NSTRA sanctioned trials are open to all pointing breeds and are conducted under conditions closely resembling actual wild bird hunting.  Each trials consist of sixteen braces of two dogs.  The two dogs compete against each other for points.  Five quail or chukar are put into a field and the two dogs hunt the field to find the birds.  There is a time limit of 30 minutes.  The dogs are scored on how well they perform in the field.  The dogs are judged on ground coverage, obedience, finds, retrieves, and backing.  Each find and associated retrieve are judged independently and are awarded points from 0-100 each.  A dog has one opportunity to back the other dog on point for 0-75 points.  Ground coverage is scored 0-100 for the brace, and obedience 0-75 for the brace.  The dogs' total points are taken and the top three from each field win.


Ground coverage is determined by how well a dog hunts the field.  Obedience is determined by how well a dog obeys, and how well they act in the field.  Finds are scored on how well the dog looks on point, and how well he hold his point.  Retrieves are scored on how well the dog retrieves the bird to the handler.

The 30 NSTRA regions hold local trials in their region. The local trials are held at clubs in the region that let NSTRA use their fields. The trials are open to all regions but distance keeps the trials to mostly local competitors. All dogs that place in the region trials go to their respective Regional Elimination Trial, where they compete against the best dogs in the region. The Regional Elimination Trials award prizes and the winning dog is recognized as that year's Regional Champion. The points from placing in local trials and in the qualifying rounds of the Regional Elimination trial count towards a dog's championship status. 1st place gets 3 points, 2nd place gets 2 and 3rd place gets 1. When a dog gets 18 points and at least 3 first places they become a certified NSTRA champion.

NSTRA holds five national trials annually. The Dog of the Year, Purina Endurance Classic, UKC Performance Classic, Trial of Champions, and Quail Invitational. For the Dog of the Year trial each region sends their top dogs. The Trial of Champions is for all dogs that are champions. Both trials are held in Amo, Indiana. National trials are several days long and the winning dogs are considered national champions.

NSTRA Field Trials