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)
268 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2017
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