Choosing A Vizsla Breeder
Perhaps one of the most important elements in buying a Vizsla puppy is choosing a vizsla breeder. This can be a difficult task. We offer a number of things to look for and consider while choosing a vizsla breeder that is right for you. It is the breeder that you will have to trust to have done the “homework” in making the mating, doing the health clearances, providing a guarantee and matching your needs with the right puppy from the litter.
LOCATING: While the internet and email are good ways to locate Vizsla breeders, contact purely through the internet is not advisable. In this age of the internet and web sites, it is often hard to separate fact from “fiction” when looking for a Vizsla puppy. Email and websites have made it very easy for people to represent themselves as something very different than what they actually are. Ideally, potential buyers should make the effort to go visit the home of the various breeders they may have contacted. Sometimes this isn’t possible and in that case, a phone call would be the second choice. Watch out for “backyard” or “hobby” breeders. Many backyard or hobby breeders are only breeding for the money and don’t always consider their dog’s or the stud dog’s abilities, health, and genetics. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
FACILITIES: At a home/kennel visit, first observe how the dogs are kept. Vizslas need and should have, at minimum, a kennel run that allows freedom to move at will. A number of “kennels” are actually dog cages in a garage or basement. This is not good for both the physical or mental development and health of a Vizsla. Do the dogs have adequate shelter and access to water and does each dog has its own run or pen? Vizslas can be protective of their runs or crates. It is perfectly normal for the dogs to bark at you when you arrive. However, they should quiet down at the owner’s command and the breeder should let the dogs out for you to meet. Vizslas of proper temperament should be able to be met outside of their runs.
THE BREEDER: Do you feel comfortable with the breeder as a person? Do they answer your questions as fully as you would like? Ask: how long they have been involved with the breed; how many dogs have they personally owned or trained? (Unless you are working with the dogs routinely, you cannot know the dog’s temperament and abilities to work and be trained); a good breeder should ask you why you choose the breed and this is the same question you should ask them. What made them choose a Vizsla; do they offer a written guarantee; have they ever had any health problems with their dogs? The answer here should be yes as no one who has been breeding for awhile has not had some dogs that have developed hip, eye or some other health problem. If they tell you otherwise, look somewhere else because they are probably be deceitful. How often do they breed their females and to what age? Vizslas should not be bred younger than 2 years old or older than 7 years old. If a breeder is breeding their dogs every heat cycle (every 6 months) and at 8 & 9 years old, then find a different Vizsla breeder. Vizslas are meant to be a hunting dog. Even if you are not looking to hunt your Vizsla, look for breeders that focus on bettering the breed through their breeding program. This will include a focus on abilities a field, health, temperament, intelligence and obedience.
PRICES: The costs involved in proper training, health clearances, sending a female to a good stud dog, and raising the puppies are considerable. Current price range for a quality-raised Vizsla puppy is $1000 to $1500. Also consider that just because someone is charging $1000+ for a Vizsla puppy doesn’t necessarily mean they are a reputable breeder or that the puppy is actually worth the asking price. Some breeders will also sell field trial prospects for higher prices than others in the litter. It is extremely RARE that an entire litter is field trial quality. Sometimes you will be told that the dogs come from a well-regarded lines and are just the same as buying from the person who developed the lines. Don’t be misled. Every line of dogs no matter how good has individuals who should not be kept in a breeding program. The established and experienced Vizsla breeders came to their reputations by eliminating those dogs that were not up to the goals- no matter if they were good looking, etc. The more novice breeder tends to be far less discriminating and accepts dogs that are average or less to retain for breeding.
Remember experience counts quite a lot when it comes to evaluating dogs, breeding stock and making breeding decisions!
DEFINITIONS by Sierra Milton.
If there were a caste system within the dog world, the breeders would be at the top, followed in descending order by puppy-raisers, design-a-doggers, backyard breeders, and puppy mills. The danger to the public is that any one can call themselves a ‘breeder’ without having done more than put two dogs together. Education is the key. Hopefully, people will stop and think about where and who they are getting a puppy from and why.
BREEDER: Technically, any person who mates two dogs and causes the production of offspring is a breeder. In the respected world of dog ownership, a breeder is someone who breeds only when they breed for the betterment of the breed. The betterment of the breed considers the entire standard and not just any one characteristic of the standard. The primary difference between puppy raisers and breeders is “awareness of responsibility to the breed, to their goals, to the dogs they have bred and to the dogs they hope to breed. They also have a never-ending responsibility to the people who have bought her dogs, to the people who are about to buy her dogs and to the public image–not only of the dogs they have been producing but of the breed itself.” A breeder is a creator; they work toward a goal of perfection. They don’t breed to fill a market of what will sell. A breeder takes the time to mentor, to share their philosophy and help those who ask over the rough spots. They instill within those who have purchased their puppies a sense of belonging, a pride in ownership. Breeders are there to answer questions, to encourage training, to teach critical assessment before breeding. They take responsibility for the dogs that they produces for the life of the dog, always willing to take them back if necessary. Breeders are not motivated by money or supplying a market. They do the necessary genetic background testing and assure the dogs they breed are free of genetic problems. Breeders are those who have paid their dues, studied, learned, been mentored and now are also mentoring. A breeder will have earned and continue to earn the right to be respected. Even some of the ‘big-name’ breeders are not what should be considered as breeders and actually are puppy-raisers who no longer put the same amount of effort into thinking about the future of the breed.
PUPPY RAISER: Refers to any person who breeds without attempting to understand the genetics behind the two dogs being bred, think about what they desire the puppies from the combination to be like, have a clear cut plan for the future of the breed, hasn’t considered all the possibilities concerning whelping, hasn’t done the medical checks and and only done the minimal health checks for hips, eyes and whatever else is recommended for their breed, and proven their stock in some way — whether in the show, field, obedience, etc. realms. Puppy-raisers simply put two dogs of the same breed together and hope for the best.
DESIGN-A-DOG: Designer dogs can be designed as the latest fad, bred to full fill a certain niche, without a plan for long-term development of a breed type. Breeding for any one trait is irresponsible breeding. This is just as true in the case of pure-breed breeders as it is in those who cross-breed. Any breeder that is “only breeding to satisfy a need” is failing their responsibility as a breeder which should be to breed only when they feel that it is to the betterment of the breed, and in the case of cross-breeds, it would be difficult to argue that they were breeding to any established standard and instead is breeding for a reason that is less than what most of us consider to be reasonable.
BACKYARD BREEDER: May also be referred to as a “whim breeder”, this person is one who breeds without any forethought to why they should be breeding. These people often have reasons such as “wanting the children to see the miracle of life” or “everyone just loves Fifi (or Fido) and wants a puppy just like her/him” or even more frightening wants to “make a bit of money and recoup some of my cost in buying Fifi”. Backyard breeders, even when they have only one dog and produce only one litter, are the equivalent of puppy mills. For the most part backyard breeders will have done no medical checks and believe that ‘nature takes its course.’
PUPPY MILL: A business that mass-produces dogs for a profit with little or no regard for the health and well-being of the puppies and dogs. It is a facility where puppies are sold to brokers, pet stores or individuals without regard for the puppy. They usually have several to many breeding animals in many different breeds and often, but not always, substandard health, living and socialization conditions. Some well-known and “respected” breeders have fallen into the commercial breeding trap by losing sight of the primary reason for breeding, which should be only for the betterment of the breed. Production of puppies only because there is a market or one needs a bit extra money is still commercial breeding and differs from puppy milling in that commercial breeders sell only to individual buyers.
COMMERICAL BREEDER: A person who maintains large numbers of breeding females and/or stud dogs who breed two or more litters a year from bitches or who provide stud services for more than several bitches per year. These breeders may or may not perform genetic testing or histories of ancestors and other criteria as shown in the definition for “Breeders”. Commercial breeding differs from puppy mills notably in that commercial breeders sell only to individuals and never to brokers or pet stores.
UNETHICAL BREEDING: Any person who breeds dogs with profit as the main motivation and without consideration for the health and well-being of the puppies is guilty of ethical crimes.