Test Rules


§  Costs, date, and time of the tests will be announced in the premium.

§  Owners entering each Certified Pointing Retriever hunt test must provide proof that the dogs are UKC registered when mailing in the premium. A photocopy of the dog’s registration papers must be included unless otherwise specified on the entry premium.

§  As of 8/1/2020, all dogs entering any APLA Hunt Test must be registered with UKC.  The UKC registration number must be entered on the on-line entry form.

§  Walk-up entries are allowed at the discretion of the Hunt Test Chair as long as upland birds are available.  Walk-up entry forms are available on the APLA web page and through the Hunt Test Secretary. It is the Owner/Handler’s responsibility to have all the information completely filled out on the walk-up entry form.  Incomplete forms may result in the dog’s scores being invalidated or no title awarded.

§  All owners and Handlers must be APLA members in good standing when the entry premium is received.


§  All dogs at all levels in the APLA are being judged in the upland field for the traits of naturally occurring, intense points.

§  The dog must clearly establish a natural point on its own prior to any type of command, signal, or cue given by the Handler.  This includes not commanding, signaling, or otherwise cueing a dog once the dog has entered the scent cone and has started working its way to the bird.

§  Nowhere in any of the APLA rules does the word Average appear.

§  In keeping with the aim of simulated hunting conditions and situations, Handlers, Judges, workers and other test participants shall be attired in dark or customary hunting attire that is appropriate for the hunting scenario.

§  In the upland field, for safety reasons, blaze orange must be worn by Handlers, Judges, Gunners, and anyone else accompanying the party in the field.

§  Judges are responsible for how bird planting is to be done. The Judges will give the bird planters specific planting instructions as required by the cover, wind, time of days, moisture, etc. to evaluate the dog’s search, nose, and natural pointing traits. Birds are to be planted in the available natural cover without the use of any type of restraint. This includes not putting a bird to sleep or tucking their heads under the wing.

§  All ducks used for the test must be freshly killed and never have been used for any other reason prior to the test.  No artificial fillers or floatants may be applied to the ducks.  In the event that live ducks cannot be freshly killed immediately before the test, the HT Chair may ask the APLA HT Committee for special permission to kill and freeze the ducks in advance.

§  All tests will be conducted in series with call backs. Dogs that are not successful in one series will not be allowed to continue to the next series.

§  No collar or leads are allowed while dogs are preforming in any series. A lead may be used around the dog’s neck in CPR to steady for a mark when doing a retrieve. The lead must be out of sight when the CPR dog returns from the retrieve to deliver the bird. A lead may also be use at the CPR level in the upland field to get the young dog under control for a simulated retrieve, not while producing the bird while dog is on point.

§  No training aids (e.g., treats, e-collars, leads, leashes, heeling sticks, etc.) are permitted while dogs are performing in any series, unless explicitly stated in the rules.

§  You may not touch your dog during the test (except to water them or check for injury; Judges should be notified ahead of time.)  A light tap or touch on top of the head may be used to release your dog in the upland field. 

§  The test’s series may be run in any order unless otherwise specified in the Rules.

§  For all marked retrieves, Gunners and bird throwers will be concealed behind a duck blind or other suitable cover. No dog will be required to do a blind retrieve before picking up all marks that have been thrown.

§  No “remote sends” are allowed. Although on a marked retrieve, Judges may require the dog to sit a short distance from the Handler’s side while the marks are thrown, the Handler may come to the dog’s side to send the dog. The “remote sits” are allowed only at the master level. A dog can fail the remote sit if it breaks before being released by Judges. A dog that fails to remain at the remote sit, but doesn’t break is not automatically failed, but is marked down in cooperation.

§  No “walk-ups” are allowed at the Certification or Advanced level. (For marked or blind retrieves at these levels, the Handler must be permitted to bring the dog to the line and sit it before any duck call or shot is heard or a bird is thrown.) At the discretion of the Judges, “walk-ups” may be required at the Master level.

§  Decisions of the Judges are final.

§  Judges will be available after the test to discuss individual dog’s scoring and to answer any questions or concerns about the tests. During the test any questions or concerns should be addressed to the designated Marshal, not directly to the Judges. After the test has concluded and passing dogs have been announced, Handlers can ask the Judges questions about their specific dog’s performance. This must be done in a respectful and sportsmanlike manner.

§  Definition of a Re-send: A re-send is the result of confusion at the line. Once the dog makes an attempt to retrieve or a hunt starts it is no longer a re-send.

§  Definition of a Controlled Break: A controlled break is defined as the dog showing intent to retrieve before being released by the Judges, and a loud whistle or loud voice command was given to steady the dog.

Bitches in season will not be allowed to run in APLA Tests. If brought to the test, bitches in season must be taken off the test grounds to be aired, exercised, or bred.


It will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct if a person, during the running of or in connection with an APLA event, abuses or harasses a Judge, Official, or any other person present in any capacity. Judges, APLA Officials, and the Hunt Test Chair or Committee have authority to expel individuals from APLA events and, if they deem necessary, bring further disciplinary action against such individuals to the APLA Board of Directors. The Hunt Test Chair may convene a committee at the test to investigate allegations of misconduct, and to report to the APLA Board of Directors. A person displaying any unsportsmanlike conduct toward another individual or toward a dog (e.g., kicking, striking, or otherwise roughly handling a dog) while on the Hunt Test grounds, at any time during the event, may be expelled from the event and subject to further APLA disciplinary action.


Any dog that exhibits an unprovoked and/or obvious threat to other dogs or individuals, either through attacking or aggressive behavior, may be expelled from an APLA Hunt Test. Expulsion of a dog may be the result of a witnessed event by an APLA Judge, an APLA Official, individuals representing the APLA, or the result of reports of such action by other individuals. If a report is made, the Hunt Test Chair and/or other Officials and/or their representatives will perform an investigation of the incident and may choose to eject a dog at that time. Any dog ejected for aggressive behavior will forfeit the privilege to run in any APLA events that day and shall not receive a qualifying score or pass for those events. Should APLA Officials deem the attack severe enough, the dog may be barred from competing in future APLA events. Handlers who knowingly expose other dogs or individuals to aggressive dogs by bringing them to APLA events will be reprimanded and may be subject to further APLA disciplinary action. It is recommended that Handlers bring copies of vaccination records of their dogs to APLA events. Should an unfortunate incident occur, owners/Handlers may be required to provide proof of vaccination or risk impoundment of their dog (as required by state law).

Approved by the Board, effective January 1, 2020.  Amended by the Board August 13, 2020.

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