Showsight Presents the Vizsla


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

Navigating the Vizsla DISQUALIFICATIONS


D isqualifications in the Vizsla are contained in four general areas: size, nose color, coat length, and white. The breed has height preferences for male and female dogs. Male height at the top of the shoulder is preferred to be 22" to 24", but there is an allowable 1.5" boundary up or down, providing for a total height range within the Standard of 20.5" to 25.5". The female pre- ferred height is 21" to 23", with the same 1.5" up or down allowable, which creates a total boundary of 19.5" to 24.5". The breed strives to maintain its moderate size. All things being equal, when judging the breed, the prefer- ence is to reward dogs within the preferred height boundary. However, this does not mean that judges should reward poorly constructed dogs within the height standard at the expense of a well-constructed dog that appears above 24" and under 25.5", for example, if it is a male dog. Judges trained in proper wicket examinations should be aware of the preferred and allow- able heights as well as the height disqualifications. A black nose and long hair are fairly easy to determine in the breed. Just make sure that you are not penalizing darker freckles on the nose as a result of sun exposure. The accompanying photos on this page are examples of a black nose and long hair in the breed. Black noses and long hair are rare, but they can exist. Long hair, although rare, can show up in the breed. Long hair is silky and resembles that of the Irish Setter or Long-Haired Weimaraner. The more difficult and challenging aspect relative to breed disqualifica- tions is determining the acceptable [amount of] white. When it comes to white, there are boundaries, and any white outside of these boundaries is a disqualification. Anyone examining for white must have a full understand- ing of canine anatomy. Elbows, forechest, and toes are anatomical points used in determining boundaries for allowable white. The two most common areas where white appears are the forechest and feet. The toe is comprised of three phalanges; distal, middle, and proxi- mal. White extending beyond the proximal phalange is a disqualification. Understanding that the white boundary will not be a straight line, but follows the anatomical points of the bone structure, is important when evaluating whether or not the white is acceptable. The illustration on the following page denotes the white boundary on the toes.

A black nose on a Vizsla is a disqualification.


Long hair on a Vizsla is a disqualification.




This illustration identifies the acceptable boundary for white on the front of the forechest.

White extending above the toes is a disqualification.

White is allowable from the top of the sternum to the elbow.

elbow to elbow. That point sets the allowable boundary for white extending down under the dog on the forechest. Any white extend- ing beyond that point onto the dog’s underside is a disqualification. The sternum is also a precise anatomical point on the dog. The sternum should not be confused with the prosternum. The vertical boundary for white on the breed is the sternum. Any white extend- ing above the sternum and onto the neck is a disqualification. The illustration above shows the allowable points on the dog in profile where white is acceptable.

White must be contained in the horizontal and vertical bound- aries established for the breed. When evaluating white on the forechest, the Standard allows for white to extend to the elbow. The forechest extends from the top of the sternum to the elbow, which defines the vertical boundary for white. The elbow is a specific ana- tomical bone, so understanding this skeletal component is critical to understanding the boundary. The easiest way to determine if white is extending outside the allowable boundary under the dog’s chest is to imagine taking a ruler and placing it under the dog from









White created by aging is acceptable and never penalized.


Anyone judging the breed should take these disqualifications seriously. The Vizsla Club of America holds two national field events annually; the VCA National Field Trial and the VCA National Gun Dog Championship. A requirement for any dog competing in these national events is that the dog must have passed a “Qualifying On The Line” examination by an approved AKC conformation judge, ensuring that the dog does not have any disqualifying conformation features. The VCA is one of only a few national parent clubs to take such measures to ensure that dogs are being bred appropriately and to the Breed Stan- dard. We ask that judges in the show ring apply the same diligence relative to breed disqualifications that we do in the field. Anyone needing more clarification or assistance in understanding these breed disqualifications, and how to properly locate and determine the boundaries, should contact the Vizsla Club of America Judges Education and read more at: http:// ed_Standard.pdf

The other boundary of white on the chest deals with the horizontal boundary. White cannot extend onto the shoulders. This is where close attention needs to be paid to the prepositions used in the Standard. “On” defines that any white reaching the shoulder or neck is a disqualification. This requires any person examining the dog to have a full under- standing of the canine shoulder anatomy and be able to accurately locate bone structure when determining the white boundary. Being able to take your hand and feel where the shoulder bone is, and seeing if white extends to that boundary, is critical to determining if a dog has a disqualification. The illustrations throughtout this article are visuals to help you identify the various disqualifications in the breed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tad Walden has been involved with Vizslas for nearly two decades. He is approved to judge Vizslas conformationally and in the field. He is an AKC Breeder of Merit. Tad has trained and handled his dogs in the show ring and in the field, earning Best of Breed at national events and eight AKC Master Hunter Titles. He has also trained and shown the only Weimaraner in US history to achieve an AKC Best in Show and an AKC Master Hunter title. Tad is a Board Member of the Vizsla Club of America and has chaired the breed’s Illustrated Standard Committee. He is also President of the Vizsla Club of Colorado, President of Evergreen Colorado Kennel Club, and President and Show Chair of Roaring Fork Kennel Club. Tad is the founder and Chairman of FidoTV Channel, a cable television network dedicated to canine programming, reaching more than 65 million people.


Understanding the General Appearance of the Vizsla


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.






















The Vizsla coat color has a broad range of golden rust tones.

aging or scarring must not be faulted. The Vizsla is self-colored, with the color of the eyes, eye-rims, lips, nose, toenails and pads of feet blend- ing with the color of the coat.” As with any breed, there are things that are allowed by the Breed Standard—but less of some things that are allowable is the preference. Coat color in the Vizsla is no different. While white is acceptable when within the approved boundaries, less white is the preference when all other attributes are equal. However, white as a result of aging should never be faulted. Also, it is common in the breed for the Vizsla to have a saddle, which is a lighter coloring around the shoulder area. This is perfectly fine and should never be faulted. The nose color blends with the coat, so that a darker dog should have a darker nose and a lighter dog can have a lighter nose. It is a brownish-red or brownish-pink color, not quite liver or dark brown and never black. Noses that are chapped, freckled or discolored from the sun, field work or age are not to be penalized. However, a black nose is a disqualification in the breed. As always, if you want to get more information or clarification on the breed, reach out to any of our breed mentors or visit our breed’s Illustrated Standard at: VCA_Illustrated_Standard.pdf.

UNDERSTANDING COLOR A Vizsla on point in the field in full view of the morning or afternoon sun is an incredibly striking visual. The Vizsla Standard calls for a golden rust coat color. As with many colors, there are varying hues. The best way to evaluate color in the Vizsla breed is to think about a color scale or wheel. Ask yourself, “How far to the left or right is too far away from the cen- tral description of golden rust?” The Vizsla breed will have dogs ranging in coat color (see coat color examples above) and all are perfectly acceptable. Pale yellow and mahogany brown are most likely outside the desired color boundary for the breed and should be faulted. The Vizsla Color Standard states: “Golden rust in varying shades. Lighter shadings over the sides of the neck and shoulders giving the appearance of a "saddle" are common. Solid dark mahogany and pale yellow are faulty. White on the forechest, preferably as small as possible, and white on the toes are permissible. Solid white extending above the toes or white anywhere else on the dog except the forechest is a disquali- fication. When viewing the dog from the front, white markings on the forechest must be confined to an area from the top of the sternum to a point between the elbows when the dog is standing naturally. White extending on the shoulders or neck is a disqualification. White due to

Few breeds can match the speed and work ethic of a Vizsla.

Vizslas often have a pronounced lighter-colored coat over the shoulders, called a saddle.

Vizslas are high-performance dogs that can match their human hunter’s endurance.

The robust but light build of a Vizsla enables its endurance in the field.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tad Walden has been involved with Vizslas for nearly two decades. He is approved to judge Vizslas conformationally and in the field. He is an AKC Breeder of Merit. Tad has trained and handled his dogs in the show ring and in the field, earning Best of Breed at national events and eight AKC Master Hunter Titles. He has also trained and shown the only Weimaraner in US history to achieve an AKC Best in Show and an AKC Master Hunter title. Tad is a Board Member of the Vizsla Club of America and has chaired the breed’s Illustrated Standard Committee. He is also President of the Vizsla Club of Colorado, President of Evergreen Colorado Kennel Club, and President and Show Chair of Roaring Fork Kennel Club. Tad is the founder and Chairman of FidoTV Channel, a cable television network dedicated to canine programming, reaching more than 65 million people.


VIZSLA MEET THE BREED The Vizsla A thousand years ago, the Vizsla hunted with Magyar nomads before settling into an area that is now Hungary. Primi- tive stone etchings show

By Dane Mrazek

the tribal hunter with his falcon and his Vizsla. Centuries later, the Vizsla became the premier sporting dog and a lively a ff ec- tionate family member of the Hungarian Aristocrats. Today, photos hang within homes across the world illustrating extraor- dinary connections between the Vizsla and their families. The Vizsla Form Th e Vizsla was built to hunt vast upland fi elds with pro fi ciency and grace. Th ey are a medium-sized, short-haired sporting dog of rust-gold color that con- veys elegance and readiness. In structure, they appear balanced in both height and length. In motion, they glide e ff ortlessly over the ground with smooth movement. In the fi eld, they are swift and careful hunters with superb noses and exemplary pointing/retrieving skills. At home, they exhibit a demeanor that is gentle, sweet and sensitive.

The Vizsla Lifestyle Th e Vizsla is more than a dog—he is a lifestyle. Th e modern Vizsla will thrive as an active member of your family. Th ey are physically active and emotionally attentive dogs known for their “Velcro®”

quality. Th ey want to be outside with you and inside with you. Many Vizsla owners will admit that they no longer go to the bathroom alone! Your canine friend will gladly fi ll the role of hiking buddy, hunting partner, agility quali fi er

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or tracking expert. He is a superb athlete and supreme snuggler always looking for the next opportunity to curl up next to you on your couch at home. The Vizsla Choice Th e Vizsla is a great choice for someone wanting an athletic dog that will become a signi fi cant part of their life. Similarly, they are a poor choice for someone want- ing a dog that is expected to be content with a daily pat on the head and a walk around the block. Vizslas require signi fi - cant engagement on a daily basis. So, be warned, an unhappy Vizsla will produce an unhappy Vizsla owner. The Vizsla Family A Vizsla properly raised with children will be their best friend. Families with children should strongly consider their ability to commit to the requirements of this breed. Furthermore, parents should be careful to always manage the behav- ior of their children toward this sensitive breed that may not always tolerate improp- er behavior such as poking, prodding and hitting. The Vizsla Puppy A Vizsla puppy comes ready to be sculpted by caring hands. He is exuberant and eager to learn. He is smart but sensi- tive. He will take to positive training but can be ruined by a heavy hand. Th e Vizsla was designed to cover ground so it should come as no surprise that he will be energetic and ready to run. Be prepared to engage your puppy in fre- quent periods of on-leash and o ff -leash

activity. Regular physical exercise will help settle your Vizsla for a successful day. Regular mental exercise will help boost your connection with your puppy. Tricks and obedience skills will not only dazzle your friends but also teach your puppy to work for your attention and praise. Socialization is important for all dogs and Vizslas are no exception. Daily posi- tive experiences will help your puppy grow up to be a well-adjusted con fi dent dog that loves humans and dogs large and small. The Vizsla Health Vizslas are commonly very healthy with a life span of 12 or more years. Th e breed has some cases of hip dysplasia, cancer and epilepsy, but careful breeding has helped control these problems. All puppy buyers are encouraged to research the pedigrees of their prospective puppy to reduce the risk of these rare health issues. Puppy seekers are also encour- aged to fi nd a breeder who is breeding for the right reasons. Look for a breeder that loves this breed and strives for excellence in temperament, health, capability, and beauty. And, above all, avoid purchasing a puppy from a pet store, a puppy mill or a puppy farm. The Vizsla Versatility While the Vizsla was built to be a great hunting dog and a grand companion, the modern Vizsla has developed into a truly versatile dog. Th ey can compete success- fully in multiple AKC venues including conformation, obedience, agility, tracking, hunt tests and fi eld trials. Th is adaptability has extended their role into transportation

security, search-and-rescue, seeing-eye, and therapy programs. The Vizsla Club of America Th e Vizsla Club of America (VCA) is dedicated to the maintenance of the Vizsla breed. Our members are owners/ breeders who are committed to preserv- ing/enhancing the characteristics of this noble/classy sporting dog. Th e VCA spon- sors three national annual events that include: a National Gun Dog Champion- ship, a National Field Championship and a National Specialty including Conforma- tion, Agility and Obedience. Th e VCA has also established a “Code of Ethics” for its members de fi ning requirements for dog ownership, competitive sportsman- ship and breeding practices. To learn more about the VCA and regional Vizsla clubs, please visit BIO Dane Mrazek, Public Education Coor- dinator for the VCA and the owner of 7 ½ - year-old Vizsla “Bond” and 4 ½ -year-old Vizsla “Diamond” in Redwood City, CA.

Dane and Diamond after they acquired her Senior Hunter title in the fall of 2012 at a hunt test in Reno, NV. 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& / 07&.#&3 t


By Patricia Folz Szikra Vizslas

T he Vizsla is a joyful creature with a charm- ing way of making a fool of itself and us. Th e breed is an intel- ligent, good worker who responds to kindness and can be ruined by a heavy hand. Th e Vizsla is a personal gun dog and companion and it is well suited for that purpose in size, character and silhouette—a short- haired dog of golden rust color, proud and lively, with an elegant and distin- guished appearance. Th is is not an easy breed to judge—subtle in the attributes that distinguish it from the other smooth coated pointers—it can be as di ffi cult to understand as it is to get your hands on a wiggly Vizsla puppy. Th is is a gentle and a ff ectionate breed with a well- developed protective instinct—they are

sensitive but cheerful; shyness and timidity should be penalized. Th e Vizsla is moderate in all aspects: size, angula- tion and overall substance. Th e silhouette of the Vizsla is a series of continuous curves—from the begin- ning of the nose to the end of the tail, your eye should never stop. Follow the arched neck down over the moderately laid back shoulders, past the ribcage, which is carried well back to the mus- cular fullness over the short loin, fol- lowing to the set on of the tail, which is slightly below the level of the croup. Th e tail should not o ff end the eye and is carried near the horizontal, in length it should reach to the bend of the stifle. A docked tail is preferred. Carriage, which is an extension of the structure, should be judged rather than length which is man-made. Th e outline should be of a

dog who appears square and is neither tall and leggy, nor long and low. Th e chest, moderately broad and reaching to the elbow, flows through the slight tuck up and on to the well-muscled thigh and moderately angulated rear. On exami- nation, the hand should move smooth- ly over the curves without feeling any abrupt changes in direction. Th e standard calls for a dog who is “robust but rather lightly built”, mean- ing it should be well muscled and have substance, while being an agile mover. Th e Vizsla should never seem slight nor heavy, but there should be some appre- ciable substance to the breed. It is the smallest of the smooth-coated point- ers, which is an important part of its breed character. Th e ideal size is 21-23 inches for bitches and 22-24 inches for dogs. Th ere is a disqualification in the

continued on page 288

“THE SILHOUETTE OF THE VIZSLA IS A SERIES OF CONTINUOUS CURVES— from the beginning of the nose to the end of the tail, your eye should never stop.”

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continued on page 269

standard for any dogs measuring less than 1 ½ inches under or more than 1 ½ inches over the ideal size. If in doubt, do not hesitate to measure—a good Vizsla temperament will not be disturbed by applying the wicket. In keeping with its function of a mul- tipurpose gun dog, the Vizsla’s gait is far reaching, light footed, graceful and smooth. Th e movement should be appro- priate to the moderate angulation and size of this breed. Th e Vizsla should have balanced reach and drive with no wasted or excessive motion. It is important that the dog cover plenty of ground while maintaining a steady topline. Restricted movement, a reflection of less than mod- erate angulation, is detrimental both to form and function and excessive move- ment is a misuse of energy. One of the most unique features of the Vizsla is its self-coloring—golden rust from head to toe with matching eye color. Th e dogs will often have lighter shadings on the sides of the neck and shoulders, with a darker saddle on the back. Solid dark mahogany as well as pale yellow are faulty. A black nose is a disqualification and black anywhere else is a serious fault. Solid white extend- ing above the toes or white anywhere except the forechest is a disqualification. Please note that freckles due to aging or sun exposure and white due to aging or injury are not faults. Th e lovely color is accented by the short, smooth coat. A distinctly long coat (setter-like in tex- ture) is a disqualification. Even though the head is addressed first in the standard, the primary impor- tance of the head is as a compliment to the outline of the Vizsla. Th e noble head must not be too heavy with exces- sive flew or dewlap, nor too small and snipey so that it disturbs the silhouette of the elegant Vizsla. It again is moder- ate in size and shape. Th e thin, fine ears are neither too low nor long—the dog will have a houndy appearance—nor too high and small—as they will spoil the gently rounded outline. When lifted gently, the ear will reach to the corner of the mouth. Th e ears, when alert, create a frame for the face. Eyes should have a

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soft expression and be moderate in size and shape and blend well with the coat color. Th e muzzle is equal to or slightly shorter than the skull, it is neither down faced nor dish faced. Th e standard calls for a strong jaw with a scissors bite. Breeders do an excellent job of main- taining the multiple talents of this breed. In order to compete in National Field Trials, dogs must be certified by an AKC judge to be free of disqualifying faults. When judging, you may encounter a dog in field condition who could appear gaunt and have scars. A field conditioned dog, although thin, will have hard mus- cles, correct conformation and exhibit correct movement. Do not penalize field conditioning, as the hunting and working abilities of the Vizsla should be preserved. In this breed the field dog in silhouette, size and color is easily recog- nizable and exemplifies the dual dog in temperament and type. In the 9th century, the Magyar tribes settled in the Carpathian basin, in an area that was part of the Austro-Hungar- ian Empire and is now modern Hungary. Th ey brought with them a yellow dog that in both form and function clearly resembles the modern Vizsla. Histori- cally the Vizsla belonged to the nobility who developed the versatility of the dog for hunting, pointing and retrieving upland game birds, rabbits and water- fowl; tracking wounded game; falconry; and as a companion. The Vizsla has been on the brink of extinction many times, most recently after World War II, but each time the breed has been saved by passionate breeders and owners. Recognized in 1960 by the AKC, the Vizsla has thrived in the United States, becoming ever more versatile, main- taining its distinct silhouette, personal- ity and hunting abilities while adapting to present day. The Vizsla excels in agil- ity, obedience, dock diving and life in suburbia; hunts on the weekends and sleeps on the bed. Th e standard’s call for modera- tion reflects, not a call for a lack of any attribute, but rather that the writers have placed the standard in relation to like breeds and found that the Vizsla is t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& / 07&.#&3 

moderate by comparison to the other shorthaired pointers both in form and function. As such, exaggeration in any aspect is a departure from the standard which repeatedly calls for moderation. Unlike some of the other standards, the standard for the Vizsla gives a range of what is acceptable. Judging this breed well is the art of knowing the outer lim- its of what is acceptable and being able to reward dogs of varying style that all fall within those limits.

BIO In 1970, Patricia Folz purchased her first Vizsla, Katie, and did everything with her. Under the kennel prefix Szikra, they have produced four generations of winner’s dog at the Vizsla Club of America Nation- als—three from the bred-by-exhibitor class as well as going best of winners with their bitch, best of opposite sex and best of winners from the bred by exhibitor class. Th ey are looking forward to seeing the next generation in the ring and the field.

The recent revision of the breed stan- dard was a complicated task that Patri- cia was privileged to be a part of and she now finds herself on the committee to produce a quick reference guide and an illustrated standard as well as being Judges Education chairperson. She believes it is through careful study of the Vizsla and other breeds and the exchange of ideas and experi- ences that one comes to better under- stand the breed.

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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.


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





*AKC STATS AS OF 4/30/22


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

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