Friday, July 18, 2014

Why choose a Vizsla?

So walking down the street with Whiskey, I will inevitably hear a squeal followed by "oh my god!! can I pet your dog?  what is it?".  Vizslas are dead gorgeous dogs.  There is no denying that, and a puppy is even more heart-melting.  People want to know about her breed and where we got her.  I've had loads of current and previous Vizsa owners stop me and go gaga, and even had a little girl of about 8 years old who didn't speak English come up and say "Vizsla? Vizsla?"  Do not own a Vizsla if you don't want to be stopped several times on a walk!

So why did we choose this breed?  It was not a light decision.  I think that when you select a dog you need to take time to sit down with the family, and over a year or so, go through pros and cons of every breed, and even if a dog is best suited to your lifestyle.  Will you wake up at 7am before work and walk it in the rain?  What about a cat? or fostering? or rescue?  Meet different breeds and talk to owners.  Pet sit for a weekend if you can.  Read read read!  Then do the whole process again with researching different breeders you are considering (if you go down the breeder route). 

We know at first look we weren't the ideal Vizsla owners but we were willing to make adjustments and compromises.  Here's what we took into consideration:

-We wanted a dog for hiking long distances over mountains (we live in Vancouver).  An 8 hour hike for us is normal.

-Our idea of a vacation involves camping, dog sledding, falconry, scuba diving, snowboarding, etc.  We are not sit-on-the-couch people and we wanted a dog to keep up, not one we needed to carry.  On the other side, we were willing to give up some activities (like scuba diving and snowboarding) for more dog-friendly ones.

-We live in an apartment in the Vancouver downtown core

-We live next to a large park that allows off-leashing and includes a beach, as well as a 10 min drive to other large parks, as well as a 30 min drive to 3 mountains and loads of hiking options

-We live in a rainy city so we wanted low maintenance hair

-We wanted a dog that stays close to us on the trail, and a cuddle monster at home

-A dog that we can hike with off-leash is a must (no hounds)

-We can afford pet insurance,  daycare, and vet bills

-We were willing to make sure one of us would take time off to welcome the puppy

-The idea of training an intelligent dog appeals to us

-we wanted a medium-sized dog with few health issues that was bred properly

-and finally we wanted a beautiful dog that wasn't as popular as everything we see around here

So we considered German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds, Great Swiss Mountain Dog, Bernese, Australian Shepherds, Weimaraners, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Chocolate Labs, Catahoula Leopards, and Vizslas.  These are generally all working dogs and we realized we were going to be in for alot of work the first couple years, but knew it would pay off in the end.  Finally, we went with the Vizslas because I loved the idea of a velcro dog, and they were bred for working and are generally very healthy.  We also liked the idea they were clean and cat-like while we have a cat called Moo who is very dog-like.

The main issue with a Vizsla is that while they can be the best dog in the world, this is on the condition that they get enough exercise.  Between grooming, health issues, digging, barking, anxiety, chewing I would rather deal with a dog that needs an extended amount of exercise (this isn't to say Vizslas won't have the other issues, it's just that going into it, I chose my poison).  I love being outside, and don't mind hiking in the rain, shine, or snow.

Vizslas are amazing pets, very gentle and soft but seriously active

Sharing a stick

Whiskey will fixate on a smell and dig like crazy

She loves climbing and challenges

Training her to "leave it"

They are snuggle buddies and love a soft surface

Vizslas are insanely active and need hours of exercise a day.  They will not exercise themselves

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