The UGS was formed in 1923 for the gentry and their employees to compete together on a friendly basis with any type of gundog. Separate stakes were run for Honorary Members (The Gentry) and Ordinary Members (Gamekeepers and Professional Handlers).
The Society had several branches in the South of England and at the end of each shooting season representatives from each branch came together for a Field Trial Final which was often held over two days. This Field Trial Final is still held today when the winners of each branch All Aged Stake come together to compete for eleven solid silver cups, most of which date back to the first years of the society.
In the early days, the Society was well supported by many well known enthusiasts including Mrs Quintin-Dick, J. Arthur Rank, Vincent Routledge, R. Sharpe, Peter Moxon, Lord and Lady Burrell.
There was a gap of ten years in the society’s activities during the Second World War. When the Society resumed its competitions, only three Branches remained to be joined by a fourth in 1960.
The mixed subgroups in the past meant that wins in the Utility Field Trial Stakes did not qualify for the Kennel Club Stud Book entry or for the Open Stakes run by other societies. Judges and competitors were discouraged from judging and entering Utility Field Trials, and inevitably membership dropped. Later, changes to the Kennel Club regulations made it impossible for the subgroups to run together in competitions.
During the 1990’s the UGS bowed to the inevitable and became a registered Society at the Kennel Club and we now have equal status with other societies. Membership across the branches is in the region of 800.
At present the society consists of four branches in the Home Counties and East Anglia. The branches still compete against each other both in Working Tests and Field Trials and many of the very valuable and truly historic trophies (shown below) awarded at the Finals date back to 1923.
The society welcomes new members as competitors and valuable helpers at our Working Tests, Field Trials and Training Classes and remain true to our original principles: ‘a friendly society promoting responsible gundog ownership, training and competition’.
The Utility Gundog Society is divided into four autonomous branches spread throughout the Home Counties and East Anglia, these are Eastern Counties (EC), Herts, Beds and Bucks (HBB), Kent and East Sussex (K&ES) and Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire (S,WS&H).
These branches are tied together by the Parent Body, it is responsible for the society administration and each year hosts Spaniel events including The Open English Springer Spaniel Field Trial, The Open Cocker Spaniel Field Trial, and two Novice Spaniel Field Trials.
The branches take turns to host the annual Two Day Open Field Trial, the inter branch All Age Field Trial Finals and the Team Working Test Finals each year. The branches also organise a series of Retriever Field Trials and Working Tests. Training events, classes and seminars are also occasionally available, see the individual branch pages for more information.
Non-members can enter any advertised event, but members will get preference in the draw. Please note that membership of one branch does not confer membership of all branches and there is a separate joining fee for each branch. To participate and gain preference in Spaniel events, membership of only one branch is required.