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If you're looking
for a dog that is affectionate, energetic, sensitive, and demanding of your time
and energy, a Vizsla is the right dog for you.
Vizsla breed originated in Hungary as a sporting dog owned by the aristocracy.
The Hungarian aristocrats who hunted with their Vizslas always brought them in
before the fire after the hunt. Present-day Vizslas must have gotten wind of
this history because Vizslas require a home where they can be indoors with their
family. They do not make good kennel dogs.
Vizsla owners have given the breed the nickname "Velcro Dog" because of the
Vizslas need to cling to its owners and be with them at all times. Your Vizsla
will follow you from room to room as you change activities around the house,
settling down on a comfortably soft surface--like a couch or soft chair or--in a
pinch-- a dog bed. If you don't close the bathroom door tightly you will
surely have company in there, too.
Vizslas who have been properly socialized adore people. Most of them love to
lick your face, if allowed, and most will give a "Vizsla hug" around your neck
while doing so. Like most breeds, Vizslas are good with children, cats, and
other dogs if they have been introduced to them early on. The breed standard
for Vizslas says that they must be "demonstrably affectionate". This means that
Vizslas in the show ring, especially the younger ones, will frequently try to
lick the hands or face of the judge.
Not Good Loners:
The down side to all this love and affection is that Vizslas hate to be alone,
and many are prone to separation anxiety. If you have long working hours and
feel that you MUST have a Vizsla, at least provide a companion dog so that those
long hours of being alone won't be spent in destruction of property, barking, or
jumping fences to go looking for you. It also helps if you give your Vizsla a
good run BEFORE you leave for work. An exercised Vizsla with chewing toys and a
comfortable bed will usually settle down after you leave.
Chasers: Vizslas were selectively bred for hunting, and their good eyesight,
sensitive nose, and energetic enthusiasm in the field make them an excellent
hunting companion. This same instinct means they will chase anything with fur
and feathers that they consider prey. Acquainting them with the family cat,
therefore, needs to be done at an early age.
Need Exercise: Be
sure that your Vizsla gets lots of exercise (a good run every day) and lots of
extra play (ball retrieving is a favorite), attention and love from your
family. An unexercised Vizsla left to its own devices can become destructive.
Coat: Vizslas have a beautiful short-haired russet coat which sheds very little. When you pat them on top of the head, it feels like velvet. Not only is this short coat attractive, but it's also practical. Vizslas are the original "wash-and-wear" dog.
Is a Vizsla the
right breed for you? The answer is "yes" if:
-You like constant companionship. If you like your own space, forget it.
-You're willing to commit to exercising your Vizsla on a daily basis. This doesn't mean a walk around the block. It means a good run every day to wear off your dog's energy. A properly exercised Vizsla will then settle down and be a "couch potato".
-You like to involve your dog in ALL your activities.
-The Vizsla will not be left alone for long periods of time.
-You like a dog to be inside with you where it can be a part of the family.
-You give your dog obedience training. Puppy classes, as soon as your Vizsla has received all of its puppy shots, are definitely advised. Be sure that your obedience instructor understands that Vizslas require "soft" discipline. They want to please and will try hard to make you happy. Some of the heavy-handed choke-collar jerking that might work well with a more insensitive breed will simply turn your Vizsla off and make it not want to try. For older Vizslas who have just been adopted, I always advise obedience classes. It creates a bond between you and your new Vizsla and firmly establishes you as "top dog". The socialization of the class situation is also good for Vizslas who are starting out life afresh.
Some of the
Vizslas we receive into Rescue are given up because their owners didn't teach
them, when they were puppies, how to walk on leash, come when called, and not
jump on people . Once a Vizsla has matured into a powerful, energetic
one-year-old, these training landmarks become increasingly important. A
9-weeks-old puppy who jumps up to try to lick you is charming. A 50-65 lb.
adult Vizsla who jumps up on you can knock you over.
To summarize: If you like a dog who sticks to you like Velcro, demands that it be given exercise, loves you intensely, and takes over your life completely, a Vizsla is the right dog for you.
Here is what I like to send people to alert them of responsible and not-responsible breeders:
Questions to ask a
breeder. Move on to another breeder if the answers are poor or incomplete.
1. How many of the dogs in the pedigree are you actually familiar with in respect to temperament & genetic defects?
2. What is the incidence of allergies, thyroid dysfunction, seizures, hip dysplasia, etc., in the pedigree?
3. Were there any temperament problems in the ancestry of the puppies? Have the sire and the dam been temperament tested?
4. How much time do you spend planning your litters & rearing the pups?
5. Are the sire & dam OFA Certified? Do you have certificates for me to see ?
This is important because it tells you a lot about the dedication of the breeder to genetic problems in the breed.
6. Do you offer a Health//Temperament guarantee with your puppies?
7. Are you knowledgeable about Vizslas? Can you/will you answer my special medical, food & training questions? Will you tell me when you don't know an answer? Do you have access to resources when the questions stretch beyond your knowledge?
8. Are you able and willing to answer my questions for the life of the dog?
9. Do you require a spay/neuter agreement on pets? (This is good.)
10. Will you ask me lots of questions to determine if I am, in fact, the right kind of person for a Vizsla; that I have the facilities to keep it safe and the finances to properly feed & vet it? This will help you find a puppy for me whose temperament matches my needs.
11. What are the most important things you are striving for in your breeding program. (Temperament should be first!)
12. Will you supply at least a 4 generation pedigree, the puppy's health record & instructions on how to properly take care of my new dog?
13. Will you assist me if I cannot keep the dog? A good breeder can assure you of this as he/she knows that careful screening and education has made it unlikely that you will ever want to part with your new friend.