31 October 2008

The Great Vizsla Pumpkin

Hallowe'en Greetings from the Varazs Vizslas!

[Photos courtesy of Corrine Sellars.]

Milo the pumpkin

Miska the princess, Sasha the ghost, & Milo the great pumpkin

30 October 2008

Hunting instinct lands Miska in trouble

Sometimes it's a mixed blessing owning hunting dogs when what they hunt can cause injuries or sometimes worse. Miska has very strong instincts for hunting both feather and fur. We don't get much wild upland game where we live so most 'hunting' around here is for fur. When I say 'hunting', I am not carrying a gun to shoot game with; Miska just hunts naturally whenever we head outdoors.

Yesterday while out walking along our usual trail in our neighbouring conservation area, Miska found a creature in the woods. I usually know when she's hot on the scent of something because often she barks at it, usually because it's up a tree. In this case, it was on the ground. I could see her and Nova working as a team to corner it. It was big and dark and ambling along the ground. Fortunately Tyro and Diva didn't join in when they heard me shouting 'leave it!' at the top of my lungs. My shouts turned to screams, however, when neither Miska nor Nova paid any attention to me. When they get so excited and aroused by the hunt, I'm sure they don't hear me at all because they are so focused on the prey.

At first I thought it was a raccoon, then I thought it was a skunk and because the dogs were so close to the creature, I was certain they had been sprayed. But I couldn't smell any skunk odor. Finally Miska backed off and away and then I saw her face - she had a muzzle full of porcupine quills. Boy, she got it good. Obviously, she had tried to bite the porkie. Nova was spared. Of course, it had to be the one occasion when I didn't have my cell phone with me and we had quite a long walk back to the house. Poor Miska kept trying to paw her face. I tried to carry her for a few yards but an extra 43 pounds of weight was very difficult to hoist for long. Needless to say, I was so relieved but so exhausted to get her home. My vet was closed for the evening and doesn't provide 24 hour emergency service so I phoned around to find a clinic that was open after 6 pm. Fortunately I did, only five minutes drive away, and so a short while later, she was recovering and sleeping off the sedative and I was $110 poorer. Ouch - those quills really, really hurt when being pulled out which is why they need to be sedated. She had a few in her mouth but most were around her muzzle; maybe about 40-50 quills. It could have been a lot worse. Will that teach her a lesson? From what I've heard of other people's experiences with their dogs, not likely.

The photo at R is of Miska's brother, Vadasz taken in April 2008 with a number of quills in his body. Most likely he had found a dead porcupine and rolled on it because of where the quills were situated. They were also quite soft and easy to extract.

Then on today's walk, Miska found half a body of a squirrel. That wasn't something she killed and ate; probably leftover kill from a fox or coyote. Being the ultimate retriever that she is, she always brings these things to me. Oh happy day- NOT! Fortunately I had a bag to dispose of the carcass and a treat to give her. Sometimes I wish she didn't like to hunt quite so much.

26 October 2008

Nova's grandkids turn 4

Happy Birthday to Nova's grandkids: Rodaidh, Okos, Drake, Genmai, Ramses, Polo and Pia who turned 4 years old on October 23. The mom of these Vizslas is Nova's daughter Shandy (CH Varazs Artemis Vizsandy CD, AGN, AGI, RA (CARO), CGN) who is a sister to our Miska. Most of these Vizslas live on the west coast of Canada and so we haven't met any of them in the flesh. But best wishes for many, many more birthdays to come and lots of wiggles and licks from the Varazs Vizsla clan here in Ontario.

25 October 2008

Autumn colours

This autumn in southern Ontario, Canada has been spectacular for its colours; some have said this season has been one of the best in many years probably because we've had a lot of sunshine. The colours don't last long as the deciduous leaves start to drop and the hard work of raking and blowing has been underway for the past 2 weeks. But I managed to take a number of pictures which are displayed in the photo album below that I hope you'll enjoy. Many of the photos are of our property or close by where we live.

One of my favourite 'autumn' photos is of my first Vizsla lying atop a pile of leaves. This is Csarda (1977 - 1991) taken in 1978 when he was about 16 months old. (No digital cameras back then so this was scanned from a printed photograph and may be a bit grainy.)

Vizslas blend in so much with the autumn leaves that now I usually put their hunting collars on when we go for a walk so they are more visible. This is Miss Diva kinda looking like a little pumpkin with her orange collar.

23 October 2008

Vizslas to be featured on Animal Planet!

I just received an email from Grace Suriel of Animal Planet Digital Media telling me that Vizslas are among the 5 breeds to be featured in this Saturday's (Oct. 25) episode of Dogs 101

Click on the link below to find out what dates and times the program airs & you can also get a reminder email sent to you. Don't miss it! And spread the word!


How Dogs Drink

Most of you probably know how dogs lap liquids but if you don't, you'll learn how from this Discovery Channel video clip. It's over 4 minutes so takes a while to download, even with hi-speed Internet. If you want to FF to the part about how dogs drink, it starts at around 2 min. 25 seconds. Neat to see in slow-motion. Thanks to my friend Chrissie Diron for sending me this link.

20 October 2008

Our American Vizsla relative

This past weekend, south of the border - in the US, that is - one of our American Vizsla relatives finished his AKC Championship title. CH Red Dawn Mr Fritz is a son of Sara (CH Varazs Sara's Full of Grace MH). Sara lives in California and is out of our 2001 breeding between Am/Can CH Varazs Abracadbra (Abby) and Am CH Voros Vadasz Cyrus Barat MH. Three of Sara's kids from two breedings are now American Champions. Well done Sara and congratulations to Pam Lambros, Mr Fritz's breeder and to Mr. Fritz's family!

CH Varazs Sara's Full of Grace MH (above) winning
Best of Opposite at the 2004 Vizsla Club of N. California Specialty show

Am/Can CH Varazs Abracadabra TT (above)
BOS winner at Vizsla Canada's national specialty show (1999)

18 October 2008

Milo earns his 10th title!

Today Milo earned his Rally Advanced title from the Cdn Association of Rally Obedience (CARO). It was 3 years since legs 1 and 2 were achieved! Milo completed Leg 1 in Sept. '05 with a 1st place & score of 190; Leg 2 in Nov. '05: 1st with 190; and finally Leg 3 in Oct. '08: 3rd with 186. To earn the "cum laude", the team's average score must be between 180 and 189; their average was 188.7. So he gets to add CL for 'cum laude' after the RA - therefore RACL. Yes, Vizslas are smart; this just confirms it!

This is Corrine and Milo's 10th title. Milo is officially known as Varazs Mokany Ficko FDJ, RN (CARO), RN (AKC), RACL (CARO), AgNJ, AGN, SSGDC, SADC, CL1-R, CGN. Way to go team! If you need a guide to these titles, look below.

Translation of Titles:
FDJ - Field Dog Jr (hunting)
RN - Rally Novice
RACL - Rally Advanced Cum Laude
AgNJ - Agility Novice Jumpers with weaves
AGN - Agility Novice (Standard)
CL1-R (Standard Agility title in the Canine Performance Events org.)
SADC - Special Agility Dog of Canada (Agility Assoc. of Canada)
SSGDC - Special Starters Games Dog of Canada (Agility Assoc. of Canada)

16 October 2008

Final decision

After weeks and weeks of deliberation, I've finally decided on which puppy I'm going to keep!

Both of them!

Diva (above) stacked at 17 weeks

Quest (above) stacked at 17 weeks

But only Diva will live with us. Quest will now live with his canine Uncle Vadasz and Gary Krammer in Toronto, Ontario. It was a very hard decision since Quest is such a sweet Vizsla and reminds me a lot in looks of his great uncle, Jazz and in personality, of his grandfather, Sasha and I already miss him terribly. In some ways, that's why I didn't want to have him live with us as he would probably remind me too much of Sasha whom I still grieve for and miss dearly. But I will own Quest and handle him in conformation and perhaps field and rally and so it's the best of all worlds for me, Diva, Quest, Gary and Vadasz. And Vadasz will now have a canine companion at home to play with.

Quest going home with Gary & Vadasz

14 October 2008

Reunion with Piper at Erin Fall Fair

Last Sunday I took Diva and Quest to the Erin Fall Fair in Erin, Ontario northwest of Toronto to meet up with Piper and her family. I hadn't seen Piper since she left for her new home at 8 weeks of age.

Piper (above; 17 weeks old)

Lauren and Rae-Brynn were showing their cows again at the fall fair so Piper also came along with the family. It was a beautifully sunny and HOT autumn day so I tried to arrive mid-morning when it wasn't too crowded or hot at the fair. I tethered the 2 puppies together and wandered around the fair grounds, taking them past the rides, ponies (I forgot about the horse poop! Very tasty for dogs!), cows and vendors. Nothing bothered them at all. Then we met up with Piper's family by the cow barn.

Cythnia trying to control Piper (L), Quest (M), Diva (R)

Piper (L), Quest (M), Diva (R)
Piper (L), Quest (M), Diva (R)

Rae Brynn was inside the barn showing her cow. Unfortunately, her cow gave her a very hard time for some reason - it was a full moooooooon (ha! - I couldn't resist that one) and maybe that was why her cow was very ornery. I'm sure my puppies didn't spook her cow but I learned that dogs weren't allowed in the cow barn for that reason. Lauren also had problems controlling her cow earlier in the morning. After watching the cow handling, I am totally convinced that showing cows is so much harder than showing a dog, even when a dog won't behave. After all, there is about a 1000 - 2000 lb. difference between species! And I couldn't see any treats in Rae-Brynn's hand so how do you control a big beast with just a little stick? It's very challenging!

Right now, Piper's face and head remind me a lot of Tessie, her older half-sister who resembles Nova (Tessie's grandmother/Piper's grandmother). Piper is just a tad smaller than Quest and Diva but not by much. She's very pretty and very sweet but apparently, quite a chewer.

We had no end of people coming up to say hello and wanting to pet the puppies. And, just about everyone commented on how absolutely beautiful they are! Yes! We were rooted in that spot for almost an hour and couldn't move because someone else would come up to see the puppies. What a great place to socialize puppies! Needlessto say, Diva and Quest were quite worn out when we got home.

The next day, (Monday October 13), Lauren won top honor of "Top Showman" with her grandfather and great-uncle (reknown for their beef cattle) looking on. So WAY TO GO LAUREN! That's AWESOME!

Growing overnight

It's true. My eyes and brain weren't being fooled. I've confirmed that puppies do indeed grow overnight. In just two weeks, Diva gained six pounds from 24.4 to 30.4 pounds and today outweighs her brother Quest whose size has been almost neck and neck with her for the past two months. Two weeks ago there was only 0.3 pounds difference. But last week, an upset GI tract had its toll and resulted in less weight gain for Quest. So today, he was about 3 pounds lighter (27.6 pounds) than his sister. He will catch up and surpass her in the next few months, I'm sure - because he's a boy.

12 October 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

On Monday, October 13, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving. It's a time for family to gather, give thanks and usually eat roasted turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce with pumpkin pie for dessert. Corrine Sellars sent me this great e-card showing her very photogenic Vizsla, Milo. Here's the card, courtesy of Corrine. Milo obviously got the bird, which is only just since he is after all a bird dog, but not the pumpkin.


11 October 2008

Diva goes to market

Diva at Milton Market

Outdoor farmers' markets are great places to buy locally grown and produced food and other artifacts (very important to support our local economy). Our closest one is in Milton, Ontario, Canada and it's an outdoor market and a terrific place to socialize a dog. Today Diva took a turn going to market with me and what a hit she was! So many people wanted to meet and pet her and she was so eager to say hello in return, particularly to children. She gave out lots of free kisses and was exceedingly well behaved - beyond my expectations! She didn't jump up on anyone, except to reach up and kiss children. Boy, was she ever popular.

And of course, there were lots of other dogs to meet and greet. One made me quite nervous though because it was huge. I thought it was a Cane Corso but not knowing mastiff-type breeds very well, I was wrong. It was an American Bulldog, very different from the English Bulldog that I am familiar with. The couple said he has a very gentle temperament and plays with their 3-yr old child. He looked like he could have eaten Diva in one gulp without tasting a hair but he didn't, thank goodness. Anyway, Diva was remarkable around all these stranger people and dogs and not at all shy or unsure about anything or anyone. Quite the contrary. This bodes well for her career as a show dog.

And tomorrow Diva and Quest will visit the Erin Fall Fair in Erin, Ontario where we hope to meet up with their sister Piper and her family, and see cows, horses and all name of creatures. And our gorgeous fall weather is forecast to continue all week! Yippee!!

10 October 2008

Almost but not quite perfect

Our puppies are close to perfection in behaviour as one can get because of my remarkable shaping and training skills. HA, HA! But, being human - oops I meant being canine, they create challenges, especially when they are left unsupervised for what seems to me to be a nano-second but in reality might be five minutes. (That is a no-no on my part and I know I am really the one to blame when they do things they shouldn't).

This week Diva, that beautiful puppy shown in this photo, started honing her indoor climbing skills (transferring her knowledge from the great outdoors in those videos I've already blogged) and figured out
how to clamber onto a chair and from there onto the kitchen table. With her new-found ability, she also discovered that the table was the perfect spot to sun herself and stay warm one chilly day this week. She also encountered interesting things (to a puppy) on the table, one of them being hubby's reading glasses. Later that day, she also managed to reach up on my desk and grab my clip-on sunglasses. (At 4 months of age, she's now tall enough to just reach the edge of counters and begin life as a counter-surfer.) As one might expect, she explored both items with her mouth with the result shown in the photo. Fortunately neither was expensive and all glass, plastic and twisted metal parts were accounted for. No surgery was needed, TG.

The most expensive item to have ever been chewed and destroyed by one of our dogs was a bicycle saddle that hubbie had bought in California many years ago. It was sleek, it was streamlined and it was covered in beautiful, soft leather, it was gorgeous and also very expensive! Unfortunately, he left it in a spot where Nekah, our very first Vizsla puppy (and Diva's maternal great-grandmother) could find it instead of installing it on his bike. I thought he was going to kill her - just joking - but hubbie was rip roaring mad and I think I gave him money to replace it or something like that to placate him. We both learned our lesson since then - or thought we had.

9 October 2008

What's an ATV?

For those visitors to my Blog who aren't familiar with my lingo, an ATV is an 'all-terrain vehicle" a.k.a. (according to WIKIPEDIA) commonly called a quad (quad-bike) in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and parts of Canada. Huh? Never heard it called that where I live in Canada. They are used extensively in agriculture, because of their speed and light footprint on the soil. Well, what about the noise, huh? And crazy teens who drive these things with reckless abandon?

If you want to know more about an ATV or quad-bike, go to:


Teenagers on ATVs

I was having a pleasant walk in the woods with my dogs this afternoon - the weather was warm and sunny and the fall colours were starting to look gorgeous (our garden below)- when from afar I could hear noisy ATVs. Sound carries a long way in the country so I didn't know how close or far away they were initiallly. Then very quickly I realized they were coming down the same trail as us. There was a bend about 40 feet from where we were stood and suddenly one of them appeared. Grabbing and restraining Diva (Quest was at home recovering from an upset GI tract & the others were in the woods and more interested in hunting chipmunks), I put my hand up in the 'stop' position to slow them down. Well, they did - but barely. There were two of them, both teenagers, and they really couldn't care less about us.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, 'YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE HERE!" since motorized vehicles are prohibited from this conservation tract. Of course they couldn't hear me above the huge racket the motors make and the crash helmets they had on. There are no licence plates to identify them since these vehicles aren't approved for road travel. Thankfully this doesn't happen very often and I hope won't again. These kids are probably the ones making all the racket we've been hearing recently but we haven't been able to locate where they ride. Next time, I'll report them to the police. Sometimes in winter we encounter people on snowmobiles - again they are also prohibited on this trail - but I find the snowmobilers are usually adults and more likely to slow down when they see me and the dogs. Sometimes, I am actually grateful when the snowmobilers have been through to pack down deep snow, making it easier for us to walk in winter even though they are breaking the law.

6 October 2008

Happy 4th month!

Our Miska-Ozzie puppies turn 4 month old today. It's incredible to think that these now 24-25 pound Vizslas could fit in the palm of my hand a mere 16 weeks ago when they were born on June 16.

I noticed that Diva has lost her two upper front teeth so teething has now begun. The other puppies will follow suit soon. Diva and Quest (Miss Yellow and Mr Green) continue to be smart, gorgeous puppies, with lovely movement, deep chests, great temperaments and abilities. Likewise with Blaze (Mr Blue) for whom his owners just sent me some photos.
Blaze is just a wonderful puppy and so handsome! I miss him a lot. Well, truthfully, I miss all the puppies.

Andras (Mr Red) is doing well, and adjusting to life with two older Vizslas. The local health unit in California where Andras lives is quite obsessive/compulsive about a puppy not being vaccinated yet for rabies because of a local problem with rabies in bats but I told his owners that as long as he avoids bats, they should be getting him out and about because the socialization window will be starting to close soon. His appointment for rabies vaccine is tomorrow.

I hope to see Gunner (Mr Black) and Piper (Miss Purple) sometime this month as they live quite close by.

5 October 2008

Vizsla event results in Canada

My friend & co-owner/co-breeder Sherryanne Farr of Blackbullet Reg'd Vizslas and Dalmatians and I started a new Blog. Well, the Blog was my idea but she got it started and set up and I'm a contributor. It's devoted to compiling results from Cdn Kennel Club events for Vizslas in Canada since the Cdn Kennel Club can often be months behind in publishing results. Its address is http://canadianvizslaeventresults.blogspot.com/ Right now it's devoted to conformation results but perhaps we'll add agility, obedience and field results if we have time. As we have just started it, there is only a few months' worth of data but as time goes by, we hope to compile a lot of info.

We've added labels so if you click on BIS which means Best in Show, you'll see that that two Vizslas have taken Best in Show in Canada so far this year! A Best in Show is incredibly hard for Vizslas to attain - they don't have the showy coat that so many dogs have and what you see is what you get - no finding any faults behind hair! So congratulations to the owners and breeders of these two dogs! If you click on any of the labels, e.g., Group 1, you'll see only those posts that have Vizslas taking a Group 1 or a province, it will list only those shows that took place in a particular province. Or, if you want to search for a specific dog, put in its registered name (or part of the register name) in the field at the top left corner of the Blog and hit search blog and it will find all the posts with that dog's name in it. It's a very nice way to sort and organize information. Let us know if this Blog is of interest to you by completing the poll.

4 October 2008

Working and playing

The Vizsla is a working dog. It was originally bred by the Hungarian aristrocy to hunt fur and feather, i.e, various game such as upland birds, deer, wild boar (isn't all boar wild?), rabbits. Neither my husband nor I hunt but our dogs are trained to hunt and compete in hunt tests and they sure do a lot of hunting on their own whenever they go outdoors or for walks. As the saying goes, you can take the dog out of the hunt but you can't take the hunt out of the dog. When our dogs aren't being trained for hunting or doing something else like competitive obedience, agility,. or looking pretty or handsome in the show ring, they sometimes get creative about the work they perform.

Years ago, our now dearly departed Sasha began picking up his metal food bowl and bringing it to me after he had finished eating. In return, he'd get a treat. This game eventually turned into a daily job for him. In addition to picking up his own bowl, I'd send him around the kitchen to fetch the other dogs' bowls, saving me time and energy. He was most enthusiastic about his 'job'.

Sasha with bowl (photo courtesy of Corrine Sellars)

Sasha kept up this line of work well into his 14th year. Only in the last two months leading up to his death did he fail to perform it daily. And, that's when his daughter, Miska, started taking over - and sometimes with a vengeance. (Many obedience trainers say that dogs hate to pick up metal which is the composition of one of the types of articles used in the Utility ring. Not in our dogs' cases.) Miska's a fast eater and would then beat Sasha to the bowls. I'd have to take one of the bowls she just fetched and offer it to him just so he could get a reward.

At times now, Miska can barely wait for another dog to finish its dinner or breakfast before she tries to snatch the bowl from under its nose and bring it to me. She absolutely loves this job! That's Miska in the two photos below and in the video.

And Miska's sister, Katya (another of Sasha's daughters), who lives in Ithaca, NY, also does the same thing? Is there a 'bowl fetching gene" in these dogs I wonder? Tyro is the only other dog in our house who has attempted this job but he's not very good at it right now because he doesn't bring the bowl to me. Instead, he takes it over to a dog bed and continues to lick it out. Or worse, he drops it on the tile floor and it makes a very loud clatter which drives my husband crazy! I'm working on his 'hold'.


It's not all work in the house. The dogs also like to relax and play. Here's Miska with the TV remote control about to settle down for some relaxing and below is Tyro watching TV.

1 October 2008

Boys are such softies

Yesterday I took Diva and Quest in for their rabies and leptospirosis shots. The lepto vaccine can sting and puppies with little body fat, such as Vizslas, tend to feel the sting more. Diva was a bit bothered by it, trying to bite at the injection sites but still took treats while the effects were wearing off. On the other hand, Quest showed his true 'soft boy' colours by being a real baby. He wanted to crawl onto the vet's lap and be held and hugged. Poor boy! He felt very sorry for himself and milked the situation for all the attention and cuddles he could get while Diva wandered around the office exploring and looking for mischief. The reality is, Vizsla males are big sucks and softies; they are needy; they want to be with you all the time; give them a verbal correction or just raise your voice (not necessarily at them) and they can whither in front of you. The girls on the other hand, are often more independent, bounce back quickly from any chastisement and general more pain-tolerant. Of course, there are always exceptions.

Diva and Quest


Quest and Diva in the garden