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"Viva La Vizsla" -- The Iams Co. Publication, You and Your Dog, Spring 2001

 "She's  Not Just A Dog" -- Hartford Courant  Newspaper, November 2000


"Vizsla Lovers Take Note" -- The Capital Newspaper, July 2000  


"Chartay's Legacy" --- Dog World, June 2012


"Vizsla -- A Champion Companion" -- Dog & Kennel Magazine, October 2001


The Hartford Courant

Thursday, November 02, 2000

Story by SUSAN CAMPBELL Courant Staff Writer



You get all kinds of attention, walking the queen of all champion dogs.

Jack Sharkey, owner of Legacy's DeChartay, had just completed a field trial and needed to return the horse he had borrowed when he put his dog through her paces.

``Hold her for a minute?'' he asks, passing over the dog's dirty rope leash.

Hold her for a minute? On what, a velvet pillow?

``Look,'' Sharkey said, ``she's just a dog.''

Ah, like Michael Jordan was just a basketball player, like Secretariat was just a horse, that kind of just-a-dog.

This just-a-dog, after several years of lackluster performance in regional competitions in and near her native Virginia, burst around a competitive corner with an intensity that still makes Sharkey and competitive dog-owners smile.

In fairly short order -- and just as Sharkey had decided to retire her from competition -- Chartay (as she's known) earned national championships in conformation, obedience, field, amateur field and master agility, along with 76 American Kennel Club blue ribbons.

Chartay has become the only five-time champion in the history of the AKC.

``All I wanted was a wash-and-wear dog,'' Sharkey said. ``You know what you do for these dogs? You open the shower door and pour on the lemon Joy. And you clip their toenails. That's it.''

Chartay, now 9 years old, is a vizsla, a breed of hunting dog, and one of two that Sharkey owns. The other, Hodag's Hunter, is no slouch himself in the ribbon department.

If Sharkey is suitably nonchalant about his champion dogs, the crowd gathered at the John E. Flaherty Field Trial Area in East Windsor for the national field trials Monday was appropriately moved.

``Is this Chartay?'' asked one man who'd come all the way from Maine with his wife. ``I have wanted to meet her. We have Chartay's sister's pup, her niece. Simply Irresistible is her sister.''

While Sharkey shook hands and smiled, the couple stood in the blustery wind, not quite bringing themselves to reach down and pet the happily barking vizsla, which looks like a smaller, buttery-colored Weimeraner.

Many people don't approach, but they watch from afar. This, then, is the dog to beat. This, then, is the competition, a 30-something-pound dog with the strength of a dog many times larger as she pulls on the leash to greet Sharkey, just back from returning the horse.

A former pilot and computer consultant, Sharkey, now 68, had intended to retire and work on his golf game. His wife, Bette, had poodles, and they batted about the idea of perhaps showing them in their spare time.

But Sharkey remembered a friend with vizslas, with whom he would dove-hunt. The Hungarian breed originated among the aristocracy as hunting and house dogs. In fact, before World War II, the breed was hardly known outside of Europe. In 1990, Sharkey bought Hunter and added Chartay later as a buddy for Hunter.

Now, he hands out business cards for Rapidan Vizslas with the modest inscription, ``Home of a couple good vizslas.'' Now, the vizslas sleep in bed with the Sharkeys -- Hunter, who is semi-retired, at the foot, and Chartay with her head on the pillow. Chartay has been spayed because when his wife abandoned her push for a poodle, she embraced vizslas wholeheartedly.

``My wife would never let a puppy leave the house,'' Sharkey said. ``I have people sending me $1,000 checks, and I send them back.''

``To have a dog like Chartay is a big deal, a very big deal,'' said Rich Loomis, a structural engineer from Enfield. He is also a vizsla owner who helped run this week's trials with 125 dogs from around the country.

``I'm taking my vacation to do this,'' he said. His dogs were not entered.

``The most charitable way I can put it is that my dogs are not ready for this level of competition, and they may never be ready,'' he said.

Field trials is a kind of coming-home for Chartay, Sharkey said.

``She does love the field,'' he said. ``I learned a lot with this dog. You can't force them into doing things they don't enjoy. All dogs are champions if you give them the chance.''

The license plate on his van -- what he calls the Jack Motel -- says QUINT CH, for quintuple champion. A friend suggested he get Chartay into another competition, let her win, and then he can change the plate to SEX CH.

``We were looking for incentive to do tracking,'' Sharkey said. ``That may be my incentive.'' Until then, the golf game can wait.

Today, Sharkey and Chartay will participate in an AKC agility trial at Barnstable, Mass.

                     *Reprinted with the permission of the Hartford Courant














July 26, 2000
Vizsla lovers take note!

Here is an item which should please all of you Vizsla lovers! The IAMS Co. has sent me a press release about a 9-year-old Vizsla's incredible competitive run, which follows:

"In a remarkable feat that some say may never be repeated in the world of dog competition, a 9-year-old female Vizsla recently became the only five-time AKC Champion of any breed registered in the organization's 116-year existence.

"TC AFC MACh Legacy's DeChartay UDX MH, or 'Chartay,' one of two champion Vizslas owned and handled by Jack Sharkey of Alexandria, Va., earned the title of Master Agility Champion (MACh) on June 10. With previously earned confirmation, obedience, utility and field championships, Chartay earned the unprecedented title of AKC Quintuple Champion along with congratulations from fans and well wishers around the world.

"Having raised Chartay on Eukanuba Dog Foods since her puppyhood, owner Sharkey credits proper diet as a critical component in the health and training of dogs from world-class competitors like Chartay to pets whose closest encounter to a field trial might be a lazy nap on a shady lawn.

"In the course of her competition schedule, Chartay has won numerous other titles and 76 AKC blue ribbons. A late bloomer, she has come a long way from her early days when she seemed a less-than-promising prospect.

"I would never have predicted any of this when Char was about 20 months old,' Sharkey said. 'She was such a frustrating student, I nearly gave up on her as a competitive dog and thought we'd simply enjoy her as a wonderful full-time pet. Right then, she turned a corner and she's been winning competitions ever since. It goes to show that dogs mature at different rates and that you shouldn't give up on them as youngsters.'

"Chartay's complete story and those of Sharkey's other champion Vizslas can be read online at Sharkey's Web site:

"'The dog lovers at The IAMS Company salute Jack and Chartay on this incredible accomplishment,' says Jeff Warmouth, Eukanuba Dog Foods brand manager. 'We recognize the countless hours of hard work and dedication that produce a true champion like Chartay, and we're proud to have played a small part in the continuing life story of this remarkable dog."'

I think this is especially remarkable for a 9-year-old dog who earned the title of Master Agility Champion as recently as June 10. Agility, if you've watched it on TV's Animal Planet requires swiftness and accuracy a lot of jumping and climbing. This dog must be in prime condition certainly a tribute to her owner. Congratulations to dog and owner.

*Reprinted with the permission of  The Capital, Annapolis, Md.


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