Choosing a vizsla puppy breeder

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The Vizsla is an energetic dog who is a wonderful companion for hanging out, agility, or hunting. Here is a guide to finding a breeder.

Selecting a Vizsla breeder requires that you be an educated buyer.

Before you choosing a breeder, you need to be certain that a Vizsla is the correct dog for you.  A Vizsla takes a lot of skillful handling to make a good pet.  A Vizsla is a sporting breed, with all of the energy and drive that those breeds require.  They can be rowdy dogs and may be slow to housebreak, so they are not appropriate for apartment living.  On the other end of the spectrum, Vizslas tend to be somewhat timid and have “soft” personalities that do not respond well to corrections during training.  If trained properly, however, they can make wonderful companions. 

They are loyal, “attaching” themselves to their owners to the point of seeming to think of themselves as lapdogs.  To form a valid opinion, try to visit dog shows or field trials to see Vizslas in action and to speak to Vizsla owners and handlers.  Research done by the Internet, books, and magazines is fine, but there is nothing like seeing the dogs in “person” to help make an informed decision.

 vizsla puppy

If a Vizsla is the right dog for you, next you must find the right breeder.  You must decide what qualities you want from your puppy and approach a breeder based on how well his or her dogs suit your needs.  Do you want your puppy to be a good companion alone, suited for companionship?  Then select a breeder with primarily conformation show lines.  Such dogs are bred for beauty, structural soundness, and even temperaments.  Do you want a dog that you can participate in performance events, such as obedience, agility, or tracking? 

Although it is still important to have conformation champions in the pedigree, the pedigrees of this breeder’s dogs should be heavy on dogs with obedience and other performance titles.  Did you want a hunting companion?  A breeder who focuses on hunting events might have few show champions in his or her dogs’ pedigrees.  In this case, however, you should be able to see a good number of dogs in the pedigree that have hunting titles.

The best place to start this kind of search is to contact the breed parent club or clubs for any legitimate dog registry in your area.  A legitimate registry will have strict rules for registering a dog, including detailed standards of perfection.  In addition, this registry will authorize contests to test those standards, where dogs are evaluated by judges experienced in breeding and showing dogs and educated in relation to dog anatomy, movement, and temperament.  The breed parent club will be able to supply you with referrals for one or more breeders in your area, or who might be willing to ship a dog to you, if no breeders are in your area.

A referral, however, is only the beginning.  Once you have the contact information that you need, call, write, or e-mail the breeder or breeders with any questions you may have.  Any breeder that is worthy of the name will not only be able to tell you about the bloodlines of their dogs, but also provide records of regular health care and health clearances, recent successes at conformation shows, performance events, or hunt and field trials.  He or she should be willing and able to show evidence of these things for all of the dogs in the breeding program, but in particular for the parents of whatever puppy you might be bringing home.  In addition to the specifics of their own dogs and records,

the reputable breeder should also be able to speak knowledgeably about current activities in the breed, of important representatives of the breed both past and present, and have the ability to pass on breed history, including the purpose it was originally bred for.  A show breeder may not be able to speak with authority on hunting activities, but he or she should know, for example, that Vizslas were originally bred to hunt ground-nesting game birds and small game, acting as both pointer and retriever in their native Hungary.

Even though there might be one or two dogs who are not suited for showing or performance events in any dog’s pedigree, and so may not have a title of any kind, do not do business with any breeder if none of the parents or grandparents of their puppies have such titles.  Such “breeders” have usually bought dogs from good bloodlines to start producing dogs; however, they do not continue to show their dogs, preferring instead to capitalize on the success of others.  On a small scale, such individuals are known as “backyard breeders,” while on a larger scale, they may be part of a puppy mill.  

Once you know have done your research and found a breeder who focuses on the kind of dog that you want, make arrangements to visit the kennel.  A reputable breeder will not hesitate to let you see his or her kennel or home.  Look at the environment in which the dogs are being housed, starting with the yard and/or grounds.  Landscaping is not a necessity, but the area should be clean, free of debris and dog stools.  There should be no standing water and no potential hazards.  Any fence that surrounds the property should be well maintained and free of gaps and other hazards presented by breakage.  If the breeder has a kennel facility, it should also be clean and free of damage. 

Most kennels will have a “doggy” odor, but that odor should not be excessive, nor should it give the impression that any kind of disease is present.  An appropriate kennel will have an enclosure in which a dog can escape either cold temperatures or the elements.  If your potential puppy is housed inside the breeder’s home, you should also be able to see the puppy-related areas there, unless other, very young puppies are housed there as well.  Many breeders will not allow people access to their puppies until they have had their first series of shots, or more.

In addition, you should be able to meet the dam of any puppy that the breeder wishes to sell you.  The sire might not be on site, as many breeders use males from other kennels to introduce new traits into their bloodlines, but the sire’s picture, pedigree, and health information should be made available to you.  If the breeder is unable or unwilling to show you at least the dam, without producing an adequate explanation for her absence, then look for your Vizsla elsewhere.  The breeder should also be willing to show you others of his or her dogs.  All of those dogs should be free from dirt, disease, or injury, within reason.  Dogs that play outside do get surface dirt on their coats. Dogs will also suffer routine injuries and illnesses: as long as they are under treatment (and illness quarantined) such things shouldn’t be held against the breeder.

Finally, consider the breeder him- or herself.  He or she should also have good personal hygiene, a person who will not take care of personal hygiene probably won’t take great care of the dogs.  You will also want to at least try to choose a breeder you have a rapport with.  You might not plan to have a lot of contact with your puppy’s breeder in the future, but a good breeder will maintain contact with puppy buyers for the lives of their dogs.  For that reason, it is not unreasonable to ask your potential puppy’s breeder for a short list of references.  Even if the breeder is relatively new to the dog fancy, a short list of dog-related references should be possible.

There are many points to cover when selecting a breeder from whom to purchase your Vizsla.  Books have been written on the topic of breeder and puppy selection.  By keeping these things in mind, however, you should be started on the road to finding a reputable, ethical breeder with whom you can share stories about your Vizsla for many years to come.