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Alliance Board Members

Numerous breeders and hunters in the Vizsla community have spent a considerable amount of the last 50 years training and testing their versatile hunting vizslas in the NAVHDA system.  These people are avid upland and waterfowl hunters and began their journey with vizslas by purchasing their first vizslas from various breeders across the United States. Within the last 15 years especially, there have been several people moving towards the same goal of producing and hunting behind truly versatile vizslas. During the journey through training dogs for the Utility test and eventually the Invitational, we all came to the understanding of several important traits that the vizsla needs to possess in order to be successful at this versatile dog test.  1. Love of water in the face of challenges  2.  Solid grounded temperament and 3.  Trainability/cooperation.  The pursuit of dogs that possessed these traits became a passion for all of these breeders and they then found themselves working together to improve the breed on these three qualities in particular. The following board members formed a collective of passionate vizsla enthusiasts and decided to assemble this Alliance.  We are hoping to generate interest in this avenue of testing and assessing potential breeding stock to ensure longevity of these traits in the vizsla breed.

Tate and Jenny Martinsen

Martinsen's Vizslas and Red Point Kennel

My name is Jenny Martinsen and I have been enjoying the vizsla breed for over ten years now. I first fell in love with the breed when we brought home our first pup Ginger. Ginger was a spunky and feisty red head with amazing hunt drive. It was due to that spunk and drive that our passion for the breed grew and grew. After some private lessons with our local trainer Joe Rodriquez of R Place Kennels we were encouraged to join our local Navhda chapter. After our very first training day we were hooked! The people and their dogs were so inviting and welcoming! We soon worked our way towards our first Utility test where we came back with a no prize. But we didn’t give up! Soon after Ginger earned her Utility Prize 1 and we were Invitational bound! I always dreamed of having a Versatile Champion and Ginger made that all possible! Fast forward to the present and Martinsen’s Red Point Kennel is home to six Navhda Versatile Champion Vizslas and two Versatile Champion Breeders awards! None of those accomplishments would have been possible without the support from our local Navhda chapter, Navhda International, and most importantly their amazing owners! It’s thanks to this wonderful testing organization that our breeding program has continually improved!

For me this breed has so much to offer. It’s been a true joy of mine to hunt over these amazing dogs! To my first pheasant, to a double on quail, and ducks retrieved to hand. I feel at total peace when I am out in the fields with my gun in hand and dogs in front of me!

Bridget Nielsen

Wall Canyon Vizslas

Welcome to all of you! We are thrilled to be launching the Versatile Hunting Vizsla Alliance. This has been a thought for quite some time for Jenny, Sheryl and myself. We’ve all been passionate about versatile hunting vizslas for a long time but for me it all started 20 years ago when I purchased Jake. Intentions were good to have a hiking companion but my curiosity got the best of me when I decided I wanted to see if he could be a hunting dog. The rest is history they say.... I never would have guessed that I would be living in the northern Great Plains of Montana but the dogs brought me here. Jake brought me such joy and new adventures that it has blossomed into my having been owned by ten vizslas over the years. I've learned so much about these dogs that when I set out to find dogs for breeding I had specific requirements. Desire...talent....cooperation...love of water... and of course good looks and health. That's a tall order to ask of any breed but a must for vizslas. One added requirement... the dogs must inspire me during our hunts. You might know what I speak of. It's that moment when they take your breath away... It's that moment when you find your dog on point after looking for him for ten minutes and the dog has birds pinned and looks up to say, "where ya been boss? I got em right here!" Or that moment when your shot connects but only wings the bird. But your dog watches it coast away and potentially out of your grasp and then the dog seemingly tracks the scent of the air track it left as it coasted out of sight, only for the dog to race away and return minutes later with the bird in his mouth. Or is it when you’ve waited patiently for that pair of green heads to float in over your decoys and you wing one and your dog watches it coast over to the neighboring pond and he swims hard to search for the escapee bird. When your dog tracks and retrieves that wounded bird and he’s bringing it back, that’s when the pride spills over. These are moments that inspire. I’m proud to have witnessed these moments with my Vizslas. Over the years I’ve assembled a crew of dogs that can a achieve these feats in many different conditions and places. They have demonstrated the grit it takes to hunt wild birds successfully in all types of conditions.

My journey into NAVHDA was over 20 years ago with my first dog, Jake. I worked as a biologist and trained my own dogs in my spare time but after 28 years of federal service I chose to retire early and take on becoming a professional bird dog trainer for hunting vizslas and NAVHDA testing. 

These days I’ve stepped up to be a NAVHDA judge and I’ve judged AKC hunt tests and field trials in the past. I value the hard work it takes to bring out the absolute best in our versatile dogs and I value the people who pour those emotions and dedication into their dogs to create better bird dogs.

The vizsla is a special breed of dog and as an passionate enthusiast of the breed, I look forward to seeing all of you share your wisdom and stories of your versatile hunting vizsla!!

Sheryl Teppe

Smoothbore Vizslas

I began my journey into madness 18 years ago with my first Vizsla, Sophie, from a local family breeder. My husband and I wanted a family dog that we could bird hunt with. I live in Central Wisconsin, home to a strong NAVHDA chapter where the members helped me learn about training pointing dogs and guided me through Sophie’s NA test. After Sophie had a serious accident that meant she couldn’t hunt, I came across what was at the time a first for the Vizsla breed – a UT1 to UT1 breeding. I knew I wanted to continue within the NAVHDA system, having enjoyed hunting with friends that took their dogs through the various levels. Vizslas were exceedingly rare in NAVHDA at the time (2004), so finding this litter was my great good fortune. Two pups from that litter went on to earn their Versatile Champion titles, one of them my Karma.

Vizslas created a revolution for me, as I had to learn to shoot, learn to train and handle dogs, learn to navigate unfamiliar terrain, learn new skills. My horizons were broadened, my love of hunting has grown, many new friends made, and many great experiences enjoyed as my dogs discovered prairie birds, ducks, geese, woodlands grouse and woodcock. To this day I still get that flutter in my heart when one of my dogs nails a point and the bird flushes just to fall to my gun.

Since Sophie, I have been blessed with several remarkable dogs. Altogether, I have trained and handled my dogs to 8 NA P1, 8 UT P1 and 3 VC titles. Having truly drunk the Koolaid, I have been a NAVHDA judge since 2010, a Senior Judge since 2006, and an Invitational judge last year.

As a NAVHDA Judge I have had the opportunity to observe nearly all of the Versatile Pointing breeds recognized by the organization. One common thread winds through all of the great Utility dogs I have observed – keen prey drive, strong retrieving instinct, emphatic pointing, strength and grit to power through the water, train-ability and a strong character that can manage significant levels of training. These are not breed specific attributes – they are basic requirements for any versatile hunting dog.

There are several breeds using NAVDHA testing successfully to improve their litters' consistency in hunting attributes by using one or both parents tested to the Utility level. These breeds have developed Alliances meant to guide and recognize those members doing so, most notably the Pudelpointer.

I believe the Vizsla breed would benefit from a similar effort. I believe if we are to preserve the Vizsla as a Versatile hunting dog then we need to encourage putting performance (function) at the forefront of our breeding decisions, so long as form and health are acceptable. Failing to address hunting abilities first in breeding decisions can inadvertently deselect the strong versatile traits we need in our Vizslas to be fully capable of meeting their original reason for existence.

By introducing this Alliance, we hope to generate excitement among the many gifted and dedicated Vizsla breeders to utilize the NAVHDA system, particularly at the Utility level, to improve the Versatile hunting abilities of their puppies.

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