Living With a Vizsla
The Vizsla breed is a wonderful, loving, velcro, majestic, and versatile companion. They want to be with you 100% of the time. They don't want to miss out on anything. We have a saying "Vizslas - they're everywhere you want to be." That means this is a breed that requires a lot of attention. If a young Vizsla isn't taken for off leash exercise for at least one hour per day, they are probably going to expend that energy in your house in some form or another, often with chewing or other destructive behaviors. Your backyard is NOT off leash exercise. You need to be actively moving with your young Vizsla - hiking, swimming, hunting, etc., to qualify as exercise. Vizsla puppies will keep you fit and healthy! Young Vizslas LOVE to learn new things, and in addition to getting exercise, it's important to plan short (10 minute) training sessions throughout the day to keep their brains stimulated. As Vizslas age, they calm down. By the time they are 2 or 3, they spend more time relaxing, although they can still actively hunt for hours at the age of 10 or more. A mature Vizsla has the perfect combination of chillaxing on the couch at home and active hiking power in the mountains when given the opportunity.
Many people get Vizslas as a running companion. Vizslas make great running partners, but you must wait until your dog is at least 18 months old before running or biking with the dog on a leash (repetitive straight forward motion). Young Vizslas need to do their crazy bouncing zig zag leaping to develop the right musculature, and that can't happen with forced straight repetitive high impact running. Plan to begin running with your Vizsla at the age of 18 months, and then slowly build up their stamina.
Fair warning - all puppies are obnoxious until the age of 2, but Vizslas do it at ramming speed. Vizsla puppies are great with older kids, they are not compatible with toddlers. If you are planning a family, my recommendation is to get your Vizsla puppy before starting your family. Train that Vizsla from the start to NEVER take food without permission. By the time your Vizsla is 2 years old, then the dog will be ready to be a big brother/sister to a baby. This means that by the time your child is a toddler, your Vizsla will be past the hyperactive "zoomies" stage. Unless you are very good with dogs, please wait until your youngest child is 7 or 8 before adding a Vizsla puppy to your family.
Please be aware that the most dangerous breed involved in dog bites is a 6-8 year old male white child. Dogs of any breed can snap when defending food or toys (resource guarding) around young children. Young kids and dogs require adult supervision at all times, and parents need to keep vigilent watch over dog/child interactions to encourage appropriate social behaviors that respect the dog's space. Most dog bites are kids with their own family dog, and it's almost always the same story - "my dog has never bitten anyone!" The most common site for bites is the face, and the standard scenario was the child getting near to or grabbing the dog's food or a chew toy. Although Vizslas are not commonly involved, ANY breed of dog can behave this way. For more information, see this review of dog bite studies.
Some Vizslas are less energetic than others, but most are designed to hunt for hours at a time. It is the nature of this breed to seek out adventure whenever possible. If you are looking for a calmer Vizsla, consider adopting a mature dog from your local Vizsla rescue.
Raising a Vizsla puppy takes a lot of time and effort, but it's a labor of love for those of us who appreciate the breed. There is nothing like the bond between you and a Vizsla raised with love and care. It's a team effort that brings joy to your heart - you will cherish every minute of time spent together with this incredible breed!