There are so many decisions to make when you decide to open up your home, life, and, especially, your heart to a dog. Do you rescue a dog or get one from a breeder? What breed of dog should you get? Should you get a puppy or an older dog? Are two dogs better than one in your situation? You get the picture.
Male Vizslas are larger, but females mature faster. Intact females only breed when in heat; males breed at any stage and are more likely to urine mark. Females cost more to buy and fix. Typically, gender dissimilarities are not significant enough to make a difference to your choice of Vizsla.
Suppose you have worked your way through all of the questions listed above and more. Now it is time for you to choose your dog. One final consideration remains: male or female?
Your decision is actually easy to make because there are only very slight differences between males and females. We take a look at these differences, the impact of sterilization, and what factors are more significant to choosing one Vizsla puppy over another.
Physical Differences Between Male And Female Vizslas?
The differences between male and female Vizslas are primarily physical. Aside from the obvious gender-defining characteristics, male Vizslas are bigger. A male stands 22-24 inches tall and weighs 55-60 pounds. In comparison, a female is 21-23 inches tall and weighs 45-55 pounds.
Differences In Neediness And Trainability Between Male And Female Vizslas
You may have heard that male Vizslas are more affectionate and needier, while female Vizslas are bossier but easier to train. How much reliance can you place on these assessments?
There is a factual basis for the abovementioned statement. However, these differences in neediness and trainability are actually linked to the difference in the rate at which male and female Vizsla puppies mature. Female dogs, Vizslas included, tend to mature faster than males.
An immature male will have a puppy’s reliance on its owner for longer and, therefore, seem more affectionate and needier. A female Vizsla may reach the ideal level of maturity for training sooner than a male Vizsla of the same age. This makes it seem as if females are easier to train.
The differences even out over time and are unlikely to exist at all in fully mature Vizslas. Even the people who opine that, in general, males are more loving and females easier to train often stipulate that the differences are slight and that Vizslas are incredibly affectionate and trainable as a breed.
Hormonal Differences Between Male And Female Vizslas
Intact female Vizslas will go into heat or estrus twice a year for two to three weeks and will only display a willingness to reproduce during these periods. Female Vizslas can enter their first estrus period at approximately six months of age.
During estrus, the female’s vulva will be swollen, and there will be a bloody discharge from the vagina. She may become agitated, flirtatious with nearby males, and urinate more frequently. This increase in urination frequency is due to the fact that an in-heat female produces hormones and pheromones in her urine that signal her reproductive status. A female Vizsla can only breed during estrus.
An intact male Vizsla does not have a heat cycle and can breed at any time of the month or year.
Intact males are more likely to urine mark their territory inside and outside the house than intact females.
Intact Versus Sterilized
The most significant hormone-related differences in Vizslas are not seen between males and females but between intact dogs and sterilized dogs.
Both male and female Vizslas can display aggression, but they are less likely to if they have been sterilized. Similarly, male and female Vizslas can engage in sexual, play-related, or dominance-related humping behavior. Once they have been fixed, this behavior is likely to decrease or disappear.
Intact males are more likely to roam than neutered males, and unsterilized females are more subject to mood swings than spayed females.
Benefits Of Sterilizing Your Vizsla (And Some Drawbacks)
- Pro: The most obvious benefit to sterilizing your Vizsla (males and females) is no unplanned litters of puppies. With average litter sizes of 6-8 puppies, the burden of your dog’s indiscretion will weigh heavily on your shoulders and purse-strings. You can keep your intact Vizsla locked up or on a leash, but there is always the risk of accidental pregnancy if they are unsterilized.
- Pro: Neutering your male Vizsla can prevent testicular cancer and reduce the risk of prostate disease.
- Pro: Spaying your female Vizsla can prevent pyometra and reduce the risk of mammary cancer. Pyometra is an infection caused by several pregnancy-free estrus cycles, and it is characterized by the formation of uterine cysts and the secretion of bacteria-promoting fluids. Thickened uterine walls are less able to expel this fluid. White blood cells are also prevented from entering the uterus (a function that typically protects sperm). This combination of factors allows an infection to set in quickly. Pyometra is painful and life-threatening to your female Vizsla.
- Pro: Spaying and neutering often mitigates or eliminates certain unwanted behaviors such as urine marking (in males), roaming, mounting, humping, and aggression. A decreased desire to roam lowers the risk of your dog getting hurt trying to escape the house or yard. Roaming dogs are also at risk of being hit by a motor vehicle.
- Pro: Spayed females don’t go into heat, so you will not need to lock your bitch up for a few weeks twice a year for fear that she will find an intact male. You also eliminate the mood swings and bloody discharge associated with estrus.
- Pro: Sterilized Vizslas are often more welcomed in public places such as dog parks.
- Con: With every surgery, there is a risk. Sterilization is frequently the first operation that a Vizsla undergoes, and they may react poorly to the anesthetic.
- Con: Sterilization too early can inhibit proper growth and strengthening of bones, joints, and muscles. Speak to a veterinarian regarding the best age to sterilize your Vizsla.
- Con: The sudden change in hormone levels can cause your Vizsla to gain weight. This can be controlled with the correct diet and sufficient exercise. It will also typically stabilize over time.
Cost Differences Between Male And Female Vizslas
A Vizsla puppy can cost between $1000 and $2500. Females tend to be priced at the upper end of this scale, while males are less expensive.
The cost of sterilizing a dog differs according to where you live, how old the dog is (larger dogs require more anesthesia), and if you take your Vizsla to a privately run veterinary clinic or you use a community-driven clinic such as the ASPCA. However, female sterilization is more costly than male neutering. This is because spaying is a more invasive procedure.
Are Male Or Female Vizslas Better?
Should you get a male Vizsla or a female Vizsla? Well, the testimonial advice you receive about this (from Vizsla owners) will depend on who you ask.
An owner who has had a great experience with a Vizsla of one gender will probably emphatically declare that gender to be the best. They may have never owned the other gender; they just can’t see how anything can top what they found in their dog.
An owner who has had an unpleasant experience with a Vizsla of one gender will be more likely to recommend the opposite gender. They may have only ever owned that one Vizsla of that gender, but it put them off so much that they never tried it again.
These testimonies are based on individual dogs. As we know, each dog has a unique personality and its own particular merits and flaws.
Generally, there are no significant differences that would make one gender better than the other. Knowledgeable people such as veterinarians and breeders will tell you that gender should not be a determining factor when selecting your Vizsla.
When Can One Gender Be Better For You Than The Other?
Even though you should not choose your dog based on gender, there is a small handful of reasons why one gender might be better for you specifically.
If you would prefer a smaller Vizsla because of the size of your house or your own size, a female Vizsla can be the better choice because they are smaller than the males.
If you are after a bird dog with which you can do competitions and hunting, you need to be aware that the estrus cycles of an intact female can affect their ability to perform in competitions (when they are in heat). Hunting may also become difficult for you and other dog owners if there are male dogs in the hunting party.
Perhaps you are looking to get two Vizslas together. If you plan to get a male and a female, you will have to be very careful that there are no accidental matings. Dogs will readily mate with their siblings, so just because they are related does not mean that you do not have to keep them separated when the female is in heat. However, if you sterilize your dogs, this will not pose a problem.
Alternatively, Vizslas of the same sex are often more likely to fight or live in disharmony together than dogs of opposite genders. This is known as same-sex aggression, and sterilization can help reduce the hormone-related behavior.
Same-sex aggression is also something you have to consider if you already have another dog. The best Vizsla to get may be the opposite gender to your resident dog.
What Factors Should Be Considered When Selecting Your Vizsla?
Breeder Or Rescue?
Not all rescue dogs are mixed-breed dogs. It is a sad reality that high-energy dogs such as Vizslas are often surrendered to shelters because their owners cannot handle their exercise needs and energetic ways. Most breeders have a return-to-breeder policy, but not all do, and some people do not adhere to this condition. Thus, a purebred Vizsla ends up in an animal shelter.
Animal shelters can then contact the breed rescue organizations to take custody of the dogs and find them foster homes among their community and then permanent homes with a new family. The Vizsla Club of America, Inc has a whole page dedicated to rescuing a Vizsla, including contacts.
If you decide to buy a Vizsla from a breeder, choose a responsible breeder. The AKC describes several points that indicate the breeder is responsible.
- A responsible breeder will allow you to go to their home where the puppies are bred or will at least let you see one of the parents.
- A responsible breeder will show signs of caring for the puppies, and the puppies will not show fear of the breeder.
- A responsible breeder will be knowledgeable and forthcoming about the health of the parents and puppies.
- A responsible breeder will be happy to invest their time in ensuring you are the right home for the puppy. They will speak to you, answer all your questions, and there should be a level of follow-up after you take the puppy home.
- A responsible breeder should not allow you to take your puppy home before they are eight to twelve weeks old. This time with the mother and littermates is essential for the puppy’s maturation and socialization.
Temperament And Personality
A dog’s temperament and personality are far more critical than its gender. Personality is not something that you can test, but temperament, which is closely linked to personality, can be tested to a certain extent.
You can hire a professional behaviorist to perform the temperament test. However, you have to bear in mind that the accuracy of the test may be limited due to the puppy’s age.
Provided they are experienced and responsible, the breeder is actually an excellent judge of a puppy’s personality and temperament. They are also often adept at judging the character of the prospective owner because matching puppies with the perfect home is critical to the happiness of the dogs that they breed.
Tell the breeder about your personality (be honest), home situation (including other dogs and pets), working schedule, etc. Inform them of what is important to you in a dog and how much experience you have in owning dogs, bird dogs, and Vizslas specifically.
If possible, you should spend some time watching the litter. Check which puppies appear confident or timid; laid-back or aggressive; playful or somber. Use this information to help you gauge each puppy’s temperament.
The Spruce describes five tests you can do with a puppy before making your choice (although you need to remember that these tests are not foolproof):
- Test to evaluate independent-mindedness (part one). Cradle the puppy in your arm and on its back, place your hand gently on its chest, and make eye contact. If the puppy submits to this, they are considered to be more compliant. Dogs that resist are more independent.
- Test to evaluate independent-mindedness (part two). Hold the puppy under its armpits with its hind legs hanging down and meet its gaze. A more willful puppy with struggle, whereas a less willful puppy will submit.
- Testing for noise sensitivity. This is especially important if you are getting a Vizsla with which to hunt. Drop your keys or something else that will make a loud and sudden sound. The puppy should react and perhaps try to locate the sound. The puppy should not overreact or cower for longer than a few seconds.
- Test how friendly the puppy is with strangers. You are a stranger. Does the puppy run up to you with no inhibitions, look interested, but take its time in approaching you, or does it run away and hide or cry?
Differences (beyond the physical) between male and female Vizslas, and dogs in general, are a topic of much debate. Some research reports definite differences in one way, while in other research articles, the opposite is discovered. Furthermore, there are studies that record no differences.
On top of the official reports, anecdotal reports can also vary according to who you ask and even when you ask them.
Females seem to mature faster, so they are easier to train than male Vizslas of the same age. The comparatively prolonged immaturity of male Vizslas can lead to the belief that they are needier than females. However, these differences are slight and balance out once the dogs reach maturity.
If getting a smaller Vizsla is a priority, go with a female. If you hunt or compete with your dogs, a female’s estrus cycle can become problematic, so that a male might be better. On the other hand, you could also sterilize your Vizsla female. You should consider getting a male if you already have a female Vizsla and vice versa.
Ultimately, when choosing your Vizsla, gender is a personal preference, and it should not be defining factor.