When we first started searching for the right dog breed for our family, there were a few breeds on our short list.
In addition to the vizsla we were looking at labradors, spoodles, airedale terriers and schnauzers. But we kept coming back to the vizsla as our preferred dog breed.
So is the vizsla a good family dog? Like any breed, there are pros and cons, and we share our thoughts on this question below.
Vizsla Dog Breed
The Hungarian vizsla is a medium sized sporting dog. The first references to the breed are from the 14th century, where they were commonly owned by the Hungarian aristocracy.
Historically bred as a hunter and retriever, it belongs in the pointer group of dog breeds.
Pointing dogs are gundogs, traditionally used to find game. The name comes from the dog’s instinct to point at the game with their muzzle, assisting the hunter to locate game.
They are a lively breed with plenty of energy. Their coat is short and their frame is lean.
They have gorgeous soft silky ears and a thin long face. Whilst not hypoallergenic, they self-clean and only need simple grooming.
Also note they do shed their short golden hairs but it isn’t as noticeable as other dog breeds with similar traits like labs or collies!
Vizslas are renowned for their excellent sense of smell, train-ability and loyalty to their owners.
Not only do they hunt, they can be trained as service dogs, medical assistance dogs and therapy dogs too.
Vizsla Dog Temperament
What makes the breed unique in some ways is that in addition to being high energy and active dogs, they are also gentle, sensitive and affectionate.
Fondly known as “velcro dogs”, they are highly social dogs and love nothing more than sitting on your lap at the end of the day (even when you buy them a great dog bed).
They tend to follow you where ever you go, which can be a pro or a con, depending on your personality!
They can also be trained to get along with cats and are usually happy to have other dog friends too.
It is really important to note that vizslas are energetic dogs.
The level of energy will depend on their bloodlines and what the breeder has bred them for but while they do love a cuddle, they also have a lot of energy to burn and they need regular daily exercise.
Their exercise needs to be more than a walk around the block. It could be a run, a swim or a play with other dogs.
Ideally they need to walk a good 3 – 6 miles (5 – 10 kms) a day and the chance to run off leash. If you don’t have time to exercise them, they can be troublesome when bored.
See our full guide to vizsla exercise here.
They also need a lot of mental stimulation. They don’t tend to be calm or behave well when bored and respond well to training (although they are also easily distracted)!
We have plenty of ideas to keep your vizsla entertained here.
Note it is really important to train your vizsla puppy from a young age.
They also need a lot of socialization to overcome their natural timidity and will make much better family pets if they are well trained.
Is A Vizsla Good With Kids?
The sensitivity and loyalty of the vizsla dog breed is one of the primary reasons they are considered to be good with kids. In fact it is one of the biggest pros of owning a vizsla.
Like any dog breed, you need to watch over young kids when interacting with a vizsla.
Vizslas can be a little “bouncy” when stimulated and this can be overwhelming for young kids.
Vizsla puppies are also very mouthy, which can be difficult for young children to control independently. Like most dogs they may not tolerate rough play from a young toddler or child.
It is important to teach your kids how to interact safely with your vizsla and watch over them while they are young.
But, vizslas are affectionate, playful and social and will love nothing more than playing with your kids and accepting plenty of cuddles.
It is a good idea to invest in some good quality toys for your kids to use with your pup. We review some of the best toys for vizslas here.
At the end of the day, they will happily snuggle on their lap while watching TV.
If you have older kids who love to be outside, then a vizsla is a great choice as the family pet.
Walks in the woods, playing fetch at the park and learning new tricks is great for both your kids and your dog.
Is A Vizsla A Good Family Dog?
With two teenage kids, we lead an active lifestyle. Hiking, camping, running, walking – we like to be outdoors so a vizsla was a natural choice for us.
I think even with young kids, if you lead an active lifestyle, then a vizsla is a good choice as the family dog.
You can take a vizsla running with you, on hikes, to the beach or the lake – they will love being outdoors with you and the kids.
They are also a good family dog if you are looking for companionship.
Vizslas don’t like being left along for long periods of time and don’t make good guard dogs. They are much happier hanging out with the family inside and outside the home.
They aren’t really suited to living outdoors as their coat is very short and thin.
They will be much happier inside with the family. If you are away from home for long periods of time throughout the day, a vizsla may not be the best choice.
Overall it is the unique combination of high energy and affection that make vizslas a good choice for active families and why many households choose a vizsla as the family dog.
If you are still not sure, other similar dog breeds to consider include:
If you are bringing a vizsla puppy home soon, check our essential puppy gear reviews and our guide to vizsla potty training.
More On Life With Vizslas
- Dogs similar to vizsla dogs
- 12 Vizsla Mixed Breeds Explained
- The best gifts for vizsla owners
- Hungarian vizsla ornaments for Christmas
- Best Hungarian vizsla books
Read all our life with vizslas articles here.
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