Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Texas Gov. sends message to Wily Coyotes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -

Pistol-packing Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a message for wily coyotes out there:

Don't mess with my dog.

Perry told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he needed just one shot from the laser-sighted pistol he sometimes carries while jogging to take down a coyote that menaced his puppy during February run in an undeveloped area near Austin.

Perry said he will carry his .380 Ruger pistol—loaded with hollow-point bullets—when jogging on trails because he is afraid of snakes. He'd also seen coyotes in the area.

When one came out of the brush toward his daughter's Labrador retriever, Perry charged.

"Don't attack my dog or you might get shot ... if you're a coyote," he said Tuesday.

Perry, a Republican running for a third full term against Democrat Bill White, is living in a private house in a hilly area southwest of downtown Austin while the Governor's Mansion is being repaired after a 2008 fire. A concealed handgun permit holder, Perry carries the gun in a belt.

"I knew there were a lot of predators out there. You'll hear a pack of coyotes. People are losing small cats and dogs all the time out there in that community," Perry said.

"They're very wily creatures."

On this particular morning, Perry said, he had been jogging without his security detail shortly after sunrise.

"I'm enjoying the run when something catches my eye and it's this coyote. I know he knows I'm there. He never looks at me, he is laser-locked on that dog," Perry said.

"I holler and the coyote stopped. I holler again. By this time I had taken my weapon out and charged it. It is now staring dead at me. Either me or the dog are in imminent danger. I did the appropriate thing and sent it to where coyotes go," he said.

Perry said the laser-pointer helped make a quick, clean kill.

"It was not in a lot of pain," he said. "It pretty much went down at that particular juncture."

Texas state law allows people to shoot coyotes if they are threatening livestock or domestic animals. The coyote never reached the dog, which was unharmed, Perry said.

Perry's security detail was not required to file a report on the governor discharging a weapon, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange.

"People shoot coyotes all the time, snakes all the time," Mange said. "We don't write reports."

As for the coyote, Perry left it where it fell.

"He became mulch," Perry said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Viz Whizz that I missed because of the Volcano

From my good English friends to let me know what I missed because the volcano is Iceland stopped my trip. I would have loved meeting all the people and Vizslas. The photographer taking the pictures is VERY GOOD!

Here is the e-mail:
Good morning old chap,
The Whizz went off well today with a our largest ever turn-out of dogs! We reckon 40 (impossible to get them to stay still long enough ot count) came to see Uncle Rod from over the pond so it was a real shame you couldn't make it. We'll do something more sophisticated with the hundreds of photographs taken in due course but in the mean time here is a taster taken by one of the owners Damian…


click to open:  Pictures of the Viz Whizz

The walk was at 1.84 miles pretty short for a Whizz normally (4 - 5 miles +) the puppies would have coped but it would have been hard to pursuade some of the hoomans to do more!

Map of route in the New Forest:

click to open: Map of the New Forest

The below link will show a great slideshow of a "English Viz Whizz"

click to open: 49 pictures of an English Viz Whizz
"To cap a fine day we raised over £100 for Vizsla rescue…
Hope you are all well and wishing you all well,


Friday, April 23, 2010

Motor homes and field trials

Over the last year field trials have been a part of our lives. We would not have been able to enjoy them nearly as much without our little '89 Aero Cruiser 23 foot motorhome.

This has been our home away from home and make field trials a vacation every time.

We are off next weekend into the Delta for a two day field trial at Hastings Island.

I will drive out EARLY Saturday morning and head home Sunday afternoon.

If you are coming to the Northern California Vizsla Club field trial May 1 and May 2, stop by. I should have something cool to drink in the fridge.

Happy trails and trials.

E-collars are not meant to inflict pain

I use my training collar with Bailey in our training sessions or when out in the open spaces. Never for punishment, only to get his attention and let him know what and where I want him to go.

From Dogs Unlimited:
"Not meant for discipline, electronic training collars are an indispensable training tool.

Have you ever seen someone "training" a dog to come, then zapping it with an e-collar when it refused?

I have, and let me tell you, I wanted to come unglued! A dog will never obey a command that's followed by a jolt of pain.

Have you even seen a dog that blinks birds? More than likely, someone has used a hot e-collar while the dog was in close contact with birds, such as in the breaking process.

E-COLLARS ARE NOT MEANT TO INFLICT PAIN. They are a tap or a tickle -- at most, a discomfort -- to correct unwanted behavior. Here's how Alan Davison of DOGS Unlimited puts it: "A pro handler grabbed me by the ear, twisted it, as hard as he could, then shouted at me, 'WHAT'S YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER!!! WHAT"S YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER!!!'

"There was absolutely NO WAY I could remember it, let alone repeat it." This is what you do to your Good Dog when you inflict pain to try to achieve a positive result.

The best use of an e-collar is to break your dogs's attention on an unwanted activity, like running off in the wrong direction. Starting at the lowest setting, send a momentary stimulation. No response? Turn it up one level and try again. Keep increasing the intensity until your dog responds by slowing down, perhaps looking at you. Now give your command to turn, come back, go left, go right, whatever it is. All you need to do is get him out of "the zone" and reminded him of what the two of you are there for: to hunt as a team."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A volcano stopped my European trip

What are the odds of the day I plan to travel to Germany that a volcano explodes in Iceland and stops my trip.

So I will not be able to join the "Viz Wizz" in the New Forest in the south of England with 25 Vizslas and their owners.

I was looking forward to visiting with those of you "across the pond."
If any of you make it to the San Francisco area this summer on holiday drop me a line at rodneymichaelson@yahoo.com.

I always get out into the hills almost every day with Chloe and Bailey.

Happy trails and trails.

Friday, April 16, 2010

History of the Vizsla

This article was taken from the October, 1987 issue of "The Vizsla News."

Dr. Osborn, DVM, was one of the most prominent breeders from the early 1950's to 1970.

He was a veterinarian and expert breeder and the largest importer of the Vizsla.

In an attempt to date this material, a member of the Vizsla Club of America, Thomas DeRoo, concludes it was probably written in 1955. The article has been condensed; however, the spellings and grammer remain as written..

The "Vizsla," It's Genealogy and Eugenics - by Dr. I.S. Osborn, DVM

Historically the Vizsla is older than most breeds and its existence was known in 10th century.

As the breed was developed centuries ago, we have no definite information as to its ancestry. However, there seems little doubt its ancestors were the favorite companion hunting dogs of the various Asiatic tribes that invaded the lands of Central Europe until the 10th century. It has been established that the history of the Vizsla is closely akin to that of the early Hungarians, or Magyars, the ancient hunter-herdsmen who fought and lived in the great Carpathian basin one thousand years ago.

Primitive stone etchings, estimated 1,000 years old, show the Magyar huntsman with his Vizsla and falcons. The Vienna Chronicle, a manuscript of the early Hungarian codes and laws dating from the time of King Lajos (Louis) the Great (1342-1382), contains a chapter about the falconry of the nobility with a picture of the Vizsla. Hungarian historians mention the favorite Vizslas of their heroes. Documents of the Turk occupations of Hungary (1526-1686) deal with the Vizsla breed, chiefly in the correspondence between the Danubian provinces and the court of the Sultan of Istanbul. There is a little hamlet on the Danube that dates back to the 12th century, proving that many Vizslas were found in its environment. The spread of the Vizsla has changed little since then until 1945.

The golden Vizsla was the favorite companion-hunting dog of the early barons and war lords and, with the evolution of the nobility and large landowners, the breed was preserved in its purity through the centuries. The Vizsla presents several specific breed-marks, apart from the characteristic rusty-gold coat, that have never been found in any other variety of pointer. As late as World War II, the Vizsla enjoyed protection in selective breeding, as only the remnants of the aristocracy and the large estate owners were permitted by custom to breed the dogs.

At the end of World War I the breed was almost extinct but was preserved by such men as Dr. Polgar Koloman and Dr. Kubes of Czechoslovakia, Dr. Ferenc Korbas, Count Esterhazy and the large landowners as the Mihalyi's of Eastern Hungary. Under the leadership of Dr. Koloman, careful selective breeding established the breed between the World Wars when, once again, the Vizsla was threatened with extinction.

The breed is called the Hungarian Vizsla, not because of its origin in the country of Hungary as we know it today, but because of its origin in the Greater Hungarian Kingdom which existed prior to World War I and covered both Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The Vizsla was so closely held by the nobility of Czech and Hungary that it wasn't until the Russians came after World War II that specimens were taken out of the country.

The name, Magyar or Hungarian Vizsla may possibly suggest that all of the import Vizslas in this country come from Hungary and that would be an honor which all members of the breed could not claim and should be made clear at this time. We imported one male specimen by the name of "Hess von Schloss Loosdorf" from Count Piatti of Austria and, while this dog is a member of the Hungarian breed, he nevertheless would be of the Austrian Strain, as he was bred and born in Austria and his ancestry is of different lineage. This is especially important when one goes into the subject of eugenics, as it is a simple method of keeping the various strains and breeding pedigrees separate. In this country we now have the bloodlines of Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia, and sooner or later these bloodlines will blend and form American Strains.

We have just one Vizsla in this country that actually did come from Hungary and she is an aged specimen that was brought over by the former leader of the Hungarian Democratic Party. This Hungarian diplomat now resides in New York City and his female is not only a genuine Hungarian specimen but also the first Vizsla in the U.S. I have heard that there may be a genuine Hungarian specimen in the Kansas City area. No one has yet been able to make the proper contact behind the iron-curtain in the Hungarian sector and obtain a sizable quantity of their complete pedigree registered stock.

When the Russians came in 1945, the nobility feared for their lives and made an attempt to escape from the country. Many were put into prison and others did escape, a few taking their favorite Vizslas. These people fled to Austria, Germany, Yugoslavia, Italy, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Once these refugees were settled, they began to match up what few Vizslas they had in an attempt to save the breed. However, these people left in such haste that many neglected to bring their official pedigrees and registration papers with them. Thus, many of the offspring of these fringe Vizslas are without a complete and official pedigree. In some instances only the common "call names" are listed with no registration numbers of the sire and dam.

It is of course impossible now to have these pedigrees officially filled out. Vizsla pups of undetermined ancestry can now be found in certain pocket areas where these refugees settled in the countries bordering the iron curtain. In many instances they were forced to breed dogs of practically no pedigree; however, in some cases they were more fortunate. Most of the pedigrees on these Vizslas are from one to two and a half generations in length.

It is estimated today that there are about 50 Vizslas in Austria, 60 in Germany, 50 in the U.S., a number in Italy and Yugoslavia, a few in Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, South Russia, and less than 100 in iron-curtained Czechoslovakia.

The first American importer of the Vizsla was a Kansas City gentleman and board member of the club who located two specimens in Italy. Credit is due this enthusiast for introducing the breed and creating national interest by showing at the International Dog Show in Chicago. I understand that this gentleman has since imported an outstanding male specimen from Ankara, Turkey. He was elected to the office of the first President of the Magyar Vizsla Club of America and can honestly be called the "father" of the breed in the United States.

The breed was recently established in Austria when "Betyar" met up with "Panni XV." The "Betyar-Panni" litter (Csilla von Komlod, Csitri, Csatt, Csitt, etc) became the foundation stock of the American strain and several of their pups are now in the United States. "Panni" was very fortunate and had a complete pedigree but the papers on "Betyar" are no doubt lost forever.

While serving in the Austrian Army during the occupation of West Hungary, Officer Hofbauer managed to obtain a male Vizsla pup from the forester in charge of Count Esterhazy's kennels. This pup was subsequently listed by the Austrian Kennel Club as a Vizsla with Ung.#1 as registration number. Mrs. Elizabeth Mihalyi, noted portrait artist, endured much hardship to escape from her Hungarian estate and the Russian Armies with her "Panni XV." The disintegrating Mihalyi family charged their mother with the duty of saving "Panni" above all possessions. Mrs. Mihalyi found asylum in Austria and inquired of the Austrian Kennel Club if there was a male Vizsla in Austria. The club was most anxious to save the breed and thus Mrs. Mihalyi was introduced to the Hofbauers ofVienna. The "Betyar Panni" litter resulted and this offspring was rather closely bred and the Austrian strain was established. The names of "von Schloss Loosdorf," "Komlod," "Nadudvar," and "Davavology" are some of the well known descendants of "Betyar" and "Panni." Panni XV, now 14 years old, lives with Dr. and Mrs. Caravenna in Austria.

Many Vizsla pups of the Austrian strain have now been imported into the United States. The lack of complete pedigree is an unfortunate circumstance as a minimum of 3 generations is required for registration in this country. However, I believe that two generation dogs could probably be listed and their pups could then be registered. Registration of a dog refers to the recording of its ancestry in the stud book.

Here I skipped some of the article regarding specific dogs and their pedigrees.

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of the Czech strains is not only the Championship background or the complete six-generation pedigrees, and the fact that we have been furnished with a complete breeding and evaluation record on the ancestors of each animal. This perhaps will not interest the novice, but the initialed or experienced breeder will be able to read the pedigree and thus be able to concentrate certain valuable and desirable points of an ancestor or ancestors.

Another advantage of the various iron curtain strains is the existence of established specialized abilities within the breed itself. With no other hunting breeds has this ever been accomplished, but then these traits were developed over centuries of time and not just within a period of a few short years. The countries of Czechoslovakia and Hungary are very similar to our own Midwest, only compressed within the area of a few states; the hills, the mountains, plains, lake regions, river valleys, arid sections, the warm summers and the snow of winter.

Within these various districts their Vizslas were bred to conform to the requirements for use in a certain given area, in addition to just pointing and retrieving. By breeding to outstanding stud dogs that would excel in a certain particular use, these breed masters were able, through the centuries, to develop certain strains more suitable to the environment in which they lived. The lake and river region of Northern Czechoslovakia require a rather large dog with a strong neck and forequarters and weighing up to 75 pounds, capable of retrieving the large 10 pound hares and geese, and rugged enough to stand cold water. The plains regions were best suited for a smaller and faster dog, weighing about 50 pounds.

Some strains are very, very sharp and others were developed along show lines. Most strains are developed for use as a medium range, medium sized gun-dog; however, in one district an extremely fast and wide ranging strain was developed for fast field trails, as seen with the English Pointer, who run in this particular area.

The Vizsla breed is just getting a start in this country and as yet we do not have representative specimens of all these different iron curtain strains in this country. To obtain such would not only require a fortune, but is in fact impossible at this time. In fact, we have been trying to import field trial specimens of the far ranging type for over a year, but as yet have been unable to penetrate and make contact in the remote section. However, we do have sufficient outstanding, highly blooded specimens of their medium ranged, medium sized, choke-bore-nosed gun-dog to definitely establish the breed in this country. Perhaps in the future we will be able to offer a wide ranging extremely fast Vizsla to the field trial fancier and quail hunter of the South, as well as the medium ranged, medium sized, partridge, pheasant and duck dog for the other section.

Throughout the ages the Czech and Hungarian breed masters were far more interested in field work than show types. Hunting capabilities were always paramount. Breeding was carefully considered to produce only the best puppies and never on a commercial scale. There were no so-called "puppy factories." Only the best pups were saved from a litter and those that were undesirable were destroyed.

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.

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!

Dr. I.S. Osborn

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blogging from Germany and England

During my trip to Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Zurich, Bournemouth, Bristol, and other places around England I will be taking pictures of any Vizslas I see and posting short write-ups of my meetings with the dogs and the people that love them.

I have had the joy of meeting Vizsla owners from many parts of this country and from all over the world over the last couple years.

Especially looking forward to my New Forest Vizsla Walk on Sunday 25 April.

Leave this coming Thursday for two plus weeks.

Stay tuned. I will sorely miss my wife and my Chloe and Bailey. This is the longest I have been away from the dogs. They have become so much of my life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The unspoken truth about spaying and neutering our pets

By Christie Keith, Special to SF Gate

Why is it so hard to have a factual conversation about the medical risks
of spaying and neutering pets?

The health implications of sterilizing dogs and cats are complex and
highly individualized. Pet owners, animal advocates and veterinarians
should be able to talk about them openly and honestly.

But we can't. Why not? The societal benefits of mass spay/neuter -- the
prevention of unwanted puppies and kittens, and ending the killing of pets
in shelters -- are seen as so overwhelming that the slightest suggestion
of a medical downside to sterilization is met with an avalanche of

The backlash can be so severe, for example, that when I've reported
research about increased health risks in sterilized dogs or cats, I've
been accused of not caring about the lives of shelter pets, or of being
hopelessly naive about people's ability to analyze the risks and benefits
of medical procedures.

Promoting spay/neuter has evidently become so important that it trumps
everything else, including the truth.

Read the advice in dog and cat magazines or the Web sites of animal  wefare organizations, and you'll be assured that not only are there no
adverse effects of spaying and neutering, but opting for the surgery will
make your pets healthier and better behaved.

Conventional wisdom says that altered pets are less likely to soil in the
house, to roam and to fight. They won't get testicular, uterine or ovarian
cancer or infections, and they'll have a greatly reduced chance of getting
mammary cancer. It sounds so great it almost makes you want to rush right
out and get spayed or neutered yourself.

Some of those things are true. You can't get cancer or an infection in an
organ that you no longer possess, so it's accurate to say that your dog or
cat won't get ovarian, uterine or testicular cancer or infections. And
there is an increased incidence of mammary cancer in unspayed female dogs
and a pretty high rate of uterine infection as well.

But there are also notable health risks associated with having your dogs
and cats spayed or neutered.

These include an increased incidence of some cancers, including
osteosarcoma, a painful and usually fatal bone cancer, in neutered male

Neutered males also have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer and
transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.

Spayed females have a greater incidence of urinary incontinence. They may
also have a higher risk of bladder infections.

Meanwhile, spayed female and neutered male dogs have a significantly
greater incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries than intact dogs.

Recent research by Purdue University suggests that female dogs (and,
interestingly, female humans) live longer if they keep their ovaries.

And yes, no matter what you've been told, study after study has shown that
spayed and neutered dogs and cats weigh more when fed the same amount of
calories as intact animals. The surgery won't "make" them fat, but by
changing how their metabolism functions, the amount of food they can eat
without gaining weight is reduced.

For most dogs and cats that's actually no big deal -- just feed them a
little less, exercise them a little more, and they'll be fine. But how do
you do that when you're having it beaten into your brain that spaying and
neutering does not, cannot, will not make your dog or cat fat or have any
other adverse effects?

This is where I have a problem. I'm not opposed to spaying and neutering.
Most of my dogs and all of my cats have been sterilized. I believe that
for most pets, the health benefits will outweigh the risks.

Furthermore, most people will choose to sterilize their family pets
because managing intact dogs and cats is often messy and inconvenient, and
our increasingly urbanized and over-scheduled lives only make it more of a

Most importantly, the benefit to society of preventing unwanted litters of
puppies and kittens is huge. Dogs and cats who are never born can't die in
a shelter or live homeless on the streets.

But is any of that a valid reason for what I can only call the deliberate
spreading of false and misleading information? Does it justify the anger
and opposition that meets me and anyone else who openly discusses the
medical risks to spaying and neutering?

Yes, I know there are millions of homeless pets in this country. And there
are people out there who will seize on any excuse not to alter their pets.
They're the ones who often let their animals, particularly cats, have
unwanted litters.

I also know that there's someone out there who's going to read this column
and say, "Hell, Martha, spaying and neutering will make our dog get
cancer. I read it on the Internet!"

But those aren't the majority. Most people are trying to do the best they
can for their pets and their families, and they simply need factual
information on which to base their health care decisions.

For their sakes, and those of their pets, we have to stop fearing the
truth and reacting angrily when we hear it.

If we can't have honest conversations about the health consequences of
spaying and neutering, people won't be on the alert for signs their
sterilized pet is gaining weight, because they'll have been told that,
"spaying and neutering won't make your pet fat."

They won't take precautions to protect their spayed or neutered pets from
avoidable risks such as cruciate ligament injuries.

They may not be aware that some risks of spaying and neutering can be
decreased by delaying the surgery until a dog or cat is a little older,
while others are breed-related, which can affect which breed of dog a
person adopts in the first place.

There's one final reason I firmly believe we have to stop shutting down
this conversation: Because it erodes trust. If you lie to people, they'll
stop believing what you tell them.

Veterinarians, shelter workers, dog trainers and pet sitters -- all have a
certain amount of credibility with the pet-owning public. Veterinarians,
in fact, have one of the highest levels of trust of any profession. We
shouldn't squander that in order to manipulate people into doing what we
think they should do -- or because we're afraid some idiot is going to use
it as an excuse not to spay or neuter his pets.

Let's face it, the guy who refuses to remove his dog's equipment because
he thinks it will make his own shrivel up and fall off is not being moved
by facts and a rational decision-making process.

Cheating caring dog and cat owners out of truthful medical information
because we're worried about what that guy is going to do not only doesn't
make any sense, it simply hurts the pets of good owners.

For update for 2011 see:

Copyright 2010 SF Gate

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Where the Red Fern Grows

This was the 2003 Walt Disney movie adaptation of the classic book by the same name.
Let me know if you have seen this movie version and what you thought.

There are two earlier versions of a movie out there made from this book.

Even though these Redbone Coonhounds are not Vizslas, they act and look very much like our dogs. The difference in look are their black noses.

We really enjoyed this movie. We can't wait until our grandson is old enough to enjoy the movie with us.

From the Netflix website:
Based on the children's book by Wilson Rawls, this family drama set in the Ozark Mountains centers on 12-year-old Billy Coleman (Joseph Ashton), who sets his sights on a goal and succeeds in saving enough money to buy two hunting dogs.

He works tirelessly, training them until he can finally enter them into the Fall Hunting Competition.

Dabney Coleman, Renee Faia, Dave Matthews, Ned Beatty, Kris Kristofferson and Mac Davis star.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Looking for the "pointing" gene


Researchers from "The Center for Canine Health and Performance" - A Program Jointly Supported by the Van Andel Reseach Institute and The Translational Genomics Research Institute - came to the Northern California Vizsla Field Trial last weekend.

Their mission was to collect DNA material from a group of dogs that were at the event. The project is searching for the "pointing" gene in the Continental Breeds. The researchers told me they have a large data base from German Shorthairs and a few other pointing breeds but wanted the Vizsla added to the data base.

They asked the organizers to pick the best 5 dogs in the group that had a "natural point." I was pleased that Bailey was included in the 5 selected and the researchers drew about 2 ounces of blood from Bailey. After that, they asked if they could take a saliva swab from Chloe to add to the data base. "Of course, ' I said.

This is all quite interesting. The "pointing gene" researchers and I talked for a while about the unique character of the ability and the complexity of how the "point" is different from the genes for the senses. A pointing breed can't have too strong of a scent-tracing ability like the bloodhound; otherwise, it would "point" too early. Law enforcement is interested in this too, understandably, as a good "pointer" could point out the "bad guy" or the drugs or other illegal items that have a scent.

While talking, I mentioned I was going on a research trip to Germany and England for work and one of the highlights of the trip was taking a "Vizsla Walk" (Viz Wiz) in the south of England with a group of Vizslas and their owners.

The reserachers' eyes got big and in excited voices asked if I could possiblily get DNA swabs of the dogs for their research. I told them I would be happy to if they showed me what to do.

They showed me how simple it is to do on a dog, a mouth swab, and the paperwork and release forms that need to be signed by the owners. Very easy. They gave me 20 kits for my trip. These kits are about $15 each, and they told me to have them FedEx more if needed while over in England or Germany.

They also said to find ANY pointing breed in my travels and especially the breeds that are not common here in the US.

So as a volunteer research assistant to the "pointing gene" research project, I am reaching out to all the redbirddog readers in England or Germany who would like to help out.

My travels during the 2 weeks in Europe will be the following:

April 16 to 19 Berlin area.

April 20 Dresden area.

April 21 to 23 Munich

April 24 - travel to Bournemouth, England staying with Rio and Radar

April 25 Viz Wiz (Vizsla Walk) in the New Forest

April 26 Birmingham area

April 27 Manchester area

April 28 Cambridge area

April 29 and 30 London area
Fly out of Heathrow on May 1.

So those is the areas of my travels that have a "natural pointing dog" that we could add to the research, e-mail me at:

I will have a local cell phone for both England and Germany that is on the way to me. For those who sign up, I will give you that number when I get it.

For those who can make the Viz Wiz on Sunday 25 April, I will have the kits with me.


An interesting article on another aspect of gene research in dogs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Deforestation consequences

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter and we are so glad it is spring!

A couple Red Bird Dogs in the West.

Bailey - the dog of steel

Chloe - the princess of the DeltaWe have reached 4500 visits on redbirddog. Thank you for visiting and letting us share our Vizsla adventures.

In the Company of Wolves

An article that some readers may not agree with, but I find the basis of it very true.

I never worried about coyotes before I had our Vizslas.

Now I am starting to understand the dynamics of "life in the wild" here in the suburbs east of San Francisco.

In the Company of Wolves

A friend of mine was walking her Vizslas up in the Shell Ridge open space a couple days ago. Being excellent field trial dogs, they were roaming the valleys and ridges a few hundred yards away.

My friend looked down from the ridge and saw a lone coyote charge first one dog and then turned on the next. The coyote had run from another ridge right at them. The coyote attacked with the intention of doing harm to the dogs.

One dog was slightly injured but the other needed to go to the vet for the injuries caused by the attack. $700 vet bill.

The whole time it was happening my friend was yelling at the coyote. Local coyotes have no fear of humans because they are protected and a dog is prey just like a rabbit. They are the predators and everything else is prey.

Luckily this time both dogs got away.

After reading this, my friend Christie, added her perspective:

"I have encountered coyotes many times, occasionally at Shell Ridge but more frequently at Lime Ridge. (Open spaces in the area)
Twice my dogs have been attacked there – once, I was surrounded by 3 of them, each going after one of my dogs – only by screaming and running at them was I able to chase them off long enough to get away.
That time and one other time Holly was knocked down and attacked by one of them, but fortunately she escaped with a single bite on her flank.
Coyotes often have pups in the spring and become more aggressive, and I've been told by several people at Lime Ridge their dogs have been attacked too.

One guy I encountered carries a large stick for defense."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Pacific Vizsla Futurity through the eyes of a judge

"It was an honor and a pleasure to judge the Pacific Vizsla Futurity.

As described in other posts, it was a great event, with a field of dogs that
showed ability and potential in every brace.

The grounds were excellent for allowing these dogs to show their stuff as there were open stretches, long ascents up hills, broad descents (both affording excellent views of dogs), creek bottom, tree groves, islands, rock outcroppings and objectives at both near and far points.

The course allowed each dog to work tight places as well as stretch out. Physically, it required conditioning and stamina to cover this wide and varied territory and still finish hard in the half hour with all the changes in elevation. It bodes well for the future of vizslas in field competition.

Ken & Janet and all the folks who put it on deserve heartiest congratulations as do the winner and runners up. Kudos to all the entrants for a great stake.

I am sure there will be results/placements coming for the VCNC trial, but
perhaps folks do not realize this Futurity was set in the center of a three
day all-breed AKC Field Trial mounted by the Vizsla Club of Northern
California. A hard working, well-oiled staff pulled off two events!

Hats off to Nancy Colwell, Chairman, Tiffany Jorgens, Secretary, Janet Kuivenhoven, Cathy Boyd, Gordon Stronhmeier and Robert Studer.
This trial, with concurrent courses, also included three retrieving stakes with first bird shot on course...no small challenge. I also had the pleasure of judging the Open Derby and the OAA (ret.) for their trial and saw some awesome dogs in those

Again, two fine events."

Joan Heimbach