NB!!! Following rules does not apply anymore (since 28.05.2019). Update coming soon.

Approved by board of Estonian Kennel Union in 26.08.2009, protocol nr 5. Approved by Trustees of EKU in 29.11.2003, protocol nr 2. Applied from the moment approved.

The word “Dog” wherever used in these Regulations includes both sexes.

I General Regulations

1. Eligibility of Clubs to Hold Retrievers Qualifying Tests.

1.1. Estonian Kennel Union (EKU) grants permission to hold Retrievers Qualifying Tests (NOU) to Estonian Retrievers Society (ERTÜ), all eligible Retriever breed clubs and other canine organizations which are the members of Estonian Kennel Union.

1.2. A licensed or member club that meets all the requirements of EKU and wishes to hold NOU, must first make an application to the ERTÜ and then to EKU for permission to hold NOU. Judges’ name(s), exact date(s) and type of the NOU must be covered in the written application.

1.3. A club that has been granted permission by ERTÜ and EKU to hold a licensed NOU shall appoint a NOU Committee Chairman who will have complete responsibility for the planning and conducting of the event.

Mission of the Committee Chairman:

1.3.1. to keep Judge continuesly informed, and at least four (4) days before the event, informs Judge about exact location, time when judging starts, road directions to event grounds and number of dogs participating. If the Chairman fails to do so, the Judge has its right to cancel its judging for the event.

1.3.2. to prepare an Official Catalog and provide all paper work necessary; helps to solve any protest rising.

1.3.4. to cover the conducting of the event and all safety matters.

1.4. Judge must be thoroughly knowledgeable of the rulebook „Regulations and Guidelines for Retrievers Qualifying Tests Held in Estonia“;

1.5. Test Committee Chairman is responsible for the conducting and safety of the event.

1.6. EKU Rules and Regulations are followed if applying for holding NOU, also when organising, appointing Judges, in obligations, rules and protests.

2. Event Put on Hold or Cancelled.

2.1. event can be put on hold or cancelled in terms when:

  • 2.1.1. weather conditions disable holding the event or are unsafe for Dog;
  • 2.1.2. independent variables occur;
  • 2.1.3. event can not be held by this rulebook;
  • 2.1.4. Judge has cancelled and replacement Judge has been impossible to find (due to illness, death, transportation failure …).

2.2. Cancellation of the event is decided by Judge and Chairman together. If the reason for cancellation or postponing is due to Judge then Chairman alone decides whether NOU is held. NOU can be postponed only once and new date of NOU has to be in the same season-time and so it will not affect other Tests or Exams held.

2.3. EKU and all participants has to be informed of postponement or cancelling at least three (3) days before the event is going to be held. This information must be sent by post or by e-mail to all entrants where reason of postponing or cancelling must be highlighted.

2.4. New date of the event mus be co-ordinated with EKU.

2.5. Entry fee is returned if the event is cancelled or postponed in points 4.3 to 4.5.

3. Entry Requirements

A purebred Dog of an eligible Retriever breed at least eight (8) months of age may enter.

3.1. Entry refused – Dogs excluded:

  • 3.1.1. disabled or diseased Dog,
  • 3.1.2. bitches in heat,
  • 3.1.3. bitches 30 days before end of gestation period and 42 days after it.
  • 3.1.4. Dog owned by Judge; Dog owned by Committee Chairman.

3.2. Committee and Judge have to approve if Dog entering is eligible for the event.

3.3. Committe can limit entrees when organising requires.

3.4. Owner/Handler must be informed of allowing to NOU at least four (4) days after the entry is closed.

4. Entering

4.1. Limit date and terms for entries: no entry will be accepted after closing date.

4.1.1. Organising Committee can approve entry applications arrived late (if places left). In this case, Chairman must co-ordinate with Judge and have its approval.

4.2. Entries will only be valid when accompanied by their entry fees.

4.2.1. Organising Committee can allow foreign entrants to pay entrance fee at the event grounds (before start), and they are obliged to pay for all their Dogs entered weather the Dog is present or not.

4.3. Entrance fee will be returned to entrant in case:

  • 4.3.1. when event is cancelled or postponed,
  • 4.3.2. sudden illness, injury or death of Dog or Owner (proven by a medical certificate),
  • 4.3.3. when bitch goes into heat,
  • 4.3.4. when entrant has forfeit, a new entrant will be allowed to take part.

4.4. Application of returning entrance fee must be sent to event organiser by post or by e-mail in eight (8) days after the event was held. Organiser has its right not to return entry fee when application is late.

4.5. When the event is postponed and new event date has been chosen, the entrant can participate without new payment (unless application of returning entrance fee has not been applied and approved, see paragraph 4.4).

4.6. When Dog entered is unable to attend then the Organising Committe has to be informed at least one (1) day before the start of the event; except in case when informing is impossible.

5. NOU Judges

5.1. NOU Judge is a person who has been approved for judging (by EKU’s rules and terms).

5.2. The Judge is always invited by written agreement. After entry is closed, Judge is given number of Dogs entering.

5.3. When asking a Judge, the number of Dogs participating must be taken into account. Judge appoints the number of Dogs participating.

5.4. Apprenticeship of Apprentice Judge must be agreed by Judge and Organising Committe.

6. Handler

6.1. Handler is responsible for Dog during the hole event, not depending if she/he is Owner.

6.2. During NOU, Dog is handled only by same person.

6.3. Handler follows all orders given by Judge.

6.4. Owner and Handler are responsible for any damage caused by their Dog.

7. Results

7.1. Validation. Secretary verificates all results and writes them down in NOU Protocol, on Dogs’ Valuation Sheet and in others event related documents, and gives all to Judge to verify and sign.

7.2. Sending results. Organising Committee must send signed Protocols and Valuation Sheets to EKU in one month time.

8. Judging of Dogs

All Dogs are judged by the same rules, not taking into account their breed.

9. Other

When some unregulated subject arises which are not been mentioned in present general provision, EKU rules and guidelines are followed.

II Rules for Retrievers Qualification Test (NOU rules)

1. Purpose

The aim of NOU is to select dogs having good temperament and gamefinding ability, in order to determine their suitability and ability as hunting companions.

2. Estimated Values

Social Behaviour (to other people and dogs). Retriever is courageous and vigorous hunting companion.

Hunting Desire. Retrievers work is eager and independent.

Reaction to Gun Shot Sound. Retriever is calm, attentive and soundless when a shot is aired.

Search. Retriever performs a search independently, efficiently and briskly until retrieving or called back in.

Picking Up. Retriever picks game up independently and without any help from Handler.

Grip. Retriever holds game tenderly but firmly, without damaging it.

Retrieve. Retriever delivers found game briskly and quickly to handler. The game should be preferrably brought correctly to hand.

Water Performance. Retriever is willing to work in water.

Cooperation. Retriver is eager to please.

3. Retriever Qualification Test Procedure

Social behaviour, work in water, work on land, picking up, retrieving and tracking are rated. Dog can be held on leash before every attempt.

Social Behaviour

Judge observes each Dog at the beginning of NOU in a group containing six (6) Dogs, and also meets every Dog in person. Judge observes their behaviour during whole event.

Work in Water

Waterwork is valued by Dogs ability of retrieving dead waterfowls from the water.

Two attempts are made – bird is thrown into water two (2) times: first bird is thrown from shore; other one is thrown from a boat, and during the second throw, a gunshot in the air is fired; swimming distance minimum must be 20 metres.

Work on Land – Search

Five (5) dead birds are hidden on the grounds so the shortest distance would be at least 50 metres. Dog and Handler are called to start line. Dog sits beside Handler. A shot from gun is aired. At the same time sixth bird is thrown on the searching grounds. Dog must have an opprtunity to view throwing, but not necessarily see where it „fell“. With Judges approval, Dog is sent to work.


About 80 metre long track is laid down with a dead rabbit or a hare in a way that Judge would have an opportunity to view Dog working on track and when at game. Dog should independently deliver the take.

4. Game

  • Only dead/cold take is used.
  • Game birds are from two different species.
  • In waterwork, waterfowls are used.
  • Track is layed down with a dead rabbit or a hare weighing 1,5 to 3 kg.
  • Same kind of take is used for all dogs.
  • Take must be in good condition.
  • Frozen take must have fully melted.

5. Guidelines for Judging Retrievers Qualifying Tests

Evaluation on Dogs Work

Dog general performance must be taken into consideration when evaluating. Dog must be assisted by Judge in every possible way so it would be clear if Dog has or has not natural abilities. Judge has the right to test Dog in various situations many times as possible in order to get a comprehensive picture of Dog’s abilities and traits. All NOU elements are judged by same person.


The Judge can abort the ongoing NOU when Dog pays no attention to Handlers’ orders, is out of control, and/or when Dog has traits which are not preferred for a hunting companion.

Judge has right to abort the ongoing NOU when Dog has no more possibilities to finish with a „passed/positive“ result, or in next resons:

  • Dog is unwilling to work,
  • Dog is gunshy,
  • Dog is unwilling to retrieve,
  • giving up or constantly dropping game,
  • Dog has hard mouth; is damaging game,
  • Dog is unwilling to swim and perform a retrieve from the water,
  • Dog has aggressive behaviour towards other dogs and/or people,
  • Dog constantly whines and/or barks,
  • Dog is out of control.

In addition to previous faults, ongoing NOU must be aborted when Dog has obtained injuries which shall not provide healthy continuing. Reason(s) of aborting and for whom it happened must be noted in Dogs Valuation Sheet.


Dog is awarded with a result „passed“ or „failed“. All elements of NOU must be „passed“ so the final result would end as „passed“. Judgement is written on Valuation Sheet (form approved by ERTÜ). A „Passed“ Dog is awarded with a diploma.

A. Guidelines for Procedures in Retrievers Qualification Test

1. General

Valuating of abilities and characteristics of dogs at NOU assumes creating similar and equivalent conditions for all dogs entering.

Test elements will always remain the same – work in water, work on land and tracking.

Testing order of Dogs is drawn from a single mixed pile of cards; at least two (2) Dogs from same sex are in same group.

2. Organising Event

Orders and rules must be governed when applying holding NOU event. When applying for Judge, planned number of Dogs entering must be taken into account. One Judge can assess maximun 16 dogs per day.

Judge is always asked to judge the event with a written agreement. After closing entry Judge is informed about the number of dogs entering. Apprentice Judge is allowed to do its apprenticeship at the event when she/he has previously contacted Organising Committe and his/her request has been approved by Judge (by signing agreement).

3. Description of Elements

Social Behaviour

Judge summons six (6) Dogs with Handlers. Half circle of Dogs and Handlers is formed in front of Judge. Judge briefly explains elements of NOU, and the event programme. Meanwhile, Judge makes himself/herself acquintant with each Dog and observes their behaviour.

Work in Water

Waterside must be easy, sloshing distance must be as short as possible. Body of water must be large enough so as Dog won’t have any temptation to exit water on the opposite shore or to retrieve game by shore or from pier.

Each Dog has two water retrieving attemps, with two waterbirds thrown into the water. First attempt consists of a bird which is thrown into the water from a shore. In second attempt a bird is thrown from a boat and at the same time a gunshot is aired.

Start of every attempt Dog must be on leash. Gunner can be on shore or in the water, but at least six (6) metres away from Dog. Gunner shall be stationed so Dog may see where shot is aired and when a throw is made.

Work on Land – Search

Searching grounds must be so diverse that Dog can not all the time have eye contact with its Handler. Five (5) game birds are placed hidden on search grounds. Handler can navigate only in short distance and send Dog to work from different directions.

Dog walks on heel to start line, Handler puts Dog at sit besides his/her left leg, in so called start position. Then a gunshot is aired and sixth (6) gamebird is thrown. Gunner is towards the throw, which is about six (6) metres away from Dog. In necessity and with a permission from Judge, thrower can make sounds to get Dog attentive.

Bird Boys leave ground before Dog is sent to work. Other dogs must be out of view and far enough.


Drag scented trail is about 80 metres in length. Trail is layed down with a dead rabbit or a hare, natural landscape paths are taken into account. For retrieving other rabbit or hare can be used in the end of trail (for retrieving); Trail Maker leaves without distracting the trail. Judge must have possibilty to view Dog working on trail and when at rabbit/hare.

Trail is layed down with minimum interval of 50 metres; trails next to would be layed down in swathe in opposite directions. Distance between different trails must be widened when at open landscape, with sparse flora and/or with strong winds.

All dogs must be out of view when a trail is layed down.

B. Guidelines for Judge

1. General

Judges must follow rules and guidelines. Main purpose of judging is to determine whether temper of Dog is suitable for Retriever breed, and whether Dog is suitable as hunting companion and/or competing at hunting trials. NOU is a test and giving places is not suitable. When some elements are difficult to value, then Judge must decide by this: is Dog capable to finish NOU or not. Judge decides by general impression. Dog is qualified on the field when all elements are „passed“.

At the beginning of judging Handlers are informed of NOU principles; also swimming location is noted (where it is possible to swim Dog before the test). Handler is given full guidelines at start point of each element.

After finishing work in water and at land, Judge gives verbal valuation on Dogs work where it must be noted if Dog can attend final element – tracking. Preconditions for taking part of tracking is assessing Dogs performance at previous elements. For example, if Dog damaged game, it is clear that he/she can’t handle the game, and therefore has failed.

2. Judging Dogs Qualification

Social Behaviour

Retrievers are friendly and tolerate towards other people and dogs. Breed characters mentioned in standards must be taken into account when judging. Obviously shy, aggressive or over anxious behaviour must be valued as failure. Which means that Dog can not take part of following elements.

Work in Water

Retrievers perform well in the water. Failure to enter the water or after having been ordered to do so several times, is sufficient cause to justify elimination. Element can be repeated until Judge is convinced of abilities of the Dog. In the case of failure, Dog may be eliminated from the following elements.

Work on Land

Retrievers work independently, eagerly and with a good speed. Working slowly and/or without much initiative may justify elimination. Handler who displays unsportsmanlike conduct or who is seen to kick, strike or otherwise roughly manhandle Dog, may be eliminated (Dog fails).

Will to Retrieve – Picking Up

Retriver picks game up promptly and tenderly. Handler or Judge can remotely encourage Dog to pick up (when different gamebird types are used). Nevertheless, Dog must cover all kinds of takes used in the test. Overdependent Dog or Dog refusing to perfrom a retrieve, may be eliminated.


Preferred is gentle but firm hold. Throwing the game without damaging it or mild grip, may be accepted. Floundering on the take, playing or damaging it, is unacceptable. Judge is responsible for inspecting the bird and agreeing that the dog alone was responsible for the damage – if the issue arises.


Must be made to the Handlers hand directly. Slowness and droping the bird before delivering, is accepted only when close to Handler. When Dog continuously fails to pick the bird up and leaves it after making the find, or drops it, or urinates frequently, or fails to retrieve waterbird to shore, element is failed.

Reaction to Gun Shot Sound

Retriever is calm, concentrated and soundless when a gunshot is fired. Mild restlessness and making some noises, are allowed. Dog who is obviously gunshy (therefore looses its focus) or is excessively noisy, will fail the element.


Retrievers have perseverance and independence when working. Dog who continuously pops-up or looks back to its handler for directions, or is afraid to navigate its way to the rabbit/hare, has failed. In this element confidence and initiative traits are valued.


Retrievers are willing to please. For succesful work, it is essential that Dog is under command of Handler. Dog who ignores Handler, is submissive or afraid, is failed.

General Impression

It sums from all elements together. Resume is endeavoured to be positive; however, evident faults must be noted. In case of need, usage of instincts will be mentioned.

Viimane uuendus: 2022/05/26