Thinking of showing? Don’t know how to get started?
First of all ensure your Vizsla is Kennel Club registered you should have be given these documents when you collected your puppy. Then you need to transfer him into your name if you have not already done so. You will find the appropriate form attached to your registration document. Then you need to find a ringcraft class, your local training club may run one or if not might know of one, your breeder may know of one in your area, or you can contact the Kennel Club.

Why do I need to attend ringcraft classes?
They are designed to help your puppy get used to been stacked and someone running their hands over them as if they were in the ring at a real show. It is also a great way to socialise your puppy with other dogs so that they get used to been around them and people when they are in the ring. Most ringcraft classes meet once a week and are run by experienced people who can offer help and advice. It is best to start as soon as your puppy as had its vaccinations. Until then you can practice stacking your puppy at home for a few minutes daily. Vizslak are presented stacked – this is side on to the judge with the head and tail held and the handler standing or kneeling behind the dog. They are moved at a steady trot, which you can also practice at home on a loose lead.

Some ringcrafts hold matches once a month, which will give you a feel for the real thing, and you never know you may win your first rosette. These matches are informal competitions and are based on a ‘knock out’. All dogs entered are given a number, then two numbers are chosen at random and these two dogs are matched against each other. The winner then goes onto the next round, and by process of elimination, the overall winner is eventually declared. There are usually two categories – puppy and adult that will result in a best adult in match and a best puppy in match. Puppies are usually classified 3 – 12 months and adults over 12 months.

How do I enter my first show?
You will need to obtain a schedule from the show secretary which contains information regarding classes with class numbers, the name of the judge, when the show opens, depending upon the type of show a proposed order of judging and a date for when the show entries close and whom to send it back to. If you are unsure of where to obtain the information regarding up and coming shows then ask at your ringcraft class, your breeder, the kennel club or look on the dog-related websites. The dog press such as Dog World, and Our dogs advertise forth coming shows and also contain show reports from judges they have placed 1st and 2nd at championship shows and 1st at open shows in all classes.

How do I fill in the entry form?
The entry form is self explanatory – registered name of dog, this is the name registered with the Kennel Club, breed of dog, sex, breeder, your dogs sire and dam, and the class you wish to enter your dog into. The class will have a number after it and it is this number you put into the box. Ensure you have filled in all the relevant details required and correctly and sign and date the entry form enclosing the appropriate fee. Failure to do so will result in your entry been returned.

Which class should I enter?
There will be a list of classes available for the Vizsla in the schedule along with the definition of classes explaining which dogs are eligible for which class. Ensure you read it carefully and enter the appropriate class; it is best not to enter a class above your standard. If you have a young puppy then enter them into minor puppy 6- 9 months or puppy that is 6-12 months. If you are not sure then take it along to your ringcraft, as they will be happy to help.

What is an Exemption show?
These shows are usually run in aid of a charity event or fund raising event. They are often held in conjunction with a village fete or similar event, and often advertise in the local newspaper or dog press. These shows are fun shows and are great practice for young dogs. They often have some great prizes too. They are simple to enter, just turn up a little while before the start time and fill in a simple entry form and pay your, which is usually just a very small sum. If you are unsure which class to enter then ask the person taking the entries. They usually consist of a few pedigree classes (these can include pedigrees that are not KC registered), followed by novelty classes such as waggiest tail, prettiest bitch, most handsome dog and so on.

What are Limited Shows?
These shows are limited in size to no more than 75 classes, so it is obvious not all breeds can be classified. However, there are always ‘Any Variety’ classes to accommodate all breeds. The only restriction that applies, and this also applies to exemption shows and matches, is that no dog who has won any award towards his championship title can compete.

What are Open shows?
These shows are run by canine societies at suitable locations all over the country, and are advertised in the dog press and some websites. To enter you will need to obtain a schedule from the show secretary as mentioned previously select the appropriate class, fill in the entry form and send it back before the closing date.

Dogs and bitches are shown in the same class unless otherwise stated in the schedule. There are often three to four classes for the vizsla at these shows. Sometimes they may not have a puppy class scheduled so if this is the case then enter them into the junior class instead, they will still choose a best puppy in breed even if the winner of the class was not a puppy. At these shows there is a best puppy in show as well as a best in show winner.

Open shows can be judged on the group system. If they are judged on the group system then all best of breed winners will compete in their relevant group. The winners of each group will then go onto compete for best in show. The same applies for the puppies. However, if it is not judged on the group system then all best of breeds will compete together for best in show, and again the same for the puppies.

To be declared best of breed you must have been awarded first on your class. Then once the judge has completed all the classes they will call all unbeaten dogs into the ring. Unbeaten means dogs that have been awarded first in their class and not been beaten by another dog, (beaten by another dog is you enter 2 classes and don’t win both of them). The judge will then choose from their first winners of each class, known as the final line up a best of breed, reserve best of breed and a best puppy in breed.

There are no challenge certificates on offer at open shows so you cannot make up a champion. You can however, win points towards your Junior warrant or Show certificate of Merit at open shows, ask the kennel club for further information on these awards. They are also great fun and excellent practice for you and your vizsla.

What are Championship Shows?
These shows are similar to open shows in their organisation but on a much larger scale. Entries are more expensive, and longer travelling distances are usually involved. Technically the difference between Open and Championship shows is that Kennel Club Challenge Certificates are on offer and the entry of exhibits is extremely large. These certificates (tickets or cc’s as they are popularly known) are awarded to the best dog and best bitch in each breed. If a dog wins three challenge certificates under three different judges it will be awarded the title of ‘Show Champion’. Also certain wins at championship shows qualify a dog to be exhibited at Crufts.

Vizsla dogs and bitches are judged separate at championship shows. To compete for the challenge certificate you must have been awarded first in your class and not be beaten to go into the final line up for the challenge (like the open show for best of breed). The judge will then choose a best dog – CC, a reserve best dog – RCC and best puppy dog. They will then do the same for the bitches. Once the judge as chosen his best bitch –CC, reserve best bitch RCC, and best puppy bitch, the dog CC winner and bitch CC winner will then compete for Best of Breed, followed by Best Puppy in Breed which he will choose from the best puppy dog and best puppy bitch.

The best of breed winner will then represent the breed in the Gundog Group and compete in the group (like with the open shows). The difference with the championship shows is that they are often run over three to four days due to the large scale of entries so if you are lucky enough to win the gundog group you may have to go back on the last day of the show to compete for Best in Show.

Like open shows the schedules are the same and need to be filled out correctly and returned prior to the closing date. You can also enter championship shows on line. Junior warrant points are also on offer at championship shows and there are more classes scheduled for the breed.

You will also be sent an entry pass, which allows you to enter the showground with your dog, and a removal order to be given up when leaving. Passes are usually sent around 2 – 3 weeks before the show and only entered dogs are permitted into the showground. Some championship shows may have a tent outside the showground for un-entered dogs but it is best not to bring any un-entered dogs to the show. 

Dogs Should Not Be Left in Cars especially during hot days, and if you are found to have done so then immediate action will be taken. You can however, enter your dog ‘not for competition’ for a fee, which will allow them onto the showground and a pass, will be issued for them.

Benching is provided at championship shows – this means a bench/individual compartment is provided, and each dog must be secured on its bench with a collar and benching chain. There will be a number next to your dogs name on the entry pass sent to you and this will also be your bench number and exhibit number. When you arrive at your bench there should be two cards with the number on and one is for you to wear whilst exhibiting your vizsla in the ring. Ensure you bring a blanket for the bench and of course a bowl and some water.

On the day of the show, make sure you allow enough time to arrive at the venue before your class starts. You will need to give your dog a stretch of leg, find your benching area and ring (depending upon the type of show).

In the ring choose a good place to stand, try to ensure you have sufficient room each side of you, so that you can set your dog up properly. This is where your ringcraft lessons and practice at home comes into effect! Once the steward as taken everyone’s number the judge will walk along the side of your dog and the other exhibits in the class, paying attention to your dogs front, side and rear view. Ensure you have your dog-stacked ready for the judge. The judge may require you all to move round the ring once or twice before examining the first dog. When your turn comes the steward will acknowledge you to go to the table or where the judge wants you to stack your dog. The judge will then examine your dog, starting at his head first, looking into his mouth and then running his hands over his body. Once he has finished examining your dog he will then require you to move, this could be a triangle, or straight up and down, or both, so pay attention to what is required. If you are unsure than please don’t hesitate to ask. Once the judge as examined all the exhibits you will be required to stack your dog up again so the judge can have a final look at them all before choosing his winners. At championship shows the judge will choose 1st – Vhc (5th) and open shows 1st – reserve (4th).

If you are awarded a prize card it is very exciting especially if it is a first. However, if you have no luck then there’s always next time, and remember you still go home with the best dog.

The Hungarian Vizsla Society run two shows each year, a Championship Show in April and an Open Show in November.

For more information about the HVS shows please contact the HVS Show Secretary.