What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Vizsla Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
The AKC Standard calls the Vizsla "lively, gentle-mannered, demonstrably affectionate, and sensitive."
The good-natured Vizsla has also been called a "Velcro" dog because he is so tactile -- he likes to attach himself to people, preferably in their laps.
Athletic, agile, and light on his feet, the Vizsla is a robust hunting dog who needs vigorous daily exercise and lots of personal attention. Too much confinement and too little companionship can lead to neurotic behaviors such as hyperactivity and destructiveness. Bored Vizslas are notorious chewers.
Most Vizslas get along well with everyone, including strangers and other animals, but they do need a lot of early socialization to build confidence. Some Vizslas are excitable and/or easily startled in new situations.
The Vizsla has the independent spirit of all pointing breeds, but responds to training more willingly than most and is a capable performer in advanced obedience competition.
You may need to control his tendency to mouth your hands -- provide a box filled with toys so he can carry things around in his mouth.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium-sized, sleek-coated, tautly-muscled, a true athlete
- Is usually bred by responsible breeders who produce dual-purpose (both show and field) and even triple-purpose (show, field, and obedience) dogs
- Is packed with energy and thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
- Responds to training more willingly than most pointing breeds
- Is gentle and sensitive, typically a "soft" dog
- Is very sociable and demonstrative with his family -- likes to lean against you
- Is usually polite with everyone, including other animals
A Vizsla may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
- "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
- Timidity in some lines, or when not socialized enough
- A distractable mind of his own -- tends to ignore calls and commands when an interesting sight or scent catches his attention
A Vizsla may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Vizsla
If I was considering a Vizsla, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Vizslas MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Vizslas are famous for chewing through drywall, ripping the stuffing out of sofas, and turning your yard into a moonscape of giant craters.
If you simply want a casual pet and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking, or to get involved in hunting, or advanced obedience, or tracking, or agility (obstacle course), or a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed. Trying to suppress their "hardwired" desire to run and work, without providing alternate outlets for their high energy level, can be difficult.
- Bounciness. Young Vizslas (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people.
- Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, Vizslas need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.
- Providing enough socialization. Vizslas need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness, which is difficult to live with.
- Mind of their own. Vizslas are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own, can be stubborn, and are easily distracted by exciting sights, scents, and sounds. You must show them, through absolute consistency and great patience, that you mean what you say and that they must pay attention to you.
To teach your Vizsla to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Vizsla Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Housebreaking. The pointing breeds can be a bit slow to pick this up. Expect several months of consistent crate training.
- Health problems. Seizures and epilepsy are major problems in Vizslas. Also occurring are hip and eye disorders, bleeding disorders, skin diseases, and cancer.
To learn more about training Vizslas to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Vizsla the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Vizsla puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Vizsla might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Vizsla home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Vizsla...
When you're acquiring a Vizsla PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Vizslas who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
MORE OF MY ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY.....
What Works, and What Doesn't
|Puppy Training Schedule: What To Teach, and When|
Is The Best Food
For Your Dog
|Teach Your Dog Words|
|The Second Best Food For Your Dog||When Buying a Dog, Are AKC Papers Really Necessary?|
Copyright © 2000-2014 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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