The Early Vizsla Imports 1950-65,
A Briefety ;-))
The question was engendered …..
How many imports were there and how inbred were they ?
Problem is...there are two kinds of imports, those of foreign blood born outside the USA & those of foreign blood born inside the USA. And unless you have a specific kind of access to past data many foreign blood Vizslas born in the USA do not bring their true breeders credit for the pivotal breeding decisions made in the USA. We will try to build this article steadily by differentiating home-bred imports from foreign-bred imports. Most of that will happen at a later date.
As to the inbreeding in the foreign born imports there was much. And it was done in multiple generations since 1920. 1920 signifies a distinct turning point on that fad we call crossbreeding. Transportation or lack of was another reason for multiple in-breedings. Then too we have to depend on records that can't be verified on the pedigree data. Hungary often had communal kennels & we have seen in AKC today how many ID mistakes are made & corrected.
The estimated imports are approximately 250-300 Vizslas imported from 1950- 1965 and yes, many were very inbred generation upon generation with other individuals not having repeating names in recent generations with the original 6-12 available in 1920. All pedigree tails trace back the foundation stock which also included Rupp, who BTW….had a Wire-face & a liver colored bitch.
Diana Olca, mother of the Schonweides
Imported on loan to be bred in California by Countess Alexia Manners
Diana Olca has visited the USA twice, once for breeding; the second time as a little old lady.
Inbreeding (linebreeding is inbreeding) as well as crossbreeding have played crescendos in patterns on the down and the upswing of inbreeding and crossbreeding. Inbreeding sets breed traits, strain traits, good and bad. Inbreeding also happened because of travel difficulty to other areas. Then there was the communal kennel issue. Combine all of that with the process of recreating an old breed the short answer to the question is YES, there was inbreeding many times over in the backgrounds of the Vizslas imported into the USA.
Rex Del Gelsomino
Imported by the Tallmans
While crossbreeding has always been a part of the Vizsla's past it was always more like a fan wave. It came & went & happened each time for different reasons.
Brok Olca first five-generation pedigree imported to USA.
Imported by Doc Osborn drawing/graphic by dlb
HOWEVER...in that time period 1920 to 1940 there exists the least chance of crossbreeding for two reasons. One was the fury of the Hungarians over the blatant crossbreeding that brought the breed to its knees at the same time that Hungary's lands and its Vizslas & peoples were ripped from the mother country. The second reason there was the least likelihood that crossbreeding happened during this time was NATIONALISM. No countryman has been created who can best the nationalism of the Magyar peoples. It truly was nationalism and not wars that created the Vizsla the first, middle & last times.
Csardas, daughter of Ficko star of MY PALS & dam of Ficko star of Walt Disney's "My Three Friends"
The Hungarians were incensed over the multi-laterally crossbreeding going on between the primary Vizsla owners/crossbreeders, two who were heavy crossbreeding supporters AND keeper of the new studbooks of the 1920 “recreation” and have been deliberately ? left out of Vizsla history by the three sources we primarily have learned the Vizsla’s history from.
Radar Z Povazia
Imported by Doc Osborn
The only choice left those with Vizslas was to inbreed and once inbreeding started it became impossible to get away from it in time to send more viable blood stock to the USA.
Morho Z Povazia
Imported by Charles & Joan Hunt
And of course if any crossbreeding was done it was more likely to happen to half Vizsla crosses who were registered as fullbred Vizslas before the stud books closed in 1936-1939. *two conflicting date reports*
Rex Selle.....sourced from gundogpedigrees.com
Imported by Doc Osborn This photo of Rex Selle appeared on "The Vizsla" brochure put out by the Magyar Vizsla Club of America during the fifties.
The national anger against crossbreeding meant that inbreeding became the primary breeding tool with each breeder focusing on qualities that appealed to them. There was a governing Breeding Board and all breedings/litters/registrations were approved and conducted by them. Dogs had to qualify in field AND conformation or not only were they thrown out of trials, they were not allowed to breed. That practice is QOL with meat behind it….
Sari & Tito
Imported by The Tallmans
In 1920 there were two studbooks an “A” and a “B”. Both studbooks were closed in 1936 so that all Vizslas after 1936, spring from that year’s registry closing. There are conflicting reports of population. Certainly the Vizsla was never overbred or even “popular” as puppies were given to friends which was usually middle to upper class. Until 1848 no lower class Hungarians owned Vizslas, only upper class. In 1940, there exists reports of 5,000 and 1,500. I suspect the true number is somewhere in the middle…..2500-3000. And too once Vizslas became more divided breeding choices became more likely to stick with inbreeding & hope for another way out.
Annavolgyi Arany (first bitch, third Vizsla to finish show Championship) imported by Charles & Joan Hunt
Also be aware that at least two of the major importers (Hunt/Osborn) were aware and complained about the knowledge that the Hungarians were selling them their culls. What this really says about the Czechs who had the only five generation pedigrees to provide for imports is unknown. What is known is that Morho Z Povazia (source ch/jh) was gunshy and the great Brok Olca (source ejg)was sharp in his attitude as well as sharp in all other qualities.
Gingo Von Schloss Loosdorf drawing/graphic by dlb
Winner of the first Regional 1955 MVCOA Shooting Dog at Fort Snelling
Most importantly with the importations behind the Iron Curtain it was verboten to communicate with the free world. It was illegal to have certain foreign money so smuggling barter flourished. It was also illegal to ship out a thorobred dog. Communications many times had to be interpreted and real Hungarian names could not be mentioned or the displaced Hungarians might be imprisoned for being "suspicious"….as happened to Mike Kende who was the Hungarian answer to credibility in providing accurate historical information. There are many discrepancies in documented Hungarian Vizsla history.
Rakk Selle drawing/graphic by dlb
NOT an import but a US dog born of foreign breeding by Doc Osborn. Rakk was liked so well Osborn tried to import the entire family & almost did. Rakk's sire Rex Selle and grand-sire Harry Selle both made it to the USA
The smuggling route usually led to Austria where even there the exporters were told that papers would be switched. That might have been a ruse since there is documentation that Povazia’s Koloman Slimak who was a co-worker with the Selle kennel manager were told that would happen. This might account for some of the apparent mistakes discovered in the original Czech registration paperwork that I have. Rex Selle’s (copy) six generation pedigree is a travesty of obvious errors in the fifth & sixth generation. We also do know that Radar Z Povazia was indeed the pedigree indicated on his paperwork.
Radar Z Povazia drawing/graphic by dlb
Imported by Doc Osborn
The Importers and Estimated Numbers
Frank Tallman/Emmett Scanlan 5-7
William Olson/Jack Hatfield 10-15
Chas/Joan Hunt 10-15
Dr Ivan Osborne 40
Others 75 (who will separate out later as their data “officially” emerges)
The Importers and Their Roles (Look for the homebred stories of the importers in August)
Frank Tallman/Emmett Scanlan 5-7
Frank Tallman and Emmett Scanlan were the first to import Vizslas (1950) that were bred. Their imports came through Scanlan’s position as a US employee in the Italian Embassy. All of this team’s contributions came as misplaced Hungarians from Italy or originating from the southern registries that were created in 1920, devastation of 1939 which made Hungary the solvent registry with the individually previously created registries still operating as well. There is little indication that the Hungarian registry had serious information sharing between registries.
While Scanlan was THE pivotal force to the importation of Sari, Shasta, Tito and Rex with possibly two other imports from Yugo later, it was Tallman who insisted the mate sought for Sari NOT be half-Pointer and NOT be related as Sari could have been bred to her son. Interestingly enough, Tallman/Scanlan had no way of knowing the terribly inbred history of the European Vizsla, but from the very US beginnings has insisted on NO inbreeding and NO crossbreeding.
Tallman is also first known for his “ethics” bringing in the Code of Ethics that was first adopted by the Magyar Vizsla Club of America after being incorporated in Kansas City 1951 and first meeting Jan 1954.
William Olson/Jack Hatfield 10-15
William Olson and Jack Hatfield were actively searching approximately similar time as Tallman/Scanlan and claim to be the first to smuggle Vizslas from Hungary Gelse and Gingo V Schloss Loosdorf. The two Minnesotans imported about a dozen Vizslas, possibly more. Evidence indicates this team did numerous breedings and also provided foundation stock for some of their friends who also produced numerous Vizsla puppies to the general fancy. Many unanswered questions abound about Hatfield and Olson. Both imported European bird dogs of other breeds before and during this time. This team’s imports primarily consist of the old true Hungarian lines (color sarga) My take on Hatfield/Olson is that they were politically savvy or master cloaksmen of secreting foreign goods.
Chas/Joan Hunt 10-15
Shortly on the heels of Hatfield and Olson were Charles and Joan Millicent Hunt. Three of these four importers would almost frame the first Officer slate of the Magyar Vizsla Club of America in 1954. Hunts would import Vizslas over a fifteen year span and could have been responsible en totale for more than 20 imports. One thing the Hunts did was also develop relationships with the Canadian Vizsla Club and the Pettys from the United Kingdom. The Hunts primarily imported true Hungarian lines (sarga) versus the Czech (red) color. So the Hunts were the US importers who saw a larger picture than the US importers. The Hunts also heavily culled for health and temperament. This is partially documented in the kennel books and by personal word of Joan Hunt, herself. Hunts did not try to inbreed and never crossbred as was alleged by Joan in 2006 regarding the fifties crossbreeding which she said existed. Hunts had an early personal COE as did Tallmans, Hunts just bred and imported on a larger scale.
Dr Ivan Osborne 40
Dr Osborne is likely the single most pivotal “person of influence” in US Vizsla history. He accounts for 40 imports, 19 from Czechoslovakia with the valuable 5 generation pedigrees. And during the fifties he initiated the thought pattern of evaluating per hips with that effort becoming official and purebred guardianship shaking for xraying for Hip Dysplasia.
Osborne was not a passive man. His breeding record is an interesting study into the psyche of a breeding master. He did it all. Inbreeding, linebreeding and outcrosses. If he kept records, what a wonderful find that would be. As it is, we can only guess at the accuracy of the information provided by Dr Osborne. Osborne kept a communal kennel in the tradition of the Europeans so identity could have been as much of an issue as was when dog was originally imported and/or conformed to the pedigree assigned. Surely, identity mistakes were made.
While Osborn’s role of importation is unique and heads the pack, he is perhaps better known for his role in health guarantees for the foundation of our breed in the US.
Mihalyi 6 –
Elisabeth’s Mihalyi’s import history is limited as she only imported those from her Panni XV’s direct pedigree, who Elisabeth/two sons and Panni escaped from the Russians in 1945, with pedigree….intact. Those dogs all come from Austria and Panni’s UNGK2 last breeding with Betyar.UNGK1
There are 75-150 other Vizsla imports from 1950-60. Many were re-patriated Hungarians like Gaza Katona, Jeno Dus, Frank Karpinsky, Zsolt Kappanyi and US citizens with European contacts. There is a distinct lack of information about the West Coast imports in my collection, so far. And as the differing names fall out of the pack, I will add more individual US importers.
During the sixties Count Bela Hadik warned several times of continuing to inbreed because of the generations of inbreeding before the then current dogs.
I end this one with an "educated deduction and/or opinion, one I may choose to change. But the numbers of Vizslas were so low in the early fifties in Europe that a reproducable Vizsla could not afford to be discarded. I also think it incorrect for USA citizens to label imports as gun-shy. After one learns of how dogs were trained & competed in the Hungarian fields, it is a wonder more weren't lost in the ride to USA Field Trials. I have found mention about Radar z Povazia being "rehabilitated" into a good Gun Dog. He certainly heads up a fine field family which fills up a most important cornerstone in US breed history.
Continuing with my current opinion that I am not all worked up about past inbreeding is the handing down of desireable prepotent qualities within very close families of Vizslas.
The line I choose to walk within came from two dogs. Those two dogs have been linebred so much that it is no longer unusual for those same two dogs to show up in today's "Behi, Paradox. SnowRidge, Mudsville as many as a dozen to twenty four times. I look around that gene pool and while there are certain family resemblances to one or both of those two original dogs, the various families look distinctly different with each inter-family focusing on different aspects of handsome, healthy bird dog construction with integrity.
That leaves me thinking for now, that inbreeding has a most valuable place in overall breed improvement particularly when one reviews the most successful Vizsla field line ever, Rebel Rouser Vizslas. dlb