Showsight Presents the Vizsla

Understanding the General Appearance of the Vizsla

BY TAD WALDEN

F or many Breed Standards, there is a General Appearance description of the breed in the written standard for the purpose of providing an overall “look” of the dog. These descriptions are usually designed with a general framework or boundary that would encompass any dog meet- ing the breed’s general description, regardless of a dog’s specific structural quali- ties. Often, these descriptions are rooted in the dog’s history and purpose. There are certainly variations between dogs that fit the description, but all dogs should fit within this general description. The Vizsla Standard has such a description, but we would like to bring attention to the adverbs as well as the adjectives in the description in order to help frame the general appearance of the breed. This article focuses on two areas of the general description; robust but lightly built and coat color. ROBUST BUT LIGHTLY BUILT The Vizsla Standard General Appearance states: “That of a medium-sized, short-coated, hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, the coat is an attractive shaded golden rust. Originating in Hungary, the Vizsla was bred to work in field, forest and water. Agile and energetic, this is a versa- tile dog of power, drive and endurance in the field yet a tractable and affectionate com- panion in the home. It is strongly emphasized that field conditioned coats, as well as brawny or sinewy muscular condition and honorable scars indicating a working and hunting dog are never to be penalized in this dog. The requisite instincts and abilities to maintain a ‘dual dog’ are always to be fostered and appreciated, never deprecated.” The goal of this General Appearance description is to help define the true pur- pose of the breed, which is a hunting dog, as it relates to structure. The breed is built for hunting in many types of field conditions, and should be able to do so for hours at a time with their hunting companion. This means the dog is moving for long periods of time in the field. Unlike some breeds with a single purpose (i.e., retrieval of game), the Vizsla needs to be able to locate, maintain, and retrieve game for their hunting partner. These complete hunting dog elements are key to the general description of the breed, describing a robust dog, yet it must be lightly built in order to maintain the endurance needed to complete its task in the field. Proper structure, including skeletal and muscular condition, coupled with the innate hunting abilities, are mandatory in order to be able to perform in the field. The General Appearance in the Standard goes to great lengths to reward dogs that fit the athletic dog, and penalize dogs lacking in such athletiscism. Hunters need a dog that has the stamina and structure to efficiently cover ground in the field. A dog that can effortlessly navigate the show ring will be able to transfer that ability to the field. A dog that appears to be lacking in structure in the show ring may find the field difficult. Ask yourself when examining the dog, “Does it look strong and healthy, and can it efficiently navigate rough terrain and hunting environments and pick up a downed pheasant and bring it to its hunting partner?” A Vizsla of proper structure and movement is one of the most elegant things to witness in the field. Invite yourself to any of the Vizsla Club of America’s two national field events (VCA National Field Trial and VCA National Gun Dog Championship) and get a first-hand look at how form follows function in this versatile, athletic breed.

The Vizsla is a versatile gun dog used primarily for upland game.

The Vizsla’s job is to locate game, point, and then retrieve downed game to the hunter.

A Vizsla on point is a striking visual in the field.

324 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2021

Powered by