New dog input

mthillrunner

Active member
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
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186
Location
SW MT
Hello, I was hoping to get some insight from those with experience with German Shorthair or Vizsla breeds. A little history may be helpful. I grew up in a house with black labs. I have continued with that and currently have my second lab. Our first, was bred to hunt all day long. He was a spaz, but a great hunting partner. He was not great with kids, didn't like to be petted. He died just shy of 10 years old from adrenal cancer. That sucked, he was a member of the family, but he had 9.5 great years. Our current dog is 4.5 years old. I found a bump on his shoulder that grew quickly. Vet lopped it off, said it is a lymphoma. Very odd presentation for this, but is what it is. We are beyond bummed, he has turned into a great dog, lets the kids maul him. I now bird hunt little. However, I hike year round and always take the dog, they go fishing and just about anywhere. I don't have it in me to buy a lab at this point, two great dogs that were very different from one another that we lost too young. So, we are looking for another sporting dog that will hunt occasionally. I'm looking for a somewhat smaller dog than a lab, ours were both 80-90lbs. I want a dog that can go 10 miles in the mountains. Most importantly, it will be a member of the family, so must be good with kids. I realize any dog can be good/bad, but I've been kind of focusing on the aforementioned breeds. I have minimal exposure to either. We have a huge yard, and our dogs get plenty of exercise. Can anyone with experience with either breed share their personal experiences with me. I'd much rather get more info than I need than not enough and get a dog we never should have to begin with. Thanks
 

Pagosa

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Nov 13, 2011
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1,120
Location
Montana
Both are designed for serious upland bird hunting and anything less is doing a disservice to the dog. A lot of yuppies/hipsters get a gsp or other upland breed and I don't think it's a good fit, imo.
A English breed lab are a little smaller and can be conditioned to go long distances and a good pets. Same with some breeds on lab/pointer mixes. My wife dog is a lab/pointer mix and loves hunting moles on our farm and is a excellent house dog. Gsp are super good dogs, but just need to be trained, hunted, and ran daily. Good luck in your search.
 

jbozahunter

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Joined
Aug 18, 2012
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26
Location
Rock Springs, Wy
GSP/Visla

I can't speak to the Visla, I have a couple friends that have them, and they seem to be pleased with them. I can however give testimony on the GSP. My boy turned one in March of this year, I also have a Border Collie/Springer mix, and a Weimaraner/Springer mix. I like to bird hunt, as well as hiking and just generally staying very active in the outdoors. I saw this youngster in an online Facebook ad, he was 12 weeks old, and they only wanted $200 for an AKC pup. We went and met with the breeders, met the mother (amazing bird dog), and our current companions met him, (not thrilled with the idea), and we ended up taking him home......He was completely house broken, never an accident, and other than the fact that he didn't come with an "off" switch, he fit right in.

We started taking him with us on our nightly walks right away, we have the luxury of miles and miles of open desert country, complete with all the rabbits, birds, and other fleeing creatures, that make a puppy's life complete. He has since only missed a handful of days with no run at all (other than the yard), due to weather, and those days are dreaded by my wife and I, as he is almost unbearable if you change the routine. He is hands down the most regimented dog I have ever had, he requires constant attention and affection, and won't settle for anything less. He travels very well in the front seat with me, while my wife rides in the back seat with our other two. I have had a few different furry companions in my life, and he for sure has the most personality of any of them.....

He was a natural at hunting, and only needed basic obedience to make him complete. He is very capable, and has no issue in bringing you freshly killed rodents, rabbits and birds, that he has taken on his own. Keeping him clean and groomed is a breeze, as he is designed to shed off about anything that sticks to most dog's hair. He gets along well with most other dogs, and although we don't have children, has always been very gentle with the children of our friends and relatives. As stated before he needs LOTS of exercise, I don't think that can be overstated.

All in all, I have never had a GSP before this one, and I can say with complete confidence that, every furry buddy I have from this point on, will ONLY be a GSP!! They are so colorful, life loving, and genuine. As much as he drive me crazy sometimes, I wouldn't give up a minute of it. I also don't think they're for everyone, I hate when I see them dressed up, or wearing nail polish, these are working dogs, and can be very destructive, and ill mannered if they don't get enough to do. But on the flip side, they are the best when they get what they crave. Oh yeah, and they do tend to get cold pretty easy, but in the heat they also cool off really quickly......
 

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Eric.MN

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Dec 6, 2014
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466
Location
Central MN
My Gsp is two and half now and is a awesome dog. He's great in the house and is awesome in the field. These dog have lots of energy so make sure they get their energy out. He is my first dog and I learned a lot in the process of training him but as Jboza said with basic training and getting out enough his natural instincts and nose took over. It's a lot of fun watching them hunt. I will say my dog is starting to get more anxious towards his kennel, blankets or bedding doesn't last very long in there. Great bread tho.
Getting a new pup was fun so good luck!
 

easternmt

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Jan 17, 2015
Messages
61
I happen to own a vizsla that is now four years old my favorite dog thus far. She is right at fifty pounds and a hunting machine. I hardly had to work with her at all on pointing birds however I took her duck hunting and that was not her gig. She loves the water but the oil on the feathers must not have been for her. In the house she is an absolute sweetheart and will cuddle right up with you and is great with my two year old boy. They are often referred to as Velcro dogs because they are so loyal. I take her shed hunting with me and she has done numerous ten mile trips so that is not a problem. I get compliments on her all the time as she is a beautiful regal breed. I got her from asd kennels out of roundup, MT. and would highly recommend them. check out their website. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
 

skimerhorn

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Oct 9, 2012
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697
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Ashland Va
What about a Boykin? I've been looking at them and strongly considering one, they're small and seem to be a good all around dog?
 

Foxtrot1

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Sep 2, 2011
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544
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Jacksonville, Alabama
My DK (gsp)has turned into a nice dog. She loves water, moderate range, great nose. She's also bullet proof with children. I use her as a therapy dog in nursing homes on the weekend. Hi energy but has an off switch in the house.
 

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mthillrunner

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Aug 11, 2013
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SW MT
Thanks for the replies all. My oldest is 9, when he turns 12 we'll likely be upland hunting more. We live in SW MT, so getting a less common breed could be difficult. We are a family on the go all 12 months. Hiking, fishing and such. I coyote hunt a fair amount in the winter & always take our lab. He's funny, never seen a wolf, but absolutely will not cross a fresh wolf track, if he hears one howl he is between my legs & can't get to the rig soon enough. We don't want a dog with long hair, ideally, in the 40-70lb range. My concern with the two dogs mentioned would be the winter hiking & hunting. I don't go much below zero, but go a lot when it's single digits. My youngest is 4 so he's getting old enough to hike some so upland is becoming possible again. If/when I go for birds I only go if both kids can go to give my wife a break & the boys love to go along. Thanks again for the input, keep it coming
 
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Sawtooth

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Jan 14, 2012
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Idaho
I presently have a 4 yr. old GSP and a 10 year old Vizsla and would agree with the others that they are high energy hunting machines. I would also say that even though high energy is a common trait in both breeds, personalities within each breed can vary widely. Between myself and my friends I have hunted over 7 different GSPers and two Vizsla and each of the dogs had very unique personalities. One suggestion I would make is to try to get in touch with the GSP and Vizsla Rescue Groups in your area. They specialize in the two breeds and can give you good insight about the breeders in your area both the good and bad. As an example, when I was looking into getting my present Vizsla, I was told by our local Vizsla rescue group that epilepsy was a real problem in the Vizsla breed and that many of the dogs coming out of Utah at the time, were dealing with the issue. Some of these lines were showing up in Idaho in some of their rescue dogs. This information helped me steer away from a couple of small time breeders that had ties to the lines in Utah.
 

idahojoe

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Mar 11, 2015
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I have a four year old vizsla right now greatest dog for upland hunting I've ever owned, awesome family dog as well they can be lazy around the house but when the orange vest and shotgun comes out its all serious now I'll never own a different breed now
 

JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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Where the Wild Things Are
I don't really think coyote hunting is very compatible with either of those breeds. Those dogs are bred to run and range out.

I also agree with an earlier post that if you don't intend to hunt them quite a bit, you are doing a disservice to the dog.

I fish with my GWP, but it's certainly not without it's challenges, and he always has his GPS collar on when we go. His innate drive is to search and to hunt, not hang around with dad.
 

elkmagnet

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Hodale, Idaho
It sounds like you would do best with a small framed "upland" type Labrador retriever. Most will easily do 10 hard miles if in shape but would likely be almost as happy sleeping at home all day while you work.
You likely won't be happy with a gsp unless you drain the energy every morning. Most upland dogs are bread to cover 10 mi for every 1 you hunt. The energy is unreal.
I've not spent enough time around vizslas to have an opinion on them.
Good on you for doing some research.
 

idahofishnhunt

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Dec 2, 2012
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Southwest Idaho
They don't call them the "Velcro Dog" for nothing. We've had our Vizsla for quite a while, and she has been able to fit both categories of hunting and family dog. I think with any breed your taking a chance on whether it will fit into both...but some definitely have a better chance of doing it off the bat. It's so nice when you are walking and some little kids come up and want to pet your dog, and you don't have to worry about your dog mauling them or barking or going insane. If it's a dog your looking to fit both categories...I can give a good recommendation for this breed. I would say for the majority though...they aren't a huge fan of the water. As for having lots of energy...they do have that, but as they get older that really lessens, just give them a little exercise and your fine, the kids take her for a couple mile run each night with their bikes, or I'll take her for a 3-5 mile walk. Mine loves to just lay around in the sun and in her bed in the house now and she just turned 7 a few months ago.

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