Hunting Performance Test

A pack working at a hunting performance test.

Who may participate in a Hunting Performance Test?

Open to: Scent Hounds, including Basset Hounds, Beagles, Dachshunds, Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV), Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen (GBGV), Harriers and Basset Fauve de Bretagne.

(This test is also open to all scent hound breeds approved by AKC and FSS which are hunted on foot for rabbit or hare and display hunting behavior similar to the breeds listed above.) 

Dogs must be six months of age or older.

AKC Registered and PAL Numbers are acceptable.

Spayed or neutered hounds are acceptable.  Bitches in season may not run.

The Basset Hound was bred to drive small prey such as rabbit and hare from dense brush into open terrain to awaiting hunters. The Hunting Performance Test provides a great opportunity for our Bassets to show their natural hunting ability and give them the chance to participate in an event which is based on the original purpose of the scent hound.

Hunting Performance Test Going Out in the Morning

Many Basset Hounds catch on quickly in this non-competitive setting. The hounds are scored on their own performance, not compared to others. Scent hounds, including Basset Hounds, Beagles, Dachshunds, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen (GBGV), Harriers and the Basset Fauve de Bretagne may all participate in a Hunting Performance test. The test is also open to all scent hound breeds approved by the AKC and FSS (Foundation Stock Service) which are hunted on foot for rabbit or hare and display hunting behavior similar to the breeds listed above.

The purpose of the Hunting Performance test is to measure the hound’s natural ability to hunt and demonstrate the desirable qualities that show him (her) to be effective and efficient in the pursuit of quarry.  Entries are limited due to time constraints, so making early entries is strongly advised.  When find a Hunting Performance Test that you are interested in, contact the Test Secretary as early as possible.

The handler will release the dog on the judge’s signal and the dog may work for ten minutes on its own. Should the dog have a difficult time finding game, the handler may ask the Judges for assistance from the gallery.  After thirty minutes, if no game is found, the hound will be “picked up,” and taken out of the field and try again another day. The next dog will be called to perform.  You will receive a score card which reveals the areas where your Basset did well, in addition to areas that might use improvement.

Sample Score Card

Hounds are scored on a 1-10 scale, with a minimum score of 5 required in each of the following 5 categories:

  • Ability to Find;
  • Use of Voice;
  • Line Ability;
  • Adaptability,
  • Determination and Gun Shyness

The average overall score to qualify must be 6 or higher.   Bassets may run as a Solo, as a Brace, or as a Pack.

The Hunting Performance Test is run with a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and the more experienced participants are great in offering their help to the “Newbie”. This is a great outdoor fun activity for both you and your Basset Hound. It is also a wonderful start if you are considering learning about field trials.

As with any event, it is important to learn the rules and regulations regarding the Hunting Performance Test, How and when to fill out an entry form, and other helpful information.

The Hunting Performance Test Course 402

The Activities School at Basset Hound University has a course for the Hunting Performance Test.  Topics include Hunt Test History, How Judges Score a HPT, Understanding the HPT, and How to Handle your Basset in a HPT.  Be sure to take advantage of this course.

The Hunting Performance Test AKC Proposal

The proposal sent to AKC by Hunting Performance Test Committee Chairperson, Carol Makowski is available below.  It includes information about the state of the Hunting Performance Test in the United States as it becomes more popular.  This is an interesting read about the HPT.

To learn more about the Hunting Performance Test, you might be interested in reading the following three articles.

Where the Wild Things Play

Bill Forest, 2018

Hunting Performance Test

Joanne Hilliker

Colorado Hunt Test

Carol Makowski 2009

To find a Hunting Performance Test in your area, visit the BHCA Events Calendar.