The Vizsla breed description states that they are first and foremost a versatile hunting dog expected to work cooperatively at a moderate pace and range. Vizslas should be fully capable of water work with their webbed feet and quick drying coats as well as be competent in the field. While showing, agility, obedience, and the many other venues that Vizslas participate in explore many facets of the breeds ability, we feel that HUNTING, and training to the hunt, allow the fullest expression of their genetic heritage. And, frankly, once you have a well trained hunting dog it can be frustrating and unsafe to hunt over any thing else!
We recognize that all the testing in the world does not prove that a dog will hunt, but what we believe NAVHDA testing DOES do for us is:
1) Natural Ability preparation allows us to see just how much exposure an individual dog requires to point, track, swim and search (i.e. how much prey drive, cooperation, water-love is genetically built in to that unknown bundle of puppy).
2) Provides structure and goals for training (keeps us on track!).
3) Allows assessment of the dogs’ ability to learn, handle pressure, and to maintain its prey drive when being corrected particularly at the UT and VC levels (in other words, mental stability). At Utility and Versatile levels of testing in NAVHDA the high degree of obedience required is an excellent way to determine trainability and mental stability – both characteristics are required in a great gun dog but may be difficult to gauge in the home environment.
4) As a result of all that training we have a solid hunting dog that will sit in the blind for ducks, retrieve geese in a field hunt, search hard in the brush for grouse, and push out on the prairies for huns and sharps. Oh and lets not forget no lost birds due to poor retrieves!
With a relatively small cadre of Vizslas completing the highest testing levels in NAVHDA it can be difficult to reliably identify a suitable dog. The potential buyer interested in obtaining a prospect for NAVDHA training/versatile hunting will need to do some homework to identify litters that have the potential to meet versatile dog requirements.
* I want to thank Nancy Ainsfield for the wonderful photography at the 2011 and 2012 Invitational - she really captures the moment! Sheryle
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VC Rockwoods Kivalo Supertramp
VC Baron's Raising Havoc from Comynara
Waiting our turn at the 2011 Invitational