The Vizslas Of Red Point Kennel
The Vizslas of Martinsen’s Red Point Kennel
A spunky red pup named “Ginger” chosen by Tate and Jenny Martinsen in 2008 to be his first hunting companion on the prairies of South Dakota turned out to have natural talent as a versatile hunting dog that would shape and change his life.
“I wanted a pointing dog, something different, and I got crazy lucky with Ginger,” says Martinsen, now a professional trainer and breeder-owner with his wife, Jenny, of Martinsen’s Red Point Kennel (MRPK) in Humboldt, South Dakota.
Ginger was the first dog the Martinsens owned not counting family dogs growing up. She was the first dog Martinsen trained for North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) tests and in 2014 became their first Vizsla to earn the ultimate Versatile Champion (VC) title. The foundation bitch for their Vizsla breeding program, Ginger produced four litters of puppies. Importantly, Ginger helped Martinsen discover that he loved training dogs, which led to his resigning his job as a diesel mechanic in 2016 to train dogs full time.
Fast forward to the 2021 NAVHDA Invitational. The premier hunt test, held in September in Searsboro, Iowa, drew entries of 205 pointing dogs – all invited, all qualified. Just under 42 percent, or 86 dogs, passed to become Versatile Champions. Martinsen trained and handled two dogs, both German Wirehaired Pointers, that passed at that event, a personal record.
Getting back to Ginger, Martinsen says, “Early on in my training career, I was invited to the Mid-West Tristate NAVHDA Chapter in Sioux Falls (South Dakota). I began training Ginger while learning myself from mentors who were members, and I fell in love with the NAVHDA system.”
Martinsen found out that Ginger had bold style and bird smarts on upland game and waterfowl, enough to get a perfect score of 204 on the Utility test and an invite to the NAVHDA Invitational. When Ginger (VC Martinsen’s Lil Pheasant Popper MH) earned the coveted title in 2014, she was only the second female Vizsla in NAVHDA history — ninth in the breed overall — to pass the test.
Over the five years Martinsen trained Ginger leading up to the 2014 NAVHDA Invitational, his affinity grew for teaching dogs to point and retrieve game, to mark retrieves, and to honor a brace mate. “I was hooked,” he says. “A handful of people at the local chapter wanted me to train their dogs, but I didn’t have time. That’s when I decided to train dogs full time.”
Martinsen was enamored with the qualities of the Hungarian Vizsla known for being an all-around pointer-retriever breed, a loyal companion and hunting dog. He has learned to harness the Vizsla’s drive and enthusiasm while selectively breeding those that have mental stability and trainability for versatile hunting.
Ginger’s four litters were sired by NAVHDA-proven males — except for the first breeding —resulting in five Versatile Champions. “We became more knowledgeable about choosing males after her first litter,” Martinsen says. “I got lucky with the offspring Ginger had, too.”
The Martinsens were the first Vizsla breeders to twice receive the NAVHDA Invitational Breeder’s Award for having two puppies in the same litter earn VC titles. They were honored in 2017 and in 2019 for the accomplishments of Ginger’s pups. Their success lies in Martinsen’s dog training skills and Jenny’s purposeful selection of stud dogs and thoughtful placement of puppies with committed owners.
All too soon, Ginger passed away on April 7, 2019, her 11th birthday, due to bone cancer. The heartfelt loss of this sweet, influential Vizsla, a catalyst in Martinsen’s success, has been softened by her talented children and now grandchildren.
“I love figuring out how to help dogs learn faster and better,” says Martinsen, who is now working with a handful of Vizslas that qualified for the 2022 NAVHDA Invitational. Some are homebred Vizslas — a nod to Ginger and the beginning of Martinsen’s Red Point Kennel.