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.
Frontier Chapter History
Cheyenne –The curved road descending to the Sierra Trading Post store and headquarters in Cheyenne, Wyoming is highlighted with “German Shorthaired Pointer Crossing” signs. That points out that versatile pointing dogs are a part of the company culture and with that, so is the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association.
Here’s a little history of how the NAVHDA Frontier Chapter got its start at this company. The founders of the discount outdoor clothier, Keith and Bobbi Richardson, decided they wanted to enter the realm of well-bred bird dogs in 1998 and their research led them to a German shorthair puppy in Washington.
Training and hunting Greta surpassed their expectations and so did the NAVHDA testing experience. With the dog excelling to the level of versatile champion, the Richardsons decided to share the experience with a litter of puppies. They gave their puppies to their son and interested employees, with one condition: the pup would be run in the natural ability test at the very minimum. That was not only accomplished, but three of the dogs from that foundation litter earned the right to compete in the versatile championship. The litter’s accomplishments earned the Richardsons both Natural Ability and Utility Test breeder’s awards from NAVHDA.
But with this testing experience, the Richardsons along with the employees they shared their litter with, recognized the need to have a NAVHDA chapter in Wyoming. The closest chapter, Rocky Mountain on the Colorado Front Range, was staffed with friendly dog people, but the high human population of the area combined with limited training and testing areas made it tough for the chapter to accommodate a growing NAVHDA interest from southeast Wyoming.
So the Wyoming NAVHDA members sat down to examine the feasibility of establishing their own chapter in southeast Wyoming. Like their Rocky Mountain chapter brethren, they learned first-hand the challenges of securing suitable training and testing grounds.
There’s neither an overabundance of water, nor good bird planting cover on the high plains. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department managed wildlife areas that would work, but their regulations and bureaucracy would not accommodate organized training and testing events. But the committee didn’t give up. The Richardson’s accountant suggested the committee talk to Dave Berry, a rancher client of his. Berry’s Horse Creek and Cattle Company, about 30 miles northwest of Cheyenne, featured several ponds, plus irrigated meadows that were minimally grazed at the base of unique foothills. The ranch featured everything needed for testing and training plus mountain scenery. Dave Berry was receptive and the Richardsons stepped up to make a long-term deal. With training and testing grounds secured, the Frontier NAVHDA Chapter got its official start in the spring of 2003 and hosted its first test August 16-17 that year.
The chapter has hosted one or two test weekends every year since. Over the years the Frontier Chapter has had the privilege to host well-known NAVHDA judges Roland Drew from Maine, Dick St. Amant of Arizona, Bob West of Ohio, Tom Swezey and Brian Thoman from Colorado, Cheryl Aguiar from Wyoming, and Mike Bowman from Montana. Dogs have come to Cheyenne to test from as far away as California and Washington.
We hope to meet you and your dog at a Frontier Chapter event sometime, too.