Buying a Vizsla is similar to the decision to get married or have children – all 3 are life-altering decisions. Owning a Vizsla is an experience similar to living with a spouse or child – you will never ever be alone in a room again.
The following suggestions may make your decision process and future life with a Vizsla a little less stressful.
If you are so inclined to be more formally educated, check out some highly regarded books written about the Vizsla. Also, feel free to contact any of the RSVC Officers, Directors, or Committee Chairman listed on this website. We love talking about our Vizslas!
About the Vizsla Breed
Vizslas are loyal companions and considered an all-round pointer-retriever.
The Vizsla is not content to be "put in the kennel with the dogs after the hunt” and only reaches his fullest capacity when he is a member of the family he serves. They are also an excellent choice for showing, obedience, tracking, agility, rally, and therapy work. Even if you are not interested in competitive events, Vizslas make great companions for any out door activity. There’s a reason Vizslas are knick-named the “Versatile Vizsla” and the “Velcro” dog.
When you watch a dog show on TV, look for the Vizsla the Sporting Dog Group. There are 27 dogs in the Sporting Dog Group. The Vizsla is considered a pointing breed as are the Brittany, German Shorthaired Pointer, Pointer, and Weimaraner.
The Vizsla is one of the smallest of the pointing breeds. They are a medium sized, short coated, golden rust color. One of the most striking characteristics of the Vizsla is that they are all one color! The color of their eyes, eye rims, lips, nose, toenails, and pads of their feet all should blend with the color of their coat.
The ideal male is 22 to 24 inches and the ideal female is 21 to 23 inches at the highest point over the shoulder blades.
Vizslas do shed. Their hairs are thin and needle like. Regular brushing helps to minimize shedding and contributes to a healthy coat. Bathe your dog and clean their ears and teeth when needed. Keep their nails short by trimming them every few weeks. It is recommended that you introduce teeth cleaning and nail trimming to your Vizsla as a puppy. Do not use human toothpaste on your dog. There are several brands of dog toothpaste you can use. Otherwise, just the brushing action should be enough.
Temperament, Exercise, and Training Needs
The Breed Standard says Vizslas are sensitive, demonstrably affectionate, lively, fearless, above average ability for training, and have a protective instinct. Those adjectives are correct but understated. In the real world Vizslas are high energy, demanding for affection, con artists, and think they are “lap dogs.” They are in your face dogs and do not do well separated from the family – their pack.
If you are looking for a dog that just sits at quietly at your feet; be seen and not heard; or a dog that can be left alone in the backyard - the Vizsla is not the dog for you. Please re-read this last sentence and take it to heart.
BE CREATIVE OR YOUR VIZSLA WILL. The Vizsla can be an excellent housedog and family pet as long as it gets enough exercise. Remember the purpose for which the Vizsla was designed – HUNTING. This means early obedience training with consistent follow up. Going through a basic obedience class for a few weeks isn’t enough. Those exercises need to be reinforced every day and incorporated into your daily routine for the life of your dog.
BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. Vizslas are curious and inventive. Chewing everything is sight will be their activity of choice if they have to occupy themselves without your guidance. It is easier and cheaper to take some obedience classes and spend some time every day exercising/training your Vizsla than buying new carpet and furniture.
THE CRATE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. Wild canines live in dens with their pack. Domestic canines live in homes with their human pack. Crate training your dog is recommended for many reasons – easier to transport, easier to contain if sick, somewhere for dog to go when unsupervised or when you have company. Dogs need a place to feel safe. Many dogs prefer to use their crates for sleeping. It is not inhumane to use a crate. CRATE = DEN.
WHO’S THE BOSS? If you have ever watched a TV show about wild animals you know that members of a pack are always vying for dominance. Domestic dogs are no different. You and your family must establish the rules of your family pack. Rule #1 - HUMANS ARE THE BOSS. Rule #2 – HUMANS ARE THE BOSS.
Working with your Vizsla every day will help establish that you are the boss. Each family member should take turns feeding, exercising, and playing with the dog so the dog knows each family member is higher in rank in the pack than they are. Dogs still retain many behaviors from their wild ancestors. Remember –dogs are not humans.
STOP THAT BARKING!! Excessive barking is annoying and can lead to increased stress in your dog. As the barking continues it perpetuates the barking cycle. This cycle can be very difficult for the dog to stop on its own accord. There are many reasons dogs bark ~ seeking attention, boredom, loneliness, and outside noises. You can find many solutions to this problem on the Internet. One solution is to use a bark collar. This device is great to use when your dog is home alone. The vibration of your dog’s voice box when it barks activates the collar and gives the dog a brief shock.
If you are interested in knowing more about bark collars, check out the website for a Tucson based company called Tri-Tronics (www.tritronics.com). They have a product called the “Bark Limiter.”
Disciplining Your Vizsla
GROWLING, SNAPPING, BITING, and other aggressive behaviors should be addressed IMMEDIATELY.
You have to address the behavior the same way it’s done in the wild pack. As soon as the aggressive behavior occurs take the following action:
You may think the above is a silly way for a human to behave and can’t imagine doing anything remotely like it. But this method is simple, understandable by the dog, and it works. It’s not your words that are effective, but the dominant posture and tone of voice that is important. Dogs are not human and a lot of words yelled in their face are just gibberish to them.
Unacceptable Discipline - Yelling or hitting your dog; dragging your dog and shoving it into the crate; isolating your dog in a closet or room. These human actions are meaningless to your dog.
Children and Vizslas
Vizslas are generally very good with children. HOWEVER, NO YOUNG CHILD SHOULD BE LEFT UNSUPERVISED WITH ANY DOG. All children should be taught how to interact with the dog. They should be taught not to tease the dog and not to interfere while the dog is eating.
Please teach your children and caution other people’s children to respect a dog’s personal space. Discourage children from rushing up and getting in a dog’s face.
Children and adults need to calmly approach and ask permission to touch/pet your dog.
You may want to consider crating your dog when you have children and adults as guests in your home. Your dog is not a play toy for your children’s friends.
ROUGH PLAY. During play dogs will often knock a child down or “mouth” the child’s hand or arm. These are not usually considered aggressive behaviors. This is how dogs play with each other. Teach your child to not overreact if this happens. If the behavior changes to an aggressive tone, then discipline is required (see “Disciplining Your Vizsla” above).
Other People’s Dogs
Just think of a little kid with a new toy. What does the kid say when another kid tries to play with it? “MINE!!” The same applies to dogs. They are territorial creatures. Their home turf and personal space must be respected by people and by other dogs.
Don’t allow your dog to rush up to some one else’s dog so they can “visit.” The other dog may interpret this as an aggressive action. Only approach another dog if the owner is present and gives permission. Keep a comfortable distance between the two dogs and make sure they cannot reach each other.
Raising a Puppy
The VCA has a short brochure about this topic ~ Raising a Vizsla Puppy >> Near the end of the section “Crate Training Your Puppy,” it lists pressed rawhide as a safe chewable toy. Rawhide can be hazardous to your dog’s digestion and excretory systems. (See “Dog Toys’ below.)
If you want expert advice there are hundreds of books written on this subject.
Go to www.amazon.com and type in “raising puppies.” The T.V. show “The Dog Whisperer” with Cesar Millan is very popular. He has written many books that may be helpful to you. Go to his website at www.cesarsway.com for a list and helpful hints.
Most toys sold for dogs are not safe. They can be toxic or have pieces that can be hazardous to your dog’s health. Give a Vizsla the usual dog toy and it will be destroyed in a short time and most of it will be eaten. You will pay for it later in diarrhea, vomit, and intestinal blockage that may need to be surgically addressed. The Nyla Bone brand is a hard pure virgin nylon chew that is safer than rawhide, plastic, rubber, rope toys, hooves, etc. If you have questions about specific types of dog toys consult your veterinarian.
Buying a Vizsla ~ Questions to ask before you buy a Vizsla >>
Research and personal visits to the seller’s home are the best tools you have.
Most reputable Vizsla breeders are involved in competing with their dogs in one or more areas – show, obedience, and field. Most do not advertise in the newspaper – they sell their dogs by word of mouth in the Vizsla community.
Pet stores are not the best places to buy a Vizsla. You don’t have access to the breeders to inquire about their breeding practices and the health history of their breeding stock.
Prices for Vizslas vary. A higher price doesn’t equate with a better quality dog.
Breeders set their prices based upon many factors – the amount of time and money they invested competing with the parents to achieve titles, quality of puppies produced in a litter, availability of other Vizslas for sale, and local population of Vizslas.
You need to assess whether you want a puppy, an adult dog or a rescued dog and the reason you want a Vizsla – family pet, personal gun dog, hiking, camping, or to get involved in show, obedience, or field activities. The answers to those questions will guide you in your search for your Vizsla.
Breeding Your Vizsla
Breeding your Vizsla is not something to do on a whim. It should not be done so your kids can “experience” the birthing process. Your responsibility doesn’t end when you sell a puppy or offer your male for stud. The same questions you need to ask when you are buying a puppy will apply to you when you are selling a puppy. Questions to ask before you buy a Vizsla >>
The VCA has a short brochure about this topic ~ So You Want To Be A Vizsla Breeder >>
Vizsla Health Issues
As a breed Vizslas are a very healthy. But like all dogs they can develop some specific health issues. Breeding stock can be X-rayed and certified clear from hip and elbow dysplasia (OFA); tested for Von Willebrand’s Disease (a blood disorder); have their eyes checked and certified clear of inherited eye disease (CERT); and be tested for thyroid disease. Other health issues that may affect Vizslas are lymphosarcoma, sebaceous adenitis, muscle diseases, and canine epilepsy.
Your breeder and veterinarian will guide you on the recommended inoculation schedule, heartworm prevention, Kennel Cough vaccination, etc. We suggest you contact your veterinarian and breeder with any specific health related questions or concerns.
Note: The RSVC Code of Ethics >> states that our members agree to only breed dogs who have DNA numbers, are free from serious hereditary defects, are over 2 years old, and have been OFA-certified as free from hip dysplasia. Additional health testing is optional.
Health Information Websites:
Von Willebrand’s Disease described in the Doctors Foster & Smith website >>
Kennel Cough as described on the Doctors Foster & Smith website >>
The RSVC needs your help!
We are in need of volunteers to fill a variety of team positions. Please consider volunteering your time to help with needs of these special dogs.
The RSVC has a variety of merchandise available to order online or at many of our club events. Your support in purchasing RSVC merchandise greatly helps our club and our Vizsla rescue program.
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