26 August 2012

Oppose the Breed Standard changes!!!


Vizsla Canada Inc. has submitted proposed amendments to the CKC breed standard for both the Smooth and Wirehaired Vizslas.  Unfortunately only members of the Canadian Kennel Club can vote on these proposed changes.  To vote, go to www.ckc.ca and under Membership Services, select Publish for Comment to open the documents.  The deadline for voting and for comments is October 1, 2012.

I urge everyone to vote against the proposed changes which  are summarized below (additions are shown in bold and deletions shown in strikeout).


FOREQUARTERS Dewclaws should be removed if not removed, should be held tightly against the leg.

TAIL A portion is may be docked, approximately 1/3 so that the tip of the shortened tail is level with the juncture of the upper and lower thigh. Full length tails are not to be penalized.

7. Dewclaws not removed.


FOREQUARTERS Dewclaws should be removed if not removed, should be held tightly against the leg.

TAIL The tail is of moderate thickness and may be docked to 2/3 of its original length. Full length tails are not to be penalized.

FAULTS Dewclaws.


These standards have been in place for decades.  They were developed by people who had a lot of experience in Hungary.  Tails are docked and dewclaws are removed for good reasons. A breed standard is supposed to give you a clear picture of the ideal dog.  By stating something "may be done" or "if not done, should be . . . "  doesn't give a clear picture.  Should I or shouldn't I dock the tails or remove dewclaws?  The parent club, Vizsla Canada, is bending to the whims of the eastern Canada veterinary colleges which had adopted the policy that these are unecessary surgeries and may subject veterians to professional misconduct.

Many pet owners and veterinarians simply don't understand the history and function of our breed and operate under the misconception that these procedures are cruel and done only for cosmetic reasons.  They are NOT!!  Check out the case for docking on the Council of Docked Breeds website as well as other information and cases on the website of the Council of Docked Breeds.  In some  breeds, cases may be made that some procedures are cosmetic such as ear cropping but in an active dog such as the Vizsla, they are necessary for the safety of our breed.

The Vizsla's tail is very thin at the tip and is just as likely to be damaged inside one's house as outdoors in the field.  I am personally familiar with an undocked import from Australia, which had to have its tail amputated as an adult due to numerous injuries from hitting its tail against the walls of the house.  This was Ozzie, who sired my 2008 litter.  Amputation of a limb when an adult dog is much more serious and painful than when done as a 2-3 day old whelp.  Likewise with dewclaws.  Yes, there is pain when these procedures are done at 2-3 days but it is over very quickly and within a couple of minutes the whelps are asleep. Our standard should continue to advocate for tail docking and dewclaw removal.  The proposed wording changes water down the requirements for docking and adds confusion to the interpretation of the standard.   By not stating that a tail should be docked or that dews should be removed, it leaves things open.

In particular I find the statement about dewclaws "if not removed, should be held tightly against the leg" totally absurd!   I've been in Vizslas since 1978.  In those 34 years, I've seen thousands of Vizslas throughout Canada and the US. Of those thousands of Vizslas, I may have seen 1 dog with dewclaws.  How on earth can a breeder breed for "tight dewclaws" when virtually all Vizslas have had them removed as puppies????  This proposed amendment is absolutely ridiculous!!

So let's imagine I don't remove the dewclaws of a litter of puppies but when they grow up to be six months of age, I want to show one or more of them.  And now I find the dewclaws don't like close to their legs.  If approved, the breed standard no longer says they are a fault but the standard says they should lie close to the leg but they don't.  Now I am confused!! They don't conform to the standard so should I have them removed? Well, surgery is now going to be a lot more expensive and harder on an older dog so I have to think carefully about whether I want to do this to the dog.  However, the dog is a nice specimen except for the dews.  Can you understand where I'm coming from?

I would prefer this wording:


A tail docked one-third is recommended to avoid injury.  When docked, the tip of the shortened tail should be level with the juncture of the upper and lower thigh.  Tails that are somewhat shorter or full-length should not be penalized. 


The removal of dewclaws, if any, on front and rear feet, is strongly recommended in order to avoid injury when running in the field. (This is the wording of the AKC Vizsla Breed Standard.)

I agree with removing dewclaws as a fault in both instances.

If you are a CKC member, PLEASE OPPOSE the proposed amendments to our breed standard.  We need more time to develop better wording if we really need to change the standards.


  1. I don't mind your wording, with the exception of "a tail docked two-thirds". This means removing 2/3rds.

  2. I think you are totally correct. After running my vizsla in Field Trials even with a "long" docked tailed she has had multiple injuries to the end of her tail, which have been long in healing. Additionally, my rescue vizsla, has dewclaws, and has had multiple problems associated with them. Active and happy Vizslas jumping, running and playing have increased problems not only for themselves, but also when their dewclaws accidentally scrape down loving owners arms and legs!

  3. Your statement "in Hungary Tails are docked and dewclaws are removed for good reasons" is incorrect. Hungarian Vizslas in Hungary have dew claws and natural tails, it has been against the law for quite a few years. Look it up for yourself to confirm what I say is true.

    1. There was missing punctuation in my original post; there should have been a period after Hungary. I did NOT intend to imply that tails are docked in Hungary, as I understand that nowadays, they are not. However, te 'original' Vizsla forefathers did dock and remove dewclaws - for good reasons.

  4. Tail docking and removing of dew claws should only ever be carried out when advised by a veterinarian. Injuries are extremely uncommon and used as a poor excuse to cover the real reason as to why they want them removed (particularity the tail). For aesthetic purposes. Whilst I understand dew claws can in some breeds especially hounds be quite fragile and removing in some cases is needed the same cannot be said for the tail. Removing the tail is not only a poor solution to the odd minor injury (tail protectors for minor injuries) but your also removing one of the dog primary forms of communication with other canines and people. And this is all for asthetics. You really need to get your priorities right and stop pretending this ultimatly benefits the dog because he is "happy". When really its to please your own image of how the dog should look.

  5. I don't really understand the problem with these proposed changes. If you don't like them, keep docking and removing dews. Problem solved! If you're a breeder who's interested in keeping dews (for example - given the mounting evidence that they are actually used AND that they protect against wrist torque that leads to arthritis later in life), you now have the choice to do so. Why is this a problem for you? Continue altering your dogs and others can make their own choices as they see fit.