Vizsla: Breed of the Week
Are Vizslas Good City Dogs?
Photographs by Natalie Siebers
Many years ago a friend of mine found himself foster parent to nine Vizsla puppies. He was able to find wonderful homes for all but one, the smallest. I scooped her up (literally, she was that small!), and delivered her to my sister in Virginia where she grew into a beautiful dog named Luci.
Luci was true to the breed. Vizslas are gentle, loving loyal dogs, whose capacity to learn is amazing.
According to the Dog Breed Info Center, the Vizsla is believed to be a descendant of the Transylvania Hound and the Turkish Yellow Dog, with several breeds of Pointer mixed in. They are speedy runners, bred to hunt waterfowl and rabbit. Vizslas need to exercise daily; they are not suitable for idle owners and may not be the best breed for apartment dwellers, unless you yourself are very active.
Vizslas are a monochromatic golden rust color except for the nose, which is flesh-colored. They are medium-sized dogs, with males topping out at about 25 inches at the withers and weighing about 60 pounds; the females are a bit smaller. Their short coat requires little more than brushing a few times a month.
And, as my Facebook friend and owner of Vizsla Ginger, Mark Davila says, they bond very closely with their owners:
If you’re looking for a personal stalker, the Vizsla is for you! Vizslas personify the idea of a canine companion being a member of the family. Similar to other companion breeds like the Weimaraner and German Shorthaired Pointer, Vizslas are happiest when in the company of their humans. If allowed, they will maintain almost constant physical contact with members of their packs. Unlike some companion breeds that identify a [single] member of the family-pack as their preferred human, the Vizsla is more likely to identify all family members as theirs, and hence do best with families who would welcome that attachment style.
Do Vizslas Bark?
Vizslas are smart and energetic dogs. If you can keep the dog occupied and exercised then they just might be a good Urban Dog for you. Here’s what the writers of the It’s a Vizsla Thing blog said when asked if they make good apartment dogs:
No and yes. We lived in a 750 square-foot apartment the first 2 years we had Captain; it’s not about the size of YOUR living area, necessarily, but the resources you have around you, how active you are, and how often you get outside. No, a Vizsla cannot be left alone in a small apartment for his/her life. No dog should be. But if you have access to a large field or running space, and can get out there multiple times a day, that’s all you really need. A Vizsla living with active, caring people in an apartment that pay attention to his/her needs for exercise and attention will fair far better than one left alone in a backyard.
It is important to train your city dog. You don’t want your pooch to misbehave in your building’s common areas. The good news is that Vizslas are easily trained and have a strong willingness to learn, as well as to please their owners. They score in the top 25 of brightest dogs when it comes to understanding new commands. They obey first commands about 85% of the time according to Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who studies dog behavior. That means it takes fewer than five repetitions for them to learn new commands. They can be taught to be great babysitters or fierce guard dogs.
Vizslas are not considered excessive barkers. UC Davis researchers Benjamin and Lynette Hart devised a chart ranking dogs by the likelihood of barking at inappropriate times. On a scale of one to ten — with one being the least offensive barkers and ten the most excessive barkers — they get a three rating. Click here for more on Urban Dog’s take on barking.
A bored Vizsla is an unhappy Vizsla!
For tips on how to find a pet-friendly apartment in New York and other cities read Urban Dog’s guide. Big dogs pose a particular challenge, but don’t worry, you can find places that accept large breed dogs.
And just because you can never look at too many puppy pics, here is one last one! For more pictures by Natalie Siebers, visit her website.