How Do Vizslas Compare to Labs and Goldens?
Keep in mind the Vizsla is entirely different than Labs and Goldens. Many who have had Labs and Goldens in the past mistakenly think Vizslas are very similar in temperament. Extensive exposure to Vizslas often confirms to them Labs and Goldens are their breeds of preference. :-) The most obvious differences are:
- Energy level - Vizslas have far more energy than Goldens and Labs. Over the years, Goldens and Labs have been bred to have calmer, laid back temperaments while Vizslas are still bred to be highly active dogs so they are able to hunt (covering a lot of ground rather than sitting in a duck blind) an entire day. This means Vizslas are impossible to live with unless their daily exercise needs are met. These calmer, more "bullet-proof" temperaments are why you see so many Labs and Goldens working as service dogs.
- Maturity - Vizslas are much slower to mature than Labs and Goldens (and most other pointing breeds). A Vizsla is often considered to be a puppy until 3 years old (if they ever grow up!). This can make training a Vizsla more challenging (those in love with the breed find this to be so endearing, nonetheless). But, their soft temperaments in addition to the fact that they are slower to mature, make training a challenge. The ideal guardian is one who is not heavy-handed and is patient with their training. Do not misinterpret this as Vizslas not being trainable. Their biddability allows them to be highly-trainable. Like any dog, they need true leadership in order to thrive.
- Temperament - Vizslas do not have the "bullet-proof" temperaments Labs and Goldens are known for and are often described as "soft in temperament". Vizslas need much more socialization to sights, sounds, smells, people, other animals in order for them to be confident. Without tons of heavy socialization early on (and throughout their entire lives), Vizslas can be skittish and spooky, especially so if they have not been well-bred and socialized by the breeder. They don't kennel well and often do not tolerate toddlers and children that haven't been taught to be gentle, kind, and respectful.
- Neediness - The Hungarian saying about Vizslas is "they sit on top of your head". The are know as "Velcro Vizslas" because they are your shadows. They don't just sit and rest while you're busy around the house. They'll often join you in whatever you're doing and very much enjoy being underfoot. Those of us who love the breed, love this trait about them. Sadly, Vizslas end up in rescue because they were bought by people who weren't prepared and found it an annoying behavior.
- The mythical, "perfect family dog" - Again, this goes back to their temperaments/energy levels/neediness. Please read, Do Vizslas Make Good Family Dogs? by Fusion Vizslas (Charter Members of the RMVC) before deciding to add a Vizsla to your family. Because they don't "come out of the box" like Labs and Goldens, it is more work to help them be the "perfect family dog." They generally aren't a good breed for the first-time dog guardian. And, there really is no such thing as "the perfect family dog" straight out of the box. "The perfect family dog", regardless of breed, takes much time, energy, and money. Such a mythical creature can exist when s/he receives lots of love, training, socialization, exercise, and appropriate vet care. The reality is dogs bite children--often. Read, Why do dogs bite children? by Eric Goebelbecker (www.dogstardaily.com). To really prepare yourself for a dog take the time to read Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson.
- Shedding - Yes, Vizslas shed just as much as other dogs--it's just harder to see because their hair is so short. Somewhere along the way, a rumor developed that Vizslas are hypoallergenic dogs. VIZSLAS ARE NOT A HYPOALLERGENIC BREED. Because Vizslas don't have an undercoat often gives the impression that they don't shed. If you like wearing black you might find yourself eliminating this color choice from your wardrobe as you grow tired of plucking little red hairs from the fabric.