Showsight Presents the Vizsla

vizsla Q&A

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? In reality all breeds seem to go through cycles. The big- gest 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? 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? 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? 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. 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. Is there anything else you’d like to share? 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.

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