but it is a very good indication of the dog’s talent. QAA is placed at the end of the registered name) 

UKC Titles: United Kennel Club – UKC tests are run under the Hunting Retriever Club, or more commonly referred to as, HRC tests. For more information on HRC tests, click here.

 GRHRCH: Grand Hunting Retriever Champion

HRCH: Hunting Retriever Champion

HR: Hunting Retriever

SHR: Started Hunting Retriever

UH: Upland Hunter

NAHRA Titles: North American Hunting Retriever Association – For more information on NAHRA hunt tests, click here.

 GMHRCH: Grand Master Hunting Retriever Champion

GMHR: Grand Master Hunting Retriever

MHR: Master Hunting Retriever

WR: Working Retriever

HR: Hunting Retriever

SHR: Started Hunting Retriever

 Health Clearances:

When purchasing a new pup, it is important to make sure the parents and grandparents were healthy animals. Any reputable breeder will check the health of the parents and provide the results to the puppy owners. If the parents do not have health clearances, steer clear and look for another breeder.

OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals – You’ll want to make sure that the parents and grandparents were tested for hip dysplasia! Parents who’s joints are rated “Good” or “Excellent” are ideal. Anything less, I’d steer clear. 

Side Note: My dog, Buck came from parents who were rated “Excellent” and “Good,” and he still ended up with hip dysplasia. Sometimes bad things happen, and all the research in the world can’t save you from a stroke of bad luck. 

Many breeders will do an exam for eyes, elbows etc. These clearances are a little less common but are nice to have.

EIC: Exercise Induced Collapse – This is a genetic problem which is passed down from the parents. Basically, when the dog works hard in the field, their body will shut down. The dog’s back legs give out and the dog will literally collapse in the field. 

 Here are the three designations you will see: 

EIC Clear – This means the dog is not affected by the disorder and is good to go

EIC Carrier – This means the dog carries the gene for EIC, but is not affected by the disease

EIC Affected – This dog has the disease and will have the negative effects of the disease

 Breeding an EIC Clear dog with an EIC Carrier will result in roughly half the puppies being clear and half the puppies being a carrier. Breeding a clear with a clear means the puppies will not carry the gene. Breeding an affected dog is highly unlikely, but can happen if the breeders do not check their dogs. You do not want a dog that is affected, that is why it is so important to buy from a breeder that tests their dogs. 

 CNM: Centronuclear Myopathy – This disease, plainly put, is muscular dystrophy in the canine form. 

CNM Clear – The dog is cleared from the genetic mutation

CNM Carrier – The dog carries the gene for CNM, but is not affected by the mutation

CNM Affected – The dog carries the gene and is affected by the mutation

When you purchase a dog, it is important to understand the breed and what their natural tendencies are. If you are looking for a hunting companion, make sure to purchase a puppy whose parents have been in hunting games. This will give you an indication of what your dog will be like and help ensure that you are getting the best possible match for your lifestyle.