Is the Vizsla the right breed for you?
The Hungarian Pointer or Vizsla is an elegant and aristocratic, moderately sized, and very high-energy sporting dog. This is a breed that as adults will require a minimum of 45-60 minutes of off-leash exercise per day (more is better). The ideal owner will need to be prepared to make time for daily outdoor exercise at parks, running, swimming, biking or hiking with your new puppy/dog. You will be spending lots of time outdoors, and as I tell my friends, “Nope, I don’t need a gym membership, I own Vizslas.”
Keep in mind, the young and adolescent Vizsla puppy needs exercise but they cannot be used as a running partner until they reach maturity (somewhere around 18 mos. or older); I send home detailed exercise guidelines with my puppy owners.
Vizslas are extremely bonded to their owners and have earned the nickname the “Velcro Vizsla”, and as many Vizsla owners can attest, once you own one . . . its unlikely you will go to the bathroom alone. This is not a breed that can and will raise itself, the Vizsla wants to be near you (raised indoors) and the closer to you . . . the better. The Vizsla has a “soft temperament” which means the breed responds best to positive training methods, and they are also stubborn which means training in general, is a challenge. Since Vizslas mature slowly (puppy-hood often goes until age 3) plan on undertaking many short POSITIVE training sessions when dealing with a young dog. A new puppy owner should plan to attend Puppy Kindergarten and/or Basic Obedience training (6 weeks at a minimum). Vizslas require heavy socialization to sights, sounds people and places as puppies — and throughout their entire lives.
Families with young children might want to consider whether or not they will have enough time and energy to spend on an active Vizsla puppy (attention, training and exercise). Vizslas, like all dogs, are NOT by default good with kids, Vizslas are tolerant with children given proper supervision and training and if the children are good with the dog. Vizslas are a strong and athletic breed and they can run into and over small children (and small adults). All children should be taught how to behave around dogs and allow the puppy/dog to have its own space (no child under 12 should be left unsupervised with a puppy/dog). The Vizsla can make a good family companion through consistent and positive training, proper socialization, and daily exercise. This is hard work! Please read “Do Vizslas Make Good Family Dogs” by Fusion Vizslas for additional insight.
Please note: the Vizsla is NOT a hypoallergenic breed and they DO shed. For a list of the best breeds for allergy sufferers click here: AKC Dogs & Allergies.
The Importance of a Reputable Breeder
All Vizslas are not created equal. A puppy from a reputable and quality breeder will have a pedigree filled with titled and proven dogs who have competed in multiple venues (Conformation, Hunt, Field to name a few). Competing in these venues takes an enormous amount of time, effort and money. Dogs that are competing towards their show Championship are superior examples of the Vizsla, and adhere to the AKC Breed Standard. You may have already noticed that this results in a more attractive and structurally correct Vizsla. Structure is of paramount importance because you want a dog (companion or otherwise) that can do all the activities that makes dog ownership so darn fun (playing, running, swimming, biking, hiking, etc.) and the attractiveness is a bonus — the attractiveness of a beautiful well-bred Vizsla is what probably drew you to them in the first place.
Reputable breeders only breed dogs that contribute to the betterment of the breed as a whole, and they do not over-breed. The irresponsible or backyard breeder may breed for money or out of convenience, not really knowing / realizing the impact of what they’re doing can have an adverse effect on health, temperament and structure. Often this type of breeder does not keep in contact with future puppy owners and should something go wrong, chances are the puppy / dog may end up in a rescue or shelter. If you are looking for a companion Vizsla (not show/ hunt) please consider adopting from one of the many national Rescue organizations (vizslarescuesocal.com is one).
Please AVOID purchasing any puppy from a pet store, puppy broker/miller, or a high-volume / low-quality breeder (sometimes known as a “backyard breeder”). Use caution on “puppies for sale” websites or when looking in the newspaper. Be wary of ads that read “Champion Bloodlines”, as often this statement misrepresents the quality of the pedigree, which may only have a few titles over 4-5 generations. Look over the pedigrees and learn the importance of deciphering them. Just because the litter is “AKC registered,” does NOT mean the breeder is reputable and the dogs are well-bred and quality Vizslas. Please go to the AKC’s website to learn more about what “AKC papers” mean.
A reputable breeder wants to know dogs they breed will be cared for their entire lives, and they will take back a dog they bred from the owners for any reason.
In regards to health checks and clearances; always check for multi-generational health checks (not just the parents) on the OFA website: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. This is the minimum you should look for regarding health clearances. Beyond that, familiarize yourself with Canine Health Information Center (also known as CHIC). CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation, and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Meeting CHIC health testing means a Vizsla is health screened for Hips (OFA evaluation), Eyes and Autoimmune Thyroiditis. For information on other optional Vizsla health tests, please visit their website: Vizsla CHIC Reqirements.
Take the time to do your research thoroughly and adopt a puppy from a reputable and responsible breeder; after all you want someone who will support you for the next 12-15 years. You will find the initial time spent is well worth it.
A Dozen Simple Ways to be Certain You Are Working With a Reputable Breeder • “But I only want a Pet, not a Show Dog” • Back Yard Breeder (BYB) vs. Responsible Breeder • How to Find A Good Dog Breeder : The Humane Society of the United States