14 Evaluation & Scoring

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14.1 The evaluation of a dog's abilities can never be precise; it is not an exact science. However, the primary purpose of a retriever is to get the birds to hand as quickly as possible in a pleasing, obedient manner, whether a dog accomplished its primary purpose is determined by its possession of a unique set of both natural abilities, and abilities acquired through training.

14.2 From the standpoint of a breeder or a person considering a breeding, natural abilities are of great importance while abilities acquired through training are of relatively less importance.

14.3 A judge must keep in mind the fact that he is evaluating numerically a defined set of abilities and not judging a dog in relation to the performances or merits of the other dogs entered. A dog's abilities are scored against an established standard.

14.4 In scoring a dog's abilities in a test, the judges must assign a numerical score from "0" to "10" that reflects their estimation of each ability that they have seen demonstrated.

14.5 To qualify, a dog must receive an overall average of 7 for the entire test and must not have an average score in any one ability category below 5. For example, a dog could score 7's, 8's or 9's in some ability categories and fail to qualify if the average score in another category was below five.

14.6 A frequently asked question is how to determine what score - from 0 to 10 - you should give in any one ability category. There are many ways, but one method is to determine whether the dog should qualify in that ability category, which might mean a minimum score of five. Knowing the dog must have an overall average of seven, the judge considers whether other abilities deserve a seen or higher. With a five or less (but not with a zero by both judges) the dog would have to score higher in that ability and other abilities to acquire the 7 overall average. A score of 5 or less on a given ability during a series does not necessarily mean that the dog cannot receive a qualifying score, unless both judges score that ability as a zero.

14.7 A judge might want to compare the scores to grades received in school. For example, a five, six or seven might be comparable to a passing grade of "C". An eight would be a "B" a nine would be an "A" and a ten would be an "A+".

14.8 Another scoring method could begin with a perfect score of 10 and progress downward. If not exactly 10, how close did the dog come to what you expect in a hunting companion?

14.9 If a particular ability did not merit a five, it should be scored lower, and possibly the dog will fail to qualify. The judges might determine that the dog showed promise in some ability categories, but just barely, and score accordingly. How much loser depends on individual judgement.

14.10 A zero means that the dog did not perform minimally. For example, it would be difficult to assign a score other than zero in perseverance when a Senior or Master dog failed to enter water after having been ordered to do so several times.

14.11 A zero score is very different from a "non-score". A zero is computed into the dog's average for that ability while a non-score is not. The zero indicated that the dog had an opportunity to exhibit an ability, but failed to do so. The non-score says that such an opportunity did not present itself. An "X" should be entered on the score sheet for non-scores.

14.12 When both judges grade a dog zero on the same ability, the dog can no longer receive a qualifying score. Keep in mind that moderate to serious faults in an ability will often become more apparent through the series of tests. In questionable instances, give the dog the benefit of the doubt.

14.13 It is important to score a dog as accurately and consistently as possible in all test series. This provides handlers with information that can be used to plan future training.

14.14 Remember, judges need not fear rating a dog's abilities very high in early series if they have exhibited excellent abilities. They do not have to leave "room" to score another dog relatively higher in a later series. The only thing they are scoring is a dog's abilities against the standard.. They are not placing the dogs.

14.15 An important note - judges should take time to review and check their scores which each other before the scores become "final". It is easy to unknowingly fail a dog that they might have intended to qualify.

14.16 A key element to successful judging is good ongoing communication between judges. This should not include discussion of the dog work and scoring within hearing of handlers while a test in underway.

14.17 There will always be occasions when some aspect of an ability is viewed differently and when judges might not agree on a specific numerical value; it is perfectly acceptable to compromise or average their scores. A the conclusion of their evaluation, however, judges must agree on those dogs which will receive a qualifying score.

14.18 A judge's responsibility is to determine through the evaluation of abilities, whether or not a dog possesses sufficient abilities to be entitles to official CKC recognition of those abilities in the form of Junior Hunter, Senior Hunter, Master Hunter or grand Master Hunter titles.

14.19 Much can be achieved in attaining greater uniformity in evaluating the ability of retrievers through uniformity in defining and cataloguing those abilities.

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