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Owning A Vizsla

Copyright © Tiffany Jorgens

Photo by Tiffany Jorgens

Understanding your responsibilities as a dog owner

Buying 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?

Is a Vizsla right for you?

Source: Rocky Mountain Vizsla Club of Colorado (www.rmvc.org)

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!

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.

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.

  • Yes/No

Because Vizslas are generally soft in temperament, I understand they need heavy socialization especially as young dogs but throughout their entire lives.

  • Yes/No

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.

  • Yes/No

I understand that Vizslas are very intelligent and can get themselves into trouble if left unsupervised for long periods of time.

  • Yes/No

I understand Vizslas are not good kennel dogs and thrive best if they get to live inside the home with their human companions.

  • Yes/No

Did you answer "Yes" to all of the above? Great! The Vizsla just might be the right breed for you! Keep on reading to be sure:

Additional Resources