Back in March, I put up a post about why dogs with strong field-trialing success in their genes may not be the best dogs for new dog owners. And I said then that perhaps if we'd acquired a Ferrari of vizslas before we got our BMW of vizslas, it might have been a very different story to tell.
I decided to take Jozsi up to the CT Valley Vizsla Club Hunting Dog Stake this Sunday. (Being a non-regular stake meant that any wins would not count towards AKC championship points. Unlike most hunt tests, even the junior classes are generally longer in duration -- and don't have such easily defined bird-fields. Birds are therefore planted along the entire length of the course, which is generally walked or followed on horseback.) And while dogs do have to demonstrate certain skills -- like staunchness of point, interaction with handler -- this is a competitive event. A dog wins. For curiosity's sake, I figured this was a great way to see just how Jozsi compared to other similarily skilled vizslas -- without feeling like there was a whole lot of pressure.
Incidentally, for this stake, there were just two classes: Hunting Dog and Hunting Dog Excellent. The former was for essentially JH-caliber dogs, the latter for SH or MH-caliber dogs.
Team Vizsla -- Northwest MA chapter, aka. Forest King Vizslas, came up to run Cedar and Kyler (who is definitely pregnant) -- and Team Vizsla -- Northern MA chapter, aka. Stephanie + Manny, came to run, gun and judge. While Manny gunned for the Excellent stake, Stephanie had come to defend their older dog, Baron's Hunting Dog Excellent title AND then run over to judge the Hunting Dog stake. This first pic is of Steph watering Baron on what was a very, very hot day -- right around 85%degsF with 70% humidity. The next pic is of Baron honoring his brace-mate -- and yes, that's a white face. Baron is still rocking like a champ at 11 years old!
By 11:00am when I had to run Jozsi, it was 90degsF and roughly 60% humidity. Happily the course had its share of shade spots and a creek to dunk the dogs into along the way over the course his 30min sprint-fest. While his first bird was a divided find with his brace-mate, Jozsi found two more birds along the way. And he really is starting to look like a pro. I wish I had either a camera or the presence of mind to get pictures of his great, upright points.
On a very difficult day, Baron was unable to repeat as Hunting Dog Excellent champion -- but was given an Honorable Mention for his performance. Even though I knew he had drive like crazy and was doing a good job handling birds, I was a little surprised to realize that Jozsi had in fact WON the Hunting Dog Stake. I guess my little boy really might be a Ferrari after all, despite his driver. And however correct Pat the Terrierman is, check out that ribbon. Sweeet.
I should also thank the CVVC for organizing another great event. This is the second of their events I've attended -- and it wasn't just efficient, but also very friendly. If you're thinking about attending a CVVC hunt test or trial, I'd recommend it.