Vizslas are an incredibly affectionate breed of dogs. They become strongly attached to their owners and will follow them anywhere. For this reason, they have earned themselves a place on the unofficial list of Velcro dogs. Vizslas don’t just like to follow you; they want to cuddle. As soon as you sit down on your couch, your Vizsla will confidently jump up beside you or stealthily creep up, depending on what your house rules are. Your Vizsla will also most likely want to sleep on your bed with you at night. Should they?
Vizslas are too attached to their owners and ill-protected from cold to sleep outside. Vizslas prefer sleeping in the bedroom but can be trained to sleep in a different room. Vizslas can sleep in crates if properly trained. Vizslas can sleep on the floor, dog beds, your bed, and under the covers.
Vizsla owners held an impromptu poll on one of the Vizsla forums about where their Vizslas sleep at night, and 242 owners participated. The results were as follows:
- 39 people (16.1%) said their Vizslas slept in kennels (it is uncertain if this refers to outside kennels or possibly crates inside the house).
- 45 people (18.6%) said their Vizslas slept on the floor.
- 48 people (19.8%) said their Vizslas slept in a dog bed.
- 85 people (35.1%) said their Vizslas slept on the bed, on top of the covers.
- 22 people (9.1%) said their Vizslas slept on the bed, underneath the covers.
- 3 people (1.2%) voted ‘other’.
Let’s discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different sleeping locations for Vizslas.
Vizslas Should Not Sleep Outside
Vizslas are incredibly active dogs, and they absolutely must have access to an enclosed yard where they can burn off some extra energy in between their dedicated exercise and training sessions. However, they should not sleep outside.
Vizslas are actually versatile hunting dogs. Until a few decades ago, working hunting dogs were kept in outside kennels or runs. This was thought to prevent the dogs from becoming ‘soft’ or losing their sharpness out in the field.
But Vizslas thrive on companionship, and there is no evidence that allowing a hunting Vizsla to spend time indoors as a pet has any impact on their hunting ability—unless you over-indulge them, and they pack on the pounds.
In fact, the argument is that allowing them into your home and all aspects of your life creates a tighter bond between Vizsla and handler, improving their working dynamic in the hunting field.
If you force your Vizsla to sleep outside—and force them you will have to, they will not go willingly—they will become very upset at being separated from you. They may also turn to unwanted behaviors to express their distress, including excessive barking.
Another issue with locking your Vizsla outside at night is its coat. Vizslas are not well prepared for cold weather. Their coats are short and sleek, and they have no undercoat. This makes them unlikely to pick up debris in their coats while out in the hunting field, and their grooming requirements are minimal. However, it also means that they have no insulation.
Should A Vizsla Sleep In The Bedroom?
Whether you allow your Vizsla to sleep in your bedroom or you lock them in the kitchen or in another room is your choice. However, your Vizsla will almost always prefer to sleep in the bedroom with you, not because it’s more comfortable, but because it’s near to you.
If you lock your Vizsla out of the bedroom at night, you may find your sleep is very interrupted by their barking and whining. You might wake up and find your door has been scratched to pieces because they have spent the night trying to dig their way to you. Furthermore, Vizslas are known chewers, so they might wreak havoc in the room they are kept in at night.
They may eventually reach the stage where they know their sleeping quarters are not in your bedroom, and they will settle down, but you have to be patient and firm in your resolve. Caving one night will undo all your work, and these very intelligent dogs will quickly learn the behavior that achieved their desired result of sharing your bedroom.
If you have better peace of mind, knowing you will hear your Vizsla should something happen during the night or sharing a room with them brings you emotional comfort, then there is nothing wrong with allowing them to sleep in your bedroom. Your Vizsla will certainly be happier.
However, you will have to establish and maintain the rules of where in your room your Vizsla is allowed to sleep.
Should A Vizsla Sleep In A Crate?
There are certain benefits to crate training your Vizsla (if done correctly). Crates simulate dens for domesticated dogs. Even though they don’t need dens, they have innate traits that respond to a cozy, dark, and enclosed space in which to rest.
Crate training helps with housebreaking your Vizsla puppy because dogs instinctively avoid going to the toilet in the place where they sleep. Crate training makes transport and emergency evacuations calmer and much more straightforward. Your dog then also has a safe spot to hide in when they feel overwhelmed or ill.
If you have crate trained your Vizsla, it might be a good idea for them to also sleep in the crate. If they have been properly trained, they should not cavil at the confinement, and you can put it right by your bed so that they are still close to you.
The main benefit of crate sleeping is that you don’t have to worry about what mischief your Vizsla might get up to during the night, including creeping onto the bed, which might be against the house rules.
One issue with crate sleeping is that it can be noisy if your Vizsla moves around in the crate. But you can counter this by getting a slightly larger crate, providing extra space for maneuvering, and you can put it on a mat or rug if you have uncarpeted floors.
Can A Vizsla Sleep On The Bed With Its Owner Or Should It Sleep On The Floor (Or In Their Own Bed)?
Bed or floor is a choice that you need to make based on your own preference. If your rules are that no dogs are allowed on the bed, that is completely acceptable. Some people struggle to some degree with insomnia, and sharing a bed with a dog can be very disruptive.
Vizslas are also long-legged, 50-pound dogs, so you have to assess if there is even space on your bed to allow co-sleeping.
You also have to consider your Vizsla’s age and your tolerance of dirt, hair, and potential ticks.
A puppy will need to be picked up and lowered down from the bed each time. They might also have accidents on the bed or hurt themselves trying to jump off so they can go to the toilet elsewhere.
If your Vizsla has been allowed on the bed its whole life, it might have to transition to a soft dog bed on the floor when it becomes older and stiffer to eliminate the necessity of having to jump on and off the bed.
It is not unkind to make your Vizsla sleep on a mat or dog bed at your bedside instead of allowing them on the bed. However, if you have tiles or hardwood floors in your bedroom, you should provide them with a bed or rug to help keep them from getting cold in winter.
A note of caution: if your Vizsla starts to show any signs of becoming territorial of the bed, you should stop allowing them to co-sleep with you on the bed.
Can A Vizsla Sleep Under The Covers?
If you are happy for your Vizsla to sleep on the bed, you have a choice between keeping them on top of the covers or allowing them to snuggle under the covers with you.
Some Vizslas may not like the confinement of being under the covers, so you should not force them. If they want to snuggle under with you, you can let them if it doesn’t worry you. They are short-coated, so they are not likely to overheat as a shaggy dog would.
Vizslas are very attached to their humans, and their thin, short, and single coats provide little to no protection from the cold. As such, you should not make your Vizsla sleep outside; they will be unhappy and may become ill from exposure to harsh weather.
In the house, it is your choice where you allow your Vizsla to sleep. Their ideal is probably on your bed with you, so if you have rules against that, you will have to be consistent and firm in your resolve as you train your Vizsla to sleep in another room, crate, or dog bed.
Sharing your bed with a dog can be very disruptive to your sleep, and there are hair and dirt to contend with, but it can also bring you emotional comfort, so you need to decide what is best for you and your Vizsla.