Invitational Frequently Asked Questions

All dogs are invited that received a prize one Utility score between January 1, and December 31, of the prior calendar year.

Posting of qualified dogs
All eligible dogs will be posted on the NAVHDA website here in January after the last test is recorded. If your dog is eligible, and is not listed on the web site, contact the NAVHDA office immediately. Names of dogs will also be printed in the Versatile Hunting Dog magazine.

Membership and DNA Certification

The primary owner and the handler, if different from the owner, must be a NAVHDA member in order to qualify for entry and both must be active members at the time of the test. Also, for all entries, DNA information must be on file or applied for with NAVHDA by the closing date of the entry period. If you are planning to enter this year’s Invitational, be aware that it can take six to eight weeks to get your DNA results back. If your DNA sample is submitted through NAVHDA, we will consider this submission as completion of the requirement. Order DNA test kit here.

Refund policy
Once the test entry application and payment has been received at the NAVHDA office, the refund policy goes into effect.  Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to the NAVHDA Central Office, accompanied by a verifying statement from a physician or veterinarian. NAVHDA must be notified before a dog is scheduled to run; letters of documentation from veterinarians and physicians must be received no later than 15 days after the last day of the Invitational. Fifty percent of the entry fee will be refunded for medical reasons only.

Dams in season
Dams in season may still run in the Invitational, however they will run on the last day of the test. If you think your dam may be coming into, going out of, or will be in heat during the test, please note this on the top of your entry form. There will be a bitch check each morning immediately following the opening ceremony.

Training/Running on Invitational Grounds

No participating dog is allowed to train on the grounds to be used at that year’s Invitational from May 1 through the completion of the test. Invitational handlers and their dogs may participate in other sanctioned testing events on the grounds during that time frame.  During the Invitational, there will be a designated training area available for use during the test; training must be limited to this dedicated training field.

Running orders
Running days are primarily assigned on a “first come, first served” basis but please note that many other factors are taken into consideration when compiling the final list. Handlers will be notified the day they are running no later than June 30. Braces will be revealed to handlers on the day of testing.

Test results and plaques
All handlers will receive an official test record after the test, at no cost to the owner. It is imperative all member and dog names be correctly recorded on the entry forms to avoid errors. Co-owners will only be listed if they are listed on the dog’s record in the database. Adding a co-owner on the application will not be recognized unless it is listed in the dog’s record. Each owner who passes the Invitational will receive a plaque to commemorate their success.

NAVHDA will have photographers on premises to take pictures for NAVHDA and the VHD. These photographers will be allowed access to all test grounds. Please note these photos are for NAVHDA’s sole and absolute use and are not available for sale through NAVHDA. To purchase copies of the photos you must contact the photographer directly. The Invitational Photographers receive direction from NAVHDA on what and who to photograph. Any individual requests to the Invitational Photographers will be handled after they have completed their assignments for NAVHDA first.

Photographer information will be made available at and after completion of the Invitational. Due to the number of dogs and size of the grounds, not all dogs will be photographed and not all photographs will be available for purchase.

As with all NAVHDA tests, it is ultimately the handlers’ and judges’ decision whether or not to permit a photographer to walk along.


Policy for entrance acceptance 

  1. A dog must earn a Prize I Utility score within the calendar year prior to the test.
  2. Entries must be postmarked by May 1.
  3. If more than 100 dogs are entered, NAVHDA reserves the right to accept entries according to the following criteria:
      a) Those dogs with the highest Prize I Utility score based on the dog’s first Prize I Utility score, during the qualification period.
      b) Those dogs running in the fewest number of Utility tests prior to attaining their Prize I, during the qualification period.
      c) The remaining equally qualified dogs will be drawn at random to fill the remaining openings.
      d) Once the original 100 are determined, a standby list will be created from those remaining entries, based on the above criteria.
      e) Withdrawals will be replaced with dogs from the stand-by list. No additions to the test roster will occur after July 1.
      f) Refunds will be sent to those on the stand-by list that decline an offer to accept a position that opens after May 1 or do not receive an offer of an open position prior to July 1.
  4. Dogs entered must be NAVHDA registered or a completed application must have been received for NAVHDA registration (including appropriate payment) prior to the deadline for test entry.
  5. Entries must have DNA information on file, or applied for, through NAVHDA, prior to the closing date of test entry.
  6. Both the primary owner and handler (if different from the owner) must be members of NAVHDA International.
  7. Dogs that have previously passed the Invitational are not eligible to run.

Entry fees will be refunded for qualified dogs not accepted in any given Invitational Test.