Showsight Presents the Wirehaired Vizsla

GETTING TO KNOW THE WIREHAIRED VIZSLA (GOT DRÓTSZÕRÛ MAGYAR VIZSLA?)

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By Deb Wall

hat kind of dog is that? “A Wire- haired Vizsla,” we reply. R e a c t i o n s

harsh winters in the fi eld, forest and water. Th e Wirehaired Vizsla is a distin- guished, versatile hunting dog of medium size, bred for substance and a dense wire coat. Balanced in size and proportion, the Wirehaired Vizsla is robust and lean. Movement is powerful yet graceful with far reaching drive enabling the breed to hunt in all elements and cover any terrain encountered by the walking hunter. Th e breed possesses an excellent nose for hunt- ing and tracking feather and fur on land and in water, as well as a natural point and retrieve. Th e breed’s most distin- guishing features are its weather resistant dense wire coat and its facial furnishings, speci fi cally its beard and eyebrows. Natu- ral appearance is essential to breed type, therefore the Wirehaired Vizsla is to be shown with limited stripping and should not be penalized for being shown in work- ing condition: sinewy, well muscled, with honorable scars. Th e Wirehaired Vizsla is intelligent, loyal, sensitive and bidda- ble, but cannot tolerate harsh handling. Eager to learn, lively yet gentle, they are readily trainable for gun and falcon. Th e Wirehaired Vizsla is a tractable and a ff ectionate companion in the home. - AKC Standard of the Wirehaired Vizsla Once hunting and the sport of falconry were no longer limited to the nobility and a growing middle class was allowed access to the game in fi elds and forests, families were able to provide meat for the table and relied on the assistance of hunting dogs. While the nobility had kennels full of specialized breeds—pointers and set- ters, retrievers and hounds, the merchants, farmers and tradesmen of the new middle class had limited resources and they need- ed one dog, a versatile hunting companion

that could do it all. Th ey walked the fi elds and forests on foot, searching for game birds, waterfowl, and furred game large and small, assisted by the family dog which would locate, point, fl ush and retrieve the game to hand. At home, the hunting dog ful fi lled the role of pet and companion as well, playing with the children, being alert to the approach of strangers and keeping a watchful eye on the property, and sleeping with family members. Today, the Wirehaired Vizslas is still the ultimate de fi nition of a versatile hunt- ing dog. Whether a person likes to hunt upland birds, waterfowl or furred game from rabbits to deer, the Wirehaired Vizsla can locate, point and retrieve game on land and in water. It is as pro fi cient hunt- ing with a falconer as it is with someone who uses a shotgun or bow. It can track a bloodtrail to fi nd a wounded deer in the forest or the trail of a person lost in the wilderness. It will hunt down and kill rats and mice in the barn as well as any terrier. Cattails and acres of lily pads won’t deter a WV from swimming to fi nd and retrieve ducks or geese. It is not all just prey drive, there is a softer side to their versatility, too. Th is the other hallmark of the breed—their attach- ment to their people. Th ey hunt because we hunt, but they are very biddable, peo- ple-oriented and intuitive, making them an outstanding companion for many activities in addition to hunting. Th ey are wonderful therapy dogs and always seem to instinctively know what is needed when they make a therapy visit. Th ey love to learn, and though they can be cautious about new situations and experiences at fi rst, they are quick to catch on. Th ey are almost always at the head of the class from

range from “A what?” to “Oh, I’ve heard of those but have never seen one.” Th e owners of any rare breed of dog get used to hearing the same questions from people meeting our dogs for the fi rst time. Th ose of us who have Wirehaired Vizslas are no exception. But, no matter how often we are asked, we never get tired of telling people about our dogs. Th ey are not just dogs, after all. Th ey are members of our families, a special breed in many ways. Th e fi rst thing people notice about the Wirehaired Vizsla is its striking appear- ance and lively intelligent expression. It is uniformly self-colored in shades of golden rust, with nose, eyes and eye rims, and toenails all harmonious with the coat. Th e color described in Hungarian translates as “bread crust.” It is the ideal color to blend with and disappear in a fi eld of golden rus- set autumn grass and bushes. Th eir bright russet eyes (not brown, not yellow, but the same hue as the coat, ideally a shade or two darker) shine with intelligence and intu- itiveness, and are accentuated by bushy eyebrows. A small beard and moustaches complete the facial furnishings. It is not just their appearance that makes Wirehaired Vizslas so special. Ver- satility is one of the breed’s hallmarks. Multi-talented, it is the ultimate jack of all trades. Originating in Hungary, the Wire- haired Vizsla was developed by hunt- ers and falconers who desired a sturdy, versatile hunting dog able to withstand

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