What is NAVHDA

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to foster, promote, and improve the versatile hunting dog breeds in North America; to conserve game by using well trained reliable hunting dogs before and after the shot; and to aid in the prevention of cruelty to animals by discouraging nonselective and uncontrolled breeding, which produces unwanted and uncared for dogs.

Purpose of NAVHDA   The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association is a legally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering, improving, promoting, and protecting the versatile hunting dog in North America.

Underlying these aims is the desire to serve the interests of game conservation, prevention of cruelty to animals, and the gun dog hunter by helping the hunter to train his dog to work before and after the shot, on land and in water.

NAVHDA is an excellent complement to the activities of sporting dog breed clubs and field trial organizations. It was created to supplement the activities of those clubs by providing a proven, standard method of evaluating the performance of all versatile hunting dogs, consistent with North American hunting practices, regardless of breed.

How NAVHDA is Organized   NAVHDA is organized on two levels: The first level, NAVHDA International, operates under bylaws approved by its membership. These bylaws provide for officers elected by popular vote who, together with appointed directors, constitute an Executive Council charged with furnishing direction and guidance to NAVHDA programs.

The second level, local chapters of NAVHDA, are the "grass roots" organizations, which sponsor the training and testing programs. The Rappahannock Chapter is one of many sanctioned chapters located throughout the United States and Canada. For a list of all chapter go to the NAVHDA Chapter's page at: 

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association defines versatility as "the dog that is bred and trained to dependably hunt and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water."  

In the field, a versatile dog should exhibit a fine nose, staunch pointing and the desire to search for, track and retrieve game in a cooperative manner. A versatile dog needs to further prove his independence, stamina and quality of nose by transferring his search for, and retrieving of game, to the water. NAVHDA's testing program provides an opportunity for dogs to exhibit these characteristics while remaining obedient and in control at all times. True versatile dogs should perform all tasks with enthusiasm and be willing to work with, and for, their handlers.

The versatile breeds, as we know them today, are products of Europe. No distinctive versatile hunting breed has been developed in North America.

The Versatile Breeds

There are several breeds of versatile dogs common in continental Europe, and with four exceptions, all were developed during the last decades of the 19th century. The four exceptions are much older breeds that provided a base for some of the others. These are the Weimaraner, the Vizsla, the Brittany, and its German cousin, the Small Munsterlander.

The tracking hound, pointer and waterpudel were the basic breeding stocks most widely used to develop the short and wirehaired groups. The longhaired group evolved from the Small Munsterlander and flat-coated retriever.

Currently NAVHDA recognizes and maintains studbooks for the following breeds:

BI Bracco Italiano B
A Braque D’auvergne
BB Braque Du Bourbonnais
BF Braque Francais
BS Brittany
CF Cesky Fousek
DP Drentse Partridge
ES English Setter
FP French Spaniel
GL German Longhaired Pointer
GS German Shorthaired Pointer
GW German Wirehaired Pointer
GO Gordon Setter
IR Irish Red & White Setter
IS Irish Setter
LM Large Munsterlander
PT Pointer
PO Portuguese Pointer
PP Pudelpointer
SH Slovakian Wirehaired Pointer
SM Small Munsterlander
SP Spinone
ST Stichelhaar
VI Vizsla
WM Weimaraner
GR Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
WV Wirehaired Vizsla