Vizsladogs, Ltd.

Information for Prospective
First-Time Vizsla Owners


By Mary K. Chelton written April, 2002


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.

Exercise needs:

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 run your pup. 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 midday meal and to potty frequently. If you pup will be home alone 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 able to be supervised for both the safety of the puppy and of your house; however, most agree that puppies should not be crated for more than a few hours at a time.

Training needs:

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 PRESCHOOL 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 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.

Velcro dogs:

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, and lay their heads in your lap at every opportunity, etc. One friend has said that once you have a Vizsla, you will never go to bathroom alone again. 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.

Shedding:

Vizslas do shed, but unless you are allergic or obsessive, it sort of blends in with the décor. 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) 789-0774; e-mail FloPete@aol.com and Linda Promaulayko at brylynns@eclipse.net.
* Vizsla Club of Greater New York contact: Linda Hachtel at (973) 687-4337; e-mail linmar@bellatlantic.net.
* Vizsla Club of Northern New Jersey contact: Tony Smid at (201) 337-5646; e-mail SmidTallT@aol.com
* Conestoga Vizsla Club (Maryland, DC, Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania) contact: Iva Fisher at (301) 870-8037; e-mail vizsla@mindspring.com.
* Connecticut Valley Vizsla Club contact: Jodi Rosenblatt at (203) 794-1057; e-mail jodiro@aol.com

Questions breeders may ask you:

* Where did you hear about Vizslas?
* What your expectations are for the dog?
* Why do 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?
* What is your lifestyle like, and how the dog will fit into it, especially during the next 2 years, and is someone home during the day?
* What particular characteristics do you want in your puppy/dog, including personality and gender and why?
* Are there other pets in the house?
* Do 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?
* What are the activity level/exercise requirements you have for your dog and how do you plan to exercise your puppy?
* Are you are interested in showing your dog, or co-owning with the breeder until show qualities are or are not obvious?
* What are your current veterinarian's name and phone number?

Questions to Ask Breeders:

* How is the temperament of the sire and dam?
* What were you striving for as part of your breeding program?
* 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 puppies?
* Are you going to keep a pup? If not, why not?
* What are the AKC registered names and titles of the sire and dam?
* Do you require me to sign a contract, and if so, would you share a copy and explain it to me?
* Do you require co-ownership of puppies, and if so, why?
* 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?

Puppy prices and Issues:

Puppy prices vary. (On the East and West coasts between $1000 to $2000 depending on the breeder and the pedigrees involved; prices are slightly lower in the Midwest) 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 (See www.nopuppymills.com for more information) 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 dog. Be suspicious of any "bargain" prices for this breed, especially if "AKC registered" or "AKC papers" is part of the selling pitch, without show or field titles and OFA numbers. Avoid purchasing a puppy from a breeder with whom you do not have good rapport and avoid puppy mill, pet store and Internet purchases.

Sometimes, breeders may seem "snooty" to first time owners, and you should not purchase a puppy from someone with whom you feel you can have no rapport. Because of the special needs of this breed and because of their own breeding objectives, many breeders may seem reluctant to take a chance on a newcomer, especially one who only wants a pet who won't even consider doing any competitive events with the dog. You need to "sell" yourself to the breeder as much or more than you need to be able to pay for a Vizsla puppy, and you need to keep an open mind about what you might do with the dog in the future with the breeder's help and encouragement. You are buying more than a dog. You are buying a carefully planned breeding, a pedigree, and a lifetime relationship with a breeder. Remember that Jack Sharkey, a retiree, only wanted a pet, and his Vizsla Chartay is now the first quintuple champion in AKC's 116-year history.

Breed rescue and contacts:

For a variety of reasons, some people are not able to keep their Vizslas, and these dogs become available for rehoming. 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 usually, but not always, 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.

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.

[Rather than repeating the listing that author Mary K. Chelton created, and because the Vizsla HomePage is an international site, we are refering people to similar lists that are already available on our home page that provide a world-wide perspective. Just click below on the topic of interest and you will be forwarded to pages of contacts, references, etc. rescue coordinators and volunteers, Vizsla Clubs, Vizsla ListServ, Books . Ingle & Mead]


Vizsladogs, Ltd.
started
5-21-95 © 1995 - 2006
Last updated 02
/06/06