If you are researching different dog breeds and interested in vizslas, a good question to ask is what are the Hungarian vizsla pros and cons?
Bred as a hunting dog, vizslas are becoming an increasingly popular choice as a family companion dog. But they are a unique breed and come with some specific needs that not every family or individual can meet.
So before you launch into vizsla ownership, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of owning a vizsla 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.
Hungarian Vizsla Pros And Cons
Hungarian vizslas are intelligent, affectionate, lovable and active dogs that suit people with an active outdoor lifestyle.
But they also need plenty of training, exercise, time and attention to become the best version of the breed.
Vizslas have some unique personality traits that should not be ignored when making a decision to own a vizsla.
So in this guide we’ll take a look at the most important pros and cons of a vizsla to help you make the best choice.
However, if you don’t have time to read the full article, we have summarized the pros and cons of vizsla dogs in the table below.
Great with kids and pets
Smart and trainable
Active dog breed
Versatile hunting dog
Low maintenance coat
Healthy dog breed
Needy and velcro
Can be too bouncy
Training is essential
Very high energy
Strong prey drive
Can be timid
Vizsla Dog Pros
First let’s take a look at the pros of vizslas. These are just some of the reasons vizsla owners love their dogs and will choose them over any other dog breed!
A Loving Companion Dog
Affectionate, sociable, playful, gentle and eager to please are all terms vizsla owners use to describe their vizsla’s temperament.
Hungarian vizslas are a loving and loyal companion dog breed that have unwavering affection for their human family.
They will welcome you home every day like you have been gone a month.
And with a reputation as a velcro dog love nothing more than being by your side (or on your lap).
Smart And Trainable
Vizslas are smart dogs and eager to please their owners. As a result they are capable of learning new instructions very quickly.
With consistency and positive reinforcement, potty training is rarely a long drawn out process and they are fast learners when teaching tricks and basic obedience training.
Their desire to be by your side or in sight of you means they tend to have good recall (with training) which is necessary to progress to off leash walks and hikes.
Vizslas are not only known to be good hunting dogs, they are also chosen for search and rescue and as service dogs thanks to their high intelligence.
Great With Kids And Pets
If you are thinking vizslas are a good family dog, you would be correct.
Vizslas form wonderful bonds with kids, can demonstrate plenty of patience and can even get along with the family cat.
Naturally young children should always be supervised around dogs (and we look at some cons around kids below), but vizslas really are gentle souls at heart who love playing games and cuddling up with kids.
Vizslas are great company outside. If you lead an active lifestyle and want a dog who can keep up with you running, mountain biking or hiking, vizslas are one of the best dog breeds to own.
Bred to be out hunting all day, vizslas are very high energy dogs and even after a long off leash hike will still have energy to spare.
Whether it is swimming, boating, backpacking or agility training, your vizsla will have the energy to join you in all your outdoor pursuits.
Excellent Hunting Dog
If you are looking for a versatile gundog to join you out hunting, the vizsla is an excellent choice.
Considered one of the best bird hunters, they are excellent pointers and retrievers with an awesome nose for hunting upland game and waterfowl.
Low Maintenance Coat
The short smooth single coat of the vizsla means it is a very low maintenance dog in terms of grooming.
They do shed, but a weekly brush is all that is required to keep their coat looking good as they tend to keep themselves quite clean.
They also lack the “doggy” smell of other dog breeds.
The other great thing is that grooming vizslas is quite simple and does not require the skills of a professional groomer.
A Healthy Breed
Overall Hungarian vizslas are a relatively healthy breed with few ingrained genetic issues.
Responsible breeders will always screen breeding stock for common conditions like hip dysplasia to prevent issues occurring.
They should also be willing to provide the results of any health testing before buying a puppy.
Hungarian Vizsla Cons
Now let’s take a look at the cons of owning vizslas.
It doesn’t matter how much you love the idea of a vizsla, if any of these cons sound bad to you, you should reconsider owning a vizsla.
One of the pros of vizslas is they are affectionate, but for some people they are overly so – hence the term “velcro vizsla”.
The word “needy” is often used to describe vizslas and for this reason they are not a breed that suits everyone.
Naturally it will vary a bit from dog to dog, but in general vizslas:
- Don’t enjoy being left alone
- Are prone to separation anxiety
- Will follow you everywhere – even to the toilet!
When you are on the couch they are likely to be sitting on or next to you.
When you are eating dinner they may have their nose on your lap and when you aren’t paying them enough attention they will let you know – often by whining.
If you don’t like the idea of this, a vizsla is not the breed for you. A similar breed without as much neediness is the German Shorthaired Pointer. See our full comparison here.
Can Be Too Bouncy
Vizslas are a medium sized high energy dog and it takes a few years for them to calm down. So for families with young children or elderly relatives it can be a real struggle.
They can be very bouncy and excitable around kids, and unintentionally knock them over.
Vizslas also have a tendency to jump, which can be overwhelming for small children and elderly people.
For this reason experienced vizsla breeders will often suggest you wait until your kids are out of the toddler stage before owning a vizsla.
Training Is Essential
Unlike other dog breeds, regular and ongoing training is absolutely essential for vizslas.
Vizsla rescues are full of adolescent vizslas who just haven’t received enough training to help them become well behaved and manageable adult vizslas.
As a sporting dog breed they really need a job and like to be mentally stimulated – so training isn’t optional.
Plus, while vizslas are highly intelligent, they are also easily distracted by every sight, smell and sound around them.
Puppy training needs to be done in short and sharp sessions to keep their attention and you will often need very high value treats to keep their attention when leash training or participating in dog training.
If you can’t commit to training your vizsla, it may not be the best breed option.
Vizslas are a high energy breed and while this is a pro for many vizsla owners it can be con for others.
Vizslas need at least an hour of daily exercise and the freedom to burn their energy off lead. No matter what the weather!
A single daily on lead walk is never going to be enough for a vizsla.
They also need plenty of mental stimulation through scent work, puzzles and games to tire them out.
When vizslas don’t get the chance to burn mental and physical energy they often redirect that energy in other negative ways – through barking, chewing, digging and even pacing and whining.
If you can’t dedicate this time or don’t have places close by where they can run freely, a vizsla is not the breed for you.
Strong Prey Drive
Their breeding as a hunting dog means most vizslas have a strong prey drive.
This is great if you want to hunt with your dog, but often not so great if you want a family dog.
Chasing and barking at critters in the yard, lunging on leash at birds and racing off to chase small prey are all likely behaviours for vizslas.
Can Be Timid
Vizslas have a sensitive temperament and without proper socialisation and positive reinforcement you can end up with a timid and overly anxious dog.
Proactive socialisation from the time you bring puppy home is so important for this breed to build their confidence and trust.
Vizslas also have good (and long) memories and can take a lot of time to recover from stressful events.
So whether you accidentally cut the quick when trimming their nails, unintentionally yelled at them when potty training or they have a bad experience with another dog at the dog park, it can have a long lasting effect on them.
For a less timid dog, take a look at the Rhodesian Ridgeback. We compare the Vizsla vs Ridgeback here.
Need To Live Indoors
Unlike many other dog breeds, vizslas are not outside dogs.
When they are done walking or playing outside they want to be inside on the couch, in their bed, or in your bed!
While their single short coat does mean they feel the cold more than other dogs, that is not the reason they live and sleep inside.
Bred as companion hunting dogs, they need to be close to their human family and won’t appreciate being locked outdoors on their own.
In fact no matter how big your yard, if you are not out there with them, they are more likely to be asleep next to you inside the house.
Weighing Up The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Vizsla
Dog ownership is always a big decision and especially so when considering buying a Hungarian vizsla.
We hope this list of vizsla pros & cons has helped in your decision making process.
What do you think of our list of vizsla dog pros and cons? Have we missed an important point? Let us know in the comments below!
More Vizsla Breed Guides
- How To Find The Best Vizsla Breeders
- 19 Dogs Similar To Vizslas
- Are Vizslas Hypoallergenic?
- 12 Common Vizsla Mixes
Or, browse all the vizsla breed guides here.
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