Vizsladogs, Ltd.

History of Vizsla in Australia

by Faye Harris

This is a chapter from Fay Harris' book "The Hungarian Vizsla in Australia." It is reprinted with permission of the author.

The Hungarian Vizsla first came to Australia in 1973 when Frank and Eva Mayhew of Riverstone, NEW, imported a bitch. This Vizsla was Aust Ch Galfrid Fecske (Imp UK). Bred by Angel Boys, she became the foundation bitch of Kingsbury Kennels. Fecske was followed a year later by Aust Ch Galfrid Lott (Imp UK) C.D., and these two Vizslas are to be found in the great majority of Australian-born Vizslas’ pedigrees.

The Mayhews also imported a bitch from New Zealand. She came from the Zigeuner Kennels of Nan Janssen, and was to become Ch Zigeuner Z. Zena. Other Zigeuner Vizslas imported from New Zealand were Ch Zigeuner Y Zslot (Judith Hadju, Berki Kennels NSW) Ch Zigeuner C. Ballaton (imported by Pat and Eunice McKie, Loighaire Kennels Qld, and later owned by Dave and Chris Gillespie, Kelambanke Kennels, Qld) and Ch Zigeuner B Tisza (Mr and Mrs Tom Harris, Bordnamot Kennels, Qld)

The Zigeuner dogs and bitches were generally finer boned than the first Vizsla imports and their offspring. The first Vizslas from these New Zealand bred dogs were also finer boned but as time has gone by and there has been more blending of types, this fineness is not as noticeable.

Judit Hadju also imported Ch Saline Foremost, another male, from the UK. "Buck", as he was called, was a shorter, cobbier dog than the New Zealand imports, a much more compact dog. In Perth, WA, Roger and Salli Demets who already owned Ch Kingsbury Brutus (Ch Galfrid Lott x Ch Galfrid Feckse) and Kingsbury Deborah (Kingsbury Arturo x Ch Zigeuner Z. Zena), imported a bitch from the UK, Waidman Diva.

Diva was purchased from Louise Petrie-Hay, a well known Vizsla judge who believed strongly in the working Vizsla. Roger, already working Brutus, hoped to breed good working Vizslas. However, soon after Diva’s first litter, sired by Brutus, was born, Brutus was killed in a freak accident when a car ran up onto the footpath and hit him. Roger, without his beloved "Brute", never had quite the same feeling for the breed. He continued to hunt with Deborah and Diva, but the Demets, whose prefix was Zsaka, never bred again.

Another import was discovered quite by chance. Napkeltei Vadasz Elod, bred in Canada by Dr Phil Wright, had entered the country as a pet and was living in Eltham Vic. with his owner, Barbara Fitzroy. "Sean" sired his first litter to Ch Galfrid Fecske (Imp UK) at the age of ten. He died suddenly a few months later and his second litter from Ch Kingsbury Cleopatra registered under the Owsla prefix of Peter and Dianne Dyson was born after his death. This was a great loss to the breed as he had qualities needed by the breeders in this country. Even at the age of ten he had a refinement lacking in our early Vizslas, and the photos which Barbara showed us of him as a youngster made us all very envious. Barbara was determined to help the breed. In fact with Sean’s death she became more interested in the breed. Dr Phil Wright was contacted, but he had no Vizsla males available. With Crufts on shortly, Barbara flew to England to see what that country had to offer. She eventually selected two Vizsla pups, a brother and sister from the Mindenday Kennels of Mr and Mrs Armstead. They were Mindenday Orca who died at an early age as the result of an accident and Dual Ch Mindenday Zsa Zsa. Zsa Zsa, in the hands of Warren McKay, became our first Field Trial champion.

As time went by the need for new lines was felt and Warren and Kerry McKay of Aranyoz Kennels, Qld, purchased a dog in the USA, Mehagian’s Red Rogue. He stayed in the States to be shown and trained for field work and in 1982, the McKays travelled to the States to look at this pup. Whilst there, they attended the National specialty, and also some field trials.

They returned with loads of photos and slides, memories too numerous to relate in a weekend or even a week. Unfortunately they were less one pup, who had not developed as they had hoped. They did however have the possibility of a pup from a planned litter. This pup was Berry’s Overland Express and he too was run on for many months and shown. But he too did not fulfil expectations and was sold without leaving the States. The McKay’s, undeterred, set out to acquire another and Nancy Heinhold, whom they had met during their trip to the States, thought she had one that would suit. Paradox Chato’s Star was also kept for many months and was shown gaining his American Championship title before leaving for Australia.

At approximately the same time, the McKays also imported another male, a puppy from the UK. Bred by Sheila and Jim Gray and imported for the working lines behind him, he was Ch Abbeystag Olaf CD. He was worked in the field by Bob Bishop, a field and retrieving trial judge in Queensland and then trialled in the obedience ring by Lisa Smith. It is a pity he was only used sparingly at stud for he was sired by one of the few full champions in England, Eng Ch Abbeystag Emilio, who has sired many top dogs in England.

In 1982, the author imported a dog from the Russetmantle Kennels of Gay Gottlieb, Ch Russetmantle Goosander. "The Goose", as he became known, was sired by Eng Sh Ch Russetmantle Troy out of Eng Sh Galfrid Sofia of Russetmentle. The first mating of these two, Troy and Sofia, had produced Eng Ch Russetmantle Paris and Eng Sh Ch Russetmantle Poppy. The repeat mating was also successful, producing not only Goosander but also Eng Ch Russetmantle Grebe of Gardenway. The Goose had a successful but short show career as he died at the young age of twenty months. In that time he had sired only three litters, but these produced ten champions (two in New Zealan) and three of these gained obedience titles as well.

Following his death, efforts were made to import a dog from similar lines, and Ch Gardenway Chekov from Jackie Perkins’ Gardwnway Kennels arrived in 1984.

"Obi" boast two full English champions as his sire and dam, Eng Ch Russetmantle Grebe of Gardenway and Eng Ch Gardenway Bula. He has had a successful show and stud career in this country.

In 1988 Markos Wilson from Melbourne, Victoria imported from the USA a dog that he had had the pleasure of handling in the show ring whilst visiting that country. He is Am Ch Dirigo’s Trademark. Sired by a top winning and producing dog, Am Ch Dirigo Gambler’s Marker, he is a welcome addition to Australia. While he is finer and smaller than we are accustomed to seeing, he has a good temperament and happy outgoing nature. With a clean neat head and neck, he has a lot to offer.

1988 also saw the arrival of Australia’s first Hungarian import. Bred by Miklos Farkashazi, Laureate and Hungarian Ch Matai Darazs has been imported by Mrs Kathleen Eory, Agasvari Kennels, Qld. He gained his Australian championship title in 1990 and has eleven champion offspring to date.

In July 1989, another English import arrived in Adelaide Quarantine on his way to the author’s property in Victoria. His name is Gardenway Kedvenc Andes. Called "The Toff" he is sired by Gardenway Drumlargen out of Gardenway Ophelia and has behind him Eng Ch Russetmantle Quiver and Eng Ch Abbeystag Emilio. He gained his Australian Ch title in 1990, winning an All Breeds Best in Show on the way.

The last Viszla to arrive in this country, at the time of writing, is Matai Vacak imported from Hungary by Kathleen Eory for Agasvari Kennels in Queensland. She is by double Luxemburg Ch Gyorgy Gavout out of Int.-Lrt.-Hung. Ch Matai Csutka, a very famous Hungarian Vizsla in Hungary. Csutka has an even more famous litter brother in Matai Cseles. Vacak gained her Australian Ch title in 1990.

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