Eligibility for puppies & derbies.
There are compelling reasons for changing the eligibility requirements for derbies based on age rather than being bracketed by calendar dates.
From a practical standpoint, derbies whelped on January 1, will compete as puppies, till April 30 of following year, when most field trials in the U.S. cease. They would be 16 months of age. Practically speaking they will compete as derbies until April 30, two years following their January 1 birth date. They would at that time be 28 months of age.
Changing puppy requirements from bracketed calendar dates, to include puppies up to 16 months of age, and derby eligibility requirements to include dogs up to 28 months of age, should present no problem to participating field trailers and should be warmly received.
However, it is probably not going to happen, because of opposition from the Futurity Programs. For example, it would change the entire program for the American Field Quail Futurity. The Quail Futurity is traditionally held the first Monday in November. At the latest it will start on November 7. If the 28 month age limit were acceptable, then dogs whelped on or after July 1, two years previous would be eligible to enter and compete.
(One might argue these dogs are already competing in the Quail Futurity.)
To change the requirements for the Futurities will require a transition period but nothing should inhibit the immediate (next field trial season) changing of the requirements for participation in puppy stakes, derby stakes, or derby championships.
It must be understood, that such changes in puppy/derby eligibility will shake up the present breeding philosophy and the demand for January whelped puppies.