Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vizslas Are Not Children

Chloe and I were walking the hills early yesterday morning.  We had wandered far away from people, houses, cars, and all other modern noises.  After about an hour I started to feel "in touch with the spirit of the West." 

Dogs and men have had a colorful and interesting history in the western part of the United States over the last 150 years as written about by authors such as Oakland native, Jack London.

B17 bomber and Bailey, a Hungarian Vizsla, over
 The Diablo Valley

Jack London's book, "Call of the Wild" is a wonderful book on the relationships dogs, men and nature had at the turn of the twentieth century in the Wild West. 

 In one section of the book, Buck (key dog character) had come to live with the tribe of native Indians in the interior of Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.  Jack London explains how Buck and his Indian masters related very differently then Buck had with his American and Canadian masters. 
The Call of the Wild (Aladdin Classics)
In the book, London describes the relationship between dog and Indian as not that of child and parent or dog and master, but of dog and deity.
This relationship, of course, is quite different. Many modern ideas of God's relationship with man is to let man make mistakes and live our lives, but to "look over us and guide us." 
The fellowship is more of the dog and his benevolent "god" as a partner in existing with nature.

On the bluffs over the Pacific south of San Francisco

Now at the beginning of the twenty-first century, a modern book was written by author, Ted Keasote, that has a rather similar view of a dog's interaction with man. 

The author tells the tell of finding Merle (main dog character) in the desert wilderness of Utah along a river at 10 months old.

  He then goes on to tell of a life-long relationship (dog's life) compared to the relationship an Alaskan Indian and his dog over 100 years ago. 

Mr. Keasote does not make this comparison in his book, but as I read his words and the author's bond with his dog, I drew that comparison. 

Very entertaining and enlightening reading on how we can relate to "our best friend."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hall Ball with Chloe

When Chloe needs a quick work out we play:

Hall Ball

Chloe is Very fast in her reactions.

The video shows a "hall ball" game of best of 10.  Normally we play first to 10.  If I get it by her, I get the point,  If she stops it, she gets the point.

She loves the game.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vizslas and Boats

The weather, just 30 miles east of Walnut Creek, out in the middle of the California Delta was great today.

Breakfast at the Pirate's Lair Cafe and Marina is always a wonderful way to start a Sunday.

After breakfast, we launched our boat and headed out into the heart of the Delta.

After about 30 minutes of cruising up the rivers to the northeast of where we started, we came across this little beach at the head of a small slough.
Chloe loves swimming and retrieving her ball.  No matter where a ball is thrown, Chloe is going to get it.  She swam for more than an hour.  In the video, she swims against a good current.


She shakes with desire when I get ready to throw the ball.
After about two hours we headed home.  Chloe takes on the role:
Dog is my co-pilot.

She was tired after such a fun time.  If she missed her brother Bailey, you wouldn't have been able to tell on this day.

Jack Sharkey - My inspiration looking forward

This is a repost from redbirddog on June 10, 2009

"In a web search about the Vizsla I had come across the story of Jack Sharkey. Here he is at 74 in this video explaining his love for the Vizsla. He wrote a book- - "Winning Ways" - about field trials and other dog training. He is my inspiration for looking 10, 20, and 30 years into my future. I'm 55 now."

One year and thousands of happy hours later, I can see more clearly how I can enjoy the activities with my Vizslas into my seventies and maybe beyond. 

 "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Jack Sharkey's website:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bailey is at Summer Boot Camp

Picking out a field trial mentor for me and a dog trainer for Bailey was not as hard as I thought it might be.

How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, Taking Advantage of Early Condtioned LearningHow to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, Taking Advantage of Early Condtioned Learning
Winning Ways: Training Your Pointing Breed Dog for Hunting and Competition by Jack Sharkey

Training the Versatile Hunting DogTraining the Versatile Hunting Dog

Best Way to Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith MethodBest Way to Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith Method

Over the last year I had done a lot of reading on bird dog training and field trial competitions. The above books are very good.  As I read them, I thought what a great understanding of the continental breeds and how to train them these authors have.

I have visited with most of the California field trial dog trainers over the last year while at different field trial events.  They are a great group of people.  Kind and caring and qualified to train a good Vizsla to a field championship.

This week I chose Bailey's field trial trainer and my mentor in this great sport and activity.

Randy Berry 

Randy and I visited over a few days last week.  I went out to his kennels on Hastings Island.  We hit it off very well.   He did a short field evaluation of Bailey to see what kind of dog he had to work with.

He reminded me of the authors of the above books - professional and a man who really understands these dogs and how to develop them to their greatest potential.

Bailey at 2 years old is like the 18-year-old high school top athlete  just graduating primary school and in prime physical condition. 

Bailey is a hunter.  There is no doubting that. 

Joe Lanlois, Bailey's first trainer, told me once (Bailey was maybe 10 months old) while we were standing in a cow pasture, "Rod, Bailey is a German Shorthair in a red coat.  Bailey is as tough as any Shorthair I have come across. You have a great dog."

I thought of the branches of the military.  (I was a "military brat" growing up.)  If Bailey were human, he would have gone and joined the Marines, the hardest and toughest boot camp in the services.

 "The Few, the Proud, the Marines."

In a month, Randy and I will sit down and see if Bailey has what it takes to be a field champion.   I know Randy will not BS me if Bailey doesn't have "it."  Bailey started "boot camp" last Monday.

Bailey at 8 months old

If my red bird dog can't compete at the highest level in field trails, then Bailey and I will be happy to spend our time pheasant hunting and doing the other activities that we enjoy together with his sister Chloe.

Randy Berry's philosophy taken from his website

Randy judges his success through client satisfaction and believes that trust is the thread that runs through the relationship. Therefore, he insists upon assessing dogs with honesty. It is far more important to provide honest feedback rather than false hope. Not all great dogs are destined to become competitive field dogs. Throwing good money after bad by leading a client on does not provide the positive end result he is looking to deliver.
If an owner has a competition dog that is less than top flight national caliber, Randy will tell them so. Similarly, if he thinks the dog may be able to "finish", but will have a long hard row to hoe in doing so, he will tell them this as well. If the owner fully understands and still wants to proceed, then Randy will do so with full vigor.

It is important to note that not all dogs mature at the same pace. If an owner has a good prospect, but the dog is not yet ready for more structured training, Randy will not take the dog into his advanced program. Rather, he will give the owner suggestions as to what he/she can do to provide the dog the necessary foundation and experience needed for further training.

If an owner has a nice young field prospect and can afford to leave their dog with Randy to develop and train, he will gladly take the dog and bring it along. This is important because a field trial prospect is developed differently. To be competitive in later life the dog needs conditioning, horseback handling, patterning, bird exposure and open country development. Randy can provide this level of training more readily—and with more consistency and insight than most owners.

I trust Randy with my dog.  I'd trust him with my life.  That is how trust is with me.

Also from Randy's website:

"Spanning 40 years of experience, Randy Berry of Von Steuben Kennels has successfully trained over 250 dogs for companion hunting. He has finished 23 AKC hunt test Master Hunters and over 23 AKC Field Champions. 2009 marks the year in which Lizzie, trained and handled by Randy, became the #1 GSP in the country in Open Limited Gun Dog. Lizzie's success is a product of Randy's dedication and high standard of training—the very same standard that he commits to every dog in his care. Add Randy's quiet style of professional handling and the combination has made Lizzie a top winning GSP in 2009.

If you are looking for a professional trainer with a high standard of ethics; a trainer who will care for your dog as his own; one who judges his success based on your dog's success, this describes Randy.

Please take your time and enjoy our website. "

Link to his website:

White on Vizsla - Part Two

George Oren - Vizsla FT (Yahoo group) June 26, 2010

"The persistent objection to the occurrence of " white " on the coats of the Vizsla will only hasten the demise of our breed's excellent gun dog potential.

Those who breed only for the color of the coat, length of back, tail set etc. for excellence in the show ring and who do not pay attention to the Vizsla's original attributes are dooming this dog to the fate that occurred in the Golden Retriever and Irish Setter. Qualities such as bidability, "great nose",

athletic conformation, desire etc. must be regarded as the primary concern if we are interested in improving the Vizsla as a premier gun dog.

The Dual Vizsla is ideal.

However. the Dual dog's littermate (with "too much white") may well be the better gun dog. I would (and have) breed to the better gun dog. You do produce more conformation champions from hunting stock than field champions from show stock.

Also from my experience of over 42 years of attempting to provide myself with quality hunting Vizslas, I have developed the impression that the field dog is generally more healthy and free of genetic diseases such as epilepsy, allergies, "autoimmune disorders and tumors than the conformation bred dog.

The VCA with its arbitrary and discriminatory requirement of inspection on the line only perpetuates the misguided notion to some that only the dog without white (or very little white) is a "pure " Vizsla and therefore acceptable for breeding.

The VCA is limiting the exposure of a great many superb Vizslas by this action. A littermate of the NFC may well be a better dog but did not qualify.

Why is it not the line inspection required for obedience and agility?

It is said by some that it is because there is or has been " crossbreeding ".

To my knowledge there has not been any solid conformation of this.

But if crossbreeding has occurred, one only needs to look at the second generation's conformation-not the color.

Better yet, DNA analysis will without fail identify the parents of the dog.

DNA will not identify the breed!!

DNA cannot tell the difference between canine species.

My only objection to white on a Vizsla is that they are more difficult to see in a snowstorm.

Reply to "White on Vizslas" by

Diana Boggs - Vizsla Talk (Yahoo Group) June 20, 2010

  Please keep in mind what Vizsla people knew about the breed when Osborn wrote

his words in 1955 which was virtually nothing. Hunt had just completed a year of

intense letter writing with Mihalye Kende (who had yet to write his dozen or so

glorious historical articles) that had to be translated to & from & NO time to

print it so Osborn had more information at his hands after, not before he wrote

his article. Odds are very good that as historians behind him would discover the

more they thought right, the more they thought not right. That was due to MANY

problems, not World Wars withstanding.

Regarding Osborn's Words.....

* He says "at this time", he does not say "from now & forever more".

* the description Osborn gives does not indicate that white he describes is

DQ. In fact what he describes is acceptable even today.

* Regarding the keeping of white, I would point out what Osborn did with

"alleged white on an unacceptable place on the body" to counter the perhaps

mistaken assumption that Osborn would have deliberately bred unacceptable DQ

white by his "whitey" talk. Initially after he imported his first two Vizslas,

he mentions in another article about not white, but the thought of white that he

found unacceptable. Osborn states that one of them had what looked like surgical

scars from removing white from the body. When the possibility of what would

become clear DQ white was the issue, Osborn got rid of that dog & its "white".

* It is not known what Osborn did with his culls. He surely had them.

* It is an unconscionable fact of the fifties that Vizslas were bred in as

high of numbers possible, in order to get the necessary 500 3-generation

pedigrees. To my knowledge only the Hunts destroyed dogs who were ill-bred or

had a "known at that time" hereditary fault.

* Nor did Osborn know much "at that time" about the 1920 recreation details

when the breed had to be reconstructed because of the mass cross breeding by the

two guys who held the new studbooks (grin). That is more information that Kende

would supply in the future.

* Nor did Osborn know there were two studbooks created in 1920 & they were

closed 1936-1938.

* Osborn appears to have assumed that breeding of the Vizslas was never

interrupted, that the English Pointer & Irish Setter were there all along to

crossbreed to. That never happened until the very late 1800's & certainly not

for a thousand years henceforth. They did however back then crossbreed with

every thing under the sun including Herding breeds previous to 1920.

Throughout our time, crossbreeding was done for many different reasons.

* Osborn also heard that the Hungarians introduced the Pointer every ten

generations. That likely never happened since in 30 years you can't have ten

generations, let alone times that many. Nor could the ten generation theory

happen between 1920 & 1936 when the studbooks were closing. That sounds like a

nice Hungarian telling you the dog isn't purebred but because he bred it, it is


* The problem with the color in 1920 was the color was too light. Have found

in text they thought that so because of the crossbreeding with the English

Pointer first introduced in 1880. What I think might have happened here, but no

idea how to debunk or establish my theory, but I think they thought that white

mixed up with colors just like paint & believed that breeding a white dog to a

red dog would make a yellow dog.

* That thought pattern might have been due to the fact that there was

European Pointers before there was the English Pointers & almost every European

Pointer breed is solid darker colors, (that I have found so far) If my theory

has legs, then that explains a link from Sweden that translates the original

Hungarian Standard accurately as having "correct" color as a yellowish/golden

color. Then too, that would explain why very very light Vizsla puppies would be

turning up into the sixties. (There is a photo of GY Mari with pups in an early

VN. It mentions these buff puppies as not abnormal occurences in purebred Vizsla

litters because of the crossbreeding before 1920).(Gy means Champion or CH)

* The Hungarians did indeed try to breed out the white, the reason they

couldn't do so may not have been so because white can't be bred out, but because

WWI & WWII made that impossible, & no theory could be proven or not. There just

never was enough time once studbooks had been established.

* Dog fanciers of the time followed two theories, one had to do with the

shape of the head determining what a dog could do & the other was eugenics, also

determined to not be accurate by today's standards. If you go to

& click on their articles, breeding theories of the times & why bird dogs were

affected is verily explained. There are two very long pages. Click on just about

any link to get there & then scroll, because not all of the really good articles

have connectable links so you can get there.

* ALL of the breed wardens from Hungary all said to try to breed the white

out. That is what the Hungarians wanted. Osborn was simply stating to not toss

dogs out of the genepool because of white because of the temporary low numbers &

lack of genetic diversity "AT THAT TIME" (Osborn's words, not mine).

* At the time that Osborn wrote there were less than 200 Vizslas in the USA.

* People forget that Osborn pioneered OFA & using OFA;'d dogs to breed. What

do you think he would do if the dog was dysplastic & too much white? Or wasn't

dysplastic, but had some other inherited medical condition & too much white?

* Me thinks that people read what they want to see, in words that Osborn had

no idea would be so heavily scrutinized over fifty years later or he might have

done things differently.

* Osborn's judgment of the GSP, etc was not on the money. The GSP has been

crossbred with the Pointer since it was first imported to the US, according to

breed expert Bede Maxwell, author of several GSP books.

* Osborn's remarks on the Pointer are not right on either. The Pointer also

comes in mostly solid dark/other colors. The English Pointer was crossbred with

Hounds with white to produce that breed. So it seems, they included white as

"their" difference to the other Pointer colored breeds. For a group of people

(United Kingdom) who never got into dog breeding until late in the skeins of

evolution, they certainly established themselves in the forefront of hunting


* Besides, Americans had already been breeding Vizslas with white. Look at

Sari, whose owners were prepared to drown puppies with more white than Sari when

born. Also note that Sari's white was in line for the breed Standard that she

competed against in Miscellaneous classes.

* Yes, some Vizslas in the fifties had white, but not in the numbers some

today would like you to think. I have a large collection of Vizsla photos from

40/50. They didn't have white stripes up their legs, on top of their heads, or

blending into the shoulder. I saw the dogs of the sixties. Sorry, but there just

wasn't that much white. I saw the dogs of the seventies. Sorry, but there just

wasn't that much white including inbred dogs. I saw the dogs of the eighties &

beyond & watched the numbers with too much white or oddly placed white steadily

rise. There is only one answer when that happens AND the field styled breed

silhouette changes. You don't slack off with the amount of white & then come

back growing up more white, more often as you go unless hinky things are in your

more recent backgrounds. As time proceeds the extensiveness & occurences of

crossbreeding from Hungary will diminish, not increase.

* It is a serious mistake to take to heart any of our breed historian

"records" or accountings. There are MANY discrepancies. Perhaps most cruel of

all to our historicans is that they didn't learn what they needed to know in the

order they needed to learn it so they would know. That assuredly happened to

Osborn, as well as John Straux, Marion Coffman & Clif Boggs. There are many

published so called "facts" of Vizsla history that are simply not likely true. I

say all of this "at this time" because tomorrow I may find something new that

substantiates earlier claims or denies them.

All that said, to go away by competition in field or show or breeding from the


AKC Hunt Test, those ideals ARE being practiced on & growing every day. Field

Trialers need to give credit where credit is AKC Hunt Tests, because

it is AKC Hunt Tests that are moving the median (not medium) line forward. Field

trials do not move the median line forward. Field trials separate from the

majority unless they bring them along too.

It is as big of a crime to build nothing but Vizsla show dogs who can't hunt as

it is to breed ugly, out of type Vizslas for the field. There MUST be a coming

together between the two for the breed to exist forever, which is why the breed

was created. One can not move forward without the other. Hungarian field trials

had breeding montra's that had teeth. If any Field Dog was found to not have

proper construction in meeting the Standard, those dogs were not only not

allowed to compete again, but would never be allowed to breed.

Breed improvement comes from the median line moving forward. There is nothing

that changes that. Just because a FTer thinks they have to keep upping the ante

to stay competitive in FTs is not as true as FTers like to insinuate. Articles

on the page point that out in detailing competition theories.

Because the breed is a utility breed first, the albatross of responsibility lies

on the field interested Vizsla owners to conduct themselves so that the show &

other interests feel comfortable about getting together. AKC Hunt Tests must be

respected as it is there that AKC FTing is most likely to find their next

competitor & it is in AKC Hunt Tests where the median line resides. Dethroning

JH & SH titles does not make FTs look appealing. Field eventing exists not

because of the dog, but the person, the person who makes the choices, educates &

provides opportunity. So what if that person has a dog that some would look

askance at. If their interest is engaged & they get educated, they will want a

different kind of a dog, on their next dog & their next even better dog.

I don't disagree that Osborn was a "Master Breeder" if such a thing ever truly

existed. If he is, his succession to that throne had more to do with his

breeding choices, choice of puppy placements & sound health values, with the

individuals he obtained, rather than the qualities they represented." 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The White Markings on a Vizsla

Written 55 years ago by Dr. I.S. Osborn

"Any specialized attempt to breed our Vizslas strictly for the show-type will eventually invite degeneration in character, strength, and hunting ability. Only by selectively breeding completely trained outstanding male and female specimens can any hunting breed be improved or kept up to the proper standard. For over a thousand years the Vizsla has been a robust, brush-busting companion hunter, full of fire and ready to please. Let's keep him that way!"

"At this time we must not in the least be concerned with white markings. Our first obligation is to preserve the natural hunting instinct and we shouldn't care much about a white toe, or toes, chest if the dog has a good nose, ranges well and has plenty of bird sense. If the great breed masters of Czechoslovakia and Hungry found it undesirable, and perhaps impossible, to breed out the white in the past ten centuries, I see no reason why we should try at this time.

The chief rival of the Vizsla in the field are the English Pointer and the German Shorthaired Pointer, and neither attempts to breed out the white.

We Americans like to improve on things and there are no doubt some among us who honestly believe they can do more for the Vizsla in a few short years of selective breeding that the old master, the breed wardens themselves have done in the past 10 centuries. The white could possibly be bred out. The breed has a striking appearance with a surplus of eye appeal, beautiful golden coat, dignified aristocratic bearing, pleasing conformation, good disposition and style. All the earmarks of a terrific bench prospect. But let us not forget the past history of the beautiful Irish Setter.

Originally the Irish Setter, like our Vizsla, was a dog of striking color with white markings on the chest and feet. Even today traces of white do not disqualify. He was imported mainly for use on upland game and played an important part in the early days of field trials. They were outstanding field specimens. However, many fanciers attracted by the dog's good looks began to breed for bench only, and his working qualities were ignored. There has been so much concentration on breeding beauty into the red Irish Setter, that his gun-dog abilities have been almost forgotten. The Irish Setter Club of America has been making advances toward field utility in the past few years, although it is unlikely that the breed will attain the popularity afield that it once held."

Dr. I.S. Osborn

Sunday, June 13, 2010

San Diego dog comes to San Francisco

365 days a year in San Francisco and less than a 5 percent of them would be as nice as today.  Joseph and his family met Joanie and me for an early morning walk along the cliffs and then the beach of Fort Funston.  They had driven up from San Diego for a long weekend with family in the East Bay.

They had read in the Dog Lover's Companion about Fort Funston and were able to meet us there at 8:30.

The Dog Lover's Companion to California: The Inside Scoop on Where to Take Your Dog (Dog Lover's Companion Guides)

They brought their little girl Vizsla, Brulee, who enjoyed running after and with Bailey and Chloe.

All five "kids" played king or queen of the hill. 

After an hour of walking the beach, we headed back.  We came across the Vizsla Walk group

heading toward us.  Josesph and his family joined the group to go back down the beach as we headed back home.

The foxtails have driven us out of the hills for now.  The beach and the hills above the ocean make a great alternative.