THOUGHTS ABOUT GUN DOGS
VIZSLA NEWS, Nov 1955 and June 1968
SOURCE: One of the many items in the Charles/Millicent/Joan Hunt Collection
1955 Editor Charles Hunt Note: The Magyar Vizsla is a hunting breed: first, last and, let us hope, always. His other admirable qualities rank second, as they should. It then is the obligation of all Vizsla owners to give their natural instinct in the fields.
Field trials create interest and serve as a challenge to owners to keep working their dogs through the closed season, constantly attempting to improve performance.
Here we present the forthright views of a capable, nationally recognized judge and breeder. It is his wish to remain anonymous.
One prefers a good running dog, one that usually is ahead of the handler but always at his command: not all over the country so you do not know which end of the field he is in. A dog that handles well, without too much confusing yakking. A dog that is a perfect retriever. Naturally, the dog has to have ability to find and properly handle birds.
When the GSP was introduced into this country about 30 years ago, sportsmen were looking for a slower, closer hunting dog in comparison to the Pointer. Now it seems many are trying to make the Shorthair into one. Many of us feel the GSP should keep its place as a Gun Dog and be judged accordingly.
Ar once arises the talk about a ďmechanical dogĒ when the handler has under perfect control. Actually it is almost impossible to make a mechanical dog out of a bird dog: he has to use his nose to find the bird and has to have the instinct to point it. You can improve these traits, but you canít teach them to him if he hasnít got them.
As I recall, the Vizsla has been in this country about four years, but nobody has done very much with them. It takes a great deal of work from puppy state on many informal trials to give the dog experience: to let him get the idea what is wanted from him. Only this in time will make a good dog.
You know, I think the best way to get the best out of a dog is for a man to raise a puppy and start training him while he is small, with loving care and understanding. If you teach a small puppy to retrieve you will very seldom have any trouble with him later on. You teach some obedience and it will go a long way later on in actual training. The Vizsla is a very affectionate dog and love and kindness will accomplish a lot with a pup.
What is needed is breeding in the right direction; continually running the Vizsla in informal trials at least once a month.
The first Vizsla trial reminds me a lot of the first Weimaraner trial and, when I think a long way back, of the first Shorthair trials. All the dogs placed in those days wouldnít have a chance to finish their championship today with the strict field trial rules enforced as they are today. It will take a long time to bring the Vizsla to the point where he can hold his own with the other breeds because he hasnít the opportunity to get away with some of the sins some of the other breeds committed and benefited by.
At the first Weimaraner trials I attended the dogs hardly moved away from the handlerís feet. Since then the Weimaraner has come a long way, but it took years of hard work and thoughtful breeding. The same has to be done with the Vizsla; watch all the promising field dogs, but do not fail to consider their physical qualifications. While we are just beginning to build the breed in this country, it should be every breederís desire not only to produce a better working dog, but also a better specimen with some of their faults bred out.
Some of our Shorthairs 25 years ago definitely were not as typey as the Shorthair of today. Some of the Weimaraners I saw at shows ten years ago were a disgrace. At that time only money was the object, disregarding the specimen and the dog seldom was used in the field.
Letís not commit this same sin with the Vizsla.
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