If you are thinking about adopting a Vizsla as a family pet, you will naturally want to know if it is an aggressive dog breed. Besides, you’ll likely want to find out whether they’re good with people, children, and other animals, perhaps even pets. Everything you’ll want to know to make an informed choice is in what follows.
So, are Vizslas aggressive? Vizslas are not an aggressive breed, though it depends on an individual dog’s personality. Usually, Vizslas will not try and dominate other people or dogs to try to be the pack leader. However, Vizslas are intelligent dogs known for pushing boundaries to see what their owners will let them get away with.
For the most part, Vizslas make for a great family dog.
As we shall now see by exploring their typical temperament further.
But as with any dog or animal, for that matter, aggressive displays can be brought about by certain contexts and circumstances.
So let us also now explore those before looking at reducing or eradicating their chances altogether, and should you decide to proceed and get one of these hunting dogs.
What Is The Typical Vizsla Temperament?
Affectionate, gentle, and quiet. These are the resounding characteristics of the typical Vizsla temperament.
But there are other aspects of the typical Vizsla temperament too that are worth knowing before you welcome one into your family.
Let us now take a closer look at each one.
Vizslas are happy exploring the great outdoors: your Vizsla will happily run, swim, hike, or hunt with you.
Vizslas need lots of exercise, with agility games and long walks.
They particularly need moments off the lead where they can run fast and full out: a Vizsla can run up to 40 miles per hour!
Vizslas also make excellent jogging companions – they will happily run by your side for a long while once they’re adults.
If you have a farm or a house with a lot of outdoor space, your Vizsla will be very happy: as long as they can be with you for most of the day.
Some people call Vizslas “Velcro dogs” because they always want to be with you, so they’ll stick to you like glue.
If you want to have a private moment in the bathroom, your Vizsla might not agree!
They don’t make good lap dogs because they do like activity, but they will be happy to sleep with you in your bed.
Vizslas will sit on your lap for affection, but these are sporty dogs who don’t stay still for long.
Vizslas do make good companions for families, as they tend to get along well with children, strangers, and other animals.
Vizslas are highly intelligent with a keen sense of smell, so they can do things like scent work and field trials.
Because of their smarts, they can easily get bored, so you’ll need to keep your Vizsla stimulated both physically and mentally.
They have independent spirits, but they do respond to patient training and can do well in advanced obedience competitions.
Despite their active natures, Vizslas have sensitive souls and need gentle and patient training.
They also need lots of personal attention.
If your Vizsla feels neglected, he can develop neurotic behaviors such as destructiveness or hyperactivity.
A bored Vizsla will become notorious for chewing anything in sight.
Do Vizsla Dogs Bite?
Vizslas aren’t known for biting, though they can want to mouth your hands, as they enjoy carrying things around in their mouths. Give your Vizsla a box of toys so that he has a selection of items to pick up and cart around.
As puppies, Vizslas have more of a tendency to bite for various reasons:
- They are overtired and need a rest, but they don’t want to stop playing and settle
- They are anxious or fearful and are displaying signs of fear-aggression (growling, snapping, laid-back ears)
- They are overstimulated or too excited
- They are guarding a precious resource (such as food or a favorite toy)
You can train any nipping behavior out of your Vizsla puppy, provided you use patience and positive reinforcement.
Are Vizslas Dominant Dogs?
Vizslas as a breed don’t tend to be dominant dogs: they are usually friendly and sociable animals. However, some intact adult males can show aggressive behavior to try and dominate other intact males.
Mostly, though, Vizslas are not known for wanting to be the dominant one in your house.
They are more interested in lots of exercise and attention from you.
What Can Make Vizslas Aggressive?
Several things can make what is normally a friendly dog breed a bit aggressive.
Not Enough Socialization
If your Vizsla hasn’t been socialized as a puppy, he can lack confidence.
An anxious Vizsla can become easily startled or excitable in new situations and could potentially lash out in self-defense from what they perceive as a threat.
Insufficient Training When Young
Untrained Vizslas can not only lack confidence, but they can be quite jumpy as they are an excitable breed.
You can train your Vizsla to not jump on you, but this does take a bit of patience as Vizslas can have an independent streak.
Young Vizslas can be quite bouncy until they’re about 2 years old.
If you have very young children or people who are fragile in any way, train your puppy not to jump before they knock someone over.
They can also get distracted by an enticing scent and may ignore your commands in these instances – Vizslas were bred to be hunting dogs, and they have quite a keen sense of smell.
Vizslas need lots of exercise and attention. Bored Vizslas have been known to rip stuffing out of sofas, chew through drywall, or dig up your yard.
Vizslas don’t do well if they are left alone for hours at a time, so make sure your Vizsla has companionship for most of the day.
These dogs also need exposure to new sights, smells, people, and sounds: their sharp minds need to be kept busy.
How To Prevent Aggression In Vizslas
Here are several ways that you can prevent aggression in Vizslas.
Adopt An Adult Dog
If you adopt an adult Vizsla, you’ll be able to see what his temperament is like from the start.
You can find Vizslas to adopt from a dog rescue group or an animal shelter, and you’ll be providing a new, loving home to a dog who is probably desperately missing companionship.
Provide Enough Exercise For Your Vizsla
Vizslas are athletes who need regular exercise, including running freely and galloping about. A Vizsla who does not get enough exercise will become destructive and bored.
Like small children, Vizslas need to burn off all of their excess energy!
Train Your Puppy Well
If you have a Vizsla puppy who is nipping you, there are several things you can do, depending on the reasons for the nipping.
If Your Vizsla Is Nipping While Playing With You
You can use a technique called “stop and redirect.” Here’s how you do it:
- Have your pup’s favorite chew toy or item that he likes to munch on close at hand. If you see that familiar glint in your pup’s eye, be ready to present the chew toy or another item.
- If your pup nips you, let out a high-pitched yelp (as a littermate would) to let your pup know that what he’s doing is causing you pain. Alternatively, you can call out “Ouch!” or “No!” Be dramatic enough to startle your Vizsla into letting go of you.
- Now turn away from your dog and ignore him. Give him no attention whatsoever for at least 10 to 20 seconds. You want to wait until your pup calms down.
- Once your puppy is calm, present him with the chew toy and continue to play or interact with him as before.
If Your Vizsla is Defending Something
If your puppy is getting into the habit of becoming aggressive to defend his food or a favorite toy, you can use this method to show him you are the dominant one:
- Teach your pup how to sit: he needs to know that sitting is a way of saying “please” and is the right way to ask for something he wants.
- Armed with an oven mitt or glove (to protect your hand), put his food bowl (or whatever he is guarding) in front of him. Leave your hand over the bowl so that he can’t reach the food.
- If your pup starts to growl, nip, or bite, ignore this behavior. Don’t move your hand, and don’t interact at all with your pup. Stay relaxed and calm.
- Wait till your puppy decides to try something else: it may be that he decides to sit and wait (if you’re lucky).
- Once your puppy is seated, remove your hand from the bowl. You are teaching your dog that he will get what he wants if he is polite.
- Repeat this process until your puppy learns to sit politely before eating, with no aggressive behavior.
Other Things To Remember
Other things to bear in mind when training your Vizsla are:
- Keep the level of excitement moderate when playing so that your Vizsla doesn’t get overexcited.
- Use games to teach your pup how to control his impulses and emotions. Don’t use games where he will get too hyped up.
- Carry treats around with you to reward good behavior.
- Avoid any harsh treatment of your pup, which could ruin your relationship with him. Vizslas are highly sensitive, and their feelings are easily hurt.
These methods take time and patience, but they are worth it for you to have a successfully rewarding relationship with your Vizsla.
Vizslas are generally not an aggressive breed of dog.
In fact, quite the contrary; they are typically very affectionate dogs.
At least if they are cared for, raised, socialized, and trained appropriately.
Thankfully they are considered an easy breed to train, are highly intelligent, and a low-shedding breed too.
But you will need to commit to the process.
And with a stubborn streak in them, patience and consistency will be key.
But it will all be worth it when your Vizsla is well-rounded and well-behaved.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.