Looking for an athletic large breed dog to add to your family? Learn about the Vizsla and decide if this is the right dog for you.
About the Vizsla
The Vizsla, a member of the American Kennel Club's sporting group is a sleek dog with a golden or rusty colored flat coat. The dogs stand between 21 and 24 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 45 and 60 pounds. Like most breeds, males are larger than females.
These dogs are high-energy and excel at both hunting and dog sports. If you want a dog that will enjoy being active with you, the Visla might be a perfect choice. However, the Vizsla Club of America advises “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." They go on to further explain that, “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!”
If you’re wondering where the breed originated from you’ll need to go back in time to Hungary. The Vizsla are descendants of the dogs used by the Magyar cavalry. Their breeding was refined by Hungarian nobles and warlords. They came to the United States in the 1950s when the first of these dogs were smuggled into the country. Today they are recognized by the American Kennel Club and participate in all AKC competitions.
4 Pros of Vizslas
The Vizsla is a high-energy dog who can keep up with active owners easily. They are great companions for people who enjoy running, hiking, hunting, or those who are looking for a dog to compete with in a dog sport like agility. It is important to know that these dogs act more like puppies until they are around 4 years of age. So, before you bring home a Vizsla make sure you have plans to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
2. Bond easily with owners
These dogs are great companion dogs and enjoy snuggling with their owners as much as they enjoy being active. Bonding with these dogs is going to be relatively easy as long as you are spending enough time with your new pup. Over time, these dogs may become protective of their owners but because of their personalities, they are not great guard dogs.
3. Easy to groom
Because the Vizsla has a flat coat and shorter hair, they require less maintenance than dogs with longer hair like the Goldendoodle. One myth is that because these dogs have shorter coats, they shed less. While this is not entirely true, it just may be less noticeable since the hair is shorter. These pups still need reguar baths, ear cleaining, nail trimming and you should brush their teeth daily.
4. Easy to train
The combination of intelligence and desire to please their owners makes the Vizsla easy to train. Whether you just want to ensure your dog knows basic obedience cues like sit, down, and stay or more advanced tricks your dog will pick things up quickly with some positive reinforcement.
3 Cons of Vizsla
1. Need plenty of exercise
While we listed this as a pro if you don’t have enough time to properly exercise your pup this can become a con. Unlike some other breeds like those in the bully family or Great Danes a long leash walk every day will not provide adequate exercise for these pups. If you aren’t sure how much exercise your dog will need, chat with your breeder or an experienced trainer to come up with the perfect plan to keep your pup in shape and engaged. A lack of exercise doesn’t just lead to packing on the pounds but can also contribute to nuisance behaviors like barking, digging or turn into anxiety and depression. Your dog’s mental and physical health depends on them getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. Exercise can also include doing puzzle toys and other forms of enrichment for your dog.
2. Prone to separation anxiety
Because of Vizsla’s sensitive nature and friendly personality these pups can be prone to separation anxiety. Working on good training and socialization can keep this from becoming a big issue. Start by leaving your pup in a single room or crate for a few minutes and work up to longer durations. If your pup is really suffering from separation anxiety chat with your trainer and your vet. They can help with some behavior modification and even medication if necessary.
3. Require lots of socialization
Because of the Viszla’s personality, they will need lots of socialization not only as a puppy for the rest of their lives. Safely exposing them to different places, surfaces, people, and things will open up the world to them and allow them to build their confidence. Remember not to socialize too fast or expose them to too many things all at once or you may see signs of stress.
Is a Vizsla a good family dog?
Yes, the Vizsla is a great candidate for a family dog. Their energy and personality make them a great choice. They will run with you, play with your children and be perfectly happy to snuggle up for a family movie night.
Like any other dog, you should not leave young children and dogs unsupervised and it is important to teach your children to be respectful of your pup.
If you bring home a Vizsla puppy, know that they are a 12-14 year commitment on average. It is important to consider this as your life can change dramatically over that time. Adding children to the family, moving, and watching kids move out or go to college can all happen over the course of your dog’s life. So it is important that you factor in your dog’s needs and plan for their care no matter what life throws at you.
Finally, while we've written in generalities about the breed, personalities can vary widely between individual dogs. Talking with a rescue or expeienced breeder and giving accurate information about your personality and lifestyle will help them match you with the right dog.
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