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There are four articles listed here that should help those planning on getting a vizsla.

Health Testing

Please ask your veterinarian and/or search the web for more thorough information. This page is only to give you a brief introduction to the various health tests that can and should be done on vizslas used for breeding. This is especially necessary for those of you who “only want a pet”. Isn’t your pet’s health important? Health testing does not guarantee that your future puppy will lead a full life free of health disorders. However, health testing (with clear or passing results) does give you a better possibility of that healthy life. Below are the health tests that we do on our breeding dogs and even many of those that we don’t breed. It makes our breeding decisions more informed to know not only how the dogs we are breeding test but also their family members.

There are a number of web sites designed to give greater detail on health testing. The OFA web site http://www.offa.org/dbaserole.html gives a comprehensive overview as well as access to their database of registered tested dogs.

Like many breeds, Vizslas have a number of genetically transmitted health conditions to which they may be susceptible. To reduce the incidence of these genetic conditions in litters, conscientious breeders have their breeding stock health screened to determine whether their animals are affected. There are other diseases (i.e. epilepsy, cancer, sebaceous adenitis) but they do not currently have health screening tests available. The most common diseases/disorders with tests available are:

HD/ED = Hip Dysplasia/Elbow Dysplasia:
 affects hip joints, resulting in pain, lameness and degenerative joint changes. Dogs must be 2 years of age to obtain a permanent rating. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) tracks results of veterinary examinations for hip and elbow dysplasia; you can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog. Penn-Hip is also a method of determining HD. Generally, it is used in conjunction with OFA.

CERF = The Canine Eye Registration Foundation: CERF records examination findings by board-certified veterinary opthalmologists on examined dogs, which also include any other eye disease. You can verify current annual certification at http://www.vmdb.org/cerf2.html. OFA now does an eye certification that we will be employing.

vWD = von Willebrand's disease:
 a bleeding disorder resulting in unabated bleeding, either spontaneous (from the membranes of nose, mouth or GI tract) or resulting from wounds or surgery. von Willebrand's disease is detectable by DNA testing performed by VetGen, so a potential breeding dog can be certified as clear, or determined to be a carrier or affected. You can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog. We generally do our vWd testing through Dr. Jean Dodd’s Laboratory. Results of those tests are given to puppy owners.

Thyroid: just like people, dogs can suffer from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Common symptoms are obesity, hair loss, fatigue, skin problems, and infertility. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is much rarer in dogs. You can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog. We generally do our thyroid testing through Dr. Jean Dodd’s Laboratory. Results of those tests are given to puppy owners.

Cardiac: congenital heart diseases in dogs are malformations of the heart or great vessels. The lesions characterizing congenital heart defects are present at birth and may develop more fully during perinatal and growth periods. Many congenital heart defects are thought to be genetically transmitted from parents to offspring; however, the exact modes of inheritance have not been precisely determined for all cardiovascular malformations. You can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog.

The Vizsla Club of America in collaboration with has established CHIC guidelines. CHIC is To receive CHIC status a vizsla must have completed OFA Hip, CERF, and Thyroid testing. While a CHIC number does not establish that a vizsla is free of any heritable diseases it does show that the breeder is aware of the need for health testing. Additionally, it provides more information about the dog in question. 

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Reputable Breeder


This article was found on the web. Author unknown.
Though vizsla references have been added, the information is applicable to all breeds.
You've decided the vizsla is the breed of dog for you. What's your next move? It's finding a great vizsla puppy. This purchase should receive thoughtful consideration, after all, it's not a loaf of bread you're buying. This little red bundle of energy will be a member of your family for a decade or more. Choosing a reputable source for your puppy is your primary objective. Because it's almost impossible for you, the buyer, to know what any of the puppies will grow into physically and emotionally, you must rely entirely upon your faith in the person from whom you are purchasing your pup. There are three options open to you in choosing this person:

1. Pet Shop or Dealer - The Worst possible choice. The pups may come from puppy mills and be poorly bred, with little concern for health and temperament. They are raised as merchandise to be sold for a high profit. This high profit is possible because little has been put into the care of these pups. Many may be sickly and are unlikely to have been well-socialized. Pet shops rely heavily on impulse buying which is no way to choose an addition to the family.

2. Backyard Breeder - Also a poor choice. This is the person who owns a pet and thinks it would be "fun" to have puppies or maybe that it would be a great experience for the kids. Even worse, perhaps it's being done just to make money. Frequently this breeder doesn't know or care about breed standards, health concerns, or proper methods of raising dogs and puppies. Their goal is to produce pups and then sell them quickly.

3. Hobby Breeder - The best choice. Serious and dedicated hobby vizsla breeders do not really expect to make a profit from selling puppies. They breed dogs for the enjoyment and pride that comes from producing high quality, happy, healthy vizslas that become cherished family companions. These breeders acknowledge responsibility for each and every puppy produced and stand behind every dog they breed. Unequivocally, you should choose your puppy from a responsible hobby breeder. You deserve a pet that was the result of careful planning, a vizsla who was bred and carefully raised to be happy and healthy. Only the established breeder, with a selective breeding program, can offer you predictability and consistency of quality, health, and temperament. And you won't pay more for this good quality. Pet shops and backyard breeders often sell their poor quality puppies at prices that are equal to, or higher than those charged by hobby breeders.

How does one recognize the serious, dedicated hobby vizsla breeder? The list below identifies many of the attributes and characteristics of the serious hobby breeder, though not all breeders will have all of these. Don't be afraid to ask questions or to confront the prospective source with these requirements. It is your right, and a dedicated and reputable breeder will respond positively and with pride.

1. Each breed of dog has a national breed club (Vizsla Club of America) and, in many areas of the country, local specialty (single-breed) clubs exist. Also, throughout the country, there are local all-breed dog clubs. Ideally, your breeder will belong to all three types of clubs, and possibly to other dog-related organizations as well, although sometimes not all the options will be available to them. Usually, participation in dog clubs indicates depth of involvement. The breeder is exposed to other points of view, learns more about their breed and is kept up to date about general dog care and modern breeding practices.

2. Vizsla breeders should be involved in showing or trialing their dogs, so that they aren't breeding in a vacuum. Breeders who don't show or trial may have no idea how good their dogs really are and are deprived of the opportunity to share information and ideas with others. Showing/Trialing provides competition which encourages breeders to produce better vizslas. Breeders who show/trial are not relying solely on a pedigree to indicate quality. The show ring/field trial is the forum that indicates the degree to which a dog conforms to the standard for its breed. Vizsla breeders who show/trial are known by others, have a reputation to uphold, and will be as careful and honest in selling you a pet as they are in selling show dogs

3. Your vizsla breeder should give you a reasonable period of time after purchase to have your pup examined by a veterinarian to determine its state of health. If a problem should arise, it can be quickly resolved. Most reputable breeders will also have the puppies vet-checked once prior to placement to check for things like heart murmurs which aren't easily identifiable by visual inspection.

4. Breeders should give you written instructions on feeding, training, care and grooming. Breeders should also supply you with basic information about the breed, either as a gift, or to purchase at nominal cost. You should also receive the pup's health and vaccination records. Breeders should provide a contract or some written, signed conditions of sale. You should also get a copy of your puppy's pedigree and you should be able to see a copy of the AKC Registration Application Form.

5. For many breeds, the breeder should supply you with proof that the pups' parents have had their hips X-rayed and certified by the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). Also, the breeder should show you that the pups' parents have been eye checked within the last 12 months by a CERF (Canine Eye Research Foundation) ophthalmologist and are clear of hereditary eye defects. Dogs less than two years old should not be used for breeding and OFA final ratings are not given before a dog is two years old. NOTE: Further health testing that can/should be done on the sire and dam are: Thyroid and von Willebrands screening and possibly a cardiac evaluation. Sebaceous Adenitis can be screened for as well.

6. Make it clear that you expect the breeder's responsibility to continue after you have taken the puppy home. Many dedicated breeders will ask that the pup be returned to them or placed with new owners that meet their approval if, for some reason, you are unable to continue ownership.

7. Be prepared to answer a few questions yourself. Reputable vizsla breeders are genuinely interested in finding quality homes for their puppies. Don't be offended if the breeder asks whether you have a fenced yard or what kind of dogs you have had in the past and what happened to them. A serious breeder will want to know what kinds of situations their puppies will be subjected to and what kind of care they will receive. Some breeders may seem a bit hesitant to sell you a pup until they know a bit more about you.

8. Breeders should be willing to have you visit their premises. You should see a clean home environment, well-socialized pups, and a dam with a good temperament. Puppies should be happy and self-assured. It is desirable to have the puppies living somewhere in the house rather than in a separate building or kennel. This allows the puppies to become socialized to the ordinary sights, sounds, smells and activities of a household.

9. Breeders should be willing to give you references - their veterinarian, or the names of people who have purchased puppies from them in the past.

10. Breeders will often require that your pet be spayed or neutered when it reaches the correct age, may register your pet with a Limited Registration and/or may withhold registration papers until proof is provided. The most important reason for this is to ensure a healthier animal. Spayed or neutered dogs are far less prone to many serious maladies. In addition, serious breeders spend a lot of time and effort planning a breeding program designed to improve the breed by using only the best breeding quality dogs. Pets should be loved and enjoyed as pets.

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Prospective/First-Time Vizsla Owners


By Mary K. Chelton, 35 Mercury Ave., East Patchogue, NY 11772,
Phone: (631) 286-4255; Email: mchelton@optonline.net
Owned and loved by three Vizslas
*Breeder Referral contacts changed to reflect Midwest April, 2005

About the breed:

The Hungarian or Magyar Vizsla represents one of the best in sporting dogs and loyal companions and has a strong claim to being one of the smallest of the all-round pointer-retriever breeds. His size is one of the Vizsla's most attractive characteristics and through the centuries he has held a unique position for a sporting dog-that of household companion and family dog. The Vizsla is not content to be "put in the kennel with the dogs" after the hunt and only reaches his fullest capacity when he is a member of the family he serves.

The Vizsla started arriving in the United States at the close of World War II. As interest in and devotion to the breed began to increase, owners formed the Vizsla Club of America in order to gain AKC recognition. As a result of registering foundation stock with the AKC, Vizsla owners were able to obtain official recognition in 1960 and the Vizsla became the 115th breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Official Standard of the Vizsla Breed has been developed and adopted by the Vizsla Club of America and its members. This information should be used as a guideline for understanding and appreciating the breed. The standard may be found at clubs.akc.org/vizsla/standard.htm.

Exercise needs:

Tired puppies are much less trouble than puppies who are full of the devil! Regular daily exercise, off the lead so your pup can tear around, will help a great deal in keeping your house and your life more puppy-proofed. BEWARE! Vizsla pups NEED this exercise-without it they will use your house as a race track and actively look for trouble! Start looking now for parks and fields where you can run your pup. For the next few years you will be spending an hour a day minimum (!) tiring out your little darling, so find a variety of places to exercise off leash. You will be out, rain or shine, for at least one major off-leash run a day, SO BE WARNED!!! A small fenced-in backyard is insufficient space for a Vizsla to really stretch. In young puppies, moderation is advisable because of the risk of damaging growth plates in their legs. Adolescent puppies are another story!

It is difficult to raise a puppy when no one is home during the day, and housetraining becomes much more difficult. Puppies need a midday meal and to potty frequently. If your pup will be home alone for extended periods of time, you will need to have a plan for the pup's care, such as using neighbors, friends, relatives, paid pet sitters or puppy day care. Many breeders recommend crating your puppy when the pup is not able to be supervised for both the safety of the puppy and of your house; however, most agree that puppies should not be crated for more than a few hours at a time.

Training needs:


While waiting for your pup, start looking for a place that trains the way you want to have your dog trained. There are many methods and you need to consider that Vizslas are very smart and trainable and eager to please, but they are slow to mature mentally. In fact, they need training to be good companions so all that mischievous energy gets properly channeled. They are sensitive dogs who usually do not respond well to harsh training methods, and since they mature slowly, they often have short attention spans and get bored easily during training sessions when young. The rule of thumb is not to let a puppy do anything you wouldn't want a 45-65 lb. adult dog to do, and never to continue with a trainer whose methods make you uncomfortable. Most puppy buyers will want to get a minimum of a year of obedience training, and two years is better, with other socialization experiences continuing after formal training. See the list of books at the end of this handout for more information. This does not mean sending your pup for someone else to train, this means attending classes with your dog.

Vizslas and children:

Vizslas are a high drive hunting breed and children frequently unwittingly act just like prey. Vizslas are also more needy in terms of affection and human companionship than other breeds and can see children as competition. Vizslas can be tolerant with children given proper supervision and training—if the children are good with the dog. “Being good with children” does NOT mean “without supervision.” NO CHILD (family member or not) UNDER 11 SHOULD BE LEFT UNSUPERVISED WITH ANY DOG. All children should be taught how to interact with the dog and that dogs are not toys, for the two to live in harmony. Little boys in particular need to be taught how to handle a dog and not to pull on the dog’s ears, tail, or private parts, or to stick things in the same places. Puppies tend to mouth and bite small children, steal their toys and knock them down, and you and the children need to learn how to handle these situations calmly. The immediate reaction of many children is to start screaming and running, which just exacerbates the problem. Children should also be taught that the puppy's crate is off limits; it is the puppy's safe haven, and to respect the dog’s space, especially near food dishes and wherever the dog sleeps or rests outside the crate. “Being good with children” does NOT MEAN tolerating any amount of pummeling from a child without ever growling or biting. This is an unrealistic expectation for any breed, but particularly for one that is sensitive like the Vizsla.

Families with children might also consider whether they will have time for the dog to get enough attention and exercise with young children demanding parents’ time and attention. It is extremely hard to be successful when trying to house train a pup and toilet train a human in the same time period. The pup usually ends up being the one who suffers on the training end.

Whether people have children or not, though, they should do as much as they can to childproof their dog, especially to toddlers and prepubescent children who seem to be especially threatening to dogs. They smell and behave differently than adult humans which makes them confusing to dogs.

Velcro dogs:

Vizslas are NOT dogs that can just be left in a yard. They were bred to be affectionate house dogs as well as hunting and field dogs, and they want to be WITH their people. They will follow you from room to room, including the bathroom, sleep next to you or at your feet, and lay their heads in your lap at every opportunity, etc. One friend has said that once you have a Vizsla, you will never go to bathroom alone again. Left to their own devices without human companionship, they will become lonely, bored and destructive. People who expect dogs to raise themselves by themselves will not like this breed.

Shedding:


Vizslas do shed, but unless you are allergic or obsessive, it sort of blends in with the d├ęcor. You can control this by rubbing the dog with a non-cotton sweater to pick up loose hairs.

Where to find reputable breeders:


* Vizsla Club of America contact: Florence Duggan at (908) 789-0774;
e-mail FloPete4@aol.com

* Miami Valley Vizsla Club contact: Margaret Schaefer at (740) 369-6164;
email eschaefe@columbus.rr.com

* Central Wisconsin Vizsla Club contact: Karen Geiger at 414-302-6276;
e-mail k.e.geiger@att.net

Questions breeders may ask you:


* Where did you hear about Vizslas?
* What your expectations are for the dog?
* Why do you want a Vizsla, as opposed to another breed or a mixed breed?
* Prior experience with dogs/Vizslas, especially training them, and whether you've ever raised a puppy before and if so, what breed?
* How many people live in your home, especially children and their ages?
* What is your lifestyle like, and how the dog will fit into it, especially during the next 2 years, and is someone home during the day?
* What particular characteristics do you want in your puppy/dog, including personality and gender and why?
* Are there other pets in the house?
* Do you intend to spay/neuter or breed your dog?
* To describe where the puppy will live, sleep and stay when you are away.
* What kind of dwelling you live in, if you have a fenced yard and if not, where the dog will exercise?
* What are the activity level/exercise requirements you have for your dog and how do you plan to exercise your puppy?
* Are you are interested in showing your dog, or co-owning with the breeder until show qualities are or are not obvious?
* What are your current veterinarian's name and phone number?

Questions to Ask Breeders:


* How is the temperament of the sire and dam?
* What were you striving for as part of your breeding program?
* Do you personally know other dogs in the pedigree of the puppies?
* Are you affiliated with any regional or national Vizsla clubs?
* How do you plan your litters and rate the puppies?
* Are you going to keep a pup? If not, why not?
* How do you determine which puppy goes to which home?
* What are the AKC registered names and titles of the sire and dam?
* Do you require me to sign a contract, and if so, would you share a copy and explain it to me?
* Do you require co-ownership of puppies, and if so, why?
* Do you offer a health/temperament guarantee with your puppies? What does it entail?
* How long have you been in the breed?
* Are you willing to answer my questions after I take the dog home?
* Do you require a spay/neuter or limited registration on pets?
* Will you assist me if I cannot keep the dog?
* When can I visit my new puppy?
* What veterinary care will the puppy have had when I take it home?
* What paperwork will I receive with my puppy?

Puppy prices and Issues:

Puppy prices vary. Generally between $1000 to $2000 depending on the breeder. A higher price does not necessarily equate with better quality; many responsible breeders are working to keep prices reasonable in an effort to discourage puppy mill breeders (See www.nopuppymills.com for more information) Ask the breeder of any litter you consider about the goals of their breeding program; ask why they paired the parents of this litter and about titles the parents have earned. Make sure that both parents have been cleared of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) registry. Get a copy of OFA numbers for both parents. (There are also other tests that can be done such as CERF and Thyroid as well as heart and von Willebrands. If these were not done, ask why.) When you acquire a puppy from a reputable breeder, you also acquire support throughout the lifetime of your dog. Be suspicious of any "bargain" prices for this breed, especially if "AKC registered" or "AKC papers" is part of the selling pitch, without show or field titles and OFA numbers within the first two or three generations. Since breeders in this breed have been very forward thinking about hip dysplasia, there should be hip ratings (OFA or BIC) on all dogs in most five-generation pedigrees. Avoid purchasing a puppy from a breeder with whom you do not have good rapport and avoid puppy mill, pet store and Internet purchases.

Sometimes, breeders may seem "snooty" to first time owners, and you should not purchase a puppy from someone with whom you feel you can have no rapport. Because of the special needs of this breed and because of their own breeding objectives, many breeders may seem reluctant to take a chance on a newcomer, especially one who only wants a pet who won't even consider doing any competitive events with the dog. You need to "sell" yourself (honestly, not deceptively) to the breeder as much or more than you need to be able to pay for a Vizsla puppy, and you need to keep an open mind about what you might do with the dog in the future with the breeder's help and encouragement. You are buying more than a dog. You are buying a carefully planned breeding, a pedigree, and a lifetime relationship with a breeder. Remember that Jack Sharkey, a retiree, only wanted a pet, and his Vizsla Chartay is now the first quintuple champion in AKC's 116-year history.

Breed rescue and contacts:

For a variety of reasons, some people are not able to keep their Vizslas, and these dogs become available for rehoming. Sometimes, they have had no prior training, or they have been abused and need major caring and rehabilitation, or they are available because of divorce or the owner dying. Rarely are they puppies. Potential rescue owners are screened as carefully as new puppy buyers, and because of the unique needs and challenging demands of Vizslas, preference in rescue situations is usually, but not always, given to persons who have already raised a Vizsla and know what is involved. THIS IS NOT AN ALTERNATE ROUTE TO A CHEAPER DOG! Usually, prospective owners are asked to pay transportation charges for a dog and to make a contribution to breed rescue to further the work of rescue for other dogs. Rescue is expensive in both time and money.

* VCA National Breed Rescue: http://vcaweb.org/rescue/rescue.shtml

Further sources of information
(edited)

*http://vcaweb.org/welfare/library.shtml

Vizslas are a wonderful breed, but they are not for everyone.
Take the time to research thoroughly before buying a puppy.
Take the time to find a responsible, concerned breeder.
You will find that it is time well spent.

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Socializing Your Puppy

by Pam Williams

This informal article is one of many given to my puppy owners. From my experiences with rescue I felt these basics would help so many dogs. Hopefully, rescue is never needed. Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. Please take the time to think ahead for your dog’s welfare. Just as those of you with children have raised them to be able to one day go off and be on their own, raising your dog should have the same, though certainly modified, goal. The goal of socializing and training your dog is to make it a dog that is acceptable in human society. An important side bar of this well spent time is to prepare your dog in the event that it cannot live out the rest of its life in your care. Some of this is going to be a bit depressing but read it anyway :-).
Not keeping a dog could happen for any number of reasons - divorce, major change in lifestyle, death, or just tired of having a dog (hopefully not!). Fortunately those of you getting a puppy from a reputable and responsible breeder, where your dog goes first is not something you have to think or worry about. He or she goes back to the breeder. In the event that you are unable to make decisions and it lies with your family to do so, make sure you have detailed notes in your important papers of how to contact your breeder.
There are a few important things you need to teach your dog so it can make any transfers in ownership easily. On a less negative note, these exposures will make any time spent away from you less stressful as well.

Like your crate - Even if your dog is perfectly well behaved when left alone. Use the crate occasionally just for the fun of it. Use it sometimes at night. Use it sometimes in the car. Use it sometimes when you have visitors. Most importantly, use it sometimes when you are visiting someone else.

Be housebroken - No one likes a dog that marks in the house. The myth that an intact dog should be expected to mark is just that .... a myth. There may be times when going into someone else home that a dog may want to mark territory. Be alert especially the first few times you make visits. Catch the dog when this happens. Correct it and take it outside. Reward for the correct behavior.

Like kids - This may be a hard one if you don’t have any but even if you do, make the effort to expose your dog to different age groups. While it is very important to do this when they are young it is important to continue to do it as the dog ages. It is also important to expose the dog to children of different age groups, especially the toddler and pre-teen ages. These are threatening ages for dogs.

Allow people to be near and take your food bowl
- Ususally easy to correct if you have a problem. Easier still to avoid the problem. If you haven't so far, make yourself a part of the feeding program. Don’t just put the bowl down, take it back up occasionally and put something good in it. There are detailed steps to go thru if you have a problem. Let me know if you need them.

Eat what you are given at set times (vs self feeding) - Don't make your dog a fussy eater. I was guilty of this with Lucie. Decide what you want to feed the dog and give it to him/her. If it isn't gone in 15 minutes, pick it up until the next feeding time. Soon your dog will like whatever you put down. This is definitely one of those do as I say not as I do items. Any of you that ever saw me feed Lucie know that she had the upper hand on feeding.

Get off when told - Being on furniture should not be a right but a privilege. Make your dog get off the bed or couch "just because". You own the furniture the dog doesn't (unless you haven't been telling me about the special skills your dog has and it now has a paying job). You allow the dog on it or not.

Be comfortable staying with someone else - Do doggie daycare once in a while. Leave your dog at a good boarding kennel overnight. Let a friend take care of your dog for a weekend once in a while.

Finally, the basic obedience tricks that make all dogs well received....
Sit, down, stay, and come. Walking on a loose leash would be a good one to add here too. Keep your dog reminded of these tricks. They will forget them if out of practice. Enroll in a basic obedience class for the fun of it.

So that is about it though I’m sure you can think of some more. Basically, the more variety the better. It will make your dog a flexible companion that is able and happy to make changes.