When you’re thinking about adding a dog to your family, finding the breed that will be the right fit is essential. Two of the most important factors in a new companion are temperament and energy level.
If you’ve been considering a Vizsla, one question that you likely have is, how much exercise do they need? Vizslas are highly energetic dogs that require about 2 hours of exercise daily.
Keep reading, as we get into what this breed is like as a pet and a few ideas for keeping up with their exercise needs.
The History of the Vizsla
Understanding the breed’s history can give you a better picture of their care needs and temperament. The ancestors of the Vizsla were bred by Magyar warriors in ancient Hungary. The Magyar were interested in breeding agility and swiftness into both their hunting dogs and horses. These ancestor dogs were able to keep up with the warrior’s horses and were even a reddish color, like the modern Vizsla.
Over time, these dogs were refined by Hungarian nobles and warlords and were used for hunting birds and hares. They were bred as retrievers and pointers and became the Vizslas that we are familiar with today.
The first Vizsla was brought to the United States in 1950, and eventually, the American Kennel Club recognized the Vizsla in 1960. In 2023, the Vizsla is the 33rd most popular breed out of 284 dog breeds.
The Exercise Needs of the Vizsla
Vizslas were bred to be as fast as horses or at least, their ancestors were. This should tell you how energetic these dogs are and that they will require a great deal of exercise.
They were bred to work with warriors and hunters and were more than capable of walking and running long distances over challenging terrain.
Vizslas have been clocked running at 40 mph (64 kph), so they have plenty of energy! Vizslas require a minimum of 1 hour every day, but they really need 2 hours overall. A chunk of this time should be off-leash running time.
If you are an active and outdoorsy kind of person, the Vizsla might be a great companion for hiking, biking, running, and swimming. Just remember that only adult Vizslas should be exercised vigorously; puppies shouldn’t be overexercised because they are not fully grown yet. It’s common for young dogs to injure their joints and bones with too much exercise.
When dogs become seniors, they are more prone to conditions like arthritis and start to slow down, so they will also need less exercise.
Different Kinds of Exercise for the Vizsla
All dogs need about two walks a day, as these provide them with an outlet to expend energy, as well as socialize and explore the world around them.
You should walk Vizslas for about 45 minutes twice a day; aim to build a routine and walk them at the same times every day.
Take your Vizsla to off-leash areas to let them run, but be sure to teach them to come on command so they don’t run off on you. You could invest in a retractable leash if this isn’t possible right away (or at least until you’ve trained them).
Playing with your dog will give your Vizsla physical and mental exercise and plenty of bonding time.
Mental stimulation for dogs is just as essential as physical exercise. Without it, a Vizsla will get bored, and that leads to destructive behavior.
Fitting Your Vizsla’s Exercise Needs Into Your Day
If you are busy most days, know that there are a few ways to fit all this exercise into your schedule.
Every day must include walks and mental stimulation. So, starting in the morning, take your Vizsla for a 30-minute walk, and have a play session at your closest dog park. When you get home after work, enjoy another walk for at least 30 minutes and include a game of fetch.
If you work from home, aim for a 60-minute walk in the morning. If you’re lucky enough to live near a hiking trail, a hike with your Vizsla would be ideal. After work, play scent work games with your dog for 30 minutes.
On your days off, you can do all kinds of activities: Go hiking, take them swimming, or visit the beach! You can also consider hiring a dog walker to take your dog out halfway through the day.
If you’re not an outdoorsy person and don’t particularly enjoy long walks and hikes, you might want to look for a quieter and calmer breed. The Vizsla is ideal for people who want to go for long walks and enjoy the outdoors with a running companion.
All dogs need walks, but the Vizsla needs someone to wear them out every day. So, if you’re looking for an energetic companion that’s super smart, loving, and has a zest for life, the Vizsla might be perfect for you!
Featured Image Credit: Bianca Pinkernell, Shutterstock