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Hello! So my some of my (hunting) relatives have had Vizslas for years. Every year I visit them, I consider the breed more and more! They are the sweetest dogs I've met, but I have one worry. Would a Vizsla be happy in a home that doesn't hunt? Exercise and mental stimulation shouldn't be an issue, as I would plan on doing agility (if the particular vizsla enjoyed it, of course). If that wasn't a good match for it, I'm also an avid hiker, so I could guarantee as much hiking as a vizsla wants to do. However, I've had multiple vizsla owners tell me one would be unhappy in a home that doesn't hunt, and sadly I'm not a fan of hunting. I've had dogs my entire life, and I could give a vizsla a loving, active home, but if that wouldn't make it happy then it would be unfair to get one. So to reiterate in a clearer way, here is my problem - Will a Vizsla be as happy in a non-hunting home as it would be in a hunting home? Thanks in advance!


PS. I had no idea what section to post this in, so I apologize if this is the wrong one.
 

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I'm not sure if I can truly answer your question. But we are planning on training ours to shed hunt. Check it out. No animals are harmed and there is a decent market of people buying sheds. I felt it combined several of our favorite hobbies: hiking, dogs, and collecting. I hope it will provide enough mental stimulation for ours when she's grown.
 

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Oh my goodness, no, you do not "Have" to hunt to maintain a happy Vizsla! Yes, they are bred for "hunting", but recall that's a human endeavor. Their instincts honed over centuries are utilized in the field hiking or snow shoeing, etc., the shooting part is our invention.

Your lifestyle sounds fine, you are active and enjoy vigorous outdoor exercise, your Vizsla will be just fine.
 

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My Vizsla male Rafa is a very happy 9 month old, he doesn't hunt at all here in the U.K. but does love watching birds and deer and chasing tennis balls, as well as finding the biggest sticks he can. His favourite activity is meeting other dogs and playing with them chasing each other. He is a loving and much loved family dog, he gets lots of exercise each day and is very happy and content.

An active lifestyle is ideal, I wouldn't recommend a Vizsla based on our experience with Rafa to anyone who wasn't active and keen on walks/hikes.

Hope this helps.
 

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Plenty of Vizslas happily live in non hunting homes. As I am a hunter, I buy bloodlines known for high prey drive, and bigger running dogs.
I've seen those same breeding do well in non hunting homes. The owners just find other ways to work the dogs body, and mind.
Others go a different way, and buy showlines. As in a dog that does not normally range out as far, and has less hunting drive. If it were me, and I didn't plan on hunting the dog. I would buy lines that had a combination of both. As both bring something to the table.
Debbie Sullivan, Regal Point Vizsla has just bred her very nice female (showlines) to Johnny. Johnny is a very nice field trial stud out of Southwind vizsla.
 

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You should not worry about not hunting with your vizsla. Vizslas will be happy with whatever activities you do with them just make sure they get their exercise. Find a reputable breeder and that breeder will work with your requirement based on puppy evaluation and testing.
 

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Oh my goodness, no, you do not "Have" to hunt to maintain a happy Vizsla! Yes, they are bred for "hunting", but recall that's a human endeavor. Their instincts honed over centuries are utilized in the field hiking or snow shoeing, etc., the shooting part is our invention.

Your lifestyle sounds fine, you are active and enjoy vigorous outdoor exercise, your Vizsla will be just fine.
Our 20-month old male V is our first, after 25+ years of having Labs in our family. I am not a hunter but do work as a property manager in a 160-acre property. So our V LOVES outdoor activity with particular affection of chasing geese of the property. So I am not a hunter, nor have him trained to hunt. He loves coming to work all day with me and has been a great companion and definitely a change for the mellow state of a lab.

With that said, and in full transparency, I've had to make a number of mental and physical adjustments in having a V in our family. As you well know, they are high energy breed and DO REQUIRE exercise (preferably off leash) several times a day to keep them engaged. If you can accommodate that, then you will be fine. Milo is best when I can run him often during the day and our evening (at home) are much more palatable. And our V definitely doesn't like v=being alone more than 4-5 hours; that's definitely been an adjustment for us as well.

Not trying to persuade you to get one or to scare you away from the breed, just trying to offer insight with experience over the past 1-1/2. Milo is extremely affectionate, is highly trainable, LOVES being around people and has been a great wing man at work with me.

Btw: If you do decide on a V, this forum has been literally INVALUABLE and most all advice given has help me overcome a number of challenges with owing a V!

Bbtw: here's a couple of pics from this morning when Milo was honing in on some geese ready to flush them off the property.....he's awesome.

HTH and best of luck with your decision..............
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies and insight. For a breeder, I do personally know someone who has successful dogs in both showing and field work, and she is planning to have a litter this year. I may contact her later today. As for off leash exercise, I live on a 450acre farm so I have some space, but do you have any tips on how to keep a V entertained with that space? They are bird hunters, so I assume they would enjoy chasing smaller things (Ex. ball). What's the best way to utilize that space when you're doing "playtime"? Once again, thanks!
 

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Thanks for the replies and insight. For a breeder, I do personally know someone who has successful dogs in both showing and field work, and she is planning to have a litter this year. I may contact her later today. As for off leash exercise, I live on a 450acre farm so I have some space, but do you have any tips on how to keep a V entertained with that space? They are bird hunters, so I assume they would enjoy chasing smaller things (Ex. ball). What's the best way to utilize that space when you're doing "playtime"? Once again, thanks!

Re: off leash on 450-arces. Which is a great setup btw!

From my experience, at least with my V, is he quickly learned not to stray too far from me. Especially since we border two very busy roads. I started him the furthest away from the property (away from the roads) and allow him freedom at a very early age. Once he gained his confidence I was able to run him just about aware, with the exception of a few hundred yards from the roads.

I also worked with a very talented trainer (onsite) who embraces e-collars and had 8-sessions with him over a three month period. Again, working with taking baby steps and gradually working on recall, emergency recall and distance, etc. Milo embraced it straightaway and he almost never goes off leash with his e-collar; most for security in my end. I do have it set on a very low level and only step it up if he bolts after an animal, bird, etc.....which is rare.

The one GREAT thing about V's is they are constantly looking for their master and Milo hardly ever ventures very far without checking in with me. That is one good thing about having this breed being as clingy as they are, and from my experience, don't wonder.
 

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V' love their home and family No Matter What. You will see automatic instincts when they are outside but the HAPPIEST PLACE IS IN YOUR LAP
 

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Thanks for the replies and insight. For a breeder, I do personally know someone who has successful dogs in both showing and field work, and she is planning to have a litter this year. I may contact her later today. As for off leash exercise, I live on a 450acre farm so I have some space, but do you have any tips on how to keep a V entertained with that space? They are bird hunters, so I assume they would enjoy chasing smaller things (Ex. ball). What's the best way to utilize that space when you're doing "playtime"? Once again, thanks!
I think the nonsense you heard from your friends about their NEED to hunt has unduly influenced you! As TeGee (rightly) said, the adjustment would be largely yours, they have real needs that really cannot be ignored. So, if you are active and have the time to devote to that (hiking, etc) and really wnat to welcome a dog into your life fully, then the Vizsla is an ideal dog. Those placements that fail usually result from a lack of appreciation or awareness for their physical and emotional needs, they are not "Pets"and will absolutely not tolerate being treated as such.

So, although yours might like fetching a ball, etc., what s/he really will like (and need) is the daily hike (or similar), and time with you, even if it's in the truck as you perform your other duties on the acreage.

Lastly, the "Show Vs. Field" line issue isn't nearly as important as the temperament of the individual pup, so I would recommend you request the "Mellowest" one. Good, committed breeders always look to incorporate the best of field and conformation (appearance) in their breedings, anyways.

If anything, I typically am pretty skeptical when folks wander in here with stars n their eyes, but in your case, I think you're unnecessarily freaking yourself out. Your situation sounds pretty ideal.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the words of wisdom everyone. It appears I was misguided about the hunting issue, and now I feel much better about the whole process. Thanks!
 

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No they do not have to hunt! Although they will hunt the occasional bird, squirrel, and or rabbit on their own 😂. We have two vizslas that do not hunt and they are the best!! In fact we have kept in touch with the people who gave us our pups (well dogs but still my babies) and they have a new litter coming and it is taking everything in me not to tell them to put me on the list!!! They do need exercise though they do love the outdoors! One loves to swim the other not so much. We have had one 4 years and the other 3 years and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. ��
 

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I tried to hunt my dog but she decided to be gun shy. She is still extremally happy doing everything else, otherwise a regular dog would do. She is very happy without any hunting in her life.
 

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I think my two are at their happiest whilst hunting, but during the closed season, typically 7 months, we try and mix things up a bit with various other mental and physical activities.
 

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We have had Vizslas for over 20 years and never hunted one.In my humble opinion,it's hog wash they wouldn't be happy. They make the best family dogs I know of.
Fred

Fredkhaugh
No, they don't need to be hunted to be happy. Better a warm loving home, with lots of affection and interaction with family members, than not, any day of the week.
However, should you have the chance to tag along on a bird hunt, with a trained, experienced ,Vizsla, I think you'll quickly realize that it's a whole "different level of Vizsla" that you're seeing. It's like something switches on inside them, and all of the sudden that couch stealing little goofball has a level of intensity and serious about them that can best be defined as "purpose".
I am now on my sixth Vizlsa, and all of mine previously had that "moment" where all of the training, simulation, and exercise, comes together ,and the picture that you've been trying to create in their mind for months crystalizes for them. It's as if all of the sudden, you now have a "new dog". All of the work that both of you have put in for months, has now been validated. It's a memory you never forget.
One of the big mistakes in philosophy, is somehow letting personal ego take over and believe that "you", the trainer/owner, have to train the dog to hunt. This is a fallacy in my opinion. The dog was born with the ability to hunt, and doesn't even need the human element. It will teach itself to hunt. What all that training is for is to establish a working partnership to get the dog to hunt for and with you.
I will always be of the personal belief, that training a Vizsla to hunt,is the best program to put them on, as long as they have the drive and instinct bred into them. You never have own a shotgun, or pull a trigger, to train Vizsla to hunt. Almost all of the tests, and trials, have a "dedicated gun" to perform that function. I actually more enjoy just working the dog and could care less about shooting the bird, but I do, because they have worked so hard for it. I could easily spend a season just handling my dogs for other people, and leaving my shotguns at home.

They may not be any "happier" hunting, but in my opinion, they are more complete.
 
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