Is a Vizsla right for you?*
It's already a given that Vizslas are a beautiful and elegant looking breed. But that's the wrong reason to add one to your family. Because they were originally bred to be a hunting companion (i.e. lots and lots of running in the field), they are a very high-energy breed. Vizslas are not your "walk around the neighborhood" kind of a dog. If you enjoy the great outdoors and exercising, a Vizsla might be the right match for you. But Vizslas shouldn't be matched to humans based on exercise levels alone. Vizslas are also very soft in temperament and love frequent cuddles with their human companions. There is an old Hungarian saying, "If you own a Vizsla, it lives on top of your head." This is a most accurate saying and why Vizslas are often described as "Velcro Vizslas". Be warned, if you bring a Vizsla into your home you may never go to the bathroom alone again!
Vizslas are very high-energy dogs and are extremely smart but generally slower to mature. This means you will most likely end up with a puppy until they're closer to 4 years old. But this also means that, while Vizslas should be biddable in temperament and therefore very trainable, they may not be the best candidates for those looking to compete at advanced levels with a very young dog. Like a fine wine, Vizslas get better with age!
A Vizsla properly raised with children will be their best friend. However, a family with small children is often not a good fit because the Vizsla requires significant time and energy. Families with young children should strongly consider their ability to commit to the requirements of this breed. Furthermore, parents should be careful to always manage the behavior of their children toward this sensitive breed that may not always tolerate improper behavior such as poking, prodding and hitting.
And yes, Vizslas shed just as much as other dogs. It's just harder to see because their hair is so short. They don't have an undercoat so that also gives the impression that they don't shed. If you like wearing black you might find yourself eliminating this color choice from your wardrobe as you grow tired of plucking little red hairs from the fabric.
* From the Rocky Mountain Vizsla Club of Colorado at www.rmvc.org.
Things to Consider
Size and beauty seem to attract many people to the Vizsla. Their athletic form and motion are lovely characteristics. However, this is by no means a low-maintenance dog. Their need for exercise and companionship is above the norm. They intend to be complete family members and actually require close to the same time as a small child. Vizslas want to be next to their people all the time and often do not do well left alone for long days. They make poor backyard or kennel dogs. Vizslas are often referred to as Velcro dogs. Translated into plain language, that means you may never use the bathroom alone again! Left on their own, they become bored and often destructive as they find things to do to entertain themselves.
A Vizsla is part of your Life
Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment and a major responsibility in time, energy and sometimes money. Vizslas often live until the age of 12 to 14 years. Before buying a Vizsla or any dog for that matter, consider:
Domesticated dogs cannot fend for themselves. Who will feed, walk, and pick up after your new dog when it's a puppy and when it grows older?
Can your home and lifestyle accommodate a dog? If you work long hours, travel a lot on business, or have a very active social life and are out much of the time, then don't buy a dog. Dogs are social creatures and need human attention, affection and quality time with family members.
Have you considered the energy requirements of a Vizsla and its effect on your personal lifestyle? While they require less than some of the other sporting breeds, adult Vizslas still need a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes of vigorous daily exercise. Puppies will require 2 hours of play and exercise a day. Since dogs generally don't run around a yard on their own, YOU will need to walk, run, jog or hike each day with your Vizsla. If you're not an active person, then buy a cat or a dog with lower energy and exercise requirements.
Vizslas have a protective instinct but should not be aggressive. If you're looking for a guard dog, don't buy the Vizsla.
Obedience lessons are essential for all dogs. Will you take time to socialize and train your new Vizsla?
Have you budgeted for the cost of good quality, nutritious food, veterinarians' fees, and obedience lessons?
Have you found a veterinarian and discussed your new dog's medical care requirements?
Take the "Vizsla Test"
I understand my Vizsla will need plenty of off-leash exercise well into their adulthood and will make the commitment to provide this necessity.
Because Vizslas are generally soft in temperament, I understand they need heavy socialization especially as young dogs but throughout their entire lives.
Because Vizslas are generally soft in temperament, I understand they respond best to positive training methods and a heavy-hand can ruin them for life.
I understand that Vizslas are very intelligent and can get themselves into trouble if left unsupervised for long periods of time.
I understand Vizslas are not good kennel dogs and thrive best if they get to live inside the home with their human companions.
Did you answer "Yes" to all of the above? Great! The Vizsla just might be the right breed for you!
See the "Vizslas!" section for more information about the breed.
All dogs need exercise, but the Vizsla needs faithful daily physical exercise, as well as the mental stimulation of games with you. This is one of the reasons so many Vizsla owners participate in canine sports - for the fun and to keep the Vizsla exercised. The Vizsla can lie down on your lap and cuddle nicely, but not without some stimulating interaction during the day. They don't go out in the back yard and exercise themselves, even with another dog. They insist you join them in all activities.
Vizslas are intelligent and quick learners. That can be good and bad - depending on whether you or the dog is manipulating the training. Vizslas are a sensitive, soft dog that do not take punishment well and respond poorly to harsh training methods. They also mature quite slowly. A Vizsla is a puppy for at least 3 years. Realistic expectations and a lot of patience are requirements to live with a Vizsla.
Vizslas and Children
Vizslas can be good with children, but it is not a given. As hunting dogs, they often do not like to share items and particularly with toddlers. Many breeds are not fond of toddlers, and Vizslas are among them. The Vizsla does not have the pain tolerance or patience of the Labrador when it comes to being hugged, stepped on or cornered. Also, as hunting dogs, they are very oral and tend to mouth small children. They often knock them down and steal their toys and rarely appreciate a small child moving in on their space when resting. No small child should ever be left unsupervised with any dog, so there is a lot of management involved in having both.
Vizslas and other Critters
As a high drive hunting dog, many Vizslas do not do well with cats. Much also depends on the particular cat. Those that run or tease are usually chased down. It takes considerable work to reach compatibility with the two species. Other species are also typically considered prey to this breed. So, if you have a house full of various other critters, it would take an exceptional Vizsla to relax and blend in.