Hungarian Vizslas extraordinaire

The Hungarian Vizsla, Show Champion / Australian Show Champion Hungargunn Bear It'n Mind (nickname 'Yogi') not only won Best In Show at Crufts last evening, beating 23,000 other show dogs, but was already the biggest winning show dog, all breeds, of all time!

We watched in awe as this marvellous dog captured the famous ring, striding out under spotlights like the crowned king that he is. And for anyone who's ever handled a show dog before expert judges, his professional handler was also absolutely immaculate.

My mind immediately returned to that day in 1979 when the telephone rang and Mrs Gay Gottlieb told us that our 13 years old son could, after all, have one of her new litter of vizslas because an American had cancelled out. "I don't usually let my pups go to non-show, non-working owners," she said, "But this Russetmantle Seth is the most backward of his siblings and is unlikely to be any use other than as a pet." Cutting right to the chase, a year and a half later Stu had made his marvellous dog into a major show champion, a dog whose name is still remembered by lovers of the breed.

In those days no vizsla had ever won through to best of gundog group in a championship show, never mind best in show, never mind best in Crufts. But Seth was special. He was truly beautiful. Born, as Stu often said, as a serious old man, he imprinted himself on all of us in the family. Very soon we found him a mate, the lovely little - well, at times not-so little - Chloe. They had a litter of four pups, all going off to good homes.

Together Seth and Chloe saw us through some of the most difficult times imaginable. Each of our lives came to revolve around the pair of them, willingly so, and their's around us, and, as time went on and things settled down as much as they ever would, life without Hungarian vizslas became inconceivable.

But of course all lives must end and I won't go into that, but after fifteen years we had a new pair of vizslas to get to know. We called our new bitch 'Manic Mati' because of her amazing energy and countryside hunting-fever; we called Sorosh Sorosh because he was imported from Hungary with that name and because we found out the word meant 'beer drinker'. He didn't drink much beer but he would have done so, given access, for our beautiful Sorosh ate and drank for Mainland Europe given half a chance.

Followers of this blog will know that on April 20th last year Mati and Sorosh journeyed off to join Seth and Chloe in those happy hunting grounds where there is no more pain, just love. We miss them all, still, and we will miss them for so long as we miss anything. All four of our friends the vizslas differed from each other in character and slightly in form. We loved them all the same. They us.

And last evening when Yogi leapt effortlessly on to the winner's dais at Crufts it all came flooding back.

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