Showsight Presents the Vizsla

VIZSLA

Let’s Talk Breed Education!

THE VIZSLA

MARISSA CLARK A native of California, I realized my childhood dream, three years ago, by moving to Washington State. We live on Fox Island, which is an extension of Gig Harbor. I enjoy ANY outdoor activity. Being in the PNW, there are endless opportuni- ties to be with nature. This is where I find true peace and happiness. I also love theatre and anything involving animals. I have been involved in the sport for 45 years. Boy, I am dating myself! Our initial breed was Irish Setters. Then we decided to downsize to the English Cocker Spaniel. I have been judging since 2004. PLUIS DAVERN I live in North Monterey County, California and my whole life revolves around dogs and numerous dog activities includ- ing obedience, conformation, field events, agility and ther- apy work. I started off in obedience training in 1960; I’ve been breeding and showing since 1968, started handling in the 70s and judging in 2000. I have been breeding Vizslas since 2001. RICHARD HILDERMAN My wife and I live on a barrier island off the coast of North Caro- lina. Outside of dogs I spend a lot of time kayaking in the marshes. I am active in protecting the sea turtles and birds that nest on our island along with protecting the natural environment that surrounds the island. We got involved showing and breeding Vizslas in 1975. We no lon- ger breed or show dogs. I started my judging career in 1985 when I was approved just for Vizslas. BRITT E. JUNG DR. DANA MASSEY

in Weimaraners since 1950, showing since 1985 and judging since about 1998. KATHY RUST I live in Walcott, North Dakota, a rural community south of Fargo. I’m a Chief Master Sergeant in the North Dakota Air National Guard serving as the Domestic Operations Senior Enlisted Leader and also fill the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness position. I’ve been in dogs since the day I was born, growing up in a pet loving family. I started show- ing dogs over 35 years ago and have been judging for 13 years. WALTER SOMMERFELT 1. What five traits do you look for, in order, when judging Vizslas? What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed? BJ: When I first look at a class of Vizslas, I’m looking for the breed typical outline. That’s number one. Outline starts at the tip of the nose and goes to the tip of the tail and is largely what defines the breed. It includes the topline and the underline, fore chest, substance, and musculature. The Vizsla outline is clean and demonstrates athleti- cism without any excess; hence the word “moderate” describes many of the breed’s features. Second, I want to see if the dogs that appear to have the correct, balanced outline are able to maintain it when in motion and if they have the appropriate clean, balanced, and far reaching movement. Third, temperament. You can tell something about a dog’s temperament in the short time it’s in your ring. Vizslas should be joyful, friendly, and positively engaged with their handlers and the world around them. Fourth is substance. Substance encompasses bone as well as fill; I look for fore chest, rib spring, and devel- oped thigh muscles in proportion to the size of the dog. Fifth is front assembly because a good front is difficult to find. Many of these attributes overlap. For example, I can usually see a good front in a good outline and strong movement. When it comes down to making choices and weighing tradeoffs, I may reward a dog with a strong front that might be too long or a little bigger or smaller than desirable. WS: When judging the Vizsla I think of a medium size, gold- en rust-colored dog that is first and foremost symmetrical in its natural stance. It must be “robust, but lightly built”. For me that means substance without coarseness. Even though it is slightly longer than tall, the standard says it may appear square. A moderately broad chest reaching to the elbows with well sprung ribs. I believe the tail set is very important in this breed and often overlooked. It is to be set just below the level of the croup and carried at or near “horizontal”, not vertically or curled over the back S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2018 • 235

I live with my husband, Billy and dogs (Paula Deen, Suzie, Ballot, Dav, Betty Ann, George and Lloyds of London, a rescue Terrier). I’ve been

and of course it should never be down or between the legs when in movement. We are a single tracking breed that calls for a steady “level” topline when moving. It is important to remember this a versatile breed and as a natural hunter it must look like a dog that can be expect- ed to work out in the field under various conditions for a full day. A dog lacking the “robust” nature implied in the standard and lacking in bone, depth and width of chest will no doubt have a hard time doing the job for which it was bred. 2. What faults do you find hard to overlook? BJ: I love to find a typey dog with a beautiful head and eye. However, I’ll forgive or let go of my quest for a beautiful head and eye if the dog has the desired outline, move- ment, substance, and temperament. That said, I find it difficult to forgive a round, prominent, or yellow eye and a muzzle with a severely deficient under jaw. I find it dif- ficult to forgive shyness and difficult to forgive a weedy, fine-boned dog. All other things equal, I will put up a dog that is on the verge of being coarse over a dog that is lacking in substance. WS: When judging you have a mental image of what is the correct and ideal type for each breed. As we all know the perfect dog has yet to be bred. But as judges we can only try to choose from the exhibits standing and performing before us on any given day. Obviously you must address any of the breed disqualifica- tions. These are well described in the standard includ- ing the minimum and maximum heights for each sex. The only DQ that can be subject to interpretation in the Vizsla standard is the issue of white. Each judge must make his or her own determination in each case as to when is there “too much” and act accordingly. When it comes to shortcomings and hard to overlook faults I go back to the statement you can only judge what is in front of you on any given day. There are days when you have exceptional animals to choose from and priori- ties may be applied to a variety of attributes. On these days it is an exciting challenge to sort through and find those exhibits that truly meet the mental image you have for the breed and reward them. On the other hand you have days when an entire entry may not be up to par with what you are looking for and you make choices and trade offs based on your interpretation of the standard and your personal list of priorities. On these occasions it can appear to the person outside the ring that the judge is not consistent when in reality he or she is hopefully rewarding the exhibits in the ring that are closest to what they see as important virtues in the breed. 3. How has the breed changed since you became involved with it? Do you see any trends you think are moving the breed in the wrong direction? Any traits becoming exaggerated? BJ: I think the dogs today are generally prettier than they were 30 years ago and less houndy or coarse. In some cases the pendulum swings a little too far in the other

direction where we see dogs that are very fine boned and snipey headed. The muzzle should be square and deep. We’re seeing a lot of muzzles that are severely lacking in under jaw. The gait is supposed to be far reaching; yet, many Vizslas display a severe restriction in the front when moving. WS: In reality all breeds seem to go through cycles. The biggest change I have seen in the breed over the past 40 years is how the increase in popularity has had an effect on the breeders and people involved in the breed. For the majority of the 70s and 80s the breed was a lower entry breed with almost all owner handlers that were truly involved in the concept of the “Dual Purpose” dogs. Many of the breeders, owners, and exhibitors competed in both the conformation ring as well as the field. This in my opinion created great camaraderie within the breed and was a great strength. As the popularity of the breed increased and the breed become more successful in the group and Best in Show area there seemed to be a shift with people becoming more involved with the show side of things, we also saw an increase of professional handlers exhibiting them. With this shift some people went toward a dog that they felt was pretty and fancy. We started to see a trend in lighter boned dogs, High tails became more common as did dogs longer in body. This created in my humble opinion a “generic” red show dog. The crafters of the breed and the original standard called for a “versatile” dog with the ability to work in the field, the forest, as well as water. An agile and energetic com- panion that had power and endurance in the field but was also a highly tractable and affectionate companion. To my interpretation they are a “Blue Collar” dog. I com- pare them to a blue collar factory worker. They show up every day, they punch the clock they work a full day in all types of conditions. They must have the body, bone, temperament and heart and lung capacity to do the job they have. They are moderate in size but sturdy in build. And much like the average worker at the end of the day they go home where they are a much loved and appreci- ated as well as a compatible member of the family. As breeders we need to pay attention to the standard. We have too many weak toplines, high tails and specimens lacking substance and proper proportions. 4. Is there anything Vizsla handlers do you wish they would not? BJ: I can’t think of much that handlers do in the ring that I wish they wouldn’t do. It’s what they don’t do outside the ring that I would urge them to consider. Don’t show dogs that haven’t been socialized and thus won’t present as happy, engaged companions. Don’t show dogs that are not in good condition. They should look like they’re sporting dogs. Handlers don’t always have control over what shows up ringside, but they do have control over what they choose to show and how they mentor their clients. This is pretty much a “what you see is what you get” breed and so the real work happens long before the day of the show.

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WS: In my opinion most handlers move the dogs too fast. The show ring is not a race, moving fast in many case throws the dog completely out of sorts. Also when stacked I don’t understand why you would hold the tail high like a beagle or a foxhound when the standard calls for a tail at “horizontal”. As to traits being rewarded. I see some dogs that lack breed type but are shown like Dobermans and are “very showy” winning over quality animals with the proper type, bone, top line, and tail set. The Vizsla breed is a very intelligent breed they are “thinkers”. Don’t expect to see “expression” with ears up for a piece of bait or a squeaky noise. They probably are thinking, ‘This is stupid, you want me to stand here and look animated for a piece of liver. What are you crazy? Now let me find a quail or a pheasant in the field and I will show you animated!’ 5. Have you participated in the field with Vizslas, and if so, how has that influenced your evaluation in the ring? Are there traits being rewarded in the ring that would be detrimental in the field? BJ: I have enormous respect and admiration for working dogs/canine athletes, and the people behind them. I’ve put Hunting titles on my dogs and co-owned and showed a Field champion. I wish more people participated in field activities just so they could appreciate the sporting dogs they have and experience seeing their dogs at work in their natural settings. Like so many dogs, Vizslas are the best companions when they’re given jobs. It upsets me to see judges reward timid dogs. The timid dog cannot be a good hunting companion. WS: We have participated in the field and have had the plea- sure of having bred a dual champion as well as numerous hunting titled dogs. Also having lived in the Memphis area for 20 years we have spent many days and hours on horseback at Ames Plantation in nearby Grand Junction, TN at the annual “American Field” bird dog National field trials. These are three hour braces held in February and they have two braces daily for several weeks until the final brace is run and the Champion is named. For anyone that breeds or judges sporting dogs it is a great opportunity to witness the pointing breeds truly at work in all types of conditions. The experience helps you to understand the need for substance, chest and lung capac- ity, endurance, temperament and tractability. 6. How do undocked tails affect your choices? BJ: Tail set and tail carriage are important, but being undocked doesn’t bother me. WS: The docking of tails is cosmetic. Although I prefer the ideal tail described in the standard. I would not allow an undocked tail if set and carried correctly to influence my decision. 7. Name a previously campaigned Vizsla that illus- trates your ideal type. BJ: Ch. Cariad’s Surfstone Szuka, “Szuka,” was a beautiful bitch and representative of the breed. She had substance but was feminine and floated when she moved.

GCh ElginCariad Dorratz Kind of Blue JH, “Miles,” is a dog that I think of when I’m trying to describe correct breed type. He has balanced, moderate angles and a clean outline with appropriate substance. WS: Over the years I have seen a large number of excellent examples of the breed. Some had great show careers but the majority completed their championships and spent great lives as the companions of their owners. But when I think of exceptional breed examples BIS Ch. Taunee Loki Santana shown by the Late Bobby Barlow and GHC Artisan Grouse Point Pink Panther JH shown more recently by Corrine Miklos come to mind as dogs that were outstanding in both type and proper substance. So many factors go into the success of a show dog’s career—timing, money, advertising, the handler, the area they compete in, the judges they are show under. For the average owner it is just not a expense they can handle or the lifestyle of a campaign is not what they want for their dog. Some of the best dogs I have seen were never campaigned by their owners.

8. Describe the breed in three words. MC: Medium robust hunter. PD: Moderate, balanced and moderate. RH: Playful, people pleasers. DM: Rust-colored, agile ancestral hunter. KR: Versatile, moderate and self-colored.

9. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? MC: Type, outline, symmetry, moderate, made of curves, balance front to rear angles, proportion, sound coming and going (want single tracking), first and second thigh, level topline with slightly rounded croup. No gay tails! Also would want correct ears, not Hound-like. Lastly, but certainly not least, good feet (that can take this Sporting Dog around the ring) with movement that is light footed and a far reaching stride so evident in a properly-made Vizsla. “Sporting dogs have to move!” PD: Lightly built, medium-sized, rust-colored hunting dog. RH: Fluid movement, width of back skull and muzzle, depth and width of fore chest and substance DM: 1) Correct size, 2) distinctive solid golden rust, 3) lean and muscular, 4) short back, 5) non-sloping topline, 6) slight rise over the loin that is a hallmark of the breed and 7) moderate angulation and balanced. KR: A distinctive silhouette, golden rust color, moderation, effortless side gait and a “Tigger” demeanor. 10. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? MC: I see many breeds becoming more exaggerated or extreme today, so it is not limited to the Vizsla. Regarding Vizslas, I believe they are losing the moderate, off square, level topline with bone/substance. I’d like to see better croups, shorter length of loin and less gay tails. I also see weedy dogs and some shy temperaments. It would be unfair to say Vizslas need better fronts, without stating that many breeds are struggling with this issue. I believe breeders are aware and making great attempts to fix this

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difficult, time consuming and multi-generational issue. At least I don’t see too many sweeping rears, with too much length of stifle that can be a by-product of a weaker front, or lay of shoulder. PD: There seem to be more and more exhibits with straight- er fronts, no depth of chest (cathedral fronts) and over angulated rears. I’m concerned about the numerous gay tails as well. While it is lightly built, it is a robust dog so should not exhibit lack of substance. DM: Rise over the loin too great, sloping topline and the size is too big. KR: As in many breeds, we need to improve our front assemblies and be careful that we are breeding for the correct topline, croup/pelvis angle and tail set. This is an “almost” square, moderate breed and we need to watch for too much length and over exaggeration. Remember, this a breed that is meant to hunt all day. 11. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? MC: The Vizslas of the past were a force within the Sport- ing Group. Today, I do not believe this is the case for the above-mentioned reasons. Most breeds go through change. Our breed standards are there for a reason and need to be read, studied and maintained. It saddens me when Parent Clubs vote changes to their standard to fit into what is currently being shown, rather than maintaining the standard, then breeding and showing dogs that fit within their standard. I see the same when breeding dogs, where many top-winning dogs are used in the whelping box, rather than take the dog to a worthy animal that may not be campaigned, but suits what is needed to better a breeding program generation after generation. I believe that the current situation in the sport where there are many shows, few remaining large scale breeders and some newer exhibitors who step in, do not find mentors to guide, teach and educate is mak- ing for less quality entries as a whole. This saddens me as I remember the “good old days” when as a family, we went to the show, I competed in Juniors, then competed in breed, stayed for the day, learned about other breeds and was always hungry for information to assist in better- ing our knowledge and abilities. To this day, we main- tain mentors! This is vital to quality and integrity of any breed. No one person knows all things. PD: The overall look of the Vizsla has become more stan- dardized, top lines are better than they once were as are the rears. However despite the emphasis on “moderate” in the standard, many exhibits do not reflect that. RH: This is a double edged question because I think there are aspects of the breed that have improved, but there are also areas where the breed has regressed. In terms of improvement, I think today’s Vizslas are more in line with the height limits outlined in the standard and the amount and location of white allowed. The Vizslas when I first started judging were much more fluid in their movement and had better head pieces and more overall substance.

DM: I see excellent specimens of Vizsla in the ring. There was a bitch out years ago “Calla.” She is the picture in my mind. It’s hard to find a “Calla” out there. If you have one sitting at home, please show her to me! KR: There are pockets of outstanding Vizslas in various regions and then there are areas in which we have declined. Consistency in style and type is hard to find. There are many dogs from the past that would be able to still consistently win in today’s ring. Breeders need to continue to review and study the past to establish a vision of what they want the future to look like. There are many dogs currently in the ring today that if bred cor- rectly could produce better than themselves and bring us back to where we need to be in relation to our standard. 12. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? MC: In my opinion this breed, like many requires a fairly large entry to find sound typey exhibits where, when judging, placements can be consistent. This is a moder- ate dog in every sense, with no harsh angles; but instead is made of curves to equal a balanced dog. Within the Sporting Group there are few breeds remaining where much focus is placed on the dual dog. Because the Vizsla is one such breed, I see much muscle mass behind the shoulder/withers that can appear to break up, or make a topline look dippy. I truly feel your hands must tell the story. Reward the dog that is in hard working condi- tion; keeping in mind he should be able to hunt all day! Proper movement is necessary. This breed should reach and drive with little effort… few steps and much ground gained. Because this breed has a “far reaching” gait, I like to give (much like the Brittany) the first 1 ⁄ 3 of the ring to the dog to get into his gait. This breed is difficult to see indoors in a small ring. They need space to spread out on the move. In a small ring, I will send the class around 1 ½ times, or separate them into smaller groups. PD: I feel that new judges compare the Vizsla to other short- coated pointing breeds—and they definitely are not. I think studying outlines can help this because the Vizsla has fewer exaggerations than the others. The head and expression are unique also. RH: The function/purpose of the breed. This is why the breed needs correct movement, head piece and substance. DM: Sometimes I think they want the Weimaraner, the Vizs- la and the German Shorthaired Pointer to be the same. I know I worked hard to get a picture of each breed in my mind--they are so different. That picture in my mind’s eye is so important to me every time I walk into the ring, no matter what breed. If I have the wrong picture in my mind—send me one. KR: Silhouette and correct topline both while standing and while moving. At first glance, the outline should appear more square than rectangle. The topline/backline is level from right behind the withers to the croup, not sloping. The rounding over the coup is barely perceptible and is broad muscling over the loin and top of pelvis. It is not the curvature of the spine as a result of a steep croup and tilted pelvis. You feel the strength and slight S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2018 • 243

rounding as your run your hand down the backline over the short, firm loin. The tail is set on only slightly below the croup. It should only be about a thumbs-width lower than the croup. If your eye is drawn to a noticeably rounded topline when viewing the silhouette or if you notice the tailset looks below the croup, it is too much. It is all very smooth, gentle, minimal curves felt by your hand more than seen. As stated in the standard, when moving at a trot, a properly built Vizsla maintains a steady, level backline. 13. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? MC: First, I truly love the breed. The breeders want their dogs in the field and many achieve their dual title. I think this is wonderful. I have had the pleasure of hav- ing my hands on dogs that can work in the morning and come into the show ring in the afternoon, all the while maintaining that beautiful breed type… not giving way to a generic field dog. I find head proportions are fairly consistent in the breed; good scissor bites and large white teeth. Feet are usually good, and I must say, I need a good foot on a Sporting or Working Dog! I would also comment that I do not see Vizslas that are vicious. With a large entry I am pleased to find some beautifully made dogs. I would also like to say the Vizsla exhibitors are fine folks, friendly, welcoming and kind to their dogs. PD: The Vizsla is an exceptionally devoted breed, liking nothing better than to curl up on someone’s lap and always ‘in touch’ . They are extremely intelligent and very easy to train. Their ability to live as house dogs, raise the children, guard the home then go out and hunt all day over every type of terrain coupled with their almost cat-like cleanliness makes them an exemplary companion. RH: I think it is extremely important to understand that this is a functional breed. I encourage all judges (especially aspiring judges) and breeders to attend Vizsla field trials, watch the dogs work and talk with field breeders/exhibi- tors. This will make the standard come alive and become more meaningful. BJ: I think some new judges are confused about the proper topline for a Vizsla. The rise over the loin is to be slight, the croup should be gently rounded, and the tail should be set just below the level of the croup. You’ll rarely see a Vizsla that has too flat of a topline and a tail that is set too high on the back. Remember that in motion, the backline should be level. So, please don’t seek out exaggerations of these attributes. KR: The Vizsla should exude the vision of strength, power and agility in a moderate package that has enough sub- stance to not appear weedy, but not too much to appear heavy or cumbersome. A Vizsla is balanced elegance that is in the appropriate condition to perform all day in the field. WS: The Vizsla and the Brittany are in my opinion the only two true dual-purpose pointing breeds with breeders actively trying to produce show dogs while still retaining the hunting ability for which they were bred. Breeders and judges must continue to pay attention to the standard

and not get caught up in the “generic” good moving and well shown specimen. They need to pay attention to substance, proportions, tail sets and carriage, soundness and temperament. 14. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? MC: I had to think on this one. I decided to give away one of our own mishaps. We had not used a tent we bought for quite a while, but decided to take it to shows as it was going to be hot and we planned to stay for the entire day. My folks and I arrived, unloaded and hauled across the show site in California, where the sun was already baking most of the exhibitors. If anyone has ever seen my family, you understand that each of the three has his or her own job. I am the mule, who hauls across the field. My mother is the master of set up. My father likes to potty the dogs and get armbands. I am truly convinced this is because he does not want to stick around and watch his daughter and wife argue about what goes where and who does what! It’s cheap and free entertainment to be sure! And so, we unwrapped the tent from its sheath, then proceed- ed to make utter idiots of ourselves as the two of us could not remember how to set the darn thing up. Where is the man who is peeing the dog? I am sure we gave a good many people laughs as they watched us try time and again. It was a lesson in humility for sure! In our defense, this was before the easy pop up tents of today. The tent was heavy and the legs were frozen. It would be fair to say we looked like the Three Stooges after Mr. Dog Walker came back and we were still unable to set it up. RH: I was showing my Vizsla in the group and on the initial go around when we passed the judging table my right arm picked up the judge’s purse and I was carrying it around the ring. Since this was a new experience I had to think quickly and somehow, without losing a step, I gracefully dropped the purse without spilling the con- tents. We even placed in the group! DM: We went to a hunt test in Iowa one day. My friend had her Vizsla from Betty Rozanik in the van and I had my Weims. The puppy Vizsla, Shannon, was about 6 months old. She pulled my new orange vest into the crate and had her way with it during the trip over from Omaha. Lat- er, in the field, my Weimaraner went on a strong point, I reached into my pocket for my pistol--nothing there! I looked up at the judge on horseback and said, “It’s gone.” He said, “Well, do something!” I yelled “BANG!” Hmm, maybe that wasn’t what he had in mind, more like go borrow one from the other handler or get the other handler to shoot. The puppy Vizsla had chewed a hole in the pocket and the gun had fallen out somewhere in the field. We failed. Boo! KR: One of my Vizslas, Earl, escape from his pen and track me all the way across a fairgrounds and join me in the ring as I was showing a Papillon. He moved right into position and gaited right around the ring, stopped and freestacked for the judge. After the shock of seeing him, all of us broke out laughing and the judge gave him a cursory exam as his rear was wiggling non-stop. It was a reminder that shows are really all about the dogs!

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THE VIZSLA: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS GREG ANDERSON RICHARD HILDERMAN

I just moved to Simi Valley, from San Diego. Outside of dogs, I eat, sleep, eat again sleep—actually I enjoy weight training, cooking and water skiing! Architecture is my passion. I’ve been in dogs my whole life, from kennel help to professional handler for 22 years and I’ve been judging for over 20 years. MARISSA CLARK

My wife and I live on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. Outside of dogs I spend a lot of time kayaking in the marshes. I am active in protecting the sea turtles and birds that nest on our island along with pro- tecting the natural environment that surrounds the island. We got involved showing and breeding Vizslas in 1975. We no longer breed or show dogs. I started my judging career in 1985 when I was approved just for Vizslas. DR. DANA MASSEY

A native of California, I realized my childhood dream, three years ago, by moving to Washington State. We live on Fox Island, which is an extension of Gig Harbor. I enjoy ANY outdoor activ- ity. Being in the PNW, there are endless opportunities to be with nature. This is where I find true peace and happiness. I also love theatre and anything involv- ing animals. I have been involved in the

I live with my husband, Billy and dogs (Paula Deen, Suzie, Ballot, Dav, Betty Ann, George and Lloyds of Lon- don, a rescue Terrier). I’ve been in Wei- maraners since 1950, showing since 1985 and judging since about 1998.

sport for 45 years. Boy, I am dating myself! Our initial breed was Irish Setters. Then we decided to downsize to the English Cocker Spaniel. I have been judging since 2004. PLUIS DAVERN I live in North Monterey County, California and my whole life revolves around dogs and numerous dog activities includ- ing obedience, conformation, field events, agility and therapy work. I started off in obedience training in 1960; I’ve been breeding and showing since 1968, started handling in the 70s and judging in 2000. I have been breeding Vizslas since 2001.

(Photo © Gay Glazbrook)

LINDA ROBEY

I live in High Ridge, Missouri, which is about 25 miles outside of St. Louis. I travel with my husband in our motorhome. I also shoot skeet and some trap and golf when I get a chance. Dogs take up much of my time. I’ve loved dogs all my life, so did my par- ents, so I have had dogs for as long as

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I can remember. I started showing in obedience in the mid- 1970s, so around 38 years. I’ve been judging about 20 years. KATHY RUST I live in Walcott, North Dakota, a rural community south of Fargo. I'm a Chief Master Sergeant in the North Dakota Air National Guard serving as the Domestic Operations Senior Enlisted Leader and also fill the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness position. I've been in dogs since the day I was born, growing up in a pet loving family. I started show- ing dogs over 35 years ago and have been judging for 13 years.

difficult, time consuming and multi-generational issue. At least I don’t see too many sweeping rears, with too much length of stifle that can be a by-product of a weaker front, or lay of shoulder. PD: There seem to be more and more exhibits with straight- er fronts, no depth of chest (cathedral fronts) and over angulated rears. I’m concerned about the numerous gay tails as well. While it is lightly built, it is a robust dog so should not exhibit lack of substance. DM: Rise over the loin too great, sloping topline and the size is too big. LR: No, the breeders are doing a good job in not exagger- ating traits. But, I am seeing a number that appear too lightly built; plus, many straight fronts. KR: As in many breeds, we need to improve our front assemblies and be careful that we are breeding for the correct topline, croup/pelvis angle and tail set. This is an “almost” square, moderate breed and we need to watch for too much length and over exaggeration. Remember, this a breed that is meant to hunt all day. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? GA: They are about the same. MC: The Vizslas of the past were a force within the Sport- ing Group. Today, I do not believe this is the case for the above-mentioned reasons. Most breeds go through change. Our breed standards are there for a reason and need to be read, studied and maintained. It saddens me when Parent Clubs vote changes to their standard to fit into what is currently being shown, rather than maintaining the standard, then breeding and showing dogs that fit within their standard. I see the same when breeding dogs, where many top-winning dogs are used in the whelping box, rather than take the dog to a worthy animal that may not be campaigned, but suits what is needed to better a breeding program generation after generation. I believe that the current situation in the sport where there are many shows, few remaining large scale breeders and some newer exhibitors who step in, do not find mentors to guide, teach and educate is mak- ing for less quality entries as a whole. This saddens me as I remember the “good old days” when as a family, we went to the show, I competed in Juniors, then competed in breed, stayed for the day, learned about other breeds and was always hungry for information to assist in better- ing our knowledge and abilities. To this day, we main- tain mentors! This is vital to quality and integrity of any breed. No one person knows all things. PD: The overall look of the Vizsla has become more stan- dardized, top lines are better than they once were as are the rears. However despite the emphasis on “moderate” in the standard, many exhibits do not reflect that. RH: This is a double edged question because I think there are aspects of the breed that have improved, but there are also areas where the breed has regressed. In terms of improvement, I think today's Vizslas are more in line with the height limits outlined in the standard and the amount and location of white allowed. The Vizslas when I first started judging were much more fluid in

1. Describe the breed in three words. GA: Intelligence, elegant and agile. MC: Medium robust hunter. PD: Moderate, balanced and moderate. RH: Playful, people pleasers. DM: Rust-colored, agile ancestral hunter. LR: Functional, moderate and medium size. KR: Versatile, moderate and self-colored.

2. What are your "must have" traits in this breed? GA: sound movement, correct eye, balanced and proper size! MC: Type, outline, symmetry, moderate, made of curves, balance front to rear angles, proportion, sound coming and going (want single tracking), first and second thigh, level topline with slightly rounded croup. No gay tails! Also would want correct ears, not Hound-like. Lastly, but certainly not least, good feet (that can take this Sporting Dog around the ring) with movement that is light footed and a far reaching stride so evident in a properly-made Vizsla. “Sporting dogs have to move!” PD: Lightly built, medium-sized, rust-colored hunting dog. RH: Fluid movement, width of back skull and muzzle, depth and width of fore chest and substance DM: 1) Correct size, 2) distinctive solid golden rust, 3) lean and muscular, 4) short back, 5) non-sloping topline, 6) slight rise over the loin that is a hallmark of the breed and 7) moderate angulation and balanced. LR: Being a Sporting dog, he must appear to be able to work all day; so good movement, good feet and strong topline. Plus the Vizsla is light, but athletic and very moderate in every way. KR: A distinctive silhouette, golden rust color, moderation, effortless side gait and a “Tigger” demeanor. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? GA: Long in loin, over angulated and too big. MC: I see many breeds becoming more exaggerated or extreme today, so it is not limited to the Vizsla. Regarding Vizslas, I believe they are losing the moderate, off square, level topline with bone/substance. I’d like to see better croups, shorter length of loin and less gay tails. I also see weedy dogs and some shy temperaments. It would be unfair to say Vizslas need better fronts, without stating that many breeds are struggling with this issue. I believe breeders are aware and making great attempts to fix this

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vizsla Q&A their movement and had better head pieces and more overall substance. DM: I see excellent specimens of Vizsla in the ring. There was a bitch out years ago “Calla.” She is the picture in my mind. It’s hard to find a “Calla” out there. If you have one sitting at home, please show her to me! LR: It just depends on the area and the entry. In the past, I judged many nice dogs. Recently, I just did a specialty and the entry was amazing—a lot of depth of quality. But at some shows with smaller entries, the dogs are not as good. KR: There are pockets of outstanding Vizslas in various regions and then there are areas in which we have declined. Consistency in style and type is hard to find. There are many dogs from the past that would be able to still consistently win in today's ring. Breeders need to continue to review and study the past to establish a vision of what they want the future to look like. There are many dogs currently in the ring today that if bred cor- rectly could produce better than themselves and bring us back to where we need to be in relation to our standard. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? GA: I feel some new judges are pointing to too large and longer, a bit too Hound-like or too refined—there is a happy medium. MC: In my opinion this breed, like many requires a fairly large entry to find sound typey exhibits where, when judging, placements can be consistent. This is a moder- ate dog in every sense, with no harsh angles; but instead is made of curves to equal a balanced dog. Within the Sporting Group there are few breeds remaining where much focus is placed on the dual dog. Because the Vizsla is one such breed, I see much muscle mass behind the shoulder/withers that can appear to break up, or make a topline look dippy. I truly feel your hands must tell the story. Reward the dog that is in hard working condi- tion; keeping in mind he should be able to hunt all day! Proper movement is necessary. This breed should reach and drive with little effort… few steps and much ground gained. Because this breed has a “far reaching” gait, I like to give (much like the Brittany) the first 1 ⁄ 3 of the ring to the dog to get into his gait. This breed is difficult to see indoors in a small ring. They need space to spread out on the move. In a small ring, I will send the class around 1 ½ times, or separate them into smaller groups. PD: I feel that new judges compare the Vizsla to other short- coated pointing breeds—and they definitely are not.

I think studying outlines can help this because the Vizsla has fewer exaggerations than the others. The head and expression are unique also. RH: New judges can misunderstand the function/purpose of the breed. This is why the breed needs correct move- ment, head piece and substance. DM: Sometimes I think they want the Weimaraner, the Vizs- la and the German Shorthaired Pointer to be the same. I know I worked hard to get a picture of each breed in my mind--they are so different. That picture in my mind’s eye is so important to me every time I walk into the ring, no matter what breed. If I have the wrong picture in my mind—send me one. LR: This is a lightly built dog, but is still strong and athletic. So sometimes that balance of “not too much” vs. “so fine that it could not do the job” is tricky. Another thing I see are dogs in very hard working condition. They are very slim and hard muscled—these dogs should not be penal- ized. It is wonderful that the owners are continuing to do what the dogs were created to do. KR: Silhouette and correct topline both while standing and while moving. At first glance, the outline should appear more square than rectangle. The topline/backline is level from right behind the withers to the croup, not sloping. The rounding over the coup is barely perceptible and is broad muscling over the loin and top of pelvis. It is not the curvature of the spine as a result of a steep croup and tilted pelvis. You feel the strength and slight rounding as your run your hand down the backline over the short, firm loin. The tail is set on only slightly below the croup. It should only be about a thumbs-width lower than the croup. If your eye is drawn to a noticeably rounded topline when viewing the silhouette or if you notice the tailset looks below the croup, it is too much. It is all very smooth, gentle, minimal curves felt by your hand more than seen. As stated in the standard, when moving at a trot, a properly built Vizsla maintains a steady, level backline. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? GA: I find the Vizsla a very stable breed mentally, very happy and a joy to judge! When you have the proper eye, expression and balance, it is a joy to look at. MC: First, I truly love the breed. The breeders want their dogs in the field and many achieve their dual title. I think this is wonderful. I have had the pleasure of having my hands on dogs that can work in the morning and come into the show ring in the afternoon, all the while

“I FIND THE VIZSLA A VERY STABLE BREED MENTALLY, VERY HAPPY AND A JOY TO JUDGE!”

266 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2017

WITH GREG ANDERSON, M

ARISSA CLARK, PLUIS DAVE

RN, RICHARD HILDERMAN,

DR. DANA MASSEY, LINDA

ROBEY & KATHY RUST

maintaining that beautiful breed type… not giving way to a generic field dog. I find head proportions are fairly consistent in the breed; good scissor bites and large white teeth. Feet are usually good, and I must say, I need a good foot on a Sporting or Working Dog! I would also comment that I do not see Vizslas that are vicious. With a large entry I am pleased to find some beautifully made dogs. I would also like to say the Vizsla exhibitors are fine folks, friendly, welcoming and kind to their dogs. PD: The Vizsla is an exceptionally devoted breed, liking nothing better than to curl up on someone’s lap and always ‘in touch’ . They are extremely intelligent and very easy to train. Their ability to live as house dogs, raise the children, guard the home then go out and hunt all day over every type of terrain coupled with their almost cat-like cleanliness makes them an exemplary companion. RH: I think it is extremely important to understand that this is a functional breed. I encourage all judges (especially aspiring judges) and breeders to attend Vizsla field trials, watch the dogs work and talk with field breeders/exhibi- tors. This will make the standard come alive and become more meaningful. KR: The Vizsla should exude the vision of strength, power and agility in a moderate package that has enough sub- stance to not appear weedy, but not too much to appear heavy or cumbersome. A Vizsla is balanced elegance that is in the appropriate condition to perform all day in the field. 7. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? GA: The funny and embarrassing thing for me, and I have seen it often, but it always makes me laugh, I was han- dling my top Cocker at the time in Las Vegas (very dry and windy). The judge was Carl Liepman, he was going over my dog and without warning my sinuses exploded and drained all over my dog’s head and Carl's hands! He looked at me and asked for a sanitary engineer to the ring, we just busted up! Another time under Anne Clark I was in the ring and another handler just left the ring without her permission. My dog was on at the time; I looked at Anne and she looked at me with that twinkle. I said, “Do you mind holding my dog? I have to go get some coffee!” She just busted up and said, “Make me a tea!” That handler won the class when he returned; it was just too funny! MC: I had to think on this one. I decided to give away one of our own mishaps. We had not used a tent we bought for quite a while, but decided to take it to shows as it was going to be hot and we planned to stay for the entire day. My folks and I arrived, unloaded and hauled across the show site in California, where the sun was already baking

most of the exhibitors. If anyone has ever seen my family, you understand that each of the three has his or her own job. I am the mule, who hauls across the field. My mother is the master of set up. My father likes to potty the dogs and get armbands. I am truly convinced this is because he does not want to stick around and watch his daughter and wife argue about what goes where and who does what! It’s cheap and free entertainment to be sure! And so, we unwrapped the tent from its sheath, then proceed- ed to make utter idiots of ourselves as the two of us could not remember how to set the darn thing up. Where is the man who is peeing the dog? I am sure we gave a good many people laughs as they watched us try time and again. It was a lesson in humility for sure! In our defense, this was before the easy pop up tents of today. The tent was heavy and the legs were frozen. It would be fair to say we looked like the Three Stooges after Mr. Dog Walker came back and we were still unable to set it up. RH: I was showing my Vizsla in the group and on the initial go around when we passed the judging table my right arm picked up the judge's purse and I was carrying it around the ring. Since this was a new experience I had to think quickly and somehow, without losing a step, I gracefully dropped the purse without spilling the con- tents. We even placed in the group! DM: We went to a hunt test in Iowa one day. My friend had her Vizsla from Betty Rozanik in the van and I had my Weims. The puppy Vizsla, Shannon, was about 6 months old. She pulled my new orange vest into the crate and had her way with it during the trip over from Omaha. Lat- er, in the field, my Weimaraner went on a strong point, I reached into my pocket for my pistol--nothing there! I looked up at the judge on horseback and said, “It’s gone.” He said, “Well, do something!” I yelled “BANG!” Hmm, maybe that wasn’t what he had in mind, more like go borrow one from the other handler or get the other handler to shoot. The puppy Vizsla had chewed a hole in the pocket and the gun had fallen out somewhere in the field. We failed. Boo! LR: Years ago, a Siberian bitch slipped her collar and did the Siberian run around the ring for at least 10 minutes. I’m sure her handler wanted to strangle her, but everyone was laughing, (which of course made it worse). Things happen, so you have to have a good sense of humor. KR: What comes to mind is having one of my Vizslas, Earl, escape from his pen and track me all the way across a fairgrounds and join me in the ring as I was showing a Papillon. He moved right into position and gaited right around the ring, stopped and freestacked for the judge. After the shock of seeing him, all of us broke out laugh- ing and the judge gave him a cursory exam as his rear was wiggling non-stop. It was a reminder that shows are really all about the dogs!

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THE HUNGARIAN POINTER: VIZSLA

courtesy of the VIZSLA CLUB OF AMERICA

H istorically, this breed came from the Carpathian basin in what is now Hungary. The basin is a huge, grassy plain, requiring a dog to cover large amounts of ground in search of game. The Vizsla is only a moderate sized dog, the smallest of the smooth haired point- ers. So how does a dog that is of moder- ate size and moderate angulation cover lots of ground? The answer is with ener- gy and a robust, but rather light build combined with a unique topline allow the Vizsla to be far-reaching. The flex- ible topline allows the dog to gallop, gathering and then extending to cover the maximum amount of ground while leaping above the grasses, ears flying with an expression of pure joy. Despite the fact that the Vizsla is the most moderate of the smooth haired pointers, there is nothing moderate about the consternation caused by try- ing to understand the Vizsla topline. It is by far the topic that comes up most often among students of the breed, “Now explain the topline for me”. So let’s try. Imagine the line running from the base of the skull to the tail. It is made of gentle curves with no abrupt changes of direction. The line comes down the arched neck, passes smoothly over the high withers with their promi- nent muscling and blends smoothly into the level area over the thoracic ver- tebrae. Moving past the last rib, there is a definite muscular fullness over the loin, creating a slight rise, which ends at the pelvic crest. The croup is ever so gently rounded to the set on of the tail, which is carried at or near the horizon- tal. Remember, nothing should break

the flow of the line from tip of nose to the end of the tail. Let’s be clear about what is not a good topline. A flat topline lacks the characteristic rise over the loin and often has a high tail set. Conversely, another problem is a rigid, roached topline with a steep croup and a low tail set. Both these toplines, in their own way, contribute to inefficient move- ment. Remember to evaluate the tail set rather than just the tail carriage. High tail carriage or excessively curved tails spoil the continuous curve of the Vizsla topline. In the field when the Vizsla is on point, follow the line from the tip of the tail out the nose and you should be able to locate the bird. Now that we’ve described the per- fect topline, the dog should maintain that same picture while trotting, having neither a sloping topline nor one that runs downhill. The movement should be light, far-reaching and effortless.

There should be no excess motion, which would be a waste of energy. A Vizsla that is both moderate and well- balanced will be light on its feet and cover ground with amazing efficiency while maintaining a level topline with a rise over the loin and a gentle rounding to the croup. “What about tails?” That is another question that is frequently asked. Our standard says a docked tail is preferred. Tail length is a decision made by the breeder when a puppy is three days old. Docking is part art and part science, the desired result being a tail that reaches to the bend in the stifle. Much more important is correct croup angle and tail set because they effect movement and function. Let’s put the perfect topline into the ideal outline. Why is there such a size range? Historically, this differen- tiation in size is attributed to the vari- ety of terrains among regions of the

Robust, but lightly built. (Photo by Jessica Mackey)

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