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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I have narrowed our search down to two breeds - Goldens and Vizslas. These are the criteria we set out with:

- Size (medium-large)
- Shedding (low)
- Intelligence (high)
- Trainability (high)
- Good with kids (assuming proper socialization and management)
- Good with other dogs (assuming proper socialization)
- Affectionate
- Athletic and active
- Versatile

Goldens meet each of these criteria except for the low shedding. I'm not sure how important that is to us. I have to give it some more thought.

Two other considerations: we're planning to have a baby in the next year, and we have backyard chickens. I've seen some threads on this forum with pics of GRDs and chickens - so cute!

I realize the responses I'll get here are fairly biased, but that's okay. I posted a similar message on the Vizsla forum! :)
 

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my sister has a 10 year old viszla, annekin. she's so sweet but she does shed, little needles, and it sticks to everything. she has a great fear of fireworks (my goldens are afraid of them and thunderstorms, but less intense) annekin has pulled out 2 teeth and bent a crate door in trying to get away from the noise. i kid my sis about her being a gun dog, but afraid of gun sounds.
she has eaten through 3 walls because of separation anxiety and is now on some type of puppy prozac. i think both goldens and viszla's are terrific family dogs, once you get past the hyper-uber-puppy stage. if you can survive the first 2 years, it's golden (pun intended). annekin is a slight bit more hyper at 10 years old than my tow couch guarding goldens that are 6 and 3. i think you might want to spend a day with each and see what type of personality your family has, then choose.... good luck

beth, moose and angel
 

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Coley - my cuddle bug
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My husband had a viszla - Charlie. Great dog but was an outdoor farm dog. Very athletic but I agree with Beth - hyper. Way more hyper as an adult dog than a golden. I would liken his personality, temperment & energy to that of a lab. Labs & viszlas are very similar breeds, imo.
 

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Shameless and Proud
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My uncle has a viszla and he is like a light switch with strangers.....he's fine one minute next he is biting. I do not like that about him. He is awesome with their young kids (both under 3 years old) and more tolerant of them than my rat terrier.

However his stranger issue is a huge turn off.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your replies, everyone. I found this comparison between Goldens/Labs & Vizslas. Fits in with what you're saying (although they are lumping Goldens and Labs together in terms of temperament, which may not be accurate).

  • Energy level - Vizslas have far more energy than Goldens. Over the years, Goldens have been bred to have calmer, laid back temperaments while Vizslas are still bred to be highly active dogs so they are able to either hunt an entire day or join their humans on a long hike in the mountains. This means Vizslas are impossible to live with unless their daily exercise needs are met. These calmer, more "bullet-proof" temperaments are why you see so m any Labs and Goldens working as service dogs.
  • Maturity - Vizslas are much slower to mature than Labs and Goldens. A Vizsla is often considered to be a puppy until 3 years old (if they ever grow up!). This can make training a Vizsla more challenging. Rewarding, nonetheless, but their soft temperaments in addition to the fact that they are slower to mature, make training a challenge. The ideal guardian is one who is not heavy handed and is patient with their training.
  • Temperament - Vizslas do not have the "bullet-proof" temperaments Labs and Goldens are known for and are often described as "soft in temperament". Vizslas need much more socialization to sights, sounds, smells, people, other animals in order for them to be confident. Without tons of heavy socialization early (and throughout their entire life) on, Vizslas can be skittish and spooky , especially so if they have not been well-bred and socialized by the breeder. They don't kennel well and often do not tolerate toddlers and children that haven't been taught to be gentle and kind.
  • Neediness - The Hungarian saying about Vizslas is "they sit on top of your head". The are know as "Velcro Vizslas" because they are your shadows. They don't just sit and rest while you're busy around the house. They'll often join you in whatever you're doing and very much enjoy being underfoot. Those of us who love the breed, love this trait about them. Sadly, Vizslas end up in rescue because they were bought by people who weren't prepared and found it an annoying behavior.
  • The stereo typical, "perfect family dog" - Again, this goes back to their temperaments/energy levels/neediness. Because they don't "come out of the box" like Labs and Goldens, it is more work to help them be the perfect family dog. They generally aren't a good breed for the first-time dog guardian. And, there really is no such thing as "the perfect family dog" straight out of the box. "The perfect family dog", regardless of breed, takes much time, energy, and money. Such a mythical creature can exist when s/he receives lots of love, training, socialization, exercise, and appropriate vet care.
  • Shedding - Yes, Vizslas shed just as much as other dogs--it's just harder to see because their hair is so short. Somewhere along the way, a rumor developed that Vizslas are hypoallergenic dogs. VIZSLAS ARE NOT A HYPOALLERGENIC BREED. Because Vizslas don't have an undercoat often gives the impression that they don't shed. If you like wearing black you might find yourself eliminating this color choice from your wardrobe as you grow tired of plucking little red hairs from the fabric.
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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From a pet training perspective, I can say that by far, the Vizslas I've met have all been WAY MORE high strung than the Goldens. The average Vizsla is much more like a very active "field bred" Golden, IMO. DEFINITELY a major training project for the first 3 years - one that will require a very large time commitment. I think it's hard to find a "mellower" line of Vizslas.

With baby plans in a year, I'd probably steer toward a moderate Golden.
 

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chew chew chew
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I found the vizsla's temperments that I have met to be more high-strung/unstable compared to goldens, who tend to be more happy go lucky if anything (most anyway) plus there's more breeders to work with.

As for shedding, I used to have a dobe, would NEVER go back to a short haired dog. Those little needle hairs are the worst for cleaning up, at least the golden hair forms dustbunnies that you can sweep up or get off the carpets without too much fuss... and that short hair holds a lot of dirt/grime, while a golden tends to dry and it falls off the outer coat.

Plus in general I like a coated dog, if they ever get lumps, bumps or scars they aren't as visable as in a short haired dog (Bender at 12 has a few lumps but you can't really notice them).

Lana
 

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Magica Goldens
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Vizslas are beautiful dogs - for sure - but they're not easy dogs at all...In my experience they're pretty hard dogs - hard as in less biddable. They are bred as a all-purpose hunting dog and part of that is working with their nose - as such they're not often trustworthy off-leash without a phenomenal amount of training and consistency...A lot depends on your situation and lifestyle...

So to reiterate what Stephanie said - shorter hair is not less shedding. I find that the GSP, Weim, lab hair is worse on clothing, rugs etc because the stiffer hair shaft penetrates fabrics - whereas the golden/setter/spaniel sits on top.

Go meet some viszlas, go meet some goldens - in that process make sure to meet an adolescent of each - when they're not in the incredibly cute stage and are also in full blown teenager mode...then make your decision w/ eyes open.

Erica
 

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You are definately looking at apples and oranges. Pointers v Retrievers. No comparision. Both are dogs, and both are Sporting Dogs. Other than that there is very little similarity.

Energy levels in Pointing breeds are sky high vs hovering just about eye level in Retrievers. Pointers are not as "bullet proof" as Retrievers, and can be what is considered "high strung or hyper" comparitively. Shedding is out of control - I had 2 (English) Pointers and either one shed far more than all 10-12 Goldens we had at the time - short, coarse hairs that wover their way into everything and was nearly impossible to get out. I board two Vizsla for one of my husband's co-workers. They bark constantly, and suffer from stress colitis when away from home. They are difficult, at best. I've been around others that have been lovely and much more sensible. Breeding, and early socialization, as with any dog, is an important factor.

All that said, I miss my last Pointer more than I can ever express, and am looking for another - our home doesn't "feel" right without one.
 

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As a kid we had Dachshunds, but since then I have always had Goldens. I don't know much about the other except for reading. I do know they also shed & the hair since it is short & pointy tends to stick in carpets & couches & are harder to sweep than Goldens. Goldens are big shredder but if you are willing to brush them daily especially during shedding season it is at least controlled & less to sweep.
After my 1st Golden died I said no more pets, we were too attached. About 10 months later we got our second & 6 months after that got a second one.
I love my Goldens.
Plus, if you get a Golden you inherent this wonderful board of all us Golden Lovers. LOL :)
 

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The only thing I disagree with that I've heard so far is the idea that a Golden isn't a good companion for a long day hiking mountains. Perhaps some lines aren't, but any Golden with a field pedigree should make an excellent hiking companion.
 

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Misty & Holly's Mom :)
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My daughter just got a vizsla puppy...well shes 14 weeks old now. She has already learned to sit, come, paw, lay down , roll over....but she has amond of her own. She is just about completely housebroken and loves her crate! I do notice that she is skittish with loud noises. But she is the sweetest, most loving puppy I have ever met...well besides the goldens I have had ;) and she is a "velcro" dog..but my daughter loves that about her!
Gldens are still my favorite dog though
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A couple of weeks ago we went on a walk with the Northern California Vizsla Club. We got a chance to meet 18 adult Vizslas, including a few adolescents. So we do have a sense of what their energy level is like outdoors, in an off-leash nature area, with several other dogs to play with.

We'd love to do the same thing with Goldens but I'm not aware of a similar group that meets for walks like that. The next event listed on the Golden Gate GR Club's website isn't until January. Any other ideas?

BTW, I did have a Golden puppy for about four months when I was 14. Unfortunately, my brother turned out to be heavily allergic so we had to re-home him. He was the sweetest and smartest little guy... but obviously we didn't have him long enough for me to get a real sense of breed characteristics.
 

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First, welcome!
Second, I'm really glad to see you doing your homework like this. You will be an excellent dog owner.
I board dogs for a living and board a lot of goldens and quite a few Viz. I agree with what everyone has said.
But I do want to add....
A poorly bred golden may be MUCH more hyper than a well bred vizsla. A poorly bred golden may not be good with children. A poorly bred golden may have terrible separation anxiety problems, or worse.
So be sure to get a WELL BRED golden, if you select this breed (and of course, I wouldn't have any other breed!)
 

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First, welcome!
A poorly bred golden may be MUCH more hyper than a well bred vizsla. A poorly bred golden may not be good with children. A poorly bred golden may have terrible separation anxiety problems, or worse.
So be sure to get a WELL BRED golden, if you select this breed (and of course, I wouldn't have any other breed!)
I understand. Perhaps I should have mentioned that we are only considering the highest quality breeders in either case.
 

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A friend of mine has a Vizsla and it's the perfect dog for her. Then again- she's a competitive triathlete and takes the dog biking/running every day. Really FAR biking/running.

Sweet dog- but not the dog for me. And I love pointers- or I did when we owned horses to run them from.
 

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and I kinda figured that from the excellent way you are researching both breeds before making a decision, but felt that I should say it anyway just in case others who might read the thread at some point are not as careful as you are !

I understand. Perhaps I should have mentioned that we are only considering the highest quality breeders in either case.
 

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Griff's a Muffin Thief!
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My uncle has a viszla and he is like a light switch with strangers.....he's fine one minute next he is biting. I do not like that about him. He is awesome with their young kids (both under 3 years old) and more tolerant of them than my rat terrier.

However his stranger issue is a huge turn off.
If you're considering a Viszla be sure to do your homework and go to a breeder that breeds for temperment.

The only Viszla I've known was a fruit cake. We went there for dinner and he went under the table and growled at me from between my legs. :no: NOT my idea of begging.

He later bit his owner's child badly in the head because she grabbed his bone - the child got many stitches and he was.. terminated.
 

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Marcy
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PG is exactly right on the apples to oranges, thing.

But if you want to train and understand the differences in the breeds, you will be fine with either one. Both can be a real PITA. :)
 
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