Monday, March 7, 2011

A Vizsla becoming an AKC field champion

On a walk above our house one fall afternoon 3 1/2-years ago, I came across a group of three Vizslas running free in the hills.  Behind them walked, at a very brisk pace, a thin, athletic-looking woman. 

"Good afternoon," I shouted out as we walked past each other in the open space.  Chloe was just a few months old.  "Good afternoon" she called back in a European-accented answer as she got closer. 

"Your dogs look very happy.  Do you walk here often?" I asked.

She was a bit out of breath as she got up to me.  Unlike my leisurely stroll with Chloe (before Bailey), this woman seemed to be on a mission.

She said her name was Catherine, and she lived just down the hill. 

She asked where I had gotten my pup and how it was going. 

So we visited maybe a couple minutes and then she said she had to excuse herself, to continue running her dogs.  She was conditioning them for their field trails coming up and she had to keep moving.

I had never known anyone to "field trial" seriously. 

I told her it was nice to meet her and hoped to again.  She said that would be good and when Chloe got bigger we could go on walks together.

Well over the last 3+ years,  Catherine, Henry (her husband), and I have gotten to know each other well.  We have gone on many walks, bike rides, and several field trails together.  She has just finished her term as the President of the Northern California Vizsla Club.

Her Vizsla males, Tony and Oliver, are a couple years older than Bailey.  Catherine still has the two boys' mother, Zlata, at home with her two sons.

These are home dogs, and even though they did have some professional training, much of the work has been done by Catherine herself.

Tony is the big-running dog of the two males and also the dependable retriever. 

Catherine and I have hunted pheasant with Tony and Bailey at one of the local hunt clubs. Bailey and Oliver are very good hunters. Tony is a superb hunter.

Both males have placed in many field trials over the last four years. 

Tony had his retrieving points.  He needed a "major" to complete his AKC field championship.
(If you look at a dog's pedigree, the letters FC will start their name if they are are field champion.)

Tony got that 4-point "major" at the Vizsla Club of Northern California Spring Field Trial in Little Panoche, CA.

He had come in 1st place in Open Gun Dog this weekend.  He "put it all together" for Catherine.  The judges placed Tony 1st out of 23 gun dogs entered.

An AKC championship. 

The dedication needed.  The time and knowledge for an owner of a very good field trial dog to turn it into a champion.  This takes a special person. 

Here is to my friends Catherine and Henry.  Congratulations!

 They love their Vizslas. 

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