What I was NOT told about Owning a Vizsla

We searched through many breeds of dogs before settling on a Vizsla, as referenced HERE.

I still recommend the "What's Good About 'Em" website for research purposes. We did not realize certain things about the Vizsla until we actually had one home for quite a while.

Things No One Told Me About Owning a Vizsla

1. They are about one of the highest need breeds of dog a person can have - While I was aware that Vizsla's have high energy and social needs. They seem to require 2-3x as much attention and time as other dogs their age. In our class today, the other 2 dogs were exhausted, Oso still had at least two hours of exercise left in him.

2. They are prone to seizure disorders - Important to know. I should have gotten a history of how Oso's ancestors died and if any in the past had seizures. VERY important and we did not do this. As far as I know, Oso doesn't have a disorder, but it wouldn't show up until he is in his first year (most likely).

3. When you purchase one, you join a secret Vizsla Club - Other Vizsla owners consider you family. They like you JUST because of the type of dog you chose. People will come up to you and say, "Is that a Vizsla?" They have a look on their face that means they are proud because they know what kind of dog it is. Most likely they are groupies. They are proud just to know about the club. Unfortunately most of these people pronounce "Vizsla" wrong. It's ok, we still love them because they think our dogs are the best.

4. It is pronounced Veez-shla - Now, you would think I would know for sure how to pronounce the name of the breed before purchasing. Nope. I was a groupie as well... actually, a wannabe groupie and in the Vizsla 101 video (which I watched on Youtube) they say it several different ways - they didn't know either. Here's a link to a cafepress store with a logo all about the pronunciation.
5. There is no way that I could have raised this puppy if I had a young child at home - I'm not speaking for everyone. But, I work only 10 hours a week and am an online Grad student. I am home most of the time and raising this dog has kicked my butt. I am so glad that we got this dog before we had a family. I still feel like I am behind in the training he needs to be well behaved. I truly think pre-kids is a good time to get this dog (as long as you are not working all the time) and also when you are retired.

6. What a cute and quirky personality he/she would have - Now, this is probably something that goes along with all dogs, but this little guy has the best little personality and expressive face. This seems to be the essence of the breed.

7. How often he would get sick as a puppy - When you buy your pup, have a separate expense account all ready just for this. Oso got kennel cough, giardia, coccidia, and a granuloma and he is only 5 months. According to the forum, this is typical of young Vizslas - that they get sick quite a bit before their immune system is strong. (Yes, he got vaccinated against kennel cough!).

That is all I can think of for now - There are other things that I can think of about getting a dog that we were surprised about. We were surprised how much more difficult it was than having a cat. How we did not just immediately love him. (We liked him, but it took a while for the bond to develop. He was cute, but he took so much from us and we didn't even know him yet. I would say it took weeks). What else?

Guess I'll update this if I think of anything in the future. We are extremely proud to be in the vizsla club, but you've got to have the right situation for this kind of dog. With the time it takes to keep him/her emotionally and physically happy, it requires a specific lifestyle (or realistic lifestyle change) from the owner. I had heard this, but did not understand it until little Oso had been home for quite a while. He is a member of our family and Oscar and I have both had a lot of adjustments to make. My guess is this will decrease slightly as he matures. It already is SOOOO much easier.

All the best,

- FS

41 comments:

Kristen said...

Can I add one from my personal experience?
I had no idea how CUDDLY a V would be! I knew they were "velcro dogs" but my dog loves nothing more than being as close to you as possible. I swore that he wouldn't be allowed on furniture. Well...he's allowed on both the sofa and the bed for morning cuddles. Its just too hard to resist their snuggles.

Mrs. Sanchez said...

Haha, we expected the cuddles. We just hoped he would display that characteristic. It is so cute - Oso likes to sleep UNDER the covers. If he drifts away from you in sleep, he will re-position himself. When cold, he will climb up into a ball and rest his head on my shoulder. LOVE that Vizsla trait. We actually held strong on the sofa, but every morning he is in bed with us. :)

Ashley Qualls said...

#1 is SO true! I tell people having a V pup is the closest dog breed you can get to a human baby. We're really glad we decided to get the dog before we start our family... I can't imagine raising a V with kids. :-o

Ashley Qualls said...

Our V is the best behaved in obedience class, but we exercise her for *at least* 30 minutes to an hour beforehand... haha. We're lucky that the class is @ 8PM so we can fit in dinner, exercise, and potty break before we go.

Mrs. Sanchez said...

Ooh Ashley, I'm glad you posted. I should probably edit that one about the classes ,as it's not really generalized across the breed.

Oso just can't stand not saying hi to the other doggies. He is a lot better now (with a better instructor), but in the beginning he was THE misbehaved doggy. Great at tricks, the BEST at tricks, but horrible at just waiting during the teaching part.

And I love everything about Oso. I love what you said about the closest breed to a human baby. He is our baby, that's for sure. Hopefully, he'll be well behaved and we'll have a great exercise routine down when we start our family in a couple years.

akgvizslainspiration said...

I raised Luna with a toddler in the house, and my two parents who are NOT dog people... she was actually the first dog ever allowed in the house, so it can be done. And she is GREAT with the kids, well my nieces and nephews. Little rowdy sometimes and will bump them but loves to play and will put up with some pretty ruff treatment.

I would not say that all vizsla puppies get sick often. I think that might be more related to where Oso came from, or what he was exposed to. Were you careful to keep him out of dog populated areas until he had gotten all of his shots in his system for a while? I did not take Luna to public places with dogs until she was older than 4 months old. It was hard but I did not want her picking something up from another dog's poo. This is the case with all dogs. Overall she had a tuff stomach from the get-go, and still can tolerate chews and treats better than our lab can. I hope his stomach settles down, a good food will always help his immune system too.

I hear you on Vizslas taking a lot from you, whoever said "vizslas are not just a dog they are a lifestyle" could not be more correct. It takes a lot, but they often will give a lot back. I have worked around dogs for quite a few years now training and doing daycare/boarding work... but my own dog took a lot out of me. For the first 2 years I still questioned whether I had gotten the right dog, but she also likes to break the Vizsla standard lol. Hang in there, the work you are putting in now will SO pay off later.

And she is indeed the cuddliest dog anyone has known.
Anna
www.akginspiration.com

Brooke said...

Great candid, informative post!

MDH said...

I am considering getting a V and this post was very informative - thank you! I want a cuddly family dog and am leaning toward this breed b/c of their loving personality, size/look, intelligence, and fact that they don't smell (had a Chessie before kids - loved the dog, hated his smell). The high energy/exercise thing does give me slight pause - I'm not a runner, but would like a walking companion. Is any one aware that some V lines are more energetic than others, perhaps the hunting lines? My in-laws describe their friend's 3 Vs as "crazy" - I haven't met those dogs, but plan to do so - I wouldn't want a dog that anyone would view that way! Let me know of any insights on the energy issue - I've raised a pup so understand that energy, but does it vary by line, inside vs outside, situation, etc. THANK YOU!

Emma Smith said...

Hi - I have a wonderful V but I caution - she needs 5 hours off leash exercise a day. I walk at least 8 - 10 miles a day with her, and employ a dog walker, and take her to the park to play with her friends. She is insatiable for fun and exercise and gloriously happy - but let's just say my husband/ boss/ kids/ previous hobbies don't get so much of me these days ... and I have shed a few tears (of exhaustion). My holiday this summer will be walking 100 miles across Wales with her. I just couldn't think of another way of doing it!

Mason Williams said...

My wife and I just bought a Vizsla and so far Millie is every bit as needy as a human baby. She wants to be held all the time and when she doesn't want to be held she wants to play. She is so affectionate that she piddles anytime someone new pets her because she is just SO excited to see them. we're hoping she mellows out a little bit. As big runners we are counting down the days until we can get some of her energy out by running her in the morning.

Hannah Adcock said...

MHD: vizslas are high-energy hunting dogs that need to run. The energy of my 8-month-old viz continually surprises other dog owners I meet on walks – and her need for attention in the house (or indeed anywhere) continually surprises friends and family! They are wonderful dogs, but the 'good with kids and cuddly' is really only one side of the coin. They can also be completely lunatic (because they are intelligent and have bags of energy) and need plenty of time to run/jump/zoom/bounce/play.

Yvonna said...

We have a 9 month old Vizsla and we have a big problem with her when people come over to our house, especially with children. Most of our friends children are afraid of the dog but she wants to play, jump and run with them. It is a whole lot of screaming, holding the dog, lacking her in a cage but nothing is really working :((( Either the kids are screaming or the dog is barking and wining!!! I am desperate for any advise on what to do and what can work best. Any help would be appreciate it.

Deer ONTIE said...

If you train your vizsla to stay close, walks are perfect if they are allowed off-leash outside city limits. We take ours on hikes in the mountains, deserts, beaches, woods, wherever we are.

Deer ONTIE said...

Ours is the same way. We have mellowed her a bit by exercising her before people come over. Then, right before they arrive, we practice going out the door and coming back in. Treats are dropped on the ground for her to eat when we enter. Same thing when friends arrive. More treats on the ground. It gets her focused on getting the treat so she is less likely to jump up, and tries to be polite (sit, lay down, etc.) Got this idea from YouTube "kikopup".

jules said...

Dear MDH,

Vizslas are CRAZY! Ours needed 2-3 hours of OFF LEASH full tilt running a day for the first 2 years. He was an absolute lunatic and would create an obstacle course in the house for himself until he was taken out to run. ON leash walking doesn't work for this breed. You need to let them RUN. Then talk them on a leashed walk afterwards. :)

We took ours to 3 sets of puppy training classes. He knew all of the commands but would refuse to do them in class. I looked like such an idiot and bad dog owner. However, on the last class, during the "show off your skills" day. He won all of the competitions in class that day. The instructor spoke to me after class and said she didn't think he knew the commands and was blown away. Banting was just a stubborn guy!

I have to say owning a Vizsla was one of my life's greatest joys. He was SO needy, and crazy, and cuddly, and the light of our families life. You do need to know what you are getting into and be prepared for the extensive exercise needs and dedication to training. They are a great breed and will love and protect you.

Best of luck with making your decision!!

HPaul3 said...

We've had two Vizslas, Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy. Jimi died young, from lymphoma. Broke our hearts -- he was only six. Just a freak occurrence. Lymphoma is not endemic to VIzslas, nor was it in his bloodline. We got Buddy Guy shortly after Jimi died, at four months old, right before the birth of our fourth child. (The others were seven, five and three.)

Our experience with Vizslas has been nothing short of extraordinary. We're not the world's best dog owners, I'm sure -- with five kids, we don't have the luxury of walking or running the dog for miles and miles, and the kids take a great deal of our attention and time. They are indeed prioritized over Buddy, and Buddy knows it. In short, he couldn't be a much better dog. He has no bad habits, he does not demand anything, he's not hyper or lunatic, he doesn't eat things off the table when we leave the house for a few minutes, he's never dug a hole or chewed a shoe. He's completely mellow -- right now he's snuggling with our seven-year-old girl on the floor.

I don't know if we've just been lucky (I doubt it), but I've said many times: I may have other dogs, but I will always have a Vizsla. Our V's have added so much to our lives, selflessly giving their love and attention, without demanding anything other than a little love and some kibbles in return. Do not be scared away from the breed by the stories you might read or hear. Meet one in person, find a good breeder. Another advantage of the V is their relative lack of popularity and the ferocious protection of the breed by their dedicated breeders. They will all protect their dogs by keeping them out of the hands of owners who may not be a good match for them. Because Vs live so long (15 - 18 years), owners must be willing to make a long-term commitment to their dogs.

Our experience with the V could not be more positive. Good luck!

HPaul3 said...

We've had two Vizslas, Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy. Jimi died young, from lymphoma. Broke our hearts -- he was only six. Just a freak occurrence. Lymphoma is not endemic to VIzslas, nor was it in his bloodline. We got Buddy Guy shortly after Jimi died, at four months old, right before the birth of our fourth child. (The others were seven, five and three.)

Our experience with Vizslas has been nothing short of extraordinary. We're not the world's best dog owners, I'm sure -- with five kids, we don't have the luxury of walking or running the dog for miles and miles, and the kids take a great deal of our attention and time. They are indeed prioritized over Buddy, and Buddy knows it. In short, he couldn't be a much better dog. He has no bad habits, he does not demand anything, he's not hyper or lunatic, he doesn't eat things off the table when we leave the house for a few minutes, he's never dug a hole or chewed a shoe. He's completely mellow -- right now he's snuggling with our seven-year-old girl on the floor.

I don't know if we've just been lucky (I doubt it), but I've said many times: I may have other dogs, but I will always have a Vizsla. Our V's have added so much to our lives, selflessly giving their love and attention, without demanding anything other than a little love and some kibbles in return. Do not be scared away from the breed by the stories you might read or hear. Meet one in person, find a good breeder. Another advantage of the V is their relative lack of popularity and the ferocious protection of the breed by their dedicated breeders. They will all protect their dogs by keeping them out of the hands of owners who may not be a good match for them. Because Vs live so long (15 - 18 years), owners must be willing to make a long-term commitment to their dogs.

Our experience with the V could not be more positive. Good luck!

Nichy D said...

Hello, I am interested in buying a vizsla, but I had a few questions about the breed...I'm a commercial fisherman and I fish year round, I know that vizslas suffer from separation anxiety, so do you think it's okay that I take them on the boat with me? Thank you so much

Unknown said...

Lucy, the worst dog ever made loves the water. One of their traits is a cat-like paw that helps them swim. Of course she loves to sit on top of the couch like a cat and stretch. V's can run circles around most other breeds, as a matter of fact Lucy is one of the favorites of most of the owners at the local park because she tires their dogs out and they go home and sleep. I've been on several V hikes with other V's and Lucy is by far the brattiest, most ill behaved one. Of course this is why I love her so much. Kind of takes after me. And yes, like most V's she wants to love me 24-7

Unknown said...

Before I got my Vizsla I did extensive research on them for almost a 6 months to make sure I was sure that the Vizsla breed was right for our family. It was hard when I read negative posts like these saying that Vizsla's were super crazy etc or suffered with severe separation anxiety etc.. I am so glad that these types of negative posts did not detour me from getting my Vizsla. She is the best dog I have ever had. I adore her. She is gentle, beautiful, affectionate and has the best temperament. I think all Vizsla's have similar qualities about them like being super affectionate, intelligent and they do have energy but mine is by no means hyper active or extremely crazy. We live in a decent sized house with a medium sized backyard and she does totally fine and is independent when we are not home (We know because we did a lot of checking and listening for many weeks when we first got her until she adapted.)
When we first got her at 8 weeks old I think I cried for the first week because she was my first puppy and it was overwhelming because I didn't realize that there is an adapting process with a new puppy and with the lack of sleep from having to take her out to potty every 2 hours for the first 3 weeks it felt like it would never end haha. But, this is totally normal for every puppy! The more I connected with people with other puppies the more I felt better because it is so normal and everyone goes through it. When she was 8 weeks old to about 11 weeks she had mild separation anxiety when we would leave but that faded quickly as we worked with her, I think mild separation anxiety is pretty common in puppies tho, now she is perfectly quiet when we leave, sometimes whimpers a bit for a minute and then goes about her business. Sometimes I am upstairs when my husband leaves and she is outside or in the kitchen and she is quiet the whole time, never knowing I have been upstairs the entire time studying etc. When we get home she is so happy to see us and follows us around, which is quite endearing. I understand that good breeding seems to be a big part with this breed, but find a good breeder and you will never regret having a Vizsla. A bit on our routine for people considering a Vizsla and would like to know: We aren't runners, we do take her for about 20-30 min walks about 2-3 times a day (more like 2), a couple times a week I take her for 45 min to 1 hour, sometimes of leash as I am walking so she can explore and run, more recently dog parks (she likes friends). I will say though, study the breed if you are not sure and don't be naive, make sure the core personality of it is fitting for you but don't let people scare you about their negative experiences with them, because you do not know the whole story (how they are raising them, where they are raising them etc.) A dog will be how you train it to be, spend the time and energy in training and be persistent, they are extremely intelligent and want to please. Be kind to them and firm and you'll be so happy with this beautiful dog in just a couple months of having one. I hope this helps, good luck!

Kiersten Gamby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kiersten G said...

This post is so encouraging! We've only had our puppy for a couple weeks but he is a handful! He's learning quickly, but we still have lots of work to do. I'm sure it will continue to get better with patience and practice though!

My only question for other Vizsla owners is this: what do you do for exercise when it's cold? We bought our puppy a coat but he shivers so much and hates being outside and it's about to be winter where I live so I'm trying to find ideas of ways to get all that pent-up energy out of him. Thanks!

Fannie Connolly said...

Hi Kiersten!

Yes, please be encouraged. Patience and consistency is the key. When it is cold I like to do training exercises indoors with our Vizsla to provide mental stimulation (which i noticed tires her out faster) and then fetch indoors as well. Sometimes my husband and I like to stand on opposite sides of the room and call her back and forth or throw a toy back and forth. I hope these help!

Gäddgalning said...

"We were surprised how much more difficult it was than having a cat"
OMG!! :D :D

Gäddgalning said...

What kind of cold are you talking about, how cold?

Liana Pieters said...

We rescued our V from a farm where the pups were left on their own and no attention. They were obviously fed but no interaction. When we got Russell he was 5 months old. The breeder/person could not even tell me the exact date of birth and or if he had any inoculations. He was so scared and in shut down mode in the first week. He didn't want to come in the house, we had to carry hin inside. He didn't want to eat nice food , just dry kibbels. He wolfed his food down. From the first night Russell was with us I slept with him on the floor. I held him, loved him and whispered sweet words to him. Within the first week he started to trust me & my husband. Luckily we have no children and my husband is at home most of the day. Russell is very active but not crazy active. We play with him every day and he swims in the pool everyday. He loves the water. Luckily we live in South Africa close to the Kruger National park so it is very very hot here. We do not take him on runs although I use to be a runner. It is way to hot these days to go out for a run and getting dangerous in our erea. Russell is nor destructive at all, although he loves to garden now and again. Because of his love of water our sprinkler system is no more. Our yard is medium size and it seems enough to keep him happy. I do agree that V's are close to being loke a human baby where it comes to attention, but that is what we love so much about him. All the cuddels, and holding my hand in his mouth even in his sleep. Yes he sleeps on the bed with us and our two mini schnauzers. Maybe we just got lucky with Russell by not being crazy hyper energetic. Here in South Africa V's are not known ,if at all. My Vet only saw two in his career, so we had to do all our research online. I love my Vizsla!! They are a fantastic breed!!Regards Liana Pieters South Africa

Unknown said...

My Viszila of 19 years sailed the high pontoon of my 18' Hobbie, kayaked, rafted and canoed with me all of his life. The best possible thing you caN do with a Viszila is include him in your daily life.

Zach said...

It seems that most of you have the Vizsla as an indoor pet. We have found that my wife is allergic to the hair/dander of our 8 year old rat terrier, but not all dogs. Have you found the shedding to be excessive or had any issues with allergies?

For our rat terrier, we have made the rule that she isn't allowed in the bedroom or on the furniture, and that has made great improvements on my wife's allergies in our 800 sq ft apartment. Before we get another dog, we plan to have a house with a medium sized fenced in back yard so the dogs can play.

I appreciated reading through everyone's thoughts and we are very interested in owning a Vizsla of our own!

Unknown said...

Hello, my daughter found this site and i am very glad she did! We just saw for the 1st time a Vizsla, and my 2 daughter and my Wife ( doesn't want to get a puppy) LOVE this breed of dog. :-) But i have many ???'s. Like my purpose for getting a dog is for hunting ( Birds, Geese,ducks and Pheasant ) is this a good dog for this? What i have been reading that Yes it is? Are they difficult to train? I liked what you said about their history on Seizures.

Hector Hernandez said...

Hello, my daughter found this site and i am very glad she did! We just saw for the 1st time a Vizsla, and my 2 daughter and my Wife ( doesn't want to get a puppy) LOVE this breed of dog. :-) But i have many ???'s. Like my purpose for getting a dog is for hunting ( Birds, Geese,ducks and Pheasant ) is this a good dog for this? What i have been reading that Yes it is? Are they difficult to train? I liked what you said about their history on Seizures.

Keri Walsh said...

Absolutely loved reading your perspective (and love your pups names). We are getting ready to bring our girl home in 1.5 weeks. I've been reading EVERYTHING I can about what to expect with V puppies during the first few weeks (having already thoroughly researched the breed/breeder first). I've read a lot of potentially frightening things, but this just reaffirmed for me why I chose this breed. Thank you so much for that!

Unknown said...

there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, so it is likely your wife could be allergic to vizlas too. they do shed as much as other breeds, their hair is just shorter. i would not recommend getting a dog if the allergies are the breaking point, which i understand they very well could be!!

Unknown said...

there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, so it is likely your wife could be allergic to vizlas too. they do shed as much as other breeds, their hair is just shorter. i would not recommend getting a dog if the allergies are the breaking point, which i understand they very well could be!!

Cosette Facktor said...

they are great hunting dogs, with awesome instincts and easy to train but they need a gentle yet strong leader. they have very gentle temperament and getting even slightly angry at them can make them very fearful (which doesn't work well for the listening and trusting part). so you just have to make sure to be VERY gentle. we have owned dogs of other breeds, and heard this was true of this breed, and it most DEFINITELY is true with all our vs. we love them. best wishes!

Unknown said...

Mine has gotten better with the cold each of his 1st 3 years. I live in Wisconsin so it gets pretty cold. Wilburt can take about an hour outside in 20 degree weather. Any lower than 20 he wears his coat. I've tried many coats and chillydogs, while pricey, are by far the best.

Rich g said...

Mine has gotten better with the cold each of his 1st 3 years. I live in Wisconsin so it gets pretty cold. Wilburt can take about an hour outside in 20 degree weather. Any lower than 20 he wears his coat. I've tried many coats and chillydogs, while pricey, are by far the best.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caroline Hursty said...

Our V is now 9 months old. Makes us laugh everyday. We have 3 kids 11, 6 & 3 and he is great with all of them. Although he does tend to destroy the little one's toys if left lying around. He gets walked twice a day off lead for a total of about one and a half hours. I work 3 days a week for 4 hours a day and he comes to work with me and has done since we got him. He is energetic but i wouldn't go so far as to say crazy. He loves his walks but sleeps by my desk and doesn't move when at work. He's great and if you like walking i would highly recommend this breed. Also he is wirehaired and hardly sheds at all. Nothing like our Labrador did. He has fit in with our family so well.

Unknown said...

my 12mth old vizsla mizzy, is mental but in a good way, and i think one of the laziest vizsla's ever. all she does is sleep .she is the best dog ever love the breed so much. and i agree with them getting ill alot in the first couple of years. as mine gets nothing but stomach problems so i know where the writer is coming from

Unknown said...

I found out that our girl can't handle the high protein foods. She is a year in a half now, and it took months to find to much protein can lead to allot of loose stools. Ewwwww. So now she gets the cheaper food, but a few times a week we mix up dry puppy milk, lot's of fat a bit of protein, she loves it. Her bowl of cereal. They all have their cork's that's for sure. They love their people, and run like the wind blows.

Melissa Dominicak said...

I found out that our girl can't handle the high protein foods. She is a year in a half now, and it took months to find to much protein can lead to allot of loose stools. Ewwwww. So now she gets the cheaper food, but a few times a week we mix up dry puppy milk, lot's of fat a bit of protein, she loves it. Her bowl of cereal. They all have their cork's that's for sure. They love their people, and run like the wind blows.

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