The Versatile Hunting Tests


The hunting tests recognised by KUSA are:


Highveld VHDC is proud to run the Versatile Tests.

The Versatile Tests are graded tests for versatile pointing dog breeds. These age-appropriate, non-competitive tests evaluate the versatile dog’s ability to perform the various duties required of them on a day’s hunt, both before and after the shot, on land, water or in a forest. The tests are based on internationally recognized, traditional German and European testing standards. The achievement of passing a Test is record on the dog’s pedigree.

The purpose of the Versatile Tests is two-fold.

In the first instance of young dogs, they seek to determine natural abilities and performance as they pertain to the young dog’s aptitudes and suitability for future use in versatile hunting, and to a lesser degree to assess the genetic value of the parents and the individual as breeding dogs.

For mature dogs, the upper-level hunt tests serve as performance tests, in which the genuine utility of a fully trained versatile dog is exhibited and assessed.

Each test element is scored on a linear scale from Very Good/Excellent (4) to Insufficient (0). A predicate “Excellent”, 4H is reserved for outstanding performances in categories of important attributes that rely mainly on inherited capabilities. Dogs must receive a passing score in all the elements to pass the entire Test. Any dog passing each category at a very high level is eligible for a Prize 1 classification. There are also Prize 2 and 3 classifications available for dogs passing all the categories at various threshold levels.

A dog that has passed a Versatile Test will have it recorded as a suffix to the dog’s registered name. The suffix shall include the abbreviation of the Test followed immediately by the Prize Classification Examples: SA-D2, SA-N1, SA-AZP1, etc.

Any KUSA-registered pointing breed may enter the Versatile tests, provided that the dog is registered with the KUSA (Kennel Union of Southern Africa).

The Versatile tests are open to all members and non-members of the Club; however, non-members must pay an extra administrative fee per dog to cover Highveld VHDC’s various costs of capturing, recording and displaying tests results and of issuing Certificates. Test entry fees (covering the costs for game, Judge’s transport, lodging, etc.) are not included in membership or the additional administrative fee for non-members.

There is no prohibition on the professional handling of dogs in the tests.

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Short Summary of Versatile Hunting Test


The SA-Derby Test is for young dogs from six (6) months of age up until and including the day they reach sixteen (16) months of age.

The objective of the SA-Derby Test is to give a way of assessing the young puppy’s natural inclinations in the most important field categories that are needed for the dog to be successful in its role as a versatile gundog. These inherited natural abilities likewise yield insight into the breeding success of the parents.

The main focus of the SA-Derby is the determination of nose quality, manner of search, desire to work as well as the finding and pointing ability of the dog. Co-operation is typically shown and can be determined by the manner of the search and also the contact with the handler. Assessing the dog’s mental stability and also temperament is likewise important.

This test serves its function best when on the one hand, the training, as well as preparation of the young dog, are sufficiently advanced that its natural abilities have been developed and also can be evaluated, yet on the other hand, the trainer’s influence does not overly cover or mask the young dog’s natural ability.

The natural, inherited abilities of a hunting dog typically manifest themselves at an early age, and it is desirable to take advantage of this fact by testing dogs while they are still young. By so doing, the owner or trainer gets an unbiased evaluation of the dog’s strengths and also weak points as well as therefore is much better able to prepare a future training program for the animal.

Watch the video,  An Introduction to the KUSA Versatile Tests and an Overview of the SA-Derby Test (TW Versatile Videos) , below for more information.


Any of the versatile pointing breeds, regardless of age or previous testing, are eligible for entry.

The SA-Novice Test aims to assess basic levels of functional hunting, pointing and retrieving from land and water (marked retrieve from dense cover and semi-blind) and includes a gamebird drag (60-80 meters) . The test is suitable for young dogs that have received basic training and experience beyond the level required for the SA-Derby Test but not yet up to the level of the SA-AZP Older Dog Elite Test. It is also suitable for older dogs and novice handlers as an entry-level test. Natural abilities will be apparent as training is not likely to be complete; however, some training should be in place and be fairly well advanced.

Dogs are tested in several phases in order to establish a comprehensive evaluation of performance. Dogs that pass this test will be useful hunting dogs, though not necessarily polished or finished hunting dogs. As such, this test is also suitable for older dogs that may not have received higher training or specific training for tests but that have had at least a season or two of hunting experience.

Watch the video,  Introduction to the KUSA Versatile Tests – The SA-Novice Test (TW Versatile Videos) , below for more information.


Dogs are eligible for the SA-Older Dog Elite Test (SA-AZP) from two (2) years of age up until and including the day they turn six (6) years of age.

The purpose of the SA-Older Dog Elite Test is to assess the level of the dog’s natural abilities concerning its suitability and future use in versatile hunting and breeding. It is an advanced ability and performance test. Other attributes are observed and recorded during the test, and attention is paid to temperament and mental stability.

Dogs are tested in several important subjects to establish a comprehensive evaluation of versatile performance. Additionally to the subjects tested in previous tests, the SA-AZP also includes a gamebird drag (150 m with 2 blunt turns) and a water search for a duck in dense cover

The dog’s training for practical use in hunting in the field and water must be completed by the time this test is administered. Natural abilities should be apparent; however, these must be accompanied by enough preparation, exposure and training for the dog to demonstrate a practical working performance under judgement. The Judges will be prudent to determine natural abilities that the completed training may mask.

Watch the video,  An Introduction to the KUSA Versatile Tests- the Older Dog Elite Test (TW Versatile Videos) , below for more information.

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