The following are sections from the Official CKC Rule Book for WC Tests that describe the tests.  These are intended to be used only as a general indication as to what is required in CKC WC Tests.  To fully prepare to enter these tests you should order a copy of the "Working Certificate Test Rules and Regulations" from the Canadian Kennel Club, Commerce Park, 89 Skyway Avenue, Suite 100, Etobicoke, Ontario, M9W 6R4 - (416) 675-5511.

Canadian Kennel Club
Working Certificate Test Rules and Regulations
for Retrievers, Irish Water Spaniels and Standard Poodles
September 1992

Chapter 13

Working Certificate Test Defined and Classified

Section 1: The Working Certificate Test

13.1.1 The Working Certificate test shall be for all Retrievers, Irish, Water Spaniels and Standard Poodles six months of age or over on the day of the test who have not received confirmation of the title of WC from the CKC on or before the closing date for entries.  The tests for WC shall be:

(A) back to back singles on land

(B) back to back singles in water

13.1.2 The requirements for the WC are designed to test a dog's natural abilities such as marking ability, memory of fall, intelligence, desire, style, perseverance, nose and courage.

13.1.3 A dog need not be totally steady and may come to line on lead.  The dog may be held in heel position by lead, line, collar or hand.  Dogs shall not, however, wear any type of collar while retrieving during the testing.  The dog shall deliver to hand.  Failure to deliver to hand in WC is a moderate fualt and two such deliveries could justify elimination from the test.  A dog should show no evidence of gunshyness or hard mouth and should show desire and willingness to work.  Ducks, pigeons or pheasants to be used on land; ducks in the water.

13.1.4 Back to back singles on land should have an angle of not less than 90 degrees between the falls, be in light to moderate cover and be approximately 50 to 75 yards in length.  The length will vary as to the type of cover and terrain.  The birds should land in cover so they are not conspicuous from the line.

13.1.5 The back to back singles in swimming water should be at an angle of not less than 90 degrees between the falls and should be run from a point of a few yards back from the edge of the water.  Birds should be from 25 to 40 yards away depending on the cover in the water.  Birds should land in open water or at the edge of reeds but should not be hidden.  One gunner should be positioned approximately 10 yards from the dog, with his bird being thrown at an angle back and out into the water.  Tests should be set up so as not to encourage shore running if possible.  No decoys are to be used.

13.1.6 A dog running the WC test should not be required to handle as marking ability, style and desire are of primary importance.  The dog should return to the handler as directly as possible, and can be given whistle, voice and hand encouragement to return.  Speed is not essential, but the dog shouldn't disturb too much cover on the way to the falls.  All gunners and throwers should be visible to the dog and should not move after the birds are thrown.  The bird pail must be kept covered.  Guns and blank ammunition are to be used.

Section 2:

The Working Certificate Intermediate Test

13.2.1 The working Certificate Intermediate test shall be for all Retrievers, Irish Water Spaniels and Standard Poodles who have won the title of WC, but have not received confirmation of the title of WCI from the CKC on or before the closing date for entries.  The tests for the WCI shall be:

(A) land double

(B) honor on the land test

(C) water double

13.2.2 The WCI tests are designed to continue to test the dog's natural abilities and to show that he can be a useful partner on a hunting expedition.

Dogs running in the WCI should be reliable and steady, under control, show a desire and willingness to work and be able to use their nose.  The dog must deliver to hand, and shall come to the line off lead.  He will be under judgement at all times while in front of the judges.  Ducks, pigeons or pheasants are to be used on land; ducks in the water.

(A) Land Double - the angle of the falls shall be not less than 90 detrees.  The birds will land in cover and not be conspicuous from the line.  The falls shall be approximately 75 yards long in moderate to moderately heavy cover.

(B) Honor - the dog shall honor on the land test.  The honoring dog will be required to stay until the working dog has made the area of the fall for the first bird he is to retrieve.  Handlers are not to block their dog's view of the falls.

(C) Water Double - the angle between the falls shall not be less than 90 degrees.  The birds will land with a definite and visible splash 40 to 50 yards from the line.  One bird should land in cover.  Decoys are to be used, singly anchored centrally between the two marks and visible from the line.  WCI dogs are not required to handle on a mark.  Marking ability, style and desire are of primary importance.  Dogs should return directly to the handler on whistle common or no command.  Verbal commands must be kept to a minimum and used only if absolutely necessary when the dog is within about 15 feet of the line, not when he's out in the field.  Gunners and throwers shall not move after the birds are thrown.  Bird pails are to be kept covered.  Guns and blank ammunition are to be used.

Section 3

The Working Certificate Excellent Test

13.3.1 The Working Certificate Excellent test shall be for all Retrievers, Irish Water Spaniels and Standard Poodles who have won the title of WCI, but have not received confirmation of the title of WCX from the CKC on or before the closing date of entries.  The tests for the WCX shall be:

(A) walk-up test with a land double or land/water double

(B) honor on the walk-up

(C) water double

(D) land blind

(E) water blind

13.3.2 The WCX dog should be a steady reliable worker that would be an asset to have along on a hunt.  The dog shall be off lead at all times when under judgement.  The dog must deliver to hand, show desire and willingness to work, be able to use his nose, and follow directions when necessary.  The dog must not disturb too much cover either on the way to or from the falls.  Pigeons, pheasants or ducks are to be used on the land; ducks in the water.

(A) Walk-up - the tests shall include a 15 yard walk-up for both the working dog and honoring dog.  Both dogs shall stop when the first gun is fired at which time both handlers may quietly tell/whistle their dogs to sit/stay.

(B) The honoring dog has to honor until the working dog has picked up its first mark.  The first bird thrown shall be about 50 yards and the second about 100 yards away in moderate to heavy cover.  There shall be about a 90 degree angle between the falls and they should be visible to both the dogs.  Handlers are not to block their dog's view of the falls.  The throwers shall stay in position until the birds have been retrieved.  Both handlers shall carry guns during this test.  The dogs shall honor after they have run the marks.  The walk-up test, if the grounds permit it and the judges choose to, can be to one bird in the water and one bird on land.  The bird in water should be the shorter bird thrown about 50 yards from the line.

(C) Water Double - shall have falls up to 50 yards in length in swimming/wading water with natural cover in the water.  The falls shall be in light cover and the dogs should be able to see the splash of the ducks as they land.  Effort should be made to prevent the ducks from drifting too far from the edge of the water, but shore running and acute angle water entries should be avoided if possible.  The angle between falls should be about 90 degrees.  Several decoys, singly anchored, should be in front of the line, but not in a direct line to either fall.  The handler shall fire the gun for one or other of the marks except where there is a handler entered who does not have a F.A.C. or hunting license.  The club shall appoint a qualified person to stand within 6 feet of the handler and his/her dog to fire the gun as necessary.

(D) Land Blind - shall be about 50 yards in length, depending on the cover and terrain, and should have some sort of natural obstacle such as a ditch, small hedgerow, or lying water about 15 fee in front of the line.  The handler shall fire his own gun except as noted in #2 above.  Cover should be moderate, and if possible, open flat terrain should be avoided when setting up this test.

(E) Water Blind - shall be a maximum of 50 yards in length.  The running line shall be no more than 15 feet back from the water's edge and it must be a direct, not an angle entry.  There shall be no gunfire, no diversion or blind planter in sight.  Decoys, if used, must be singly anchored at least 10 feet off the direct line to the blind and not closer than 10 feet to either the shore or the blind.

Chapter 14

Standard Procedure for Working Certificate Tests

Section 1: Guidelines

14.1.1 Members of the test giving club, executive and test committee may run their dogs in the tests so long as neither they nor a member of their immediate family is a judge for the test.

14.1.2 In the Working Certificate Test, gunners, throwers and handlers shall not wear distinctively white or light clothing at any time, but handlers may wear handling jackets for the blinds in WCX.

14.1.3 In the tests the order of running shall be decided by lot at the draw; dogs worked by the same person or belonging to the same owner being separated when possible.

14.1.4 Dogs may be run out of the order in which they are drawn:

(A) when in the opinion of the judges or the Working Certificate Test Committee such will result in a reasonable and desirable saving of time in the conducting of the test OR

(B) when in the opinion of the judges such will avoid unfairness or prejudice to any participating dog resulting from an event which has occurred in a particular test.

14.1.5 It is essential that all spectators attending a test should be kept far enough from the line to enable the working dog to clearly discern his handler and nothing shall be done to distract a dog's attention from his work.  A handler has the right to appeal to the judges if the gallery is interfering with the dog's work in any way and the judges' at their discretion may, if they believe the dog has been interfered with, give him another test.

Section 2: Handlers Responsibilities

14.2.1 No training will be allowed on the test grounds.  A bumper thrown by the handler for the purpose of warm-up shall not be considered training.

14.2.2 Anyone carrying or using a gun at any WC/WCI/WCX test shall have a hunting license or a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (F.A.C.).  Safe handling of firearms by any person concerned with the test on the test grounds is mandatory.  Unsafe gun handling by any handler at any time shall be an automatic elimination.

14.2.3 Where there is a handler who does not have a F.A.C. or hunting license, the club shall appoint a qualified person to stand within 6 feet of the handler and dog to fire the gun as necessary.

14.2.4 After the Working Certificate Test Committee has selected test grounds, no participating dog shall be trained on the grounds to be used for the test.

14.2.5 In all tests all dogs shall be kept where they can neither see the falls for another dog nor see another dog work in any series.

14.2.6 All dogs must be kept where they cannot see blind retrieves planted, and where they cannot see another dog working on a blind retrieve in any series.  Members of the Working Certificate Test Committee should report violations of this section to the Marshal.  Violation of this section should be penalized by elimination of the dog and the handler from the testing.

14.2.7 The right to run a dog cannot be transferred except when the handler has been dismissed from the test or when approved by the Working Certificate Test Committee.

Section 5: Evaluating Dog Work

14.5.1 Steadiness to the extent of defining what constitutes a break is clearly presented in Chapter 14 of these rules.  However, dogs on line sometimes make various types of movements when game is in the air.  Such movements may be interpreted as efforts by the dog to improve his view of the fall, and some occur through sheer excitement.  Some dogs creep forward from the line as birds are thrown.  If the handler makes no effort to stop or restrain him, a judge should not interpret such as a deliberate intent to retrieve, since nothing was done to stop the dog.  On the other hand, if the handler does made an effort to stop his dog, a judge should assume that the handler believed the dog intended to retrieve and should deal with such infractions accordingly.

14.5.2 Attention is displayed even as a dog comes on line.  His eagerness and general attitude when coming on line, his alertness in locating the guns, in acceding to his handler's commands, and in his zeal for the hunt are desirable traits.  Conversely, lack of attention and lack of interest should be penalized.

14.5.3 Ability to mark does not necessarily imply pin-pointing the fall.  A dog that misses the fall on the first cast, but recognizes the depth of the area of the fall, stays on it, then quickly and systematiclly hunts it out has done both a creditable and an intelligent job of marking.

14.5.4 Delivery of the bird should be made to the handler directly upon return from the retrieve.  It should be given up willingly.  A dog should not drop the bird before delivering it and he should not freeze or be unwilling to give it up.  He should not jump after the bird once the handler has taken it from him.  Penalties for faulty delivery may range from minor for an isolated minor offence to elimination from test either for severe freeze or because of repeated moderate infractions.

14.5.5 Style is apparent in every movement of a dog and throughout his entire performance at tests, for example, by the gaiety of his manner in approaching the line, by his alertness on line, by his eagerness and speed on retrieves, by his water entry, by his pick-up of birds, and by his return with them.  Style makes for a pleasing performance.  In all test levels in respect to style a desired performance includes an alert and obedient attitude, a fast determined departure both on land and into water, and aggressive search for the fall, a prompt pick-up and a reasonably fast return.  Dogs may be credited for outstanding and brilliant exhibitions of style or they may be penalized for deficiencies in style, the severity of the penalty ranging from a minor demerit to elimination from the test in extreme cases.

14.5.6 Response to direction is all important in handling tests or whenever a dog must be brought back to the area of fall when he was mismarked.  In such response to direction a dog should take the original line given to him by his handler and continue on it until he either makes the find or until stopped by the handler and given a new line.  He should then continue in this new direction until he finds or is given further directions from his handler.

14.5.7 Faults of justifications for penalties include the following: Not taking the line originally given by the handler, not continuing on that line for a considerable distance, stopping voluntarily, (i.e. popping-up and looking back for directions), failure to stop promptly and look to the handler when signaled, failure to take a new direction, (i.e. a new cast when given), and failure to continue in that new direction for a considerable distance.  The seriousness of the penalty for any or all of the foregoing faults varies with the seriousness of the infraction, whether that infraction was repeated and how often, and whether there was a combination of various infractions.

14.5.8 However, before inflicting a severe penalty because of a dogs failure to stop promptly at the whistle, judges should determine whether the wind, the cover, or the distance seriously interfered with the dog's ability to hear his handler.  In general, the performance in the test should be considered in its entirety: an occasional failure to take and hold a direction may be considered a minor fault, if offset by several other very good responses.  A considerable penalty should be imposed for repeated, willful disobedience of the handler's orders and less penalty when after taking the proper direction he does not continue on it as far as the handler desired.  Stopping voluntarily to look back for directions in an isolated instance may be considered a minor fault but frequent repetition may convert such stopping into the category of serious faults.

14.5.9 Most Retrievers have a good nose and as a rule they have numerous opportunities to demonstrate this all-important quality at every test.  Usually it is something in his work which suggests that a dog lacks a good nose and attracts the judge's attention.  Such suspicion should be recorded, so that it can be verified or eliminated or eliminated by his performance in subsequent tests.  On the other hand, scenting conditions are so mysterious and so little understood, although obviously affected by so many factors such as: type of cover, wind, frost, rain, location of fall, acidity of soil and apparently many other conditions, that extreme caution must be exercised before a dog is charged with a poor nose and penalized accordingly.

14.5.10 Courage is a trait which cannot be tested at every Working Certificate Test.  It may be displayed by a willingness to face, and without hesitation, rough cover, cold or rough water, ice, mud or other similar conditions which make the going rather tough, and of doing it repeatedly.  The facilities of test grounds, or the weather do not often supply the proper situation for a series where the dog's courage is tested.  Because the facilities or weather necessary for such a test are often limited, such tests should usually come late in a testing, unless there are reasonable grounds for assumption that all dogs will receive comparable tests.  When such tests can be arranged, they are frequently of great value to the judges in evaluating their relative merits in this highly desirable trait which all Retrievers must possess.

14.5.11 Perseverance is shown by a dog's determination to stick-at-it and complete the task at hand - i.e. systematically, aggressively and without faltering, to search for and made the find of the bird as he has been sent to retrieve.  A lack of perseverance may become apparent whenever:  he returns to the handler voluntarily in a slow, lackadaisical, or disinterested manner, the dog pops-up or looks back at his handler for directions on a marked fall before he has hunted for a considerable time, the dog switches birds, the dog blinks a bird ie. fails to pick it up and actually leaves it after marking the find.  Most of these are serious faults and should be judged accordingly.

14.5.12 Chapter 15 of these rules states that a dog should be eliminated for hard-mouth or badly damaged game, but, before doing so all judges should inspect the bird and be satisfied that the dog alone was responsible for the damage.  Hard-mouth is one of the most severely penalized faults in a retriever.  Furthermore, once a dog has been charged with this fault, he carries that stigma for life.  Therefore, hard-mouth should only become the judges verdict when there is uncontrovertible proof of it.  Torn skin or flesh, alone, is not sufficient evidence, in most cases, to constitute such proof, since damage of that type may be caused in a variety of ways such as sharp sticks and stones in the cover.  Dogs can unintentionally damage birds when making retrieves from heavy cover as well as by their fast positive pick-up.  Furthermore, at certain times of the year, birds ae particularly susceptible to such damage.  On the other hand, crushed bone structure usually can be accepted as trustworthy and sufficient evidence of hard-mouth.  This is the only evidence offering such proof in the absence of a particular obvious, flagrant and unjustified violation of tearing of flesh.

14.5.13 Other faults are frequently confused with hard-mouth, although, in reality, they are entirely separate and distinct from it.  In addition, however, the dog may actually be hard-mouthed.  Freezing in particular, falls into this category.  A hard-mouthed dog may have a gentle deliver and certainly, a sticky delivery does not imply hard-mouth.  Rolling a bird or mouthing it while making the retrieve may be erroneously associated with hard-mouth in the opinion of some, even though the bird is not damaged.  If such mouthing is a fault at all then it is one of only minor importance.

14.5.14 Judges should remember that a dog is either found to have a hard-mouth or he is not so found, and, if guilty, he must be eliminated from the test.  Other various types of inconclusive evidence should merely be recorded in the judges' notes, pending the manner in which birds are handled in subsequent series.  While it is not required it is a considerate gesture on the part of the judges to keep separate any bird for which they are eliminating a dog for hard-mouth and show it to the handler of the dog at a later time conspicuously.

Chapter 15

Classification of Faults

Section 1: Serious - Any of these is sufficient to fail a dog:


(A) Repeated evidence of poor nose.

(B) Reluctance to enter rough cover or other unpleasant or hard going after having been ordered to do so several times.

(C) Returning to the handler without a bird or without being called in.

(D) Switching birds.

(E) Ignoring a bird after finding it.

(F) Unwillingness to release a bird on delivery until compelled to do so by severe methods.

(G) Retrieving a decoy

(H) Hard mouth or badly damaged game which, in the opinion of the judges, is caused solely by the dog.

(I) Throwing anything into the water to persuade the dog to enter or re-enter the water or to direct him towards the fall.

(J) Breaking in WCX.

(K) Roughness with game.

(L) Stopping his hunt.

(M) Restraining by touching or holding a dog to prevent him from breaking in WCI and WCX

(N) Out of control, i.e. paying no attention to many whistles and directions by his handler.

(O) Loud and prolonged whining or barking.

(P) Watching blind retrieves being planted or being retrieved by another dog - mandatory elimination of both dog and the handler from the test.

(Q) Watching birds being thrown or retrieved by another dog in any test

(R) Deliberate blocking by a handler so that a dog will not see all birds and all falls, this applies to both the working dog and the honoring dog.

Section 2: Moderate

15.2.1 Repetition of a moderate fault, or a combination of several of these faults, may convert the total infraction into a serious fault.  Some infractions may be so slight as to warrant their consideration only as a minor fault.  Usually two moderate faults should eliminate a dog from the test:

(A) Failure to mark the area of a fall requiring that the dog be handled to it.

(B) Leaving the area of a fall.

(C) Hunting in a slow, disinterested manner.

(D) Not stopping for direction after two or three whistles which he should have heard, in WCX.

(E) Deliberate failure to take lines or casts for more than a short distance in WCX.

(F) Going out of his way by land without certainty of purpose en route to a water mark.

(G) Controlled break in WCI/WCX or going before sent in WC.

(H) Failure to deliver to hand in WC

(I) Reluctance to enter rough cover, water, ice, mud or any situation involving unpleasant going for the dog.

(J) Poor style, including a disinterested attitude, a slow or reluctant departure, quest for game or return with it.

(K) Popping-up, i.e. looking back for directions on a marked bird before an extensive search.

(L) Moderate whining of short duration.

Section 3: Minor

15.3.1 While these faults may be so slight as to only require a notation on the judge's sheet, several or repeated minor infractions or a combination of these minor infractions may summate into a moderate or even serious fault.

(A) Lack of attention.

(B) Poor line manners.

(C) Slow pick-up of a bird, unless fluttering badly.

(D) Dropping birds.

(E) Sloppy bird handling.

(F) Unsteadiness, including creeping on line in WCI or WCX

(G) Occasional failure to take handler's direction.

(H) Occasional failure to hold the line given or directions given, in WCX.

(I) Slight reluctance to give up bird.

(J) Returning by way of land in a water mark, or making a detour on return from a land mark.

(K) Poor line manners, heeling poorly, not immediately taking and staying in the position designated, dropping a bird at delivery, jumping after a bird, not remaining quietly on line after delivery.

(L) Leg-lifting, particularly on the way to a fall.

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