Craigavon Gundog Club

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Craigavon Gundog Club

Club History

The Craigavon Gundog Club was formed in 1985 in the Craigavon area of County Armagh, Northern Ireland by a group of dedicated gundog handlers. Over the last sixteen years it has grown to be recognised as one of the top gundog associations in Ireland, with a current membership of over 150. The club is registered with the Kennel Club and regularly holds field trials and working tests under the auspices of the Kennel Club.

While all breeds of working gundogs are represented within the membership of the club, most members are involved with retrieving breeds, principally Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and Irish water spaniels. We do have number of members who own and work breeds like the Chesapeake Bay retriever and the flatcoated retriever. In the main, however, it is the Labrador retriever that figures in the club's activities.

Irish water spaniels regularly figure in club events

The Field Trial

Handlers wait in line at a working test

Working Tests & Field Trials

It is during the shooting season that the field trials in Ireland are held. In this country all field trails are regulated by the Kennel Club in Northern Ireland and the Irish Kennel Club in the Irish Republic. Licences are granted for the running of field trails and they are strictly governed. Usually held on sporting estates or private shooting grounds, the quarry at a field trial can range from pheasants and other game birds, to snipe, duck and rabbits. All field trails in Ireland are held with live game being shot thus testing the dogs in a normal shooting environment. Field trails, or stakes as they are referred to, have a limited entry, usually restricted to 12 dogs for a one-day stake in Northern Ireland and up to 16 dogs in the Irish Republic.

Working tests are held by the Craigavon Gundog Club in the close season with canvas dummies being used as a substitute for shot game. The Club's annual working test is held each year at the beginning of May at the club grounds, which are located near the town of Lurgan, County Armagh. Working tests feature up three categories representing the three stages in the development of working gundogs. The first is the Preliminary Working Test for dogs under the age of 18 months. Secondly, the Novice Working Test, restricted to dogs that have not won a novice event or having been placed in an open test and, thirdly, Advanced Working Test that is open to dogs of all ages.

Gundog Training Evenings

The club regularly hold gundog training sessions at their grounds at Craigavon Lakes, by courtesy of Craigavon Borough Council. These training sessions are open to all gundog retriever enthusiasts, irrespective of their level of competency. Sessions are held every Monday evening, starting at 7.30 p.m until 9.30 p.m.and run from April until late August

Craigavon Gundog Club at

Ireland's National Countrysports Fair

The largest retriever event ever staged in Ireland will be at Ireland's National Countrysports Fair, held annually at Gilford Castle Estate, near Banbridge in County Down. The dates for the 2002 National Countrysports Fair are 25 & 26 May.

The Craigavon Gundog Club are the organising club and will stage the following competitions.

  • Irish National Retriever Preliminary Working Test
  • Irish National Retriever Novice Working Test
  • Irish National Retriever Open Working Test
  • Irish National Mixed Pairs Championship

The National Countrysports Fair

Ireland's National Fair

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