….and a puppy makes 5! I am so happy to announce that we have a new little Vizsla puppy at home! He is gentle, rambunctious and playful. He comes with two settings: insane and asleep.
When we decided to add a dog to our family, our next biggest decision was what breed would fit us best. I knew that I wanted a dog that was somewhat large, athletic, and wonderful with kids. As snuggly as my cat is, I was lonely on nights when my husband was out late.
After a great deal of research we found Vizslas and were absolutely in love with their wrinkly red faces and floppy ears.
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Can you get a puppy when you have a toddler?
I must admit, the decision to get a dog was made when my 16-month-old was sleeping like a champ and was NOT in a purely “mama” phase. The week before we brought home our puppy she started teething again.
To prepare for the chaos, we got a puppy gate, put any small toys into my daughter’s room, and brought out the XL pack-and-play that we never used.
We also introduced her to other dogs and have taught her to respect animals from the get-go. Right now, that looks like teaching her to put her hand out for them to sniff first and using a gentle touch.
Was it an insane decision to get a puppy when we have a toddler? Probably. Would I recommend it? I’ll get back to you on that in six months.
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What did we consider before getting a dog?
Getting a dog is a decision that should not be made quickly and without a great deal of planning. The dog needs to fit into everyone’s life, including any future pregnancies or other life changes.
Dogs have different “jobs” that they have been bred to excel at. If you don’t have the time, space, or energy to “work” with them, then a dog is not for you.
- Do we have the time for a dog?
- Do we have the time and energy to train and housebreak a puppy?
- How will a dog fit into our daily routine?
- What will our daughter do with a puppy?
- What will we do when we go away?
- Who will be in charge of the different responsibilities of a dog (walking, cleaning up poop, training, etc.)?
- Are we willing to be out with this dog in all types of weather (we are in a lovely bomb cyclone right now)?
Another big part of raising a cute little puppy dog is the cost. There are so many hidden costs to raising a dog, besides vet fees and food and toys. Some of the unexpected costs we had with our puppy was
- ($80) lattice to secure high points in our fence where the dog could slip through
- ($150+) gas to drive the 13 hours to pick up our pup
- ($150) hotel room on the way to pick him up
- ($20) jumbo pack of paper towels
- ($50) estimated cost on “puppy items” that he’ll grow out of, like a small harness, small collar, puppy pads, etc.
…and the list goes on! Making a puppy budget and setting aside money for unexpected costs can be helpful.
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What is a Vizsla?
Here is a summary on Vizslas from the American Kennel Club (click for reference):
The Vizsla is a versatile, red-coated gundog built for long days in the field. For centuries these rugged but elegant athletes have been the pride of Hungarian sportsmen, and their popularity in America increases with each passing year. The Vizsla is easily recognized by his sleek golden-rust coat. They can stand between 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and are the picture of a lean, light-footed hunter’s companion. The long, silky ears frame a facial expression that is sensitive and loving around the house and intense when at work. As a hunter expected to work closely with humans, Vizslas form a tight bond with their owners and hate to be left alone. Athletes of many talents, Vizslas excel at various sports and activities. They are eager and graceful trotters of great stamina, making them ideal jogging or biking companions. An expert on the breed tells us, ‘If you don’t have the time to encourage this breed’s full use of its brain, you’re wasting a good dog.’American Kennel Club, “About the Breed“
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Why did we choose a purebred dog?
It was our ethical responsibility to choose a breeder that was using best practices, breeding healthy dogs, and had the puppy’s best interest at heart.
Here’s why we went with a breeder rather than adopting:
- We wanted a specific breed. There were only about 4 Vizsla mixes available in a 12 hour radius, and they were all adults.
- We wanted a guarantee on size and temperament.
- We wanted a puppy.
- We wanted to know the dog’s parents and first environment.
- We wanted a guarantee on health.
We did not want to support a puppy mill, pet store, or “backyard breeder”, which is why we went with a breeder that could give us an AKC limited registration Vizsla.
We did a lot of research on choosing a breeder on the Vizsla subreddit, RedBirdDog blog, and the Vizsla club of America.
What breeds are similar to a Vizsla?
German Shorthair Pointers, Labrador Retrievers, English Pointers are similar in temperament, energy level, and size. We also considered the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Boxer, and Airedale Terrier.
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Are Vizslas hypoallergenic?
No, Vizslas are not hypoallergenic. They also do not have an undercoat. This makes them more susceptible to the cold. They also have less of a “dog” smell. Vizslas do not need to be bathed or groomed often and are very clean. Their coats are incredibly soft!
Something I noticed about my pup is that he dried off really quickly after coming in from the rain. It just took one or two towel rubs and he was dry!
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Why we chose a Vizsla as our family dog:
Here is a summary from Hill’s Pet (click for reference):
Vizslas are active dogs, requiring a high level of physical activity, given their hunting history. They do not make good kennel dogs and prefer being with their owners. They are highly intelligent and need activities to keep them occupied to prevent destructive behavior such as chewing and digging.Hill’s Pet, “Vizsla Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits”
Vizslas are medium-large dogs that are lean and muscular. They require a 42” crate, which is huge. They need to be properly trained to avoid jumping up on humans or swiping food off of tables. Here are their size ranges.
22-24 inches (male)
21-23 inches (female)
Vizslas are high energy! They need ample space to run around and need to be walked or run for an hour or more a day. They enjoy swimming, hiking, and agility as well. They are easy to train and need a lot of mental stimulation.
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Another name for the breed is a Velcro Vizsla! They want to be right on your lap and close to you at all times! They are supposedly excellent off of the leash, which was important to us.
We wanted something different.
Although I love all dogs and was drawn to doodles for their hypoallergenic qualities, we wanted something a little bit different.
So, there are the many reasons why we chose a Vizsla for our family dog!
I wanted to add an update as my Vizsla puppy approaches his 6 month birthday:
These pups are not for the faint of heart. My Bodhi is so naughty! He counter-surfs, eats everything in sight, and greets the world mouth-first. It has been a lot keeping a toddler and a puppy safe.
I have no problem saying that I wish I had waited until my daughter was older to get a puppy- I don’t think the breed matters. Puppies require constant supervision and dedication, which we are of course giving him. I’m sure I will feel differently in the future, once we turn this corner and he mellows out a little bit. But, from someone who is in it, let me say that having a puppy and a toddler is not the best idea.
Are you familiar with Vizslas?
Do you have a favorite dog breed? Did you grow up with a dog?
Let me know below!
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I love your line that the puppy has two modes – insane or asleep! hilarious! What an inspiring post – from your courage to get a puppy with a toddler and all your preparation. I’m planning on getting a puppy this summer when my kids are 7 and 3. I’m grateful for this post!
It really warms the heart to see a puppy grow up alongside your kids, sharing memorable moments together! If I may ask, have you named her already?
Thank you for reading and commenting! Sorry for the delay 🙂 We have named him Bodhi, or “Bo” for short!
Interesting name! No problem at all with the delayed; you’ve got a lot of stuff to handle outside the blog, so it’s understandable. 😊
*delayed replies to comments
What a good looking dog ! That’s wonderful that your baby will have such great companion to adapt to ! Nice informative post
Thank you for reading and commenting! He is precious!
Timothy Paul Westbrook
You got my follow simply because of the vizsla. My favorite Hungarian dog!
Ha! I think they will be my “breed for life” – so in love with him already! Thank you for reading and commenting!
Carrie Ann Golden
I have never heard of this breed. He’s adorable! I grew up mainly with cats but when I was a girl I had a dog, a Sheltie named Tippy. Absolutely loved her! I love to get a dog one day perhaps a lab or retriever. 🙂
Thank you! Shelties are so adorable – wish they didn’t shed so much, or they would’ve been on our shortlist. Thank you for reading and commenting!