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Hi all,

My husband and I are looking to get a dog, and we think we've settled on a Vizsla. I have a long history of dog ownership and care (I've lived with 4 different dogs over the years, big and small) but this would be the first Vizsla and the first hunting dog.

The challenge was finding a breed that is okay with apartment living (hopefully only for the first couple of years of his/her life) but runs long distances, both in the city and on trails and hills. So here is my question: is a Vizsla suitable for this? We would be running the dog on flats and fairly significant hills, 20+ miles per week. This would be in addition to 20-30minute morning and evening walks with a daily game of fetch/chase/play. Is this enough exercise for a grown Vizsla? Could a grown dog then be content in an apartment for a work day (9-5) without going stir-crazy? If you think this is insufficient exercise, can you recommend an appropriate minimum both in terms of running distance and frequency? Would we have to come home mid-day for a walk? Or should a Vizsla never be kept in an apartment? I would love to hear a range of thoughts!

More details on the running: 3-4 runs per week, each a minimum of 4 miles and up to 13 miles. At least one will be on trails/hills for a minimum of 5 miles and a couple per week will be in the city (hills and flats). Is it okay to run only on alternate days, or would he/she need at least some running (1 mile?) every day?

ps - I do realize for the first 6-12 months we will have to be home for the puppy mid-day a couple of times; I'm more concerned about the long-term.
 

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I think you will be okay, but keep a few things in mind:

- you shouldn't run with them til they are 18 months of age
- even with enough exercise... he may still be pretty crazy. If you're hoping for a couch potato once the walks are done, you may be in over your head
- if you live anywhere but the first floor, your downstairs neighbor may occasionally ask you about your new horse
 

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Thanks so much for the advice Kobe!

I wasn't aware that Vizslas take so long to reach full size! What types of activities would you recommend for a growing Vizsla that provide enough exercise? We hadn't planned on running with a puppy, obviously, but as he/she gets bigger (10-18 months) I imagine walks won't be enough. Prior to reading your post, our plan was taper up from walking to slow jogging to running, and increasing in distance, from 6 months to full grown.

Thanks again for your input!
 

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They will be full grown before 18 months, however, the growth plates on the joints supposedly don't close until then, and that is why you should wait. I am an avid runner, but based on others' advice I am waiting till my puppy is 18 months before taking him running.

Running off leash IS fine, and SOME running is okay, but I wouldn't start him on a regular running regimen til at least 18 months.

My puppy is only 8 months, so I can't tell you if their exercise needs change much in the next 10 months, but so far I've just been taking my puppy on walks and giving him off leash exercise as much as possible. Off leash exercise is by far the best way to tire them out, whether it's with another dog, hiking, playing fetch, etc.
 

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We have a 10 month old V in an apartment. It isn't the ideal situation and we will be moving into a house in October (if all goes to plan) but we make it work. Holley definitely has her crazy times where she runs laps in the apartment even though she goes on walks and we play with her non-stop throughout the day (I go home at lunch to spend time with her). Luckily our apartment has a dog park for some off-lead time. It can be done though. Best of luck to you. They are worth it.
 

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Okay, here is my $0.02 on this, and that is in CDN funds ;)

We live in an apartment on the second floor, no elevator but stairs. Our place is about 900 square feet.
Was it a problem, no. You make the best with what you have.
We do not have a yard, but we have a school yard 6 houses down the street and a non asphalt trail about 2 blocks from our place.
We take him out to the country as much as possible and we have a dog walker for him twice a week and she lets him RUN! for about an hour.

Now, I am not sure that having a V in a house is any different than having a V in an apartment. he sticks to us like glue, so whether we were on the 2nd floor of the house, 1st floor of a house I don't think it would matter. He wants to be near us about 99% of the time while indoors, the other 1% he is either chasing the cat or has his snout up her butt (which she does not like, can't say I blame her)
When we are not home, he is in his crate because he is a nut still, even at the age of 2. Oh and when he is not in his crate all he does is sleep.
Case in point, we had a holiday this past Friday so I loaded Kian up in the car and picked up Mischa and one of her humans (she has two) We went up north of the City and let the dogs off leash in a forest for about an hour and a half. By the time I got home with Kian he and I took a nice 2 hours nap because we worked hard ;D
Later that night Mischa and both her humans came over for dinner, the dogs were taken for a walk for about 45 minutes and then they played in our apartment off and on for about 3 hours.
The next day Kian slept in until about 9am, I then took him for a walk for about 45 minutes, he was fed and then he decided he needed to go back to sleep, so he crawled in to bed with my girlfriend until about 11:30...they both slept in ::)

Kian is our first dog and he is a pretty good dog. As long as you give him the exercise/affection and training they need the dog will be fine. Some days will be better than others.

Have fun with your new dog, you guys will be fine.
 

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My dad has a house, and we let her out in the yard there to explore, but if she is outside alone, she's right back at the door a minute later, looking for us...
I don't think a backyard would do anything for Mischa unless we spent all of our time out there with her.
She needs a good 1-2 hours of off-leash running everyday no matter the weather. I wish the rain bugged her... it bugs me! ;)

Everyday means everyday for the next 15+ years. Not a few times a week, or maybe tomorrow. They will let you know that they are not the type of dog who can run every once in a while...They were bred to work everyday, and they need an outlet for that. Mischa hasn't asked for a day off in an entire year! :)
If you can commit that time, you'll have an amazing experience with your Vizsla.


Our girl is crated for about 7 hours, 5 days a week, and she gets a run every afternoon for 1-2 hours. Then, like Kian mentioned, some extra cool forest time on weekends. 8)

Of course when they aren't running, they're either looking cute lying down very close by, or playing with their toys very close by, or sniffing for food, you guessed it, very close by! :)

All they want out of life is to run and hang out with you. The more of both, the better.
 

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I think you've been given some pretty good advice, but here is my $0.02 in aussie dollars.....

Merc is now 3.5 and we have noticed a big difference in hs behavior in the last year. He still goes for two walks a day, on lead before work and a run in the park after and goes to doggie day care one day a week. But in the evenings he is much happier to settle down and just chill with us rather than needing to be occupied ALL the time like he did when he was one. So for us it has gotten a little easier.

Mischa is right, it is 2 walks a day, every day, even when you're not feeling great and even in the worst weather. Merc does turn up his nose at the pouring rain but has a great time once he gets out in it and if we don't walk then I pay for it later when he wants to do high speed loony laps of the house.

Don't forget about mentally tiring them out either. They seem to have amazing brains and if they arent kept busy that's when the trouble starts. We found doing some training every night with Merc went a lot further to tiring him out and giving us some peace and quiet than enormous walks did.

It's worth it though for that goofy grin and a tail wag so big their whole body wiggles :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So much great advice! We'll have to move out of our current apartment first (no pets allowed) and now you've provided us with a lot of great suggestions that will help us choose the best possible environment/neighborhood for our new best friend! Thanks everyone!
 

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I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to remark on the running. We run with our V 4-5 times a week, up to about 10 miles for long runs (I don't like him to go further than that). He did great with the running in all temps, just about, until he was about 4 years old. We didn't start running distances with him until he was about 18 months. Now, we cannot take him for a run if it is over 75 degrees. After talking with his breeder, that's a pretty common thing. Now we get up early for those long runs and try to get home before it gets warm. Always take water with you for them and check their paw pads often, especially in the beginning. Rex once ran until his paw pads were bleeding but he wants so bad to keep us happy, he continued to run. I carried him for the next 2 days since he couldn't walk at all. If they're panting heavily, stop until the cool down and offer water. It can mess up your training schedule, I know, but it can really mess up the dog if they overheat. Remember that the dog cools himself down through his paw pads and through panting. His paw pads will likely be hot if your running on pavement, so that leaves him only with panting. Their tongues swell when they're hot, so if it's very wide and hanging out very far, stop until they cool down. If they lay down during your run, wait until they're ready to continue.

As for not running him daily, I think that's perfectly fine but he will still need some sort of structured walk. I will second (or third) the suggestion of mentally wearing them out, too. Even at almost 7 years old, we still try to train with him to keep him thinking.

Good luck! Rex is the best running partner I've ever had and I hope you feel the same way about your V.
 

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I'm glad to find all this discussion regarding running with your vizsla. We are first time v owners. So in love with him, I can't stand it. We let him off leash in a fenced school yard almost everyday. I'm so impatient regarding running with him though. I'm torn. I feel like I get a different answer from everyone I ask. We run him for about 3.5 miles a couple a week. He's 8 months old. I know that young. Any thoughts from experienced vizsla owners who run with them.
 

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It's really your call, he is your dog after all.
I just go by what I have read and what our vet and breeder recommended. Let the dog mature, let their growth plates grow and then do that sort of exercising with the dog.
I have known some V's to be run hard when they were young and they are fine, I know of one other that is not.

Good luck.
 

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I too go by what I have been told by our breeder, vet, V Club of the Carolinas members, and this forum; therefore, I would recommend waiting until your dog is 15-18m old before stressing growth plates. As Crazy Kian said, maybe your pup will be fine, but if there is good evidence to suggest it is not wise, why do it?
 

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Everyone with the running/ jogging! A vizsla doesn't want to jog! Any hunting breed wants to "pretend hunt". Everyday or at least every couple days. When I let Odi go in the woods he runs himself, and it ain't in straight lines at one speed mindlessly putting one leg in front of the other. He wants to jump and chase and smell and start and stop and look behind the log and run down to the water and see what's moving in the bush etc. I don't exactly live out in the countryside but I have access to lots of woods and trails where Odi can run. Notice I didn't say backyard although I have a large one. Odi basically uses my backyard to crap. He gets his exercise and mental stimulation in the woods using his instincts.....not jogging. Get a pug.
 

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JohnO said:
Everyone with the running/ jogging! A vizsla doesn't want to jog! Any hunting breed wants to "pretend hunt". Everyday or at least every couple days. When I let Odi go in the woods he runs himself, and it ain't in straight lines at one speed mindlessly putting one leg in front of the other. He wants to jump and chase and smell and start and stop and look behind the log and run down to the water and see what's moving in the bush etc. I don't exactly live out in the countryside but I have access to lots of woods and trails where Odi can run. Notice I didn't say backyard although I have a large one. Odi basically uses my backyard to crap. He gets his exercise and mental stimulation in the woods using his instincts.....not jogging. Get a pug.
I think that's a bit harsh... not everyone runs the same way. I run with Miles about 5 days a week, but we run off leash on the trails unless it's raining then we run on the road (which in San Diego is about 5x a year luckily). Miles loves running with me. He gets to pick his own pace, look for rabbits/birds/ lizards, and sprint off ahead of me or catch up with me if he's stopped to sniff/ explore.

I don't know any pug who can handle several hours of trail "jogging."
 
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