By Mary K. Chelton
About the breed:
The Hungarian or Magyar Vizsla represents one of the best in sporting dogs and loyal companions and has a strong claim to being one of the smallest of the all-round pointer-retriever breeds. His size is one of the Vizsla’s most attractive characteristics and through the centuries he has held a unique position for a sporting dog-that of household companion and family dog. 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. The Vizsla started arriving in the United States at the close of World War II. As interest in and devotion to the breed began to increase, owners formed the Vizsla Club of America in order to gain AKC recognition. As a result of registering foundation stock with the AKC, Vizsla owners were able to obtain official recognition in 1960 and the Vizsla became the 115th breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Official Standard of the Vizsla Breed has been developed and adopted by the Vizsla Club of America and its members.This information should be used as a guideline for understanding and appreciating the breed.
Tired puppies are much less trouble than puppies who are full of the devil! Regular daily exercise, off the lead so your pup can tear around, will help a great deal in keeping your house and your life more puppy-proofed. BEWARE! Vizsla pups NEED this exercise-without it they will use your house as a race track and actively look for trouble! Start looking now for parks and fields where you can SAFELY run your pup in completely fenced areas with substantial acreage and no vehicles, and plan to train your pup to the COME command immediately. For the next few years you will be spending an hour a day minimum (!) tiring out your little darling, so find a variety of places to exercise off leash. You will be out, rain or shine, for at least one major off-leash run a day, SO BE WARNED!!! A small fenced-in backyard is insufficient space for a Vizsla to really stretch. In young puppies, moderation is advisable because of the risk of damaging growth plates in their legs. Adolescent puppies are another story!
It is difficult to raise a puppy when no one is home during the day, and housetraining becomes much more difficult. Puppies need a mid-day meal and to potty frequently. If your pup will be home for extended periods of time, you will need to have a plan for the pup’s care such as using neighbors, friends, relatives, paid pet sitters or puppy day care. Many breeders recommend crating your puppy when the pup is not being supervised for both the safety of the pup and your house; however, most agree that puppies should not be crated for more than a few hours at a time.
Vizslas are very smart and trainable, and eager to please. In fact, they need training to be good companions so all that mischievous energy gets properly channeled. They are sensitive dogs who usually do not respond well to harsh training methods, and since they mature slowly, they often have short attention spans and get bored easily during training sessions when young. The rule of thumb is not to let a puppy do anything you wouldn’t want a 45-65 lb. adult dog to do, and never to continue with a trainer whose methods make you uncomfortable. See the list of books at the end of these sheets for more information.
Vizslas and children:
Vizslas are generally very good with children; HOWEVER, NO YOUNG CHILD SHOULD BE LEFT UNSUPERVISED WITH ANY DOG, and all children should be taught how to interact with the dog. Puppies tend to mouth and bite small children, steal their toys and knock them down, and you and the children need to be learn how to handle these situations calmly. The immediate reaction of many children is to start screaming and running, which just exacerbates the problem. Children should also be taught that the puppy’s crate is off limits; it is the puppy’s safe haven.
Parents should be aware that, as pack animals, puppies may attempt to move up in the (family) pack, particularly over young children. Be alert for any challenge by your puppy against your child (e.g. a growl or grumble); if there is a challenge, the puppy should immediately be flipped on its back and scolded severely while the child stands over the puppy. If properly handled, there is rarely more than one such challenge. It is important to involve your children in the puppy’s care (feeding, walking, and training). Be constantly aware that your puppy must be taught that he or she is at the bottom of the pack (e.g. puppies who sleep in the adults’ bedroom sometimes develop a sense that they are over the children in the home; children should be taught not to roll around on the ground in a subservient position to the puppy, etc.).
Vizslas are NOT dogs that can just be left in a yard. They were bred to be affectionate house dogs as well as hunting and field dogs, and they want to be WITH their people. They will follow you from room to room, including the bathroom, sleep next to you or at your feet, etc. Left to their own devices without human companionship, they will become lonely, bored and destructive. People who expect dogs to raise themselves by themselves will not like this breed.
Vizslas do shed, but unless you are allergic or obsessive, it sort of blends in with the decor. You can control this by rubbing the dog with a non-cotton sweater to pick up loose hairs.
Where to find reputable breeders:
Vizsla Club of America contacts: Florence Duggan at (908) 789-9774 or at FloPete@aol.com
Questions to expect from breeders:
- Where you heard about Vizslas.
- Why you want a Vizsla, as opposed to another breed or a mixed breed.
- Prior experience with dogs/Vizslas, especially training them, and
- whether you’ve ever raised a puppy before and if so, what breed.
- How many people live in your home, especially children and their ages.
- About your lifestyle and how the dog will fit into it, especially
- during the next 2 years, and whether someone is home during the day.
- The particular characteristics you want in your puppy/dog,
- including personality and gender and why.
- Other pets in the house.
- Whether you intend to spay/neuter or breed your dog.
- To describe where the puppy will live, sleep and stay when you are away.
- What kind of dwelling you live in, if you have a fenced yard and if
- not, where the dog will exercise.
- To describe the activity level/exercise requirements you have for
- your dog and how you plan to exercise your puppy.
- Whether you are interested in showing your dog, or co-owning with
- breeder until show qualities are or are not obvious.
- Your current veterinarian’s name and phone no.
Questions to ask breeders:
- How is the temperament of the sire and dam?
- What were you striving for as part of your breeding programs?
- Do you personally know other dogs in the pedigree of the puppies?
- Are you affiliated with any regional or national Vizsla clubs?
- How do you plan your litters and rate the pups?
- Are the pups handled daily by the breeder?
- Are you going to keep a pup? If not, why not?
- What are the AKC registered names and titles of the sire and the dam?
- Do you offer a health/temperament guarantee with your puppies? What
- does it entail?
- How long have you been in the breed?
- Are you willing to answer my questions after I take the dog home?
- Do you require a spay/neuter or limited registration on pets?
- Will you assist me if I cannot keep the dog?
- When can I visit my new puppy?
- What veterinary care will the puppy have had when I take it home?
- What paperwork will I receive with my puppy?
Prices for Vizsla puppies vary. (On the East Coast between $800 and $1500). A higher price does not necessarily equate with better quality; many responsible breeders are working to keep prices reasonable in an effort to discourage puppy mill breeders. Ask the breeder of any litter you consider about the goals of their breeding program; ask why they paired the parents of this litter and about titles the parents have earned. Make sure that both parents have been cleared of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) registry; get a copy of OFA numbers for both parents. When you acquire a puppy from a reputable breeder, you also acquire support throughout the lifetime of your puppy. Avoid purchasing a puppy from a breeder with whom you do not have good rapport, and avoid puppy mill, pet store, and Internet purchases.
Breed rescue and contacts:
For a variety of reasons, some people are not able to keep their Vizslas, and these dogs become available for re-homing. Sometimes they have had no prior training, or they have been abused and need major caring and rehabilitation. Rarely are they puppies. Potential rescue owners are screened as carefully as new puppy buyers, and because of the unique needs and challenging demands of Vizslas, preference in rescue situations is.given to persons who have already raised a Vizsla and know what is involved. THIS IS NOT AN ALTERNATE ROUTE TO A CHEAPER DOG! Usually, prospective owners are asked to pay transportation charges for a dog and to make a contribution to breed rescue to further the work of rescue for other dogs.
Further sources of information
The Vizsla Club of America sells an information packet for prospective Vizsla owners for $5.00.
Request from Linda Promaulayko,
660 River Road, Somerville, NJ 08876.
Books (borrow from your local library, buy in a bookstore; or buy
on the web from www.dogwise.com)
- Art of Rasing a Puppy by Monks of New Skete (also has an accompanying audiotape)
- Childproofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons
- Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
- Dog Training for Kids by Carol Lea Benjamin
- Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin
- Perfect Puppy by Gwen Bailey
- Sirius Puppy Training by Ian Dunbar (also has an accompanying videotape)
- Versatile Vizsla by Marion Coffman
- The Vizsla by B. C. Boggs
Vizsla Club of America: clubs.akc.org/vizsla/index.htm
Ingle and Mead’s Vizsla Encyclopedia: www.vizsladogs.com
Vizsla Web-Ring: www.blayne.com/v_ring/
American Kennel Club: www.akc.org
AKC Vizsla Information Source: www.vizsla.org
Internet Discussion list
VizslaTalk at www.onelist.com/vizsla
® VIZSDICTIONS-The addictions that come with owning (or being owned by) Vizslas-showing, hunting, obedience, agility, field, etc.
® VLICKING-The typical Vizsla greeting, more specifically defined as the art of licking a person all over while jumping four feet off the ground.
® VLANKET-A covering composed of three or four Vizslas that keep you warm by laying on top of you in all seasons. The warmth is measured in VTU’s (see below).
® VIZALOPE-What your Vizsla turns into when released at the park.
® VHINING-The noise heard when your Vizsla needs attention or t he noise heard when your Vizsla knows your are on the way to the park.
® VISZLITZU stands for the attack a Vizsla makes usually consisting of a well-timed undercut to the back of the knees.
® VMS stands for Vizsla Menstrual Syndrome, a bitch that goes into heat on the first day of hunting season.
® VTU-Vizsla Thermal Unit, the amount of heat generated by the dog, on your side of the bed, in July
® VIZSOSITY INDEX-A not arbitrary number agreed on by the family as the maximum number of Vizslas per household.
® VIZSCOUNT-The actual number of dogs, usually one more than the vizsosity index.
® VIZSLITORS are people that my Vizlsa thinks come to our house solely to see her.
® VSLOBBER is the greeting bestowed by my Vizlsa on said Vizslitor.
® VIZSFUL thinking-the way our Vizsla can stare seemingly for hours at whatever we are eating, thinking we are going to feed her from the table.
® VIZELLO not to be confused with VIZSLAMORTIS, both afflictions seem to be brought on by the same stimuli but manifest themselves quite differently. Both happen when the leader asks the little red person to stack (as in show training). VIZELLO is when they go completely limp and roll on their backs and seem to acquire an extra 50lbs.
® VIZSLAMORTIS happens under the same circumstances, however the little red person deigns to stack but then locks every single bone in their body thereby making it impossible for them to be stacked YOUR way.
® VIZSLARIZED is what you are when you consider holes in the wall board a normal part of raising a vizsla!
® VIZSLARATION is a very close relative of irritation and aggravation except it has a sense of humor.
® VIZSLAPSED TIME-The time it takes for 1) your Vizsla to strike the most beautiful pose or point you’ve ever seen; 2) you grab your camera; 3) you begin to press down on the shutter button; 4) your Vizsla yawns, closes his/her eyes, hunches his/her body in a stretch and looks really goofy; and 5) voila-the picture is taken.
® VFLOOR COVERINGS-The food crumbs, dirt, mud, grass, water and unmentionables that are always on your carpets and floors – thanks to your wonderful Vizsla(s).
® VEXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION-How a Vizsla knows that you’re putting on your “let’s- go-for-a-walk-or-run” shoes or clothes; or the fact that it’s a weekend morning.
® VIZLAMIC-the religion of loving Vizslas.
® VORENSIC SCIENCE-the scientific study used to find proof of which one of your Vizslas has committed a “crime.”
® VIZZA-The scraps of crust or pieces of meat saved from a pizza for your Vizsla.
® VIZSLA COLADA-The drink you’ve set down “only for a second” that your Vizsla comes and slurps from.
® VALLET-The elegant and graceful dance movements that only a Vizsla can perform.
® VALLISTIC-As in “gone Vallistic”; to describe the wild brain cramps-induced bouncing off the walls behavior that only a Vizsla can perform.
® VIPLETS is when you can’t have just two.
® VIZRUPLETS are my four eleven month olds.
® VIZSULY IMPAIRED-There’s another breed of dog?
® VIZSULY CHALLENGED-Eight or more Vizslas in the house!
® INVIZSABLE-What they think they are when you want them to do something and they’d rather do what you don’t want them to do.
® EXCLUSIVIZSLAISM-The frowned upon practice of owning only one vizsla.
® INADVIZSLABLE-The unwise practice of driving with the dogs loose in the car.
® LOW VIZABILITY-When your V decides that it would be fun to sit in your lap while you are attempting to negotiate traffic.
® NOVIZABILITY is what happens when the driver’s side window is down and your V decides that she would like to hang her head out the window a bit.
® HIGHVIZABILITY would be your V standing so that she can almost climb onto the rear window shelf so that she can get a better look at passing cars-or they her.
® VIZPLACEMENT-When your little red head beats you to the recliner.
® VIZSMEARS-The smudges on the inside of car windows where your V presses her nose.
® VADAR-The electromagnetic system that allows a sleeping vizsla on the far end of the second floor to detect that you have just begun to cut into an apple.
® VOPPLER EFFECT-The ability of a vizsla to warp time and space to be sitting politely at your feet, staring at the apple before you’ve finished the first cut.
- Vizslas are a wonderful breed, but they are not for everyone.
- Take the time to research thoroughly before buying a puppy.
- Take the time to find a responsible, concerned breeder.
- You will find that it is time well spent.
Thanks to many friends on VizslaTalk for help in preparing this handout.
By Mary K. Chelton, 35 Mercury Ave., East Patchogue, NY 11772, (631)
286-4255, firstname.lastname@example.org Owned and loved by two Vizslas.