Spaniel Hunting Tests, May 8-9

AKC Events # 2021441908 (May 8) and #2021441909 (May 9)
Download the Premium List.

Entries closed at 8 pm (Eastern) on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Currently, we have 42 entries on Saturday 5/8 and 33 on Sunday 5/9. All handlers were sent an email at 8 am on Monday morning May 3 with the hunt test division assignments, running orders, and other important information. If you didn’t receive your email (check your spam folder!), please contact Pamela via or just reply to your original confirmation email.

Meanwhile, much more information is below!

MSDA will hold two days — two separate events — of AKC Spaniel Hunting Tests at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton MD. Junior, Senior and Master stakes will be available each day and all eligible flushing breeds are welcome. Chukars will be used for all testing. Each day there will be two fields and judging panels operating simultaneously. The judges are:

  • John P. Dunn and Jeffrey Thomas (Division A on Saturday, Division B on Sunday), and
  • Steve Surprenant and Jeff Zimmerman (Division B on Saturday, Division A on Sunday).

Note that there has been a change in judges from the original premium list. Running orders are drawn independently for Saturday and Sunday, but entrants who are signed up for both days of hunt tests will remain in the same Division (A or B) for both Saturday and Sunday.

Both Saturday and Sunday, judging begins promptly at 8 am and continues until completion, typically ending after 3 pm. A midday lunch break will be taken as decided by the judges, and ribbons will be awarded at the clubhouse after the end of the testing.

Due to the pandemic, no food will be provided to handlers on the premises this year, so handlers and guests should provide their own lunches, snacks, and drinks. Some information about local restaurant and take-out options as well as nearby hotels is provided further down this page.

To change or cancel your reservation you must contact the Hunting Test Secretary by email, phone or text. Refunds will be given only for a bitch in season or if a dog is sick or injured. Veterinary confirmation may be required.

Not just for spaniels, the hunting tests are open to all eligible flushing breeds. Currently, these are: Airedale Terrier, American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Poodle, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Standard Poodle, Sussex Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel. Dogs of these breeds recorded with the Purebred Alternative Listing Program/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP) or dogs with Conditional registration are eligible to participate. Spayed and neutered dogs are eligible to participate. Bitches in season are not eligible to participate, nor are they allowed on the grounds. Dogs with Limited Registration are eligible to participate.

Look who’s coming! We have one of more of the following breeds entered: Airedale Terrier, Boykin Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, and Welsh Springer Spaniel.

Tests will be conducted according to the American Kennel Club’s Regulations for AKC Hunting Tests for Spaniels available at

USE OF CALLBACKS: On Saturday 5/8 ONLY, depending on the the weather, we are hoping to provide all participants the opportunity to be judged in all the elements of their test, rather than using callbacks that reduce the number of dogs participating as the test proceeds each day. In both judging divisions on Saturday, we will assume that all dogs will be available in running order for all portions of the testing. Of course, if you choose to withdraw your dog at any point, you may do so simply by informing the marshal. The Sunday hunt tests will be run using callbacks so that, for example, if your dog does not qualify on one portion of the test, they will not be called back to continue that day.

WORKING DOG TESTS: Before there were AKC Hunt Tests, MSDA held the first Working Dog Test for English Cocker Spaniels in 1977. In keeping with that tradition, we are once again offering our annual Working Dog Tests (WD, WDX) on Sunday May 8th only.

BLAZE ORANGE REQUIRED: The AKC, the State of Maryland, and MSDA require that all people in the field (where there is live fire) wear blaze/fluorescent orange clothing. This includes judges, gunners, handlers, marshals, bird planters, seminar attendees, and observers in the field. A cap by itself is not sufficient to meet this requirement. You need a “vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of solid fluorescent orange color (worn as outer garment at all times) or an outer garment of camouflage fluorescent orange worn above the waist which contains at least 50% fluorescent orange color.” If you are a spectator remaining outside the fields, blaze orange is not absolutely required. It is also not required during hunt dead and water portions of tests. However, blaze orange is strongly recommended for everyone on the property and it is the favorite fashion statement color for these events! A very limited number of plain blaze orange short-sleeve t-shirts will be available for sale on site for $5.00 each.

PANDEMIC MITIGATION STEPS: Depending on state and county regulations, and the property owner’s requirements, we may still be taking Covid-related precautions at this event. This could include at least wearing a mask covering your nose and mouth whenever possible, and maintaining a minimum 6′ social distance from people not from your household. Masks are not required when running your dog or for gunners in the field. If you are not comfortable being around other humans under the circumstances or are not willing to cheerfully comply with the rules of the day, please either do not sign up for our hunt tests or cancel before the deadline to obtain a full refund.

SEVERE CORRECTION OR DISCIPLINE will not be allowed on any part of the grounds at any time. TRAINING by dogs and handlers entered in the hunt tests is not permitted. Dogs can be aired or exercised only in designated areas (areas that will not be used during the course of the tests). Please scoop poop from where people will be walking and deposit the poop bags in trash receptacles.

LOCATION: Once again our hunt tests will be at Rebel Ridge Farms located at 295 Woods Road, Elkton, Maryland 21921. Convenient to I-95, a variety of restaurants, hotels that welcome dogs, and an RV/camping site, this beautiful property provides more than 250 acres of fields, ponds, and woods as well as a heated and air-conditioned clubhouse. (Unfortunately, due to the continuing risks associated with Covid-19, we do not expect to be using the clubhouse this spring.) Most GPS will find Rebel Ridge easily using the address. After you turn in to the property, drive very slowly approaching the dip before the bridge! Follow the driveway in and stay right at the fork. The clubhouse is the last low building on the left. Pull in there to pick up a hunt test catalog, get field assignments, and ask questions.

A note about blue-green algae: There has been much attention paid to toxic algae blooms, especially in waters that collect a lot of fertilizer run-off. This has not been a problem at Rebel Ridge Farms. Experts from Aquatic Engineering complete periodic examinations of Rebel Ridge’s man-made ponds and, to date, have not seen any evidence of algae blooms. The owners swim their own dogs (including their puppies) regularly, and there are events scheduled at Rebel Ridge before our hunting test date.

WHERE TO STAY and WHERE TO EAT: Please do not call Rebel Ridge to ask for hotel and restaurant recommendations! An updated list of hotels and restaurants is provided below. Note that, due to pandemic-related precautions, this year MSDA is not offering lunch for handlers and guests, so you need to provide your own lunch, snacks and drinks each day.

First, here is information on some local accommodations. This is not a complete list. Please read the notes below the list about nightly rates, pet policies, etc.

Important notes:
In March 2021, we checked rates for a room for one person, assuming a 2-night stay 5/7-5/9. Rates do not include any special discounts, taxes or pet fees. Rates also change frequently, so we suggest you check into several options before booking a room.
“Pet friendly” hotels usually have restrictions such as a limited number of rooms, weight limits on dogs, limits on number of dogs and, of course, extra charges. Be sure to check pet policy carefully when booking, especially since we have observed that stated policies may differ from reality and may change over time.
These are not complete lists and specifically there are many more hotels and restaurants in Newark DE, near the Univ of Delaware.

For lunch, some nearby sandwich shops and fast food service include:

  • 5 minutes to: Brantwood Discount Liquors and Country Store: 1076 Augustine Herman Hwy Elkton, MD 21921. 410-392-4295. Brantwood has some groceries, sodas, and a deli counter offering made-to-order sandwiches. This is the option closest to Rebel Ridge, about 5 minutes from the site.
  • 10 minutes to: There are a large number of fast food restaurants in Elkton, many along Rte 40 (Pulaski Hwy)  at Rte 213 (Augustine Herman Hwy) including:
    • Burger King (100 W. Pulaski Hwy)
    • Starbucks (101 W. Pulaski Hwy)
    • McDonald’s (101 E. Pulaski Hwy)
    • Sonic Drive-In (103 E. Pulaski Hwy)
    • Taco Bell (110 E. Pulaski Hwy)
    • Royal Farms (25 Augustine Herman Hwy, just south of Rte 40)

Pulaski Hwy addresses start at 100 E or W where Augustine Herman Hwy (Rte 213) crosses Pulaski Hwy (Rte 40). Odd numbers are on the north side of Rte 40; even numbers are on the south side. Google says it’s 9 minutes from Rebel Ridge to that corner. Other options, including Popeye’s and Dunkin’ are in the Big Elk Shopping Centre just northeast of that intersection.

  • Take-out the night before: There’s also a Kentucky Fried Chicken at 260 Belle Hill Road in Elkton. This is too far to dash out for lunch but, if you have a refrigerator, you can pick up some chicken and coleslaw the night before and bring it for picnic lunch during the day.

More likely for dinners, some local restaurants include the following. As of late March, all seem open for both at least limited indoor dining and for takeout. Some have outdoor dining spaces as well.

  • Baker’s Restaurant: 1075 Augustine Herman Hwy Elkton, MD 21921. 410-398-2435 Known locally for: American/comfort food. If you’re looking to join a group of fellow hunt-testers, you’re most likely to find some at Bakers on Saturday evening. If you would like to join a group of us in making a reservation for Saturday evening dinner, let Pamela (Hunt Test Secretary) or Steve (Hunt Test Chair) know about this at the event by midday Saturday.
  • The Blue Crab Grill: 322 Suburban Plaza Newark, DE 19711. 302-737-1100 Known locally for: Seafood
  • Chesapeake Inn Restaurant: 605 Second St Chesapeake City, MD 21915. 410-885-2040 Known locally for: Upscale (!) seafood & American
  • Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen: 270 E Main Street Newark, DE 19711. 302-444-8646 Known locally for: Burgers & more, specialty beers
  • Jo Jo’s Super Dogs: 214 E Pulaski Hwy Elkton, MD 21921. 410-392-9830 Known locally for: Diner style, breakfast favorites
  • Olive Garden Restaurant 304 E. Pulaski Hwy Elkton, MD 21921. 410-392-8701 Italian franchise
  • Schaefer’s Canal House: 208 Bank Street Chesapeake City, MD 21915. 410-885-7200 Known locally for: Upscale (!) seafood & American
  • Tender Bones Rib Shack: 2504 A Red Lion Rd, Bear, DE 19701. 302-832-7427 Known locally for: Ribs, cheesesteak & more
  • Woody’s Crab House: 29 S Main St North East, MD 21901. 410-287-3541 Known locally for: Seafood, especially crabs. Another popular destination for Saturday evening on hunt test weekend.

If you have any questions about how the hunt tests are conducted or would like to volunteer to help, please contact the Event Chair, Steve Roth.