As a medium sized dog with strong hunting bloodlines, a natural question often asked by prospective vizsla owners is are vizslas good guard dogs?
If you are considering owning a vizsla or are a current vizsla owner with a particularly protective vizsla, this is the guide for you.
Here we cover whether vizslas can be guard dogs, the difference between a guard dog and a watch dog and whether a vizsla guard dog is a good option for those looking for a guardian dog.
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.
Are Vizslas Good Guard Dogs?
The short answer is no, vizslas are not good guard dogs. While vizslas do share many of the traits of excellent guard dogs they simply aren’t territorial or aggressive enough to be an effective guard dog.
The traits vizsla dogs have in common with good guard dog breeds include:
- A willingness to work
- High intelligence
- Stable temperament
- Loyal and devoted
The necessary guardian dog traits they are missing include:
- Vizslas are not overly territorial
- In general they are not averse to strangers
- Vizslas are not aggressive
- The Hungarian vizsla don’t tend to be dominant dogs
- They lack a strong, muscular body and jaw
- Vizslas don’t like to be left alone.
The lack of natural aggression and dominance means they they just aren’t natural attack dogs or defenders.
So while the Hungarian vizsla breed don’t make great guard dogs, they do have the traits needed to be good watch dogs.
If you are unsure of the difference between guard dogs vs watch dogs, read on – we explain how they are different below.
Guard Dog Vs Watch Dog
Whilst the terms are often used interchangeably, there are significant differences between a guard dog and a watch dog.
Guard dogs, also known as guardian dogs, are used to protect property, people or livestock against unwanted intruders (human or animal).
Guard dogs will bark to alert the owner but they will also take action by attacking or driving the intruder away when required.
On the other hand watch dogs will simply alert their owner to an unexpected or unwanted potential intruder – most commonly by barking loudly and persistently.
So do vizslas make good watch dogs? Read on to discover the vizsla dog characteristics that can make them good watch dogs.
Are Vizslas Good Watch Dogs?
Vizslas can be good watch dogs thanks to their natural alertness, excellent nose, and their loud bark.
The vizsla breed has strong hunting bloodlines which means many vizslas have a strong prey drive and an excellent ability to detect unexpected sights, sounds and smells.
It is these innate vizsla dog characteristics that make them good watch dogs.
Whether it is a intruder entering the yard, unwelcome critters running along your fence line or a stranger coming to the front door, vizslas are very good at alerting their owners to the unexpected.
Many vizsla dog owners joke that if an intruder entered their house they may be licked to death, but their loud and persistent bark is an excellent deterrent to would be thieves and unwelcome visitors.
And while a vizsla isn’t a great choice as an attack dog or commercial guard dog, they will certainly let you know when something unusual or out of the ordinary is going on.
Are Vizslas Protective?
Vizslas are loyal dogs and can be protective of their owners and space.
They are also adept at detecting menacing or aggressive behavior and seem to have an intuitive understanding of when things seem out of order.
When vizslas get protective they may demonstrate behaviors that are similar to a guard dog such as barking, lunging or running after people or other dogs.
But in most cases they are unlikely to run down or aggressively attack anyone or another dog (cats could be a different story). In my experience when they reach the person they begin to furiously wag their tail in anticipation of a pat!
While vizslas don’t tend to be aggressive, this doesn’t mean they can’t behave in an aggressive manner in some circumstances.
If another dog or person acts aggressively and attacks, vizslas may behave like any other dog to protect itself and/or you.
All dogs are unique and in certain situations may act in an overly protective or aggressive manner.
So if your dog is resource guarding, acting out of character or not behaving appropriately to specific situations it is best to speak to your vet and/or work on training with your dog.
Can You Train A Vizsla To Be A Guard Dog?
Vizslas have been bred as all round hunters, but their point, hunt and retrieve abilities do not translate well to the job of a guard dog.
While vizslas are intelligent and highly trainable, their lack of natural aggression and territorial instincts makes it difficult to train them to be a great guard dog.
If you are looking for a guard dog we recommend you look at other dog breeds that have all the necessary traits to be a good guardian dog. We suggest some alternative guard dog breeds to consider below.
What Are The Best Short Haired Guard Dogs?
If you are looking for a guard dog with a similar coat and size to the Hungarian vizsla, consider these breeds that can be excellent guard dogs:
- Doberman Pinscher
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
Other well known guardian dog breeds for both humans and animals include:
- German shepherd
- Australian shepherd
- Tibetan Mastiff
Vizslas may not be good guard dogs in the traditional sense of the word. But their protective nature, gentle temperament and watch dog skills make vizslas great family dogs and good service dogs.
Do you have a protective vizsla or a story about your vizsla acting like a guard dog? Let us know in the comments below.
More Vizsla Dog Breed Guides
- Why do vizslas have docked tails?
- Are vizslas hypoallergenic?
- Do vizslas get cold?
- When do vizslas calm down?
Or, browse all the vizsla breed guides here.
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