2018 Sporting Dog Instinct Clinic

MSDA will be conducting its second set of Instinct Clinics this spring with sessions on Friday March 2nd and Saturday March 3rd during the MSDA Sporting Group Dog Show at the Howard County Fairgrounds (2210 Fairgrounds Rd, West Friendship, MD 21794). If you have a sporting breed dog with little or no field experience, this is a great way to get started. Your dog will be able to scent a bird and find a bird, triggering their basic hunting instincts.

This will be a fun, relaxed, and encouraging activity. The clinic includes a general discussion and individual work with each dog and handler. Clinics will be run by AKC hunt test judges for flushing, pointing, and retrieving breeds. There will be lots of fun, and great information too!

View photos, videos, and a description of the 2017 Instinct Clinic (which focused on flushing breeds). 

This is a wonderful stepping stone for you and your dog to get involved with training for your parent club’s WD/WC program or the AKC Hunt Test program, or to simply see how much fun you can have when your dog gets turned on to birds!!

Four identical sessions will be held:

  • Friday March 2nd at 9:30 am
  • Friday March 2nd at 1:30 pm
  • Saturday March 3rd at 9:30 am
  • Saturday March 3rd at 1:30 pm

Entries will be limited, so sign up early. Scroll down to register on-line now, or sign up at the MSDA Instinct Clinic table in the Main Hall of the dog show on Friday or early Saturday. Your dog does not have to be entered in the dog show to participate in the Instinct Clinic.

Pre-registration is required. The fee is $20 per dog. Please pay at the Instinct Clinic desk in the Main Hall.  (There also is a $4 parking fee when you enter the Fairgrounds.)

In addition to all breeds in the Sporting Group, Airedale Terriers, Miniature Poodles, and Standard Poodles are welcome to participate.

The clinic will be held outdoors on the show site in a designated field near the main show hall. Live birds will be used. There will be no gunfire. (Flushed birds fly away.)

Volunteers Needed: The Instinct Clinics on Friday and Saturday need help checking in registrants at the field and letting everyone know who’s next. No experience is necessary and you can work at only one, or more than one, of the four sessions. This is a fun job, and you will get to meet all the dogs (and their humans, too.) Adults and juniors welcome. Please contact Steve Roth to volunteer.

Fill out the information below to register for the Sporting Dog Instinct Clinic. For questions, please contact Steve Roth.

(All fields are required.)

Please check over your responses and then click

We will e-mail you confirmation of your registration. If you don't receive it within a few hours (please check your spam folder), contact Steve Roth.


AKC Spaniel Hunt Test Seminar February 2018

Presented by AKC Field Representative Tom Meyer
and hosted by the Maryland Sporting Dog Association

Sunday, February 18th 2018
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Mason Dixon Hunting Farm, Inc.
5112 Hildebrand Road, Glen Rock PA 17327
$45 fee included light breakfast and lunch

The Hunt Test Seminar was held in conjunction with a Grouse Trial sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Hunting Spaniel Club on Saturday, February 17th.

The Hunt Test Seminar was designed to review and explain the regulations and guidelines for the AKC Spaniel Hunt Test program. Seminar participants improved their understanding of the performance requirements and standards as well as additional AKC policies. The program was presented using multimedia demonstrations, lecture and group discussions. All presentations were indoors. Attendance at the seminar was recommended for anyone interested in learning about the program as well as newcomers already participating in the program. In addition, all AKC judges are required to attend once every five years to maintain active status. This seminar wass for humans only (no dogs).

The American Kennel Club’s Spaniel Hunt Test program is open to seventeen breeds of dogs (Airedale Terriers, American Water Spaniels, Boykin Spaniels, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Clumber Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Curly-Coated Retrievers, English Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Field Spaniels, Flat-Coated Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Irish Water Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Sussex Spaniels, Poodles – Standard and Miniature, and Welsh Springer Spaniels). These breeds are used to find, flush, and retrieve upland game birds. The Spaniel Hunt Test program is designed to give owners of these breeds an opportunity to train and evaluate their dogs against three levels of non-competitive performance.

For questions or follow-up, please contact Steve Roth.

MSDA Member Crab Feast 2017

MSDA’s 2017 Crab Feast was Sunday October 8 at the South Carroll Swim Club, 1900 West Liberty Road, Westminster, MD 21157

This annual event is only for MSDA members and their guests. Crab Feast is the event where we honor our volunteers who have worked particularly hard during the past year. Members who have worked a full day as a volunteer at an MSDA event within the past 12 months eat for FREE! For all others, lunch was still only $10 per person. MSDA provided steamed crabs, grilled burgers & hot dogs, side dishes, and (non-alcoholic) beverages.

MSDA at Maryland Hunting & Fishing Day 9/23/2017

Maryland Sporting Dog Association participated in the 11th Annual Maryland celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day. The event was Saturday 9/23/2017 at Izaak Walton League of America in Clear Spring MD.

Though the event’s attendance was somewhat smaller than in previous years, MSDA had a large display including photos and videos of MSDA dogs and events, and general information about sporting dogs and the club. We had good conversations with attendees about their dogs, potential field activities, training needs, and one of our member’s upland hunting trip with veterans in collaboration with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Other Hunting and Fishing Day activities included archery, fly/spin casting practice (on the lawn), rifle, trap, and BB gun shooting, and displays by state government, private businesses, and conservation groups.

September 2017 Hunting Tests for Flushing Breeds

MSDA’s September Hunting Test Weekend was September 16th-17th. Despite hotter than usual temperatures, MSDA’s hunting tests were quite successful. Iced water and plenty of extra ponds on the property ensured that both humans and dogs kept their cool and had fun. There were more than 50 entries, and participating breeds included: Airedale Terrier, American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, and Standard Poodle.

(Click on any photo below to expand the gallery.)

There actually were three consecutive days of AKC-licensed spaniel (flushing breed) hunting tests at the Junior, Senior, and Master Hunter levels. They were held by the Maryland Sporting Dog Association (Saturday & Sunday) and by the Susquehanna Valley English Springer Spaniel Club (Friday’s event). Not just for spaniels, all three events were open to all eligible flushing breeds. On Friday 9/15 and Saturday 9/16 MSDA also offered Working Dog certificate testing. WD testing is subject to each breed’s parent club approval; we received approval for English Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Field Spaniels, and Welsh Springer Spaniels. Dogs entered in Junior Hunter could sign up for concurrent WD testing for a reduced fee. All of these events were held at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton, MD. This beautiful property provides more than 250 acres of fields, ponds, and woods as well as an air-conditioned clubhouse.

If you have any follow-up questions or comments relating to hunting test weekend, please contact Steve Roth,  HuntingChair@mdsportingdog.org .

Check our Calendar for more MSDA activities as well as training opportunities and hunt tests offered by other local clubs.

Field Day July 29 2017

MSDA’s July 29th Field Day was awesome! We were at Rebel Ridge Farms in Maryland with a very full day of introductory through advanced training opportunities for flushing, pointing, and retrieving breeds. Rebel Ridge has over 250 acres of fields and four ponds, all specifically maintained for sporting dog training. 66 humans and 56 dogs attended.
The following breeds are among those that participated. Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Decker Rat Terrier, Deutsch-Drahthaar, English Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Llewellin Setter, Miniature Poodle, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Standard Poodle, Vizsla, Welsh Springer Spaniel, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. 
It turned out to be a perfect day for training with cool weather and mostly cloudy skies, and we were in the fields from 8 am until after 5:30 pm, with only a short break for a (delicious) potluck lunch. Pictures from July 29th Field Day are shown below. Click on any photo to see a full-sized slide show.

Field Day June 17 2017

MSDA Summer Field Day in Delaware was
Saturday June 17th 7:30 am – 4:00 pm at
C&R Center at Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, Felton DE

Field Day provided introductory through advanced training opportunities for flushing, pointing, and retrieving breeds. We had a great time and got a lot done. 36 dogs and 51 people attended. Outdoors Delmarva was there, too, and included coverage in their show airing Saturday June 24th and Sunday June 25th.

Click on any of the photos below for a full-sized slide show.

Not an MSDA member? Learn more about us and sign up for our e-mail list.

So, you participated in a flushing dog Instinct Clinic and your dog had a great time! Now what?

Even if you don’t have access to birds, you can start some field training on your own. Your dog probably is well-behaved with people and with other dogs, and looks to you for direction. The next step is ensuring that your dog will come when called. You also can work on some basic retrieves, and all of this can be practiced in your own yard or other common space. Supplies (long leads, training bumpers, and even bird wings) can be purchased inexpensively on-line. For basic field training guidance, consider one of the following books recommended by MSDA members:

  • Hup! Training Flushing Spaniels the American Way, by James B. Spencer
  • Urban Gun Dogs: Training Flushing Dogs for Home & Field by Anthony Roettger & Benjamin Schleider

More advanced work may involve systematically searching a field (“quartering”), responding to whistle commands and hand signals, retrieving actual birds, becoming accommodated to the sound of gunfire, and performing water retrieves. You likely will need some help from experienced handlers or trainers to get started on these skills. MSDA’s Summer Field Days, June 17th and July 29th, provided great training opportunities for all levels and we plan to do more in the future. Check our Calendar for more events and training opportunities.

With some work during the coming months, you and your flushing dog will be ready to enter a Junior Hunter test. MSDA’s spaniel hunting tests (which, by the way, are not just for spaniels) are held in September each year. Other hunting tests can be found by searching the AKC events calendar.

43 Breeds Eligible for AKC Hunting Tests

Your dog doesn’t need to have “spaniel” in its breed name to enter a “Spaniel Hunting Test”. As of April 2017 there are 43 breeds eligible for AKC pointing, retriever, and spaniel (flushing breed) hunting tests.

Airedale Terrier – Spaniel Hunting Tests
American Water Spaniel – Retriever, Spaniel
*Barbet – Retriever
Boykin Spaniel – Retriever, Spaniel
*Bracco Italiano – Pointing
*Braque du Bourbonnais – Pointing
*Braque Francais Pyrenean – Pointing
Brittany – Pointing
Chesapeake Bay Retriever – Retriever, Spaniel
Clumber Spaniel – Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel – Spaniel
Curly-Coated Retriever – Retriever, Spaniel
*Drentsche Patrijshond (Drent) – Pointing, Retriever
English Cocker Spaniel – Spaniel
English Setter – Pointing
English Springer Spaniel – Spaniel
Field Spaniel – Spaniel
Flat-Coated Retriever – Retriever, Spaniel
*French Spaniel – Pointing
*German Longhaired Pointer – Pointing
German Shorthaired Pointer – Pointing, Retriever
German Wirehaired Pointer – Pointing, Retriever
Golden Retriever – Retriever, Spaniel
Gordon Setter – Pointing
Irish Red & White Setter – Pointing
Irish Setter – Pointing
Irish Water Spaniel – Retriever, Spaniel
Labrador Retriever – Retriever, Spaniel
Miniature Poodle – Retriever, Spaniel
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – Retriever
Pointer – Pointing
*Portuguese Pointer – Pointing
*Pudelpointer – Pointing
*Small Munsterlander Pointer – Pointing
Spinone Italiano – Pointing, Retriever
*Stabyhoun – Pointing
Standard Poodle – Retriever, Spaniel
Sussex Spaniel – Spaniel
Vizsla – Pointing, Retriever
Weimaraner – Pointing, Retriever
Welsh Springer Spaniel – Spaniel
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon – Pointing, Retriever
Wirehaired Vizsla – Pointing

* FSS (AKC Foundation Stock Service) breed.

For the most current information, please check:

MSDA’s spring show and obedience/ rally trials will be March 2-4, 2018.

MSDA Spring Sporting Group Dog Shows and All-Breed Obedience & Rally Trials: three days of AKC-licensed events.

The dog-loving public is invited to attend!  Once again we will be at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, MD. Parking is $4 per car, but there is no other admission fee. Limited food concessions are available on site. If you are interested in sporting dog breeds or obedience training for all dogs, the MSDA dog show is a wonderful place to learn more. Check the published schedule for judging times (available soon) for the breeds or obedience events that especially interest you. Although owners and handlers will be busy preparing dogs for judging before their time in the ring, you can view the dogs in their event and then afterwards have a chance to ask questions and make friends with owners, handlers and the dogs themselves. Dogs entered in these events are, not surprisingly, very friendly and love attention. Similarly, owners and handlers are very knowledgeable and are usually happy to share.

All obedience and conformation events are indoors. In addition, there are four just-for-fun “Instinct Clinic” sessions held outdoors on Friday and Saturday to introduce sporting dogs to field activities. Please note: Buildings will be busy and somewhat crowded during show hours, so only dogs entered in the events may be brought inside.

All conformation and obedience/rally entries are managed via Jim Rau Dog Shows. The dog show premium list is still available, but entries have now closed (except for the instinct clinics). If you have any questions , please contact Richard Jackson,  ShowChair@mdsportingdog.org or Pat Hess, ObedienceChair@mdsportingdog.org.

Here is the general schedule for the show and other activities, along with some preliminary counts.

Thursday, March 1st
No events. Show site opens for setup after 3:00 pm.
No admittance after 10 pm.

Friday, March 2nd
All Breed Obedience & Rally
(95 entries in obedience and 49 in rally)
Potomac Valley Golden Retriever Club Specialty
(86 entries in conformation, 49 in obedience, and 23 in rally)
MSDA Sporting Dog Instinct Clinics (9:30 am & 1:30 pm)

Saturday, March 3rd
All Breed Obedience & Rally
(116 entries in obedience and 59 in rally)
Sporting Breed Conformation
(571 entries in conformation, 15 in junior showmanship)
MSDA Sporting Dog Instinct Clinics (9:30 am & 1:30 pm)
MSDA Membership Meeting (after Best in Show)

Sunday, March 4th
All Breed Obedience & Rally
(131 entries in obedience, and 50 in rally)
Sporting Breed Conformation
(534 entries in conformation, 16 in junior showmanship)

Official show hours are 6:30 am – 6:30 pm Friday-Sunday, though judging doesn’t usually start until at least 8 am. Grounds are available 6:30 am – 10:00 pm each of those days. Once judging schedules are established, we’ll post more detailed event-specific timetables here.

Meanwhile, in addition to the 86 Golden Retriever entries for Friday’s Specialty, here are preliminary counts of conformation entries by breed. (Numbers in parentheses are # entries on Saturday and Sunday). ASCOB Cocker Spaniel (7, 7); Black Cocker Spaniel (4, 4); Brittany (18, 19); Chesapeake Bay Retriever (25, 26); Clumber Spaniel (3, 4); Curly-Coated Retriever (6, 4); English Cocker Spaniel (32, 30); English Setter (5, 5); English Springer Spaniel (24, 28); Field Spaniel (4, 3); Flat-Coated Retriever (40, 38); German Shorthaired Pointer (27, 27); German Wirehaired Pointer (3, 2); Golden Retriever (63, 49); Gordon Setter (7, 7); Irish Red & White Setter (5, 5); Irish Setter (18, 16); Irish Water Spaniel (27, 28); Labrador Retriever (57, 50); Lagotto Romagnolo (4, 3); Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (7, 7); Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (40, 27); Parti-color Cocker Spaniel (7, 6); Pointer (12, 14); Spinone Italiano (8, 11); Sussex Spaniel (8, 7); Vizsla (27, 29); Weimaraner (18, 17); Welsh Springer Spaniel (46, 42); Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (19, 19). We don’t seem to have any entries this year for American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, or Wirehaired Vizsla. Of course, all breeds, not just sporting group dogs, may be entered in the  MSDA obedience and rally events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Even more detailed preliminary counts are available from Rau.

A map of key locations on the show grounds is shown below. (Click on the image to enlarge the map.)

Volunteers! It’s not too late (it’s never too late) to volunteer! Running a dog show with hundreds of entries is an enormous job. MSDA depends on volunteers to keep things moving smoothly. Volunteering also is a great way to meet people, learn about the events, and collect some wet doggy kisses. Experience is not required for many jobs and you can be a huge help even if you have only one or a few hours to contribute. Volunteers do not have to be MSDA members. Anyone who would like to help with this year’s show is asked to please contact the Show Chair, Richard Jackson. In particular,

  • Obedience and Rally Trials need a minimum of ten stewards each of three days, beginning a half hour before the trials start.  Although experienced stewards are needed, newcomers, with no experience stewarding, are also welcomed and needed.  If you think you will be able to help, please contact the Obedience and Rally Chair, Pat Hess.
  • The Instinct Clinics on Friday and Saturday need help checking in registrants at the field and letting everyone know who’s next. No experience is necessary and you can work at only one, or more than one, of the four sessions. Please contact Steve Roth to volunteer.

 Sporting Dog Instinct Clinics

Also at the spring show, MSDA is offering four “Instinct Clinics” to introduce sporting dogs to birds and AKC hunting events. In the clinic we will look at prey drive, biddability in association with retrieving, and the instinct to hunt and find birds.  Instinct clinics will be held outside, in a field near the main show building. There will be no gunfire, but live birds (pigeons or quail) will be used. Your dog does not have to be entered in the dog show or obedience trials to participate in the Instinct Clinic. Click here for more information and to register online.

Member Meeting

The annual MSDA membership meeting will be held in the judges’ hospitality area of the main hall on Saturday after the conclusion of the Best-in-Show judging. Light dinner and other refreshments will be provided.