What kind of blog about the South would this be without a post about hunting dogs? While there are certainly a number of great breeds, from pointers to retrievers, I have a special place in my heart for Vizslas.
For those unfamiliar with Vizslas, they are a medium-sized breed of Hungarian pointers (you can read more about them here). They have very short hair and are very affectionate dogs. Because Wikipedia is more eloquent than me, here is what they have to say: "The Vizsla is a natural hunter endowed with a good nose and an above average trainability. Although they are lively, gentle mannered, demonstrably affectionate and sensitive, they are also fearless and possessed of a well-developed protective instinct."
I first encountered one of these dogs in Birmingham when a girl in my community group (group from church that would meet weekly for dinner & fellowship, a.k.a.- margaritas) had one named Gertie (her full name was Gertrude, but she was informal enough to let us call her Gertie). Gertie would often join us for community group and was the center of attention. She was the kind of dog who didn't understand that she wasn't a lap dog, but that wouldn't really stop her from sitting in your lap. Anyways, after that my decision was made to get a Vizsla, though unfortunately this won't happen until after grad school.
The fact that Vizslas often do very well in field trials is really just icing on the cake. While I definitely wouldn't mind having one out in the dove field, I guess the only down side in having them as a hunting dog is that their fur is likely too short to provide very good insulation in cold water during duck season.
If you're in the South and interested in getting one, this is a great place to start http://www.atlantavizsla.org/.
If they're good enough for Ralph, they're good enough for me
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