Stonebroke Kennels
100% Field Bred English Springer Spaniels

Understanding Pedigrees

What is the significance of a pedigree when looking for a puppy? A pedigree is important, of course, but it’s just one factor to look at when looking for a quality puppy.

Most people know the meaning of the titles that appear before or after a dog’s name on a pedigree, but surprisingly many do not. Listed below are the titles most often seen and what they mean.

Field Trial Titles
FC = Field Champion. This title indicates a dog has met the qualifications (wins and number of points) to be awarded a title for it’s performance in the field. This is a competitive title and the dog earns the title competing against other dogs.

AFC = Amateur Field Champion. This title is the same as an FC except the dog is handled in competition by an amateur handler.

CFC = Canadian Field Champion.. Title earned competing in field trials in Canada, obviously.

NFC = National Field Champion. Every year there is a National Championship and the dog that wins is the National Field Champion for that year. Only one is awarded each year.

NAFC = National Amateur Field Champion..same as an NFC except the dog is handled by an amateur handler. Again, only one is awarded each year.

CNFC – Canadian National Field Champion…Again, same as an NFC or NAFC and only one is awarded each year.

You may also see EFC, ENFC, etc. on pedigrees…these are English titles and are usually seen on dogs imported from Great Britain.

Field Trial Titles are listed before a dog’s name on the pedigree (such as FC Big Dawg, AFC Little dog, etc.).. In a field trial, birds are planted in a field, a coulee, etc. Two dogs run at a time side by side down the course. Each series usually consists of a dog finding and flushing two birds and the birds are retrieved if shot. When one dog flushes a bird, the other dog is expected to honor (sit immediately) until the other dog makes the retrieve. Field trial dogs are steady to wing and shot. The judges follow along behind the dogs as does the gallery. Field trials for Springers are set up to resemble actual hunting as closely as possible. Although it is still artificial, it’s still a valuable measure of a dog’s field ability, its ability to accept a high level of training, etc…

Hunt Test Titles

MH (Master Hunter), SH (Senior Hunter), and JH (Junior Hunter). These are AKC titles awarded to dogs who pass a series of hunt tests. These tests are non-competitive and dogs are judged based on a standard set by AKC. Obviously, a Master Hunter test is much more difficult than a Junior Hunter tests. These titles appear after a dog’s name on the pedigree.

Other Titles
CH = Show Champion or Bench Champion. This title is based on how a dog does in the show ring. It’s based on a judges opinion of how a dog conforms to the breed standard (based on looks). It has nothing to do with field ability, hunting instincts, etc.

CD (Companion Dog), CDX (Companion Dog Exellent), etc. are all obedience titles and are awarded to dogs for obedience..

When looking for a dog that will be a hunting/family companion, a smattering of field titles relatively close up in the pedigree will show that the pup is from field lines and should possess the attributes a person is looking for. If a dog in the pedigree has a CH before it’s name it’s is not 100% field bred. It has show blood and may or may not display a strong hunting and retrieving desire. Many Springers that are a mix of show and field lines make fine hunting dogs, but not all. There has not been a dual champion (a dog that has won both a field and show championship) since 1938.

A pup does not have to be from parents with field titles. Many of the top dogs in the history of the breed came from non-titled parents. Two Time NFC Wind Riding Steak, NFC/2XNAFC/CNFC Saighton’s Scud, and many, many others came from non-titled parents, but there were field champions close up in their pedigrees. Saighton’s Scud won 4 National Championships and his parents as well as his grandparents were non-titled dogs. On the other hand, Hales Smut was considered a stallion of the breed and is in the bird dog Hall of Fame, yet he never earned his Field Championship! So, pedigrees are important but don’t put too much emphasis on the pedigree.

A title will not tell a person how much training it took to put a title on a dog, what problems/obstacles there were to overcome, etc. Some dogs train up very easily with no problems and others do not. I was looking at a stud service from a well known dog many, may years ago and called the trainer up to visit with him about the dog. He said, “If you’d seen what it took to put a title on that dog, you wouldn’t want to breed to him”. He went on to say that the owner was determined to put a title on the dog and they finally did, but it took a ton of work to do it.

I hope this has helped explain titles, their importance, etc.

FC/AFC Pondview’s Windy Acres Yankee. Yankee was owned by Don Cande of Westmoreland, NH, and sired more Field Champions than any other dog in the history of the breed…

Yankee

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