30 October 2010


Happy Howl-owe'en from the Varazs Vizslas!

Diva picking out a pumpkin
L-R Miska, Sasha & Milo (2005; courtesy of C. Sellars)

29 October 2010

mosaicworks.ca: Our Girl Rita is 14 today!

mosaicworks.ca: Our Girl Rita is 14 today!

Rita is a Vizsla I imported from the United States in January 1997 from Joy Lyons of Lyons Vizslas in Florida. After a couple of months, it became obvious that she had a severe case of entropian so I couldn't use her in my breeding program. I placed her with Karen Johnston & Doug Wheeler who also owned another one of my Vizslas, Varazs Summer Solstice (Bob). On October 28, 2919 Rita celebrated her 14th Birthday. We visited Rita and Bob in August 2009, just before Bob's 14th birthday. He died just short of 14 so it's wonderful that Rita made it to 14. She lived a charmed life, having almost perished after being impaled by a stick very close to her heart many years ago.

Here's Rita 'flirting' with our Tyro back in 2009.

NOT lost in translation

No matter what language you read or speak, these signs are pretty universal.  I spotted these on our recent trips to Israel.

28 October 2010

Spot the Grouse

A lonely grouse wandered through our garden the other day & stopped for lunch - eating berries from our burning bush. Had I not spotted movement, I would never have noticed this guy because it is so well camoflauged.  Our dogs were indoors at the time so didn't have an opportunity to bring home dinner.  I'm sure it would have been a very tasty meal!

26 October 2010

The irony & the agony

If you've read my Blog, you'll know that Miska recently competed in 2 Open trials, neither of which she passed. However, today at class in a trial 'run-through' and 2 weeks ago doing the same thing at class at Companion Dog Training, Miska aced things. We were also judged by Marie Sawford (the school's owner & head instructor) who herself is a CKC-approved obedience/rally judge. Scores of 195 and 197 from Marie. Here's the proof.

Come on Miska! What gives??? Why do you pass with flying colours at a 'mock' trial but blow the real thing? You like to spend my money??!

24 October 2010

Travelling with Man's Best Friend

Do you travel with your dogs in your car or van?  If you own a dog, of course you do! Otherwise, how would you get your best friend to the vet or the groomer or to training or to a dog show?  But, is your dog loose in your vehicle or stowed safely in a crate?  Ever watched videos or TVC commercials of test dummies in supervised vehicle crashes?  If yes, then you know what happens to humans even when they are restrained by seat belts and protected now by airbags.

Traveling with Man's Best Friend loose - or worse, loose or tied up by its collar in the open cab of a truck (I want to shoot people who do this) -  inside a vehicle is dangerous to the dog and ALSO extremely dangerous to the driver and any passengers.

I just came across a very revealing article, the link for which is found below. PLEASE read it and if you don't restrain your canine properly and safely before reading this, then you don't deserve to be owned by a dog.  This explains why I now specifically put into my sales agreements a requirement that the owner always travels with his/her Vizsla in a crate or restrained by a secure harness. Even if you use a safety harness, you'd better check whether it will withstand high force.  Please don't risk your dog's life when traveling! Protect your furry buddies!


23 October 2010

Miska in Open

Miska (DOB: June 26, 2003) recently competed in her first Open (CDX) obedience trials at the London Canine Assoc. trials.  As for me, I haven't competed in Open since Feb. 2002, when I was competing with my Vizsla Keira (DOB: June 5, 1997).  Keira was a fabulous working dog and just aced obedience and agility.  Anyway, I have wanted to return to Open. Miska and I have been training rather intensively for the past few months. In particular, I've focussed on her heeling and her motivation / speed in the ring with the help of Marie Sawford's expertise at Companion Dog Training. This has really paid off and now Miska gives me great  - not perfect but significantly improved - attention while heeling.  And most importantly, she enjoys being in the ring even though she'd really rather be outdoors hunting.

Miska -posing with her dumbbell

Retrieve over the High Jump

My initial plan was not to do her first two Open trials in a single day but that's the way the entries and schedule went. I had hoped for at least 1 Q (qualifying score) but that didn't happen either.  Here's my post mortem of her performances.

Trial 1
V good heeling; only lost 2.5 marks! I gave her a verbal command for the Drop on Recall & she didn't hear me so that was an automatic Fail.  Lost 1 mark for a poor sit in front & poor finish on the retrieve on flat. 1/2 mark lost on her retrieve over the high jump for a crooked sit in front. Then the biggest faux pas - she walked over the broad jump.  Oh brother! And then just as I returned to her on the long sit, she stood.  Oh well. We still had another trial later in the afternoon.

Miska was doing better in the first four exercises. So far, so good. I gave her a hand signal for the drop & she dropped this time. Up until the broad jump, we were qualifying. Then she walked over it again.  AAAAArrrrrgggghhhh - despite the fact that I had brought my jumps to the trial and she practiced cleanly outdoors.  Hmmmm.  And then in the long sit, she went down.  Well, it was a very long day.  I had risen at 5:30 AM & Miska was awakened at 6:15 as we had a really early start to drive to the show.  She's 7 years old and hasn't competed in obedience trials (and never 2 in one day) for a long, long time. So chalk the going down in the long sit up to fatigue?? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Despite the NQ's,  I was really pleased with Miska's heeling and her motivation in the ring. She appeared genuinely happy to be competing even though I'm sure she would rather have been hunting.  So, I'm working the broad jump & her fronts in the next few weeks until our next trials, mid-November.

Quest's 3 pt major

Here's the photo of Quest earning his first 3 point major win at the Finger Lakes Kennel Club show at Romulus, NY on Oct. 3, 2010. Quest was handled by his breeder/owner, Sylvia Dorosh. The judge was Mrs. Carol Esterkin (absent from photo) from Tarzana, California.

Cdn CH Varazs Kedves Quester winning his first major. 

20 October 2010

1,2,3,4,5 - bang, bang, bang

5 Trials, 5 Q's 
(& 2 Second & 2 First Place Finishes)

This past weekend was "Tyro's weekend". I entered Tyro (DOB June 17, 2006) in a combination of 5 rally-obedience and obedience trials in two days at the London Canine Association shows in Tillsonburg, ON on October 16 and 17. Since he had never competed in both types of trials at the same venue or even more than one trial in a day, I didn't know how he would handle the stress. Added to all of this is the fact that Tyro doesn't like to travel and we had had no opportunity to practice for about two weeks since I had been traveling and he's never been entered in a formal practice match before. So it was a big gamble and potentially very expensive (at $28/trial) if he didn't qualify.

However, Tyro not only achieved my hopes but exceeded my expectations:
  1. Three qualifying scores in Rally Advanced with scores of 93, 96 and 100 to complete his RA title which included2 second place finishes and a first place (with his score of 100) in rally
  2. Two qualifying scores in Novice A obedience with scores of 184 and 191 which included1st place / High in Class in Novice A with his score of 191 
Tyro's 'software' haul of ribbons & rosettes
So it was 1,2,3,4,5 - five trials and five qualifying scores, a new title and 2/3's of the way to another title which is how I like to do trials!

(Unfortunately Saturday's obedience trials were full so we only got into two trials on Sunday. Given his achievements, I am now confident Tyro would have finished his CKC CD (Companion Dog) obedience title if we had gotten into one more trial that weekend.  Oh well, it just gives us more time to practice his off-leash heeling (where he lost most points) in readiness for two more obedience and rally trials in mid-November.)

19 October 2010

Shandy's evaluations

Here are the written IABCA (International All Breed Canine Association) judges' evaluations for Shandy (Cdn & International CH Varazs Artemis Vizsandy CD, AGN, AGI, RN (CKC & CARO), RA (CKC & CARO), CGN).  I am grateful to Shandy's owners, Chrissie Diron, for allowing me to share these.

18 October 2010

International Champion

Announcing our newest and only second International Champion!

Shandy stacking

Shandy out of our 2003 breeding between Am/Can Ch Varazs Kiraly Sassy Sasha Am/Can CDX, Am RAE, FDJ, CGC, CGN (Sasha) and Can CH Ferngold Varazs Innovation Am/Can CD, Can RN, Am RAE, FDJ JH CGN (Nova) can now add International Champion to her titles!  She participated in the International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA) shows in Ridgefield, Washington on Oct. 9-10, 2010. In addition to receiving a very positive written evaluation, a new title, Shandy also took a Group 2nd.  She's now known as:

Cdn &International CH Varazs Artemis Vizsandy CD, AGN, AGI,

Shandy participated in 4 shows on the weekend. Judges Richard Byrd and Sylvia Hammarstrom gave her Best of Breed, with Sylvia Hammarstrom then awarding Shandy a Group 2nd. Mr Byrd thought she was a stunning veteran and really wanted to recognize the fact that even though she was older, she had it all still! Ms Hammarstrom just loved Shandy's type. She was very outspoken about how disappointed she is in most Vizslas she sees, as coming from Europe she finds most N. American Vizslas to be far too fine, flimsy and their heads all snipey.

In addition, Shandy's almost six-year old daughter, Pia was also entered and took two Best of Breeds and a Group 3rd and was also awarded her International Champion title. She's now known as Int'l CH Vitali Olympia.

Congratulations to owners Chrissie & Jens Diron of British Columbia!


5 October 2010

Scenes from Wine Circuit

Here are some photos taken while I was at the Wine Circuit shows (Sept 30 - Oct. 3) at Romulus, NY and while staying with Pauline, a friend/owner of Katya, one of my Vizslas who lives in Ithaca, NY. Katya is Cdn CH Varazs Sziv Jump for Joy, Am RE.

Taughannock Falls, Ulysses, NY. After the area got 4-8 inches of rain on Sept. 30, the falls were mighty impressive!

L-R, Sisters Katya & Miska, 7 yr old

Full Siblings: Vadasz, Miska, Katya

Katya with her beautiful head

Vadasz, looking sleepy after getting drops in his eyes for the CERF eye test

My friend Pauline with Diva (2 yr old)

L-R  Quest, Diva (2 yr old & full sibs), Miska & Vadasz (7 yr old & full sibs)
 Miska is the mother of both Diva & Quest.

Gary Krammer with the 2 new title holders: Miska RAE & Vadasz CH

Gary & Vadasz finishing the Honor exercise in Rally Excellent.
 You can see more about Vadasz & Miska on their webpages by clicking on their names.

4 October 2010

Vadasz's star finally rose

One to two times per year, I've been taking Vadasz (from our Sasha-Nova breeding in 2003) to dog shows in the USA, trying to earn his second and final major to finish his American Championship.  Sometimes he was too pudgy and other times he was too thin and other times, it was political - he was often the best dog there but not with the 'right' handler.  He was always breeder/co-owner-handled except for two times - when I had had knee surgery and couldn't show him myself and another time when I figured it was political and so hired a handler.

I have always believed in Vadasz and when I saw him recently (after he'd turned 7 years old), I said to his owner, Gary Krammer, "boy he looks great" and "wow, does he move nicely" and "you know, he really deserves to be an American Champion".

My plans kept changing this fall but to make a long story short, I finally decided to go to the Wine Circuit at Romulus NY.  I asked Gary to enter Vadasz in conformation as well as Quest (Vadasz' 2-year old nephew from my 2008 breeding).  This was going to be Vadasz's last shot at his AKC CH. It was now or never ( I was dreading ' never').

Thursday, September 30 at Wine Circuit didn't go as well as hoped. It was raining and the rings were turning to mud. Each dog of mine took second place in the classes but Quest and his sister Diva took Reserve Winners Dog.  Things really improved for Vadasz on Friday.  It was still terribly muddy but  he took Reserve Winners Dog.  And then on Saturday when I did so well with Miska in Rally, I said to myself, "I'm on a roll. Things are looking up." and I really had a feeling it would be a good day (or at least I sure hoped so!). 

Things started to look up  well when judge Linda More of Cary, NC moved Vadasz to the head of the line-up in the Open class and then gave him First.  However, before this happened, she mentioned to me that he was limping in the last go around.  "Oh no!" I thought.  She asked me to check his paws. Well, they were covered in mud and straw because of the terribly wet and muddy conditions at the show grounds.  I tried to pull some of the mud off this paw and hoped and prayed that there was nothing wrong with him.  She made us go around again and finally pointed to Vadasz as her Open Dog.  Then it was back into the Ring!  Again, Ms More pointed to Vadasz as her Winners Dog.   And it was a major!!!!  That's all he needed to finish!!!  5,5 years after getting his first major at this exact same location, Vadasz finally finished his AKC Championship.  I jumped up and down in the mud - I was SOOOO excited and happy.  The judge laughingly said to me, "Don't make the conditions worse than they already are!!!!"

Congratulations to Vadasz (Am/Can CH Varazs Kiralyi Vadaszat FDJ, Can/Am CD, NAVHDA NA Prize II, JH, RN (AKC), RA (AKC), CGN.  You are finally and officially an American Champion at the graceful age of seven!! No chalking, no hair dye or cheating to make you look younger.  Just beautiful you. And to top the day off, Gary Krammer, his owner, earned a second Rally Excellent leg in the morning.  Show photo to follow but here's a photo of Gary and Vadasz with their Rally ribbon.

3 October 2010

Low to high, Wine Circuit 2010

Well, after getting 4 to 8 inches of rain on Thursday, Sept. 30 in the Ithaca NY area, Friday Oct. 1st  at Romulus NY greeted us with clearer skies but incredibly muddy and soggy field conditions for the dog show and trials.  The start of the show was delayed by one hour in an effort to lay down straw and in a hope that the ground would dry out (NOPE!) so rally didn't get underway until 9:45 AM.  The Excellent B class was the first in the ring.

I don't get any opportunity to train in soggy, muddy conditions.  Miska wasn't happy about all the mud; nor was I as my boots almost got stuck trying to heel around the ring. And of course (as luck would have it), I had a conflict with conformation.  However, the judge allowed me to quickly walk the course before the official walk-through but there were signs that were wrong as I later discovered.  Anyway, to make a long story a little shorter, Miska & I didn't have a great run.  Her heeling was sloppy because she was trying to dodge puddles and the worst of holes and I didn't have her full attention so we repeated several stations. And then I totally screwed up and did the last station wrong, misinterpreting it as an Excellent sign when it was a Novice/Adv/Exc sign so that was an automatic 10 pt loss.  Sigh. And in the honor (a sit), Miska shuffled her bum several times and then stood a few seconds before the exercise came to an end so that was more points off.  In the end, the judge was a bit generous and just squeaked her by giving us a 70 out of 100. That's the lowest passing score a dog can get but it was a Q (qualifying) score!  Then onto Advanced where Miska excelled, getting a score of 99 and second place!  That gave us/her the 9th leg towards her title.

Miska & Sylvia with 1st place ribbons and 2nd place rosette

Saturday was the only other day I entered Miska in rally.  Conformation was on a little later so we (i.e., I) were more relaxed not having the worry of having to dash over to conformation and show.  So Saturday, Oct. 2 started off really well. I even arrived early enough to help the judge set up the ring.  Miska and I warmed up and she was paying attention to me even though the ground was still very muddy and uneven.  The judge was very forgiving of the conditions and only threw in one exercise that involved making the dogs lie down. The honor was a sit again.  Miska scored 96 in Excellent and ended up in first place!  The Advanced class followed Excellent.  I asked to be moved up to be the first handler/dog in the ring because conformation was going to be on and I had to show 3 dogs there.  Miska had a GREAT Advanced run.  I glanced at our score as I high-tailed it over to conformation. 99/100!  Later on, I learned she took first place.  I then thought to myself, "we're on a roll now! This is going to be a good day!"

So that's how Miska completed her last 2 RAE legs and finished her AKC RAE title, exactly where we started two years ago.  Miska is the 3rd Vizsla I've put an AKC RAE on. She follows in the paw-steps of her father (Sasha) and mom (Nova) who both earned this same title ahead of her. This is title #16 for Miska.