Some questions are asked frequently of the Club so if you are thinking about owning a Vizsla for the first time or wanting to learn more about the Breed we hope this page will help
IS THE HUNGARIAN VIZSLA THE RIGHT BREED FOR ME
As with any dog, a Vizsla is a commitment for life. They are very sociable, attention seeking and loving animals who need frequent human contact to keep them happy. A Vizsla will not tolerate being left alone in the home for long periods, it will become bored and irritable and very likely become vocal and/or destructive in its frustration. They can be sensitive so careful supervision and training is needed in a family with children, of both the dog and the children! If you have a lifestyle and job which means that you will have to leave the dog alone at home all day – please don’t get a Vizsla.
Remember that you are thinking of acquiring a hunting dog who has been bred to be outside in the fields hunting for game. While you may not wish to use him in this way, those instincts will still be there and its inbuilt drive to hunt needs an outlet – it will need a lot of exercise when an adult ,at least an hour a day, off the lead and be allowed to run freely. It will need to be trained, not necessarily to working gundog standards, and most respond to sympathetic training very well.
Are they easy to train?
In expert hands, yes. Their natural exuberance and hunting instincts need to be harnessed (not extinguished) and it is highly recommended that you seek a specialist HPR trainer for Gundog training. They are not a dog we would recommend for the first time owner. What it learns at village hall obedience classes may quickly unravel when let off the lead outside! Make sure you find a trainer who understands gundogs, an HPR specialist will of course be the best choice. There are many across the country and we list many training groups on this site
If you wish to show your Vizsla, then attendance at a Ringcraft class is a must – these classes can also be found all over the country.
Just a pet? – Good training is vital. Try to find a class where they do the KC Good Citizen Dog Scheme and incorporate some outside training. This breed requires mental as well as physical exercise.
There are many things you can do with your dog to promote mental stimulation ie agility, flyball, search and rescure, or working trials – not necessarily to competitive levels.
FINDING A PUPPY – CHOOSING A BREEDER
Where can you find a puppy. The best places to start are the Hungarian Vizsla Club (HVC) or the Hungarian Vizsla Society (HVS) websites which usually have lists of puppies, bred by their members, that are for sale, usually but not always so it may be that you will need to put your name on a breeder’s list.
The HVC has an Approved Breeder Register, these are people who have signed to say that they will apply the best possible standards to the breeding of their dogs, health testing, choosing good temperament and providing lifetime assistance to people buying puppies from them. Members of the HVC or HVS can only hold membership if they agree to maintain certain standards when breeding so if you buy a puppy from a member of one of these two groups you can be assured that the welfare of mother and puppies will be maintained.
It may be that there are no puppies from members when you want a puppy, you don’t want to wait so you look around and find on the internet that someone is advertising puppies. How can you be sure that the puppy will be a ‘nice’ puppy. You can’t be sure but you can ask questions of the person who is advertising and some questions we recommend that you ask are at the end of this article.
Possibly the person with the puppies is a Kennel Club Assured Breeder and although this means certain criteria have been met you still need to ask questions as the Kennel Club have assured breeders for hundreds of breeds of dogs and what might apply to one breed might not be good enough for another breed. If these Kennel Club Assured breeders are not members of the HVC or HVS it is not quite as good as buying from a member. For example the HVC and HVS members will not mate their bitch before she has reached the age of 2 years, this is the minimum age at which a Vizsla reaches maturity, most mature some time later than this. A member will not allow their bitch to have more than one litter in a 12 month period, hopefully to ensure the best possible health for mother and babies.
Maybe the person with the puppy has a lovely website with lots of pictures of beautiful puppies and adult dogs posing. Often these can be people who make a living from breeding and selling puppies. You might find they breed and sell other breeds. They might ask for a deposit as soon as you say you want a puppy in order to secure that puppy for you, sometimes before it is born. These are commercial breeders and although their stock might be good the onus is very much on you to find out what you are buying.
A good indicator of what sort of breeder is advertising is the price of the puppy. You should ask a contact from the HVC or HVS what this price currently is. If the price is very high or very low then it is possible you are buying from a commercial breeder or a puppy farm
It has recently come to our attention that a publication called Loot can be viewed online with puppies for sale. This is not a site we would recommend and we suspect that many of the puppies advertised here are being brought in from Europe from puppy farms.
Questions you should ask a breeder before buying
- Are they a member of the Hungarian Vizsla Club or Society
If they are members of HVC or HVS then they will subscribe to a set of standards known as a code of ethics, this can be seen on the Club website
- Are the sire and dam both KC registered
Both dogs need to be registered at the KC for your puppy to be registered and to be a pedigree puppy.
- Does the breeder own sire and dam and can both be seen, if not who owns the sire
You need to see the dam with the puppies
- What are the DOBs of sire and dam
The dam should be at least 2years 3 months and not over 8 years and the sire should be over 18 months. These are the ages that experience has shown are the right ages for breeding
- How many litters has the dam had
A bitch should have no more than three litters between the ages of 2 years & 8 years
- What was the date of the previous litter, if any
A dam should not have more than one litter in any 12 month period
- What health tests have the sire and dam undergone and can you have a sight of the certificates
Both sire and dam should definitely have hip scores and preferably elbow scores and eye tests, see the Club website for acceptable scores
- Is there any history of serious illness in the pedigree of the puppy
You need this information in case puppy develops symptoms in later life
- How many litters has the breeder bred altogether and how many in the last 12 months.
If they have bred more than 5 litters in the last 12 months they should be licensed by the local council
- How long have they owned the Breed
- Does the breeder show, work or compete in agility or obedience with their dogs
- Will the puppies be docked and have dew claws removed
- When will the KC registration certificate for my puppy be given to me
This should be given to you when you collect the puppy and the breeder should have signed the back of the form to indicate that you are the new owner – a copy of a recent KC registration document is attached so that you know what this looks like. It should not be confused with a ‘pedigree’ which is a chart of the puppy’s ancestors
- Will the registration be endorsed and what are the conditions for removal of the endorsements
A concerned breeder will endorse the KC registration certificate to ensure future breeding is carried out responsibly and should explain this to a prospective purchaser
- What will the puppy pack contain.
This should have information about feeding regimes, dates of worming and vaccination. Also information on training your dog, full contact details of the breeder, kc puppy insurance for first 4 weeks, if docked docking authorisation signed by vet, microchip details
- Will there be a contract of sale, can it be viewed before purchase
- Is the breeder happy for you to contact any previous puppy owners
- Will the breeder be happy for you to contact them after the puppy leaves and for how long
The breeder should be happy for you to contact them at any time during the lifetime of the dog
HOW MUCH EXERCISE DOES MY VIZSLA PUPPY NEED
Vizsla puppies are ready to leave their mothers at 7-8 weeks. They are very active and need not only physical but mental exercise
Orthopaedic specialists say that puppies should be exercised using common sense and what is appropriate. As this will differ for breeds of dogs you will find that Hungarian Vizsla breeders generally recommend that until the puppy reaches the age of 10 to 12 months exercise should be around five to six minutes per month of age, split into at least 2 sessions – so at 12 weeks puppy should have 15-20 minutes of exercise in the way of walks, at 8 months that becomes 45 minutes. As the Vizsla is a fairly slow maturing breed the bones do not fully calcify until they are about 10 – 12 months and so there is no sensation for the puppy that he is stressing his body so exercising on hard surfaces (such as concrete) and running marathons is not a good idea.
Some Vizsla owners have chosen the Breed because they enjoy running and so wish to run when training for fun or serious races. If you follow the advice above starting slowly and building up gradually by the time your puppy is 10/12 months you will be able to cover fairly good distances. Again as breeds are different so individual dogs are different, your breeder and common sense will help here.
So your young puppy needs more exercise than this you cry and this is where the mental exercise steps in. The Breed is intelligent and enjoys mental stimulation plus this can lay the basis for future successful training – here are a few examples
Simple puzzle toys such as Nina Ottoson toys (dogs must be supervised), toys in boxes (check no staples) – these are great for entertainment but also teach the pup to deal with a little bit of frustration which is not a bad thing.
Start by tossing a treat slightly in front of the pup, encourage them to find it by guiding with hand and the words find it. Verbal reward as the dog finds and eats. As the pup becomes confident in this cue you can start them finding a piece of food that has been placed without the pup seeing it being hidden. You can still use your hand / arm to guide pup to the area but then allow them and their noses to find the food.
Increase the area the dog has to search as they get more adept.
You can scent up toys for this exercise if your dog is toy orientated.
Get a new stuffed soft toy and an air tight tin. Choose a scent. Cat nip is safe (any other herb, gun oil etc ).
Place the herb in the bottom of the tin and cover with kitchen roll / then place toy on top of kitchen roll then replace lid and leave for 24 hours.
Then play with the pup with toy with the toy – make him want it, rag it etc. Toss the toy, when he retrieves it, depending on your pups preference – foodies reward with cheese, players have a tuggy game!
Then build up the finding just as you do the food above
Hide and seek
At short distances and for short periods of duration pop behind a tree or a fence and call your dog. When they find you reward lavishly with food or cuddles depending on your dogs (not your) preference. This is a great game to get your dog searching and using their nose for you but also to help your pups learn to focus on you whilst they are out but to aid recall too!