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Should I get...a dog?  A Vizsla? Types of Breeders
Signs of a Reputable Breeder Motivations to Breed
Questions to Ask a Breeder Rusticu Breeding Program
Finding a Puppy Real World


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The contents of this web page are based on my personal knowledge, opinions and experience and what I've learned from others over the years.  There are exceptions so use your own judgment and intuition.

"There are very few hereditary defects in the Vizsla
breed because of conscientious breeders." 
Marion Coffman, "Versatile Vizsla"

Are you committed to the upkeep of this statement?

None of the contents of this page are directed at
any particular breeder, handler, owner or dog.


Should I get...
A dog?    A Vizsla?

 Should I get a dog? 
MAYBE, if you can answer "Yes" to ALL the following:
I will get home right after work, every night.
When I go on vacation, I am willing to drive over 30 minutes to a good kennel and pay $20/night for boarding.
I can regularly pay $10 for 10 lbs of quality dog food.
I will enroll in one 8-week Puppy (Socialization) Class and two 8-week Training courses (at least $10/lesson).
I am willing to spend $1000 for pet supplies the first year (may be less if not a first-time dog owner.)
I am willing to spend $800+ for veterinary care the first year (this annual cost will increase if you purchase a dog from a backyard breeder, pet store or puppy mill making it more likely to have health &/or temperament problems).  Health problems can cost $2000+ to cure.
If I do not take the time and make the effort to fully and properly socialize the puppy to kids, adults and other dogs and animals, I am willing to pay the hospital & vet bills of my family & friends' injuries that are inflicted by my dog as a direct result of me not properly socializing it.
If I get a breed that needs to be clipped, I can afford to spend $20-30 per month on haircuts (and have the time to drop off/pick up) OR I will take the time to learn how to clip them myself and can afford electric clippers ($100 and up) and have 2 hours to spare monthly.
If I get a long-haired breed, I have an hour or more spare time per week that I can devote to brushing my dog's coat.
If I get a shedding breed, I realize dog hair will get all over the floor and furniture and will require extra cleaning time.
I do NOT have so many children and dogs and personal activities nor such a hectic work schedule that I will not have much free time to spend with my new puppy.
I have read at least 2 books on puppy care and dog training.
EVERYONE in the household, especially all adults, wants a dog.
I realize most puppies are destructive and if we don't put things away for 2 years, we will have shoes, clothes, furniture, toys, knick knacks, Christmas presents, rugs, baskets, wicker, etc. torn up and destroyed and food on the counter may disappear.
I realize most puppies bite a lot the first year and will acquire many scratches and marks on my arms.
I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night and early mornings for at least the first year.
I either have a fenced-in yard or I am willing to walk the dog at least twice a day (regardless of weather).
I will join a local breed club at $20/year to keep up-to-date on health issues with this breed.
Because I realize a dog is a pack animal that thrives on interaction, I will NOT be one of those dog owners who confine the dog to a solitary life of boredom in an outdoor kennel but will welcome it as a family member in my home.
I realize that my floors will get dirty daily, many dogs slobber and may poop or urinate or vomit in the house, I will have to frequently wash dog bedding and towels.
I look forward to picking up poop every week.
I will never leave the dog unattended and unrestrained when outside unless in a safe and fenced-in area.
I am making a 10-15 year commitment which could be expensive if the dog develops health problems.

 Should I get a Vizsla? 
MAYBE, if you can answer "Yes" to ALL the above AND all the following:
I have read at least 1 book on the Vizsla.
I have seen Vizslas in person at least once and spent at least a few hours around them.
I am willing to spend the time to research breeders and find one who is reputable and cares about the puppies they produce and wait for the right puppy.
If I cannot afford a quality Vizsla puppy ($800 and up), then I probably cannot afford to properly care for a Vizsla AND I am willing to spend the money I saved on the purchase price on vet and Dog Behaviorist bills for the health and temperament problems that come with cheap Puppy Mill and Backyard Breeder puppies. (Note:  Some Puppy Mill & Backyard Breeders also charge the same as puppies from a reputable breeder, so cost alone cannot be used to determine the quality of a puppy.)
I realize the coat of the Vizsla prevents me from kenneling it outside and it must be kept in climate-controlled conditions in the house year-round.
I know the Vizsla has even more energy than most dogs and will constantly need to provide activities and training the first year or two.
I have a fenced-in yard to provide my Vizsla a safe off-leash environment to burn off endless energy OR I realize I will need to provide safe vigorous exercise opportunities multiple times daily.
Since the Vizsla craves human interaction, I realize it will follow me from room to room and will always want to be near me and that restricting it to certain areas in the house is not a compassionate living arrangement for a Vizsla.
I won't mind an occasional bloody nose or broken glasses from an unexpected enthusiastic greeting (jumping up to try to kiss me when I don't expect it).
The entire family has the patience to train and consistently reinforce the commands "OFF", "LEAVE IT", "COME", "WAIT", "EASY".

Types of Breeders

 Reputable Breeders 
Care about the breed as a whole MORE than they care about propagating their own breeding stock
Are objective about their own breeding stock and don't breed their inferior dogs (especially not to each other) but rather have them spayed/neutered
Are knowledgeable about the breed, breeders, pedigrees, breeding
Are involved in breed clubs and support breed rescue
Want to produce sound puppies above all else
Want to better the breed or improve their breeding stock
Care about the welfare of the dam and puppies
Want to place puppies in the best possible homes regardless of whether the new owners will earn titles to make the breeder's kennel look good
Have their litters temperament tested and possibly structure tested to help find the best fit to puppy buyers
Will divulge the good and the bad of the breed and their own dogs
Are constantly trying to learn more about the breed, pedigrees and dog care
Train and compete in a variety of venues to showcase their dog's strengths
Their puppies are usually spoken for before the litter is even whelped
Socialize the litter and do not sell puppies before 7 weeks of age
Do not breed their females until after hips have been rated by the OFA after 2 years of age
Guarantee the health of their puppies and dogs and offer compensation if something unforeseen inherited health problem should arise
Sell puppies on limited registration until they (not the novice puppy buyer) can determine whether the puppy has breeding potential
Would rather turn away a buyer than place a puppy in a situation they feel is not in the best interest of the puppy
Take the time to educate and share information with puppy buyers
Have limited breeding stock and usually focus on one breed
See more at Signs of a Reputable Breeder
Satellite Breeders are owners of Reputable Breeders' dogs with whom the Reputable Breeder works closely to extend their breeding program beyond their own breeding stock

 Breeder Wannabes 
Usually have some characteristics of Reputable Breeders
See other breeders having puppies and want to join in
Do not objectively evaluate their breeding stock and breed their inferior dogs (sometimes to each other) because they want to propagate their dogs &/or produce puppies more than serve the breed - when the right thing to do would be to start over and invest in a brood bitch or stud dog worthy of propagation
Use titles (sometimes very hard won) as a rationale to breed instead of also considering the dogs' faults
Focus on one or two good traits and ignore the overall profile of their Vizsla which may include significant negative aspects.
Let their enthusiasm for their dogs and the desire to breed overpower their ability to objectively judge their breeding stock and therefore unintentionally harm the breed

 Frequent Breeders 
Usually have some characteristics of Reputable Breeders
May have so many dogs that they cannot all be integrated into the household and are kept in crates most of the time or in outdoor kennels (though not in as deplorable conditions as with commercial/high volume/puppy mill breeders)
Have multiple litters per year, often times breeding two of their own dogs, sometimes inbreeding (parent to child, brother to sister, cousin to aunt, etc.), where frequently either the sire or dam is a mediocre Vizsla specimen and the other is their "star" performer
Are likely breeding to make money more than to better the breed or their breeding stock, but do not rely on breeding profits as a sole source of income as with a puppy mill
May be on the local Vizsla clubs' Breeder Lists due to the need to have puppy buyers perpetually in queue, but they may NOT be on the list either because they are not willing to agree to Breeding Codes of Ethics.
Saturate the gene pool of their geographic area with puppies from their brood bitches &/or their stud dogs which sacrifices the good of the breed while enhancing their bank accounts

 Backyard Breeders 
Do not know much about the breed or pedigrees (but probably think they do and say so)
Are not involved in breed clubs or breed rescue actively or at all
Breed their own female(s) to their own male(s) or breed to the nearest Vizsla or to anyone who requests stud service
Are less likely to point out negatives in the breed or dogs they use for breeding
Want to make money breeding but also care about the welfare of their dam and puppies
Likely do not care about the breed as a whole
Likely do not train and compete with their dogs but will tell you (and this is their biased and untrained opinion!) that their dogs are trainable, good hunters, have good temperaments, meet the breed standard, etc.
They have puppies, then advertise them after the fact in newspapers

 Puppy Mills 
Are nothing better than CANINE CONCENTRATION CAMPS except that they don't kill the dogs, just keep their starving, sick breeding stock in deplorable conditions
Care only about making money which means having as many litters as possible regardless of health, temperament, trainability, conformation
Do not care about the welfare of the dam or puppies
Breed unhealthy animals who may likely have inheritable defects and bad temperaments
Sell to pet stores and auctions where uneducated puppy buyers will purchase them without knowing about the breeder or the health, temperament and trainability of the parents
Either breed many different breeds OR have many litters of the same breed (e.g. 3 or more litters/year)
Keep their many dogs in outdoor facilities (barns, kennels, etc.)
Puppy Mill Links

Signs of a Reputable Breeder
Any contrary behavior indicates otherwise.

Breeds to improve their breeding stock
Trains and competes with their Vizslas in a variety of events
Is an ACTIVE member of her/his local and national breed clubs
Supports breed rescue
Breeds only Vizslas who conform to the Vizsla standard (should have their AKC Championship), are over 2 years old, have hips free of hip dysplasia as rated by OFA &/or Penn/HIP, are trainable (have titles in hunting, obedience &/or agility), have healthy pedigrees and have sound temperaments
Is knowledgeable about the breed and pedigrees
Does not breed Vizslas who have or could be carriers of serious hereditary problems (epilepsy, hip dysplasia, Von Willebrands, thyroid, bad temperament, etc.) and has dogs used for breeding tested
Thoroughly screens potential puppy buyers with questionnaires and interviews
Will turn away buyers rather than place a puppy that they feel will not be in the best interest of the puppy
Will welcome potential puppy buyers to their home to see their breeding stock, home/kennel and puppies if already whelped.
Takes time to educate prospective puppy buyers on the breed, their pedigrees, care of & training a puppy BEFORE and AFTER the adoption
Keeps in touch with puppy buyers for the life of the puppy
Is willing to share both good and bad about the breed and their breeding dogs
Shares the pedigrees, AKC registration, OFA certificates, titles, vaccination records, and any other appropriate information about the sire, dam and puppies
Discusses spay/neuter contracts and limited registration and uses where in the best interest of the breed
Knows the importance of socialization and spends a lot of time socializing the puppies
Knows the stages of puppy development and does not place a puppy before 7 weeks
Tests their litters via the Temperament Test (and possibly the "Vigor for Life" test and Structure Tests)
Does not allow buyers to pick their own puppy but places them based on the best fit of puppy temperament and potential to puppy buyer desires
Will take back dogs they bred for the life of the dog
Sell puppies with health guarantees (especially hips)
Keeps current on canine-related topics (health, nutrition, legislation, dog care, etc.) via newsletters, magazines, books and shares their knowledge
Is knowledgeable about canine genetics and breeding risks
Is a good representative of the breed in all they do

Motivations to Breed
Breeders may not divulge their motivation.  It is up to you to find out.

Desirable Undesirable
To better the breed or improve their breeding stock
Their male or female is sound in temperament, structure, health and excels in one or more performance area and they want to propagate these traits
To make money (watch out for the frequent accidental or planned breedings of sires and dams both owned by the breeder)
Wanting their male or female to make the VCA "Top Producer" list (this should never be a goal, just an honor)
Their male or female has one strong trait which they want to propagate
We think or our friends tell us our Vizsla is very nice and want a puppy
Another Vizsla owner approached us and wanted to breed to our Vizsla
I want a puppy out of my Vizsla
Breeders who have desirable motivations care about Breeders who have undesirable motivations care about
The welfare of the breed MORE than they care about the propagation of their own breeding stock.
The temperament, health, hunting, show and trainability traits of the sire and dam because they want the combination to be better than each individual
The welfare of the dam and are not willing to sacrifice her health to have a litter of puppies 
The health history of the sire and dam so they propagate healthy lines and breed out bad inheritable traits
The welfare of every puppy bred for the life of the puppy - and will insist on their puppies being returned to them if a buyer is no longer able to care for it.
The care and training the puppy will likely receive and will carefully and thoroughly screen potential buyers.  They will use their past experience to guide their decisions as to whom they will and will not place puppies.
Educating the new puppy owners on proper care and training and will be available for advice for the life of the dog
Finding the best possible mate for their dog and will travel a great distance or go to the expense of  artificial insemination in this pursuit
Propagating their breeding stock MORE than the welfare of the breed
Whether the puppy buyers can afford to buy the puppy but are not concerned about if buyers can care for the puppy
Having as many puppies as possible to increase their chances of their dog making the VCA Top Producer List even though their dog may have serious flaws
Whether puppy buyers will show and compete with the dog more than whether they'll provide a good home
Having more puppies with one strong trait but few other desirable qualities
Hiding and not disclosing negative traits (you can only find this out by talking to other breeders who may know).
Minimizing breeding costs by breeding to a male in close geographic proximity or breeding two of their own dogs specifically to avoid paying a stud fee.  This is especially apparent when one of the parents is not a dog that is a worthy breeding specimen or repeated "accidental" breedings.

Questions to Ask a Breeder

 About the Sire & Dam: 
Ask these questions about both the sire and dam unless specified.
Name, titles & pedigrees
DNA, AKC, OFA (hip, elbow) and CERF (eye) registration numbers (also research their sires and dams)
Other health test results
Minimally Brucellosis & Thyroid (T3,T4,TSH,TRH,TgAA) and possibly also Von Willebrands, Neospora.
Date of Birth
Titles earned
You may also want to ask either how long the title took to earn or how many tries - a dog that earned its Championship in a few shows is likely a better conformation specimen than one who took 4 years/many shows to earn it.  Likewise with performance events.

What is the dog's conformation strengths and weaknesses (to the Vizsla Standard)?
What are this dog’s other major strengths?  Weaknesses?
What are the strengths of the progeny?  What bad traits have shown up?
Reputable breeders will share the negative and positive because they want you to be fully aware of what may be produced so you can make the best decision if this litter is a good fit for you. They are so focused on and committed to improving their breeding stock that they readily divulge the strengths and weaknesses of the offspring they've produced.

How have hunting instincts been demonstrated?
Breeders who find it important to maintain a strong hunting instinct in Vizslas will have demonstrated their dog's hunting abilities.

How often is this dog around adults?  Children?  Other dogs?
If a dog has not been around other dogs and people much, their temperament may be fine around their owners but not be predictable overall.

Has this dog ever bitten a human?  Other dogs?  If so, please explain.
Find out the circumstances behind any infractions.  In general, avoid dogs with biting histories.

Has this dog shown any signs of the following:
Food/toy/treat aggressiveness
Being excessively territorial
Not good with children
Destructive chewing
Excessive barking
Severe separation anxiety
Submissive urination
Unprovoked aggression towards people or dogs?
Any other physical or mental or behavioral problem?
Unfortunately there are stud dog owners who may not fully divulge the above information to the owners of the brood bitch, and vice versa.  Breeders also may not fully divulge this information to puppy buyers.  But you still should ask the questions and document their answers in case at a future point in time your dog demonstrates any of these behaviors and you learn from another source that the stud dog or brood bitch's owner did not divulge the full truth.

Has this dog ever had generalized demodectic mange?
A dog who has had a generalized (all over the body) case of demodectic mange likely has a defective immune system and should not be used for breeding since development of the immune system is genetic. 

Are there any known health (hips, eyes, thyroid, diseases, etc.) or temperament (biting, shyness, aggression, dominance, rage, etc.) problems in the dog?  Ancestors (2 generations)?  Siblings?  Offspring?
Reputable breeders will have thoroughly researched both lines and will be willing to share the positive and negative traits of the sire and dam and relatives.  Many diseases like hypothyroidism are serious and hereditary and should not be propagated.

Who has this dog been bred to previously?  How many times?
Dogs accomplished in one venue are frequently approached for stud services or for puppies.  Owners should be discriminating on who they breed to, especially if the dogs are young (under 3 years old) and unproven.  Good dogs do not necessarily produce good puppies.

Has the sire or dam thrown a fault that has appeared in more than one litter sired/whelped by different mates?  More than one puppy in a single litter?
An occasional fault is not uncommon.  If a fault appears in multiple litters by different mates or in multiple puppies in a single litter, it is very likely the dog is a carrier of that trait and if serious, should be removed from the breeding program.

Has the stud dog owner turned away any bitches?  If so, how many and why?
Stud dog owners should be particular about to whom they breed their male and not breed to faulty females. A stud dog owner who wants to make money or have their male on the VCA Top Producer list will breed indiscriminately.

 About the Breeding 
What traits do you seek or avoid in a mate for this Vizsla?
Why was this mate chosen?
How will this breeding contribute to the betterment of the breed or your breeding stock?
A good breeding pair are those whose strengths offset the other's weaknesses.  Reputable breeders will be able to clearly articulate these traits in both sire and dam.

 About the Breeder 
What are the names and descriptions of Vizslas you actively use in your breeding program?
A good breeder will share detailed descriptions of temperament, health and talents and share the positives and negatives. Since most dogs are not worthy breeding candidates, there should be a very limited number of Vizslas.

Have you spayed or neutered any of your dogs?  Why or why not?
A small percentage of Vizslas are breedable and a reputable breeder recognizes when to breed and when to spay/neuter.  Breeders wanting to make money will breed any Vizsla regardless of the merits of that dog.

To what dog-related clubs do you belong?  How are you active in each?
Reputable breeders are ACTIVE members of local breed clubs.  It is a way to give back to the breed by volunteering their time to work at events, mentor new members, share their knowledge and experience, etc.

How do you support Breed Rescue?
At the very least, breeders should take back any dog they've bred at any age for any reason.  Period.  Breeders who also donate their time or money to Breed Rescue supports Vizslas who come from irresponsible breeders who do not take back the dogs they've produced.

What other breeds do you use in your Breeding Program?
Beware of breeders with many breeds - is likely a puppy mill.

How many litters do you whelp/sire per year?  Which dogs?
Reputable breeders have few litters - two or less per year.  Their stud dog is used to approved bitches only - those who are excellent specimens of the breed.

How many accidental breedings have you had?
Repeated accidental breedings could be a cover for a breeder needing money to support expensive show/trial costs of their other dogs.  Do you want to pay to be the recipient of an inbred puppy (e.g. brother to sister, mother to son, father to daughter)?

What is your Breeding Philosophy?
Reputable breeders have definite breeding goals which they will readily share.

Of all your breedings (stud or dam), how many puppies have you kept for yourself and how many have you purchased from other breeder(s)?
If a breeder is propagating its dogs, shouldn't they believe enough in the breeding to evaluate the litter and keep the best puppy (if their is one) and improve the quality of their lines?  Beware of 2 red flags:  1)  Breeders that keep 1 or more puppies out of EVERY breeding - displaying a lack of discerning what is their best progeny and a tendency to "collect" dogs to meet their own needs.  2) Breeders that breed their female or use their stud to sire litters, but do not EVER keep a puppy out of those breedings but rather purchase a puppy from other lines/breeders - evidence that they want the stud & puppy fees and feel their dogs are good enough for OTHER people but not good enough for themselves.

What are your health guarantees?
Ensure you can have the puppy immediately checked by a vet and returned if deemed unhealthy.  Other guarantees may include hereditary defects (hips, elbows, epilepsy).  Since temperament is strongly influenced by the puppy's environment, this cannot usually be guaranteed.  In other words, a breeder may have spent much time socializing the puppy and sold a puppy with a sound temperament only for the puppy's new guardians to mistreat or neglect it in which case the breeder cannot be blamed.

How do you socialize and raise the puppies?  Where will the puppies be kept?
There are important stages puppies go through and there are certain situations and sounds that should and should not be done at certain times in order to ensure puppies develop well-adjusted personalities (not fearful, know how to behave around people and other dogs, etc.)  Puppies need to be raised around and handled by humans, exposed to sounds and terrains and obstacles in order to develop into well-adjusted adults.  Ensure your breeder is familiar with what needs to be done and when so you don't have to work through problems later.

How do you evaluate and place puppies?
At a minimum the litter should be Temperament Tested by a person unfamiliar with the litter.  The breeder may also perform the "Vigor for Life" and Structure tests.  Breeders will also carefully evaluate the puppies as they develop and take notes in order to develop an accurate profile of each puppy to best match them with their new guardians.

Do you perform the Temperament Test?  Structure Test? “Vigor for Life” test?  If no, why not?
Avoid breeders who do not seem to think litter evaluation is important.

What do you seek and avoid in puppy buyers?
Reputable breeders will screen puppy buyers.  The more rigorous the screening, the more the breeder cares about to whom the puppies will be placed.

How do you evaluate puppy buyers?
Puppy buyers should expect the following from reputable breeders:  written application, phone or in-person interviews (depending on geographical considerations), site visits of the puppy's new home, reference check, etc.

What are your minimum requirements for buyers? (e.g. must show, must train, etc.)

If you require buyers to show/compete, why?  Is it for the benefit of the dog?  Your kennel name?
If it is more important to the breeder that you earn titles than whether the puppy will go to a good home, s/he may have selfish motivations (e.g. their sire/dam make the VCA Top Producer list).  Keep in mind that it takes a lot of time an money to train and compete to titles so be careful as to what you commit.  For example, not all puppies with Champion parents will be show quality and if you commit to showing the puppy, you could spend $2000 or more and never achieve the title.  On the other hand, titles are the visible signs of a quality breeding program so breeders may have good reasons for giving priority to puppy buyers who will commit to training and competing but it should not be at the expense of the puppy's welfare.

Are you attempting to become a VCA Top Producer?
If yes, the stud dog owner may indiscriminately breed their male because the more puppies that are produced, the more chances are that some will earn titles.  Breeders should breed to improve the breed or their breeding stock, not make breeding lists and registries.  Since bitches have limited opportunities for breeding, this is less of a concern.

How do you support the puppy and buyer after the sale?
What documentation do you provide to puppy buyers?
You should be able to call a breeder for any advice (care, training, nutrition) for the entire life of the puppy.  Upon purchase, you should be given copies of registration papers, vaccination records and better yet, copies of the sire and dam's certificates such as OFA, AKC, CERF, DNA, etc.  Some breeders give money for each title earned.

What food & supplements do you feed your dogs and why?
What food & supplements do you recommend puppy buyers feed their dogs and why?
Canine nutrition has many aspects and breeders should be well informed of options and be willing to share what they use and what they recommend.  Breeds may have special needs and they should be knowledgeable about any recommended supplements for Vizslas.

If a health or temperament problem becomes known to you in the sire, dam, littermates or any close relatives, will you notify me?
Puppy buyers should be notified if any health concern arises in their ancestors or any close relative.

What other breeders and/or sires or dams would you recommend or not recommend and why?
Reputable breeders admire other breeders who share their same goals of bettering the breed or their breeding stock.  "Breed the best to the best and hope for the best". In pursuit of this goal they likely share information about pedigrees and health histories of dogs being bred.  They will readily share the names of quality sires, dams and other reputable breeders and caution against anyone whose activities seem contrary to the welfare of the breed.

What magazines, clubs, catalogs do you recommend puppy buyers consider after getting a puppy?
There is a wealth of canine publications, suppliers, and clubs which puppy buyers can join.  Benefits include keeping updated on health issues, meeting people which you can network with, finding the best prices on all the many things you'll need.  Concerned breeders will be familiar with your many options and will have recommendations for you.

What is your practice regarding limited registration?  Spay-Neuter Contracts?  Co-ownership?
Limited registration prevents any puppies bred from that sire/dam from being registered by the AKC.  They cannot be shown unless the restriction is lifted.  Breeders may do this to repel unscrupulous puppy buyers who want to buy a Vizsla strictly for breeding regardless of conformation to the standard, pedigree and health history.  Sometimes a breeder can see a puppy has a conformation fault or temperament problem and should not be bred and will sell it on limited registration &/or Spay/Neuter Contract to prevent this trait from being propagated.  A Spay-Neuter Contract requires that the dog be spayed or neutered by a certain age and the AKC Registration Papers are withheld until proof of spay/neuter is provided. Co-ownership allows a breeder to show the puppy in the "Bred by Exhibitor" class at dog shows which they can only do if they co-own the puppy.  They also may be interested in breeding the puppy in the future if the puppy turns out to be a quality Vizsla and therefore want to be informed of future plans which a co-ownership facilitates.

Have you ever donated a puppy to a raffle?  Sold at auction?  Sold to a pet store?  Killed a puppy intentionally?  Anything other than place a puppy with new owners?
Some breeders who cannot place a puppy or have a puppy returned will sell it to a pet store or donate it to an auction or raffle to get the write-off rather than keeping it until they can find a good home.

Please supply me with the following references:  previous puppy buyers, other breeders who bred to your dogs or you to theirs, any others you would like to share.
There are many breeders who paint a beautiful picture of their dogs and breedings to "wow" the unsuspecting puppy buyer but who are well-known within the Vizsla world to have questionable and/or disreputable breeding practices. Just because a breeder has Vizslas who excel in one or more areas does NOT mean they are reputable breeders.  The information provided by the breeder can be incomplete, exaggerated, misleading and sometimes false.  The best source of information is to talk to other breeders at dog shows/obedience trials, hunt tests, field trials, agility trials, etc.  Don't ask a general question such as "What do you think about breeder X" but rather more specific questions such as "Would you buy a puppy from breeder X" or "Would you breed your dog to breeder X's dogs", "What are breeder X's breeding practices like", etc.  This is the only method I can think of to get an objective opinion and to reveal unethical breeders.

Breeding Program

Breeding Goals:
To breed healthy, trainable and temperamentally sound Vizslas which conform to the Vizsla standard to produce puppies which collectively improve upon the traits of the individual parents.  To place them in homes where they will receive proper care, attention and training and will be loved and treated respectfully as a cherished member of the family, not as a possession.

In pursuit of excellence, we carefully research dogs from across the U.S. and carefully choose breeding stock and look for the following: 
Accomplished ancestors in show and performance (obedience, agility, hunting, etc.)
Clean health histories to prevent propagating hereditary defects such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, bad bites, etc.
Sound temperaments free of aggressive and shy behaviors
Complementary conformation (physical) traits to our dogs
Reputable, honest owners who are discriminate, responsible breeders who take seriously their roles as guardians of the breed

For the welfare of the puppy and the new family, we endeavor to find the most appropriate match by
Educating potential puppy buyers about Vizsla characteristics and the specific traits of our Vizslas
Screening all puppy buyers with a questionnaire to determine interests, breed knowledge, puppy preparedness, proper home...
Visiting the homes of potential puppy buyers.
Requiring you visit the dam of the litter (where geographically feasible).
Having the litter Temperament/Trainability Tested at 7 weeks to get a personality profile.
Having the litter Structure Tested at 8 weeks to screen for faults (tail set, topline, angulation, poor fronts or backs, etc.)
Selling puppies on limited registration, spay/neuter clauses and co-ownership as appropriate.

To ensure the puppy develops into a well-mannered dog and reaches it potential in the breed, we
Expose the litter to a variety of sights, sounds, situations, terrains and people to assure socialized and well-adjusted puppies
Require the puppy attend puppy training and at least one beginning obedience class of at least 8 weeks.
Encourage further training towards competitive events (show, agility, hunting, obedience, tracking, flyball, etc.) which allows the puppy to develop its potential and keep active and bond with their owner(s) BUT DO NOT REQUIRE THIS depending on the owners and the dog
Offer to show your puppy (where geographically feasible) if the dog is show worthy and the new owners are unable to do so themselves
Give you a binder containing information on all the various events in which Vizslas can participate to make it easier for you to get started
Encourage you to join local and national Vizsla clubs to keep informed about the breed and to network with other owners.

In support of the puppy for its entire life, we will
Take back a dog we bred at any time should the owners become unable to keep it for any reason.
Be available to puppy buyers for advice and support on any topic including care and training.

Notify you of an health problems that arise in close relatives.
Keep informed on canine health, care and training topics and share when appropriate and helpful.

How do we care for our own dogs?
Indoors  They have the complete run of the house and are welcome on all furniture when we're at home.  They "sack out" on our sofa which we keep a dog cover on.
Exercise  They get at least 2 off-lead walks on our fenced-in 3 acres daily.  We NEVER leave them in our completely fenced yard unattended.
Sleep  They sleep in our bed under the covers.
Daytime  While we are at work, they are crated in large crates in the living areas of the house.  We don't leave them loose in the house together unattended for safety reasons.
Health Care  We provide the best veterinary care we can find:  for routine care and PennHIP and surgeries, Kuenzi Family Pet Hospital in Waukesha, WI.  For chiropractic, acupunture and Chinese herbs, Dr. Chris Bessent DVM in Oconomowoc, WI.  For Zoe's cancer care, UW-Madison Veterinary Teaching Hospital.  For Neela's reproductive care, Jackson Pet Hospital, Jackson, WI, 262-677-3112.  For eye exams, CERF, surgery and care, Dr. Collins of Animal Eye Specialists
Food  We currently feed a mixture of t
he following dog foods: Innova EVO (White, Red) & Natural Choice Chicken, Rice & Oatmeal.   Past brands fed have included Flint River Ranch, Drs. Foster & Smith, Wellness Sweet Potato & Fish, Solid Gold MMillenia.  Click here for links to many dog food web sites.  We also periodically add canned (Evanger's Chicken) or sausage-roll dog food (e.g. Red Barn Dog Food).  In the past we have occasionally fed a meal of raw food (Steve's Real Food, Companion Natural, etc.)  Over the top of it we pour a warm mixture of water, rice &/or oats, sometimes supplements, par-steamed ground vegetable mix and sometimes browned meat (ground chuck &/or turkey &/or skinless chicken breasts) with fresh garlic which had been soaking in the fridge since the prior meal.  Sometimes we also put a scoop of cottage cheese, plain yogurt &/or cooked egg on top.  Depending what's in the kitchen, we also give them fruit and raw and steamed vegetables.
Supplements  Most of these are not given at every meal but rather every few meals and in low quantities (e.g. 1/4 tsp between all dogs). Supplements used now and in the past include the following:
    Flex Free Max Strength (chondroitin) or Max GL (Glucosamine) or MSM purchased at HH-USA to maintain healthy joints due to agility training
    Seaweed (Kelp Products Norwegian Kelp) for trace minerals, healthy coat
Past supplements include the following:
    Barley Dog for benefits associated with eating grass
    Brewer's Yeast with Garlic powder for a healthy coat and to repel ticks and mosquitoes.
Drs Foster & Smith Vitacaps (Omega 3 Fatty Acids & Vitamins A,E,C,Zinc) & Biotin (B vitamin & other minerals) to maintain a healthy coat
    Natural Rearing Herbal Compound to strengthen the immune system
Health & Nutrition Updates  I subscribe to Whole Dog Journal to keep informed of health and care topics and am a member of the Vizsla Club of America to keep informed on Vizsla-specific topics.
Travel  We take them with us whenever possible.  We have never kenneled our dogs - Rob and I take separate vacations when dogless, together when as a family.
Grooming  When not active in conformation, I bathe them every month or two.  I clip their toenails and clean their ears once-twice weekly.
Training  Currently Vivvi & Buelow are in training for Agility, Obedience and Tracking.  Past training/competition includes Hunting and Conformation.  Neela joins us at agility and tracking training.
Titles  Our dogs are our beloved pets first and foremost.  We go to training to learn and have fun.  Competitions and titles demonstrate our proficiency and though are a big part of our lives, are still what we classify as a hobby.  We work full time and devote a significant amount of our free time in volunteering for dog clubs too.  We are not title-mongers; I have chosen to compete exclusively in AKC events.  My observation is that AKC titles are usually the most difficult to achieve so if we are able to earn them, why should I spend time pursuing other titles that don't add anything but initials to my dogs' names and drain my bank account and take up more weekends?  Plus I just don't want to drive to and sit at trials and shows every weekend.

I am always learning from my own experiences and research and also that of others who are generous enough to share.

Finding a Puppy

If getting a Vizsla at the right time is more important than getting the right Vizsla, stop here and go pick up a newspaper and look through the ads or ask your family and friends if they know of any Vizsla litters - you're sure to find a backyard breeder or frequent breeder or puppy mill who can fulfill your immediate needs at the same price as a quality Vizsla.  If you want to find the right Vizsla from a good breeder, read on.

1)  Make sure you are ready for a dog.  Click here.
2)  Ensure the Vizsla is the right breed for you.  Click here.
3)  Determine the type of Vizsla you want:
Is conformation important?
         Considerations:  Do you want to show the dog?  Do you want a 
         beautiful Vizsla which conforms to the standard?
How much energy and confidence do you want?
         Considerations:  Participation in Obedience?  Hunting? Jogging
            partner? Agility?  Show?  Watching TV?
What type of temperament do you want?
          Considerations:  Young children, other dogs, amount of time left
          alone or at a kennel, planned exposure to the public, therapy dog
          potential, etc.
Which sex do you prefer?
         Considerations:  Other intact dogs in the house,  messiness of heat
         cycles, containing an unneutered male.
Do I want a healthy Vizsla?
         Considerations:  Do I have the time to research pedigrees and ask
          breeders questions on health history?  Am I willing to just hope for
          good luck at the risk of high veterinary bills?
4)  Research dogs and pedigrees
Go to events where Vizslas compete (shows, trials, National Events)
Find Vizslas on Vizsla Breeder's web sites
Ensure the line is free from hip dysplasia via OFA -  www.offa.org
Research the ancestry on www.k9info.com
5) Find a breeder who breeds that pedigree.
Contact the local Vizsla Club or Vizsla Club of America's "Breeder
         Referral" contact person
Research via the internet
6)  Determine if the breeder is REPUTABLE.  Click here.
7)  Screen the breeder, sire and dam.  Click here.
8)  If all checks out favorably to you, pursue the adoption of a Vizsla puppy from that breeder.

Supporting backyard breeders and puppy mills (e.g. pet stores)
is supporting the degradation of the breed.
You will also be less likely to predict the temperament & health
of your new puppy.
It is a 10-15 year commitment - treat it as such!

Real World
Things either I've learned over the years from reading, conversations with others, observation, or experiences shared by others.
  Kudos to all the Vizsla breeders who err to the side of caution, refrain from justifying the wrong, and do the right thing.
Updated November 2007

The basic message of the following section is
Do not take anything a breeder says at face value.
No Vizsla Pedigree nor Breeder is perfect, but you as a buyer need to determine what your standards are and what you want in a Vizsla and then do your homework to ensure you get what you want.

 About Shows, Championship, Titles 

"...wise breeders today know that just a championship title is not enough to justify a dog's use in a breeding program [and] acknowledge that absence of faults does not guarantee presence of virtues, and it is virtues they are seeking in their gene pool."  "The Judge's Eye", Dorothy Macdonald, AKC Gazette, Jan 2004.

A good show dog or good hunting dog is not necessarily a good dog - there could be temperament or health problems that are not readily apparent and not disclosed by the owners.

Handlers may use unsportsman-like or illegal handling techniques which may improve their dogs ring presence and frequently is at the expense of distracting other handler's dogs.  Examples are throwing bait, double handling, pushing ahead of or crowding out other handlers or blocking from the judge's sight other dogs.  Chatting excessively with judges gives the appearance of favoritism and unfair familiarity.

A Vizsla that cannot finish its Show Championship likely has one or more significant faults in departure from the Vizsla Standard which addresses structure, size, appearance and (to a lesser degree) temperament.  A Vizsla never shown in conformation is of unknown quality - beware!  Mediocre and faulty dogs can earn Championships given enough time and persistent owners/handlers.

Ways breeders distort their Vizsla's show ring accomplishments are to display "Best of Breed" photos of their Vizslas won at shows with only one Vizsla entered at which no Championship points were awarded.  The dog photographed may not have ANY championship points.  Or to list all placements in classes at shows where the dog did not win and no championship points were earned.  Or to send their dogs with professional handlers to states whose Point Schedules are very low to win majors more easily (e.g. a 3 point win in ND/SD/MT is 1 point in WI!)  To viewers unfamiliar with dog shows, it may look impressive.

A Show Championship does not guarantee conformation to the Vizsla Standard for many reasons like dogs can grow out of standard, handlers can successfully hide some faults, judges didn't look close enough to discover the fault or weren't familiar enough with the breed standard, dogs with faulty temperaments can be taught to "hold it together" for the short amount of time in the ring and be kept away from other dogs and people outside the ring, etc.

A Show Championship or Hunting title is not a license for breeding. Factors such as temperament, trainability, health (in the dog and its pedigree and progeny), and true conformation need to be given serious consideration as well.

 About Breeders 

Quotes from "Better Breeding", AKC Gazette, Patricia V. Trotter:
May 2004:  "Some exhibitors...have resident studs whose credentials are inflated far beyond their contribution to the breed's gene pool.  This is achieved by mating numbers of bitches to this rather ordinary sire, getting the majority of the resulting progeny in the show ring with skilled handlers and accumulating championship titles.  Soon the kennel houses ROM sires and dams, giving it superficial but credible celebrity which far surpasses the quality of the actual dogs to those who do not know better."
Oct 2004:  "Dogs that have compromised psyches and lack correct character for their breed are detrimental to the gene pool. No matter how beautiful an animal is, with a poor temperament, it does not belong in the gene pool."

Broad opinionated or judgmental statements which favor one venue over another as the most (or only) honorable pursuit or whose Vizslas are more worthy breeding stock does the following:  Alienates and offends.  Serves oneself and one's kennel.  Perpetuates animosity between venues.  Divides the breed instead of fosters working together for the betterment of the breed.  Examples:
"Vizslas that don't <whatever> or don't have titles in <whatever> should not be bred."
"Anyone can earn <some title that they don't have>."
"I don't think a Vizsla with a title in <whatever> should be bred if it doesn't <whatever>."
"If it doesn't hunt, is it a Vizsla?"
"If you want a dog but you don't want to hunt, get a Shih Tzu."

A persistent owner/breeder along with a good handler can finish almost any Vizsla to its Championship (even some with significant faults) to legitimize the dog's use for breeding.  The better the Vizsla, the fewer shows it takes to earn a Championship.  Some earn their Championships in 20 or fewer shows, others are shown in many shows over the course of multiple years.

Some breeders breed dogs with known faults who cannot be finished in the show ring or breed dogs with Championships that are barely deserved or who have significant faults that were successfully disguised.  This does the breed a disservice.  Conversely, some owners/ breeders may easily finish a dog to its Championship (other titles too) and then discover some significant fault and have the dog neutered/spayed.  This is in the best interest of the breed.

Breeding a mediocre dog or to a mediocre dog is a sign of a mediocre breeder and perpetuates mediocrity in the breed.  From Despair Inc.:
"MEDIOCRITY - It takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late."
"IRRESPONSIBILITY - No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood."

Some breeders who have had histories of producing puppies with hip dysplasia display their dogs' OFA Certificates all over their web pages but don't divulge the problems with puppies they've produced.  Even if a dog does not have bad hips itself, it can pass it onto offspring.

Beware of people breeding dogs with no titles - their motives may be questionable and the health, temperament and trainability of the puppies will be unpredictable.

If both the male and female are owned by the breeder, be cautious that they are being bred to avoid paying a stud fee - they may not make a complementary breeding pair.

Doing the right thing requires a breeder to have the sense to know what that is and the integrity to carry it out.  Breeders who do the wrong thing are great at justifying and legitimizing their actions with some of the following:
"Another breeder has done worse things than what I am doing or bred worse dogs than what I am breeding."
"It may not be right, but it isn't all that wrong because of..."
"I'll take full responsibility for the results of my action" (aka wrong decision).
To breeders and puppy buyers with low or no standards, bad decisions are not seen as wrong and possibly considered "business as usual".  To breeders and puppy buyers with high standards, the same action may be seen as deplorable and harmful to the breed and the individual dogs and puppies as well.
Some breeders lack objectivity altogether and only acknowledge the good and block out the bad and ugly.  These are the most dangerous because others who don't know what to look for can be misled into believing what they're doing is right.
Owners of 2 females found out that the sire's dam threw 2 epileptic dogs.  In addition, the sire developed aggression (rage) problems and had to be put down.  One owner immediately gave up her plans to breed her female, had her spayed and bought another female puppy from different lines.  The owner of the other female had just bred a litter before hearing the news (bred to a male with immune issues himself and thyroid problems & epilepsy in the line) and also planned on spaying her female.  However, the puppies started doing well in the show ring and guess what?  A repeat breeding is planned.  Really.

Beware the use of EXCUSES like
"Accidental breeding" - especially when repeated - it may be 1) a cover for a breeder's inbreeding experiment, 2) a ruse for breeding a dog with known problems that is otherwise unethical to breed or 3) worse yet, a way to raise money to support expensive show/trial expenses.
"My Vizsla's fault was caused by an accident" - breeders may falsely represent the source of problems that would otherwise make the dog an unworthy breeding candidate by saying that something externally happened (e.g. hit by a car or was bit or fell).  If it is true, the breeder should have vet bills to prove it and will gladly supply them.
Excuses do the breed and puppy buyers a disservice.

Breeders who lack objectivity of their Vizslas resort to breeding their inferior breeding stock to each other because no other reputable breeder would ever breed to their female nor use their male as stud so they have no other choice.  This is apparent when the female has never been bred to a male outside of their kennel nor the male ever been requested at stud by any other breeder.  Another example is breeding to a male far away who has never seen your bitch, only knows what the bitch's owners tell them and see the likely  very hard-won titles that the breeder feels is a license for breeding.  Worse yet is the breeder who buys a Vizsla puppy with the specific purpose of breeding it to their current Vizsla who no other breeder is interested in but whom THEY know is worthy of propagating.

Regarding reputable breeding practices, don't judge a breeder on what they CLAIM they do, judge them on what they actually DO:

   The CLAIM: They "selectively" breed.
   The TRUTH: They select all their in-tact Vizslas and breed them.

   The CLAIM: They breed high-quality Vizslas.
   TRUTH 1: They may suffer from breeder blindness and are not objective judges of their breeding stock and therefore haplessly breed their inferior Vizslas who may have significant conformation, temperament, health, &/or performance/trainability problems in their dogs or its pedigree.
   TRUTH 2: They actually breed to make money but certainly aren't going to say THAT.
   TRUTH 3: Their definition of "high-quality" is in their own best interest and not universal to the breed.

   The CLAIM: They breed to improve their breeding stock.
   The TRUTH: Their breeding stock is so bad, breeding to anything is an improvement.

   The CLAIM:  Their Vizslas have so much to offer the breed. 
   The TRUTH:  Pedigrees may include epilepsy, thyroid conditions, compromised immune system, temperament problems, bad bites, all conditions that are hereditary.
   The TRUTH:  Breeder quote:  "Most people who see the pedigrees of the sire and dam in this breeding will turn and run the other way because of the rage issues and epilepsy in both sides of the pedigree.  But the first litter turned out so nice [in the show ring], we're going to do a repeat breeding."  OMG

Some breeders and stud dog owners have bred dogs with one or more of the following:  biting histories; epileptic siblings or parents; out of standard; dogs whose parents have thrown hip dysplasia; excessively people- submissive yet dog- aggressive temperament, dogs with prevalent thyroid problems in the pedigree.

Some "Frequent Breeders" in the Midwest now charge $1200-1500 for mediocre Vizsla puppies and place them at 6 weeks of age. Selling points used are "You can breed this puppy and someday charge $1500 for your puppies too!" and "They're worth that much because one of their parents has a title."  Reputable breeders are concerned about attracting Puppy Mills and strive to keep puppy prices reasonable to keep off the Puppy Mills' radar.

Here are some quotes from "Frequent Breeders":
"She hasn't been in season for 14 months - I'm going to have to get rid of her." (if you don't get it, it is because she isn't having puppies often enough.)

"I kept these 2 females because their grandma produced 10-12 puppies in a litter.  I don't want females from lines that only produce 5-7 pups a litter, isn't worth my time."

"You know what <Frequent Breeder> calls people who lose a Vizsla early in life due to health problems or accidents?  Repeat buyers."

"I'm going to breed my bitch again to see if the first litter with lots of problems was a fluke or not."

Some bad breeders make pretty web sites with catchy URLs and join local and National Vizsla clubs to give the appearance of them being reputable but are not active nor follow ethical breeder practices.

Some breeders are active in clubs and have accomplished dogs and appear reputable but upon further research, can be found to have questionable breeding practices and judgment.

 About Breeding Stock 

No pedigree or individual dog is perfect - but a breeder should endeavor to eliminate propagating significant breed-degrading imperfections (hip dysplasia, epilepsy, bad temperaments, disqualifying coats, not conforming to the breed standard, bad bites, etc.) and minimize other less severe imperfections (poor angulation, topline or tailset; gay tail; weak hocks; etc.)

"From a breeding standpoint, it is far better to use an average, but good, male that is from top breeding stock than a top-winning dog from only an average or below-average line."  Marion Coffman, "Versatile Vizsla"

"A dog's pedigree tells you what the dog OUGHT to be, the show rings shows you what the dog SEEMS to be, the offspring proves what the dog really IS."  From the Connie Gerstner-Miller & Gloria Kerr "Handling to Win" seminar

"...in order to become a breeder of quality dogs, you must also become an objective, knowledgeable judge of your own stock."
"Sometimes when you make a mating where the sire is strong in areas where the bitch is weak and the dam is strong where the sire is weak, you end up with the worst of all worlds - a combination of both parents' cumulative faults."

"There are times in the continuing evolution and development of the breed when exaggerated animals have value for the breeding program.  Usually it is a sire who is extreme in an area where the breed itself is lacking."  Patricia V. Trotter, "Better Breeding - AKC Gazette, pp 18-19, Mar 2006.

"The Bred-By-Exhibitor class should be the showcase for the exceptional, not a dumping ground for token entries..."
"The dog is the easiest creature in the world to love, and the most difficult creature in the world for its devoted owner to fault."
"Egalitarianism has permeated our shows so that some budding breeders come to believe that all champions are created equal....It results in breeding mediocre stock, retaining this stock to show and breed from, thereby assuring the breeder is trapped in a breeding program with lesser animals....not all dogs who win at dog shows belong in the gene pool...a relatively fault-free representative of the breed without strong virtues may win because he's better than the rest on that day, yet not belong in the pedigrees of the future."

Patricia V. Trotter, "Better Breeding",AKC Gazette, pp 14-15, Jan 2006.

"Breed quality.  Don't be tempted by the champions "numbers" game.  Aim for better than the mediocre champion."
"Know and respect your limits in time, space, emotional and financial resources." 
Bobbie Kolehouse, "On All Fronts", AKC Gazette, pp 10-11, Jun 2005.

A Stud whose dam was an excellent Brood Bitch will be more likely to produce better than a Stud from an average or below average Brood Bitch.

Even top-winning dogs may have significant faults that breeders in close geographic proximity know about.  Before breeding to a male far away, see how many breeders in the immediate area are using the dog at stud and talk to breeders in the stud dog's area and ask them if they would breed to the dog you're considering.

Young breeding stock could have health problems that have not yet surfaced.

A puppy is only as strong as its pedigree and the combination of all  WEAKNESSES in addition to strengths of both parents.

Even "proven" breeding stock can have significant faults that the owners fail to reveal to the mate's owner and therefore may be unknowingly propagated.  Real examples are epilepsy, overbites, underbites, poor temperaments, droopy eyes, bad hips, immune problems, thyroid issues.

Beware of a young male being used excessively for breeding - it is too early to determine if he throws any negative traits and indicates the owners may not be very discriminating regarding to whom they will breed.

 Health Considerations 

"Maintaining the genetic vitality of a breed must take priority over phenotypic breeding.  Acquiring championships does not justify the proliferation of immune-compromised animals..."  Leslie Crane Rugg, "Coping with Thyroid Disease", AKC Gazette, Aug 2003.
Note:  In my opinion, this also holds true for temperament.

Though a dog may have OFA EXCELLENT hips, if bad hips are in the pedigree, s/he will be as likely to throw bad hips as his/her dysplastic sibling.  Look beyond the OFA rating of the sire and dam for pedigrees free of hip dysplasia.  This holds true for all heritable traits.  Note:  OFA is a closed registry and only publishes dysplastic results with the permission of the dog's owner, so you must rely on the openness and honesty of breeders to find out about hip dysplasia in their lines.  Read more...

OFA recommends the dogs be anesthetized during the X-ray to get as accurate a position as possible for a good reading.  But an X-ray taken with the dog fully conscious has a better chance of getting a better OFA rating.  Some breeders will seek out vets that will take X-rays of their dogs without anesthesia in the hopes of bumping up their rating.

The PennHIP procedure is a more accurate form of hip screening.  The hip-extended view (used by OFA) was found to mask the underlying true joint laxity which the 3 X-rays taken for the PennHIP procedure cannot mask.  It is a more scientific, objective and accurate procedure than OFA.

Not every puppy in the litter will inherit all it's parents' traits.  For example, there will usually be "pet quality" puppies in a litter sired by two Champions.  However, don't expect to pay less for a non-conformation puppy since all littermates have the same pedigree and health history and performance potential which are even more important traits to people who do not want to show.

 About Vizslas 

The Vizsla is a high energy sporting breed.  Vizslas from strong hunting lines (look for FC, AFC, NFC titles) tend to be even higher energy and more independent, traits which are desirable for tirelessly searching for birds in the field for long periods.  Many times breeders who breed strong hunting lines claim their dogs are calm in the home (which can happen), but many of them keep their Vizslas in outdoor kennels until advanced in age &/or send them off to professional trainers &/or keep breeding them so they're often pregnant, so how would they know?

What's one word which describes a border-trained Vizsla?  Roadkill.

Even if you "just want a pet", don't you desire some of the traits that titles are indicative of?  Isn't health history just as important to you?  Don't you want an easily trained dog?  Don't you want to know the disposition of the puppy too?  Then why would you settle for a puppy mill or backyard breeder any more than someone wanting a competition Vizsla?

If you "just want a pet" and think that because you won't breed it the quality of the pedigree doesn't matter, then you support the degradation of the breed.  Your breeder breeding "just a pet" poor Vizsla specimens also sells to people who want a Vizsla "just to breed" (regardless of conformation and health and temperament and trainability) and who will propagate traits that degrade the Vizsla as a whole.

 Real Life 

Classified Ad in the Mukwonago, WI newspaper, 12/8/04:
VIZSLA Pups - AKC, hunt, pet, show.  Champion line.  Ready now for Christmas!  (920) 822-XXXX.  [Pulaski, WI]
No Vizslas owned by this breeder come up in K9INFO.COM so we know  their Vizslas do NOT have ANY titles and do NOT have OFA-certified hips.  A reputable breeder will NEVER 1) take an ad out in the newspaper to sell puppies, 2) encourage people to buy any pet for a CHRISTMAS present (the AKC has an ad campaign against this irresponsible backyard breeder practice), 3) breed a dog without having it's hips OFA'd along with other health checks, 4) breed a Vizsla who does not meet the AKC Vizsla Standard nor have any proven performance accomplishments nor indicators of temperament.

EMail excerpt sent by Wisc Vizsla breeders (with a hidden agenda of looking for a stud and selling puppies out of their 2 planned 2005 litters):
"We breed [our 5 y/o female] once a year and plan to breed [her 1-1/2 y/o daughter next year].  We don't show or hunt our dogs but simply love the breed and everything about them.  We breed because we love these dogs as if they were our own children...We are actively "shopping" for a stud dog...If you have a stud or know someone who does, we'd like to talk to you to see if our dogs are compatible. We're happy to do the breeding here...We anticipate a litter from [our 5 y/o female]...and another from [her 1-1/2 y/o daughter next year]. We have started a waiting list..."  Even though the web site states "Both <dam> and <sire>'s hips are OFA Certified" and their AKC Registered Names are shown on their pedigrees, both parents of one litter ARE NOT REGISTERED in the OFA database!  The sire of the other litter has OFA FAIR hips.  None have been evaluated objectively in any way to demonstrate conformation to the Vizsla standard nor any performance strengths.  The younger female's pedigree includes 1 show champion and 2 with hunting titles out of 30 ancestors.  They demonstrate their love "as if they were our own children"  by forcing their Vizsla bitches to become Vizsla breeding machines their entire lives to line the pockets of their "loving" owners.  They bred their older bitch twice in seven months and she had 3 litters by age 5 and another is on the way.  At eight years of age, here's what they say about this bitch: "...has produced four litters and though we could breed a couple more times with her we've decided against so she can simply enjoy the rest of her life..."  Because she sure hasn't had a chance so far, that's for sure!  Ironically, they copied text from the CWVC Website (without permission) that warns people to only buy puppies from breeders who OFA their breeding stock...and they do NOT.

Some puppy buyers pose as "the perfect buyers" and then sell the dog at a profit for use in research or torture the dog (cats too) due to their mental illness.

A man who ran a puppy mill would steal rare dogs and then keep them in inhumane conditions and breed them.  To feed his animals he purchased diseased farm animals from local farmers and fed them the meat. (Minnesota)

A co-worker of mine bought a Vizsla from a breeder whose dogs had no titles but were from well-known hunting lines in the Midwest.  This Vizsla bit its owner and the owner's sister and mother (requiring stitches).   They hired behaviorists but nothing helped.  The breeder would not take the dog back and Rescue groups will not take dogs with biting histories.  A nearby hunting kennel said they would buy the dog to use it as breeding stock (even knowing its biting history!), but when they saw the outdoor kennel the Vizsla would be kept in, the owners decided instead to have the Vizsla put down.

Some breeders say they take back puppies they've bred (sign of a reputable breeder), but then kill them because they assume something is wrong with the puppy or has been irreparably damaged by the owners and don't want to take the time to evaluate, train and find it a new home.  To them, it is less work to just to kill it and then have more easy-to-sell puppies.

Before DNA profiling, prominent Vizsla breeders active in Field Trialing  would cross-breed Vizslas to Pointers in hopes of getting a dog that hunts like a Pointer but looks like a Vizsla so it would beat Vizslas and other breeds (GSPs, Pointers) in Field Trials.  If a puppy in the litter looked like a Pointer and not a Vizsla, it was killed.

One breeder had an elderly couple come to pick out one of their four remaining Vizsla puppies.  When the couple couldn't make up their mind and offered to buy all four, the breeder agreed!  The couple's children report that the dogs are untrained, out of control and the house is a mess, yet the couple refuse to give any of them up.

I know breeders in this area (WI, IL) who breed Vizslas with biting histories, epilepsy in their lines, who have charged aggressively at people on multiple occasions unprovoked, with overly submissive personalities (chronic submissive urination), excessive suspicious and aloof personalities, compromised immune systems (have thyroid problems in their lines &/or had demodectic mange), bad hips (one SW Wisc breeder would not return the calls of 2 puppy buyers whose puppies he bred had developed severe hip dysplasia by age 2 and this same breeder would not allow a different potential puppy buyer to visit his kennel in person!)

One family went to a web site devoted to selling puppies on the internet and purchased a Vizsla puppy at a bargain price from a Puppy Mill in Iowa and got a Vizsla puppy with ringworm all over its body and ended up making a long drive back to Iowa to return it to the Puppy Mill.  The next day, the Vizsla puppy with ringworm was listed again for sale on the web site.

Speaking of puppy.com, can you believe what you see?  First, what reputable breeder is going to sell puppies to people who they haven't even had a conversation with?  Don't they care where their puppies go?  How will they support the buyer after the sale?  And have you seen all the faults?  White above the toe's knuckles, dark noses, ugly heads, coats too light.  Notice that few of the litters are born to Vizslas with their Championships?  And some SAY they have Championships or are from Champion lines- buyer beware, that may mean there's 1 Champion in the 30 ancestors in a 3-generation pedigree.  Notice the repeating kennel name that people are so proud to display as in their Vizsla's lines?  That kennel must be pumping out tons of Vizsla puppies themselves to have so many mentions.  And apparently they are telling their puppy buyers to breed all the puppies they can too.  The thing that worries me most is what you CANNOT tell from photos - the TEMPERAMENT of the sire and dam and puppy and the HEALTH of the ancestors and the puppies (see story above - are they going to advertise "Puppy is full of ringworm!")  If you want a bargain puppy, buy a Vizsla puppy on puppy.com and you WILL get what you pay for and what you deserve for supporting backyard breeders, puppy mills, and the degradation of the breed.


 New Dawn Blue Sky JNEK Sienna Pointe Elvers Creek Dave Jones Jim Busch Raany Askim Strider Mira Priden Joy Daybreak
 In Harmony With Vizslas Lodi Buske Hilda Annabelle Tina Church Bones

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