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The first cocker to earn a VST (variable surface tracking) title was
CH Kapewood's Con Man CD, TD, VST, OA, AXJ.
Conner owned and handled by Carolee Douglas earned this title on October 17, 2010 at the University of New Mexico campus.

Variable surface tracking tests require the dog to follow human scent while adapting to changing scenting conditions.

The dog must track on at least 3 different surfaces including 2 which are devoid of vegetation, such as asphalt, concrete, gravel, sand or mulch. The scent of the track is between 3 hours and 5 hours old. The dog must find 4 articles (one leather, one plastic, one metal and one fabric). The track must include at least 4 turns with one turn being a 90 degree turn on an area devoid of vegetation for 30 yards on either side of the turn.

The track is laid utilizing buildings and the diverse scenting conditions created by being in close proximity to such buildings. Tracks can also include other structures such as fences, breezeways, ramps, stairs, bridges, roofed parking garages and courtyards. 

The intent of the Variable Surface Tracking stresses that dogs will be able to handle the diffusion of scent created by these structures. Many VST tests are held on college campuses.

A dog that earns all three tracking titles - TD, TDX and VST will become a Champion Tracker and can use the letters CT preceding the name of the dog.


TrackingDue to their background as hunting dogs, expected to find game through their sense of smell, Cockers are naturals at the sport of tracking. In tracking, a dog must follow the path walked by the tracklayer anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours before, depending on the level of the track. There are 3 titles offered by AKC, in increasing order of difficulty.

  • Tracking Dog – TD
  • Tracking Dog Excellent – TDX
  • Variable Surface Tracking – VST

The length of the tracks, type of cover, obstacles and age are different for each level and a dog, which earns all 3 titles, has the right to have CT (Champion Tracker) placed before its name.

PDF fileA Beginner's Guide to Tracking is available on the AKC website.

Recommended Reading:

Tracking Book Tracking Dog, Theory & Methods. (2nd edition). Glen R. Johnson.
Published by Arner Publications, Rome, NY, c1977. ISBN 0-914124-04-8

This book is the standard for anyone interested in training dogs to track. Included in the book is the Tracking Trainers Handbook, a great reference for working in the field. Glen R. Johnson brought his many years of experience and innovation to write was has become the "bible" of trackers everywhere. His experience ranged from military dog work, to detection of toxic pipeline leaks using dogs.

Tracking Book Tracking From the Ground Up. Sandy Ganz & Susan Boyd.
Published by Show-Me Publications, St. Louis, MO, c1992.

The all-inclusive tracking program from the most elementary T.D. lessons through Sandy and Sue's highly acclaimed T.D.X. methods. Based on the authors' 40 years of combined experience as handlers and instructors. This book, a first of its kind, includes step-by-step instruction in track laying, puppy training, alternative training methods, and test preparation. The proven 8-week tracking program is easy to read and practical. Motivational techniques, problem solving, and proper handling, are stressed from the first day of tracking through single-flag starts, multiple articles, cross-tracks, and obstacles.

Tracking Book Practical Tracking for Practically Anyone. Julie Hogan & Donna Thompson,
Published by George Morgan, Charlotte, NC, c1995.

This how-to manual for trackers includes certification, what to expect at a test, scent theory, variable surface tracking, and sources of equipment. Not much on VST, but gives an idea of what it's about. "What to expect at the test" is great. Avoid those "first test" jitters.

(Shirley Hunsaker contributed Material for this page.)

The ballots to vote on the proposed standard revisions were mailed to all ASC members on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.  In returning the ballots, please follow the instructions in order to insure that you are sending in valid ballots. There are four ballots, one for each proposed change.

The ballots MUST BE RECEIVED BY WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2017 to be valid.



ASC will be hosting a hunt test open to all registered breeds of flushing spaniels, Airedale Terriers, Irish Water Spaniels, and select Retriever breeds. This hunt test will be held on October 28 & 29, 2017 in Jacobus, Pennsylvania. Any one that is interested in receiving a premium list for this test or for being tested for the WD/WDX please contact Carolee Douglas at jdouglas73@comcast.net.

Harvey Update - ASCF Disaster Relief Fund (click here)

The Board has appointed the following members to the Zone Nominating Committees.

They will start work later this month and will nominate candidates to serve as your Zone Director and Alternate Zone Director. These individuals serve for a 2-year term. The Zone Director is responsible for attending specialty shows around the Zone and keeping zone members informed about what is happening with ASC. The Zone Director will also attend 2 Board meetings a year and participate in conference calls approximately monthly. If you are interested in being nominated for any of these positions, please contact a committee member or members.

Zone 1 Committee
Bonnie Pike, chair
Kim Valvolo
Peggy Kotek
Karen Osper, alternate

Zone 2 Committee
Lindy Bennett, chair
Cheryl Brown
Jackie Cavallin
Erin Baker, alternate

Zone 3 Committee
Genea Jones, chair
Terri Procunier
Susan Gray
Laura English, alternate

Zone 4 Committee
Patricia Elkins, chair
Eilene White
DiAnn Prock

Zone 5 Committee
Barbara Shaw, chair
Beth Moore
Diane Hill
Laurie Foley, alternate

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Linda Moore.

***************************** FLUSHING SPANIEL SHOW 2018 U P D A T E *****************************

Due to unforeseen delays with the building improvement construction, the Knoxville Exhibition Center will not be ready in time for our January show. Therefore, we will move the show to the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park (2201 E. Magnolia Avenue, Knoxville).

The venue is a short 5 ½ miles (approximately 10 min.) drive from the Holiday Inn. The Knoxville Convention Center team has committed to making this unexpected transition as seamless as possible. We are working with Visit Knoxville (Convention & Visitors Bureau) to provide shuttle service for our members and guests to/from the Holiday Inn and the show venue.

More information will be available shortly as the Show Committee works on the logistics of the Show.  For now, we recommend that everyone who has reservations at the Holiday Inn, KEEP them. The few motels located by the facility are not recommended by the KCC or Chilhowee Park management. However, if you would like to cancel your reservation, please DO NOT call the Holiday Inn.  Please contact Jane Williams.  We have a waiting list for rooms and we need to facilitate the room change or the room will go back to general hotel inventory. 

ASC 2017 National Specialty DVD Clips

Best in Futurity July 2017

Best of Breed  July 2017

Junior handlers July 2017 

Latest report from Dr. Aguirre/University of PA cataract study

ASCF WEBINAR Report and Presentation