A Beginner Guide to Owning a Vizsla

Looking into adopting a pet Vizsla as a new owner? Read through our comprehensive guide to help you prepare!

May 25, 2024By Dallin Darger
beginner guide to owning vizsla

Selecting a breed to adopt as a beginner dog owner is tough. How do you know which type of dog is most compatible with your home, lifestyle, and experience? These questions can become even trickier with unique working breeds like the Vizsla.

That said, there’s plenty of information out there on the beloved Vizsla that can help you make an informed decision! Let’s explore this distinguished breed, along with its history, temperament, and the advantages (and potential drawbacks) of owning one.

Overview of the Vizsla Breed

black collar vizsla forest
Photo by David Pupăză on Unsplash

To understand any breed, it’s often a good idea to briefly examine its history. Originating in Hungary, the Vizsla is a centuries-old breed, with references dating back all the way to the 1300s.

The breed was especially prized by Hungarian aristocrats and noblemen, who used the dogs as hunting companions. Wealthy and elite owners trained Vizslas as pointer dogs to accompany them as they hunted birds and other small game.

For the nobility, one of the most appealing characteristics of this breed was its size. Weighing an average of 40-70 lbs., the Vizsla joins the ranks of other medium-sized dog breeds like Australian Shepherds, collies, and Cocker Spaniels. This intermediate size makes members of this breed both effective hunting dogs and manageable house pets.

In terms of appearance, Vizslas are also known for their red or gold coat color, robust athletic build, and long and floppy ears. These impressive physical traits have helped lend these dogs a very favorable reputation and the breed survived several near-extinction events throughout the 16th to 19th centuries.

What Type of Personality Do Vizslas Have?

rocky mountain vizsla
Photo by Nina Quka

Temperamentally, Vizslas are renowned for their friendly and gentle personalities. Most members of this breed show remarkable care and sensitivity to their human friends. As a result, they are known to be generally safe and highly affectionate with children, making them good family dogs.

Though their hunting instincts can pose dangers to birds and small animals, Vizslas rarely express any aggression or hostility to people or other dogs. On the contrary, the breed is actually known for its immense loyalty and protectiveness over its owners. This loyalty no doubt contributed to the fierce love historical Hungarian owners had for the Vizsla, not to mention the huge popularity the breed enjoys to this day.

It’s also impossible to talk about Vizslas without mentioning their high energy levels. Due to their history of being bred as active hunting dogs, the dogs developed an extremely active temperament. Consequently, Vizslas need exercise and stimulation on a daily basis.

Owners generally find that the breed’s exercise requirements are best achieved through a minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day. This activity should ideally be fast-paced, with brisk runs, fetch, and frisbee all being excellent choices.

Pros of Owning a Vizsla

beach vizsla
Image by martine552 from Pixabay

As you might imagine, there are many considerable benefits to owning a Vizsla. One key advantage that I touched on earlier is the friendly and affectionate temperament of Vizslas.

This docile personality is a big plus for families, especially those with younger children. But, this is far from the only reason to choose a Vizsla over other breeds!

For physically active owners who like to live life on the move, a Vizsla is among the most active dog breeds. Few dogs will be able to keep up with the lifestyle of energetic and fast-moving owners more than this breed. This energy is also served by the Vizsla’s generally sharp and mentally agile nature; much like Border Collies or German Shepherds, this is a highly intelligent dog breed.

Other notable selling points for the breed include:

  • High trainability
  • Low grooming requirements
  • Reputation as good therapy dogs
  • Practical, mobile size
  • Unique and pleasant visual appearance

Frequent Challenges for Vizsla Owners

vizsla dog bed
Photo by John Spence on Unsplash

While there are several strong advantages to adopting a Vizsla, there are some key obstacles to be aware of. First and foremost, it’s crucial to note that the high activity level of the Vizsla is not for everyone. If you lead a less mobile lifestyle or will be away from the home too frequently to provide for your dog’s exercise needs, there can be unpleasant consequences. Bored Vizslas have been known to engage in destructive activities like tearing apart clothes and furniture while their owners are away.

Another area to consider closely is health. As a breed, Vizslas are prone to several notable health conditions. Common conditions to watch out for in your pet Vizsla are hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism.

Now, there’s certainly no guarantee that your Vizsla will suffer any of these conditions. But, there is a statistically significant associated risk of developing one. Since all of these health issues are likely to require more veterinary visits along with regular care and treatment, some owners can find them overwhelming to manage.

Should a New Owner Choose a Vizsla?

vizsla blue ball
Photo by Daniel Johnson

So, what’s the final verdict? Are Vizslas the right breed for new owners, or are there better beginner-friendly dogs to adopt?

Overall, Vizslas are a good beginner dog. They are friendly, loyal, and highly intelligent, so training will not be a difficult process. The breed is also great with kids and other pets, with fewer chances of safety concerns. Temperamentally, behaviorally, and physically (owing to their medium build), Vizslas make perfect family dogs.

On the other hand, there are some common disadvantages to keep an eye on. The tendency for Vizslas to develop serious health problems like loss of eyesight and hip dysplasia shouldn’t be overlooked. Likewise, this breed’s high energy level can wear down many owners and lead to bored, hyperactive behavior on the part of the Vizsla.

Dallin Darger
By Dallin Darger

Dallin is a passionate, seasoned pet owner and enthusiast. He has, over the course of 27 years, owned and loved a litany of breeds, from Labrador retrievers and calico cats to angelfish and neon tetras. Much of his free time is spent researching and learning everything he can about unfamiliar and exciting types of wildlife.