Vizsla lessons learned the hard way


Well-Known Member

I thought I’d take the time to share some things learned along the way with my first Vizsla in case anyone else is considering one. Our dog is 14 months old and overall a happy addition to the family. The points below are just from my experience with one dog so they are probably not universal truths, though most of it reinforces the consensus with the breed.

They’re different than other bird dogs. If you’re used to DDs, GSPs, Brittanies there are some differences.

1) The Velcro dog thing is real. These dogs were bred to have very strong owner bonds. That sounds nice but realize that it can also really wear on you. They can be very needy. You’ll gain an extra 50 pounds because the dog will be on you at all times or whining to be closer to you. This attachment is one of the biggest differences and considerations for the breed.

2) point number 1 means they don’t make good kennel dogs. They’re much more suited to being a house dog. It also means it’s hard to send them somewhere for training. If you plan to send your dog to a trainer for a couple of months that separation and the kennel environment may not work well for your dog. They suffer from separation anxiety and stress in the new environment. If you don’t have the time to train the dog yourself you may want to consider a different breed or get a finished dog from a breeder/trainer and transition that older dog into your home.

3) they’re prone to excessive whining. Usually in response to anxiety or boredom. Our dog was particularly bad until he started his training regime. This seemed to give him purpose and stopped him from being an anxious neurotic dog.

4) they’re soft dogs. Can’t really overstate this. You better have a lot of patience. I wouldn’t use a trainer that doesn’t have a lot of experience with Vizslas. We used a trainer who said he’d trained Vizslas but was a GSP breeder and trainer. His overuse of the e-collar set our dog back significantly. We pulled him out of there but the damage was done and it has been a long slow process to overcome it. Our dog has a memory like an elephant and any negative experience he has is imprinted for good. He slipped and fell on our hardwood floor, he has been avoiding that area for four months now. If you lose your patience and are overly harsh with the dog you will set yourself back significantly each time. Tons of patience and positive reinforcement is what it took for our dog.

5) like most sporting breeds, they have a ton of energy. If you don’t have the time and space to burn this off daily don’t get one. You’ll both be miserable.

6) they seem slower to mature than other dogs. We still struggle with some puppy behavior at a year old

Most of the above is focused on the challenging aspects. There are a ton of positives too. Our dog is incredibly intelligent, a hunting machine and crazy affectionate. He’s an intact male and not aggressive. Does a good job of guarding the house. Is gentle with kids. The list goes on. From my experience there are easier breeds of pointers but there are some great upsides to Vizslas. They’re definitely not for everyone and that’s why I posted this in hopes it may help someone figure out if they’re right for them.

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Dad had a Visla, great dog. Everything above is exactly right. They seem to be breeding to a smaller size in US, or is that just my observation?
Dad had a Visla, great dog. Everything above is exactly right. They seem to be breeding to a smaller size in US, or is that just my observation?

I think that may be the case but I just don’t see enough of them to say it’s a fact. The breeder I got my dog from breeds to a smaller size. When I lived in Australia the Vizslas over there were Weimaraner sized. Bigger than most of the V’s I see around here, but in Indiana they’re just not that common. Lack of upland hunting and the perception that they can’t handle the cold seems to keep them rare around here.

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Dad had a female, he got from Arizona. One of the parents was direct from Austria. She was taller than even some of the males I've seen the last few years.
Went with Rose! Can not wait to bring her home in 2 weeks!


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