As in many domains related to breeding, the Field trial was invented by the English as a selection test for breeding. This initial goal must not be forgotten.
The first Field trial occurred in 1865 at Coutil (Bedfordshire), and opposed only setters and pointers,
contesting only in pairs. The success encountered by those contests lead continental countries to organize theirs:
in Germany in 1876, in Holland in 1878, in Belgium in 1882, then in France in 1888.
In 1897, for the first time, dogs could take part in solo contests.
Several other pointing dog contests exist, each having other goals, that I talk about below, but now we will talk only about Field trials in the way envisaged by the English and in the form they are organized in F.C.I. countries.
Today, one differentiates the "Wide search" ("grande quête") Field trials, only from British dogs (pointer and setter),
from the "Hunting search" ("quête de chasse") Field trials in which every pointing dog breed can compete.
We will talk about the latter contest, because these are the only ones open to the Bourbonnais pointers. The goal of these tests is to judge the natural qualities of the dog, those being emphasized by the appropriate training.
One must distinguish the "Autumn" tests where the game is killed (hence the retrieve is done), and
the "Spring" and "Summer" tests where the game is not killed because it happens outside the hunting period.
In those last tests, the game is generally natural.
The driver shoots one blank cartridge with a pistol and the point ends up there.
This test's goal is to ensure that young dogs (36 month at most) have the natural qualities requested for a hunting dog,
without taking the training into account. The judge doesn't need to be qualified with the S.C.C.,
he just has to be chosen by the organizer club.
It is not a contest, there is no ranking; the dog passes or fails his natural ability test, that's all.
Thess general-purpose tests inspired from the German system, created by Mr Ohl, have existed in France since 1985.
In addition to the search, the pointing and the retrieve, one requests of the dog water work, work in the reeds, retrieve and obedience tests.
It shows that a dog is ready for different hunting actions.
Practical hunting contest where the hunter and the dog are judged together.
After a theoretical test (for the hunter), a practical test ranks: shooting skills, behavior of the hunter, safety rules, understanding of hunting, the dog, his hunting qualities and his training.