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Invitational 2020 here we come!

After my first NAVHDA testing experience in 2018 in Wisconsin, where I handled two of my dogs in UT (Extreme and Delceg) but they didn’t manage to finish it in 1st prize, the seed was just planted in my head to come back and try it again- this time being more prepared with the rules and expectations. For many, passing the NAVHDA Utility is already in itself a big thing, but for people like me, who are competitive, and perfectionist, no compromise below a 1st prize. Getting out to the Invitational, and become a Versatile Champion is the BIG DEAL, especially with a breed, who has so little acknowledgement (yet) in the States. I have been involved in the Wirehaired Vizsla (WV) breed for 20 years now, since I was 16. When I first got into the breed, the Wirehaired Vizsla was in a very worrisome situation. The population was down, the reputation of the breed was not very good, and there were a lot of problems with coat quality and their nervous system (gun shyness). Many of the dogs with poor coat quality worked well, and many of the dogs with proper conformation were gun shy. Few wanted to get involved with breeding, as it was a difficult and sometimes disappointing venture.

Since I got involved with this breed, it has became my mission to show the World, how great this breed is and also to keep producing better and better dogs. This was my incentive to start breeding Wirehaired Vizslas.

I feel it’s very important this breed doesn’t get separated into working and show lines. Several of my dogs go to owners in the USA. Those who purchase dogs from me and want to breed from them, are required to do at least the minimum to prove the dog’s natural abilities: to pass the NAVHDA NA, or earn the AKC JH title. This helps protect the quality and integrity of my bloodlines. I find it quite disappointing that very few of the American breeders put emphasis on hunting this breed, rather than strictly showing it. I feel a NAVHDA Natural Ability Test is a reasonable request, but it’s a big step for many people. For this reason, I have been running training days in different parts of North America for Zoldmali owners, to help them get the best out of their dogs and to open their eyes to what this breed is capable of. Even non-hunters can enjoy training their hunting dogs for what they were bred. I’ve gotten several pet owners hooked on hunting dog training in this way. I also like to see what becomes of my progenies. It’s such a joy to awaken their instincts in those couple of days. When my friend, Emery Mersich mentioned to me in April that his Delaware Valley (Del-Val) Chapter, would be holding a Utility Test on June 1st and 2nd, 2019, and suggested me to go, I was in. Two spaces were still available, so I decided to enter two of my dogs, Zoldmali Extreme (4 y.o.) and Zoldmali Puma (23 months). I could join a NAVHDA training day and even got to use the Del-Val Chapter’s training ground to run 3 days training for Zoldmali owners while I was out there.

The local NAVHDA Chapter’s training day was a big help in my preparation. Seeing them how they do it and being able to ask questions, was exactly what I needed to be able to get my dogs and myself ready for the test the following weekend. It takes two (a good dog and a good handling) in this game to succeed. The atmosphere on the testing day was a very pleasant experience: it seemed like a big family, supporting and cheering for each other. There was even a big BBQ in the end, where everyone brought ‘something’ to share.

The judges, Chip Bonde, Tim Clark and Jake Bartells, thoroughly explained what they wanted to see, and I felt their supportive attitude towards the handlers throughout the whole test. Probably that’s why I seemed so relaxed while handling my dogs -something several people commented. It was truly a great experience and I enjoyed every moment of the preparation and testing. I was happy to show what this breed, and my dogs, are capable of, and that I could come here from Europe, from a different testing environment and adjust my dogs to this test in a short time. A true versatile breed, easy to train and very co-operative. Both dogs passed the test with Prize I’s, with maximum scores.

My main motivation behind testing with NAVHDA was to encourage other Wirehaired Vizsla owners and breeders in North America to test and put some results behind their dogs. If I can do this from Europe, they shouldn’t have any excuses. And since my testing, there had been 3 other Zoldmali WVs getting a UT 1st prize and a 4th in Canada passing UT in 3rd prize, so there are already 5 of us running next year in the Invitational.

Saying I am a proud breeder is an understatement.

I would like to thank all my friends who offered their support during the preparation and who cheered for us in the background, and I would like to highlight here Emery Mersich, who brought me along to the Del-Val Chapter’s NAVHDA training clinic the weekend before the test, who helped to organize a 3 day training clinic for Zoldmali owners during our visit, and who supported and hosted us throughout our stay. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our extended Zoldmali Family. Also, many thanks to those who came to train with us on the Zoldmali training days.