Originally from Hungary, the Vizslas were bred for hunting and retrieving. Apart from being an excellent hunting companion, this versatile and dignified-looking dog is very affectionate, making them an excellent family companion and great to have around the home.
The athletic and highly energetic pooch is always eager to take part in various types of activities and sports. While Vizslas are known for their impressive skills and excelling in obedience, conformation, agility and field, people often ask if Vizslas can swim.
So, the answer to the question, “Do Vizslas like to swim?” is “Yes, Vizslas intrinsically love to swim.” In this article, we’ll take a closer look as to why Vizslas love to swim and what are the things you can do to keep your pet safe while he’s doing what he simply loves.
The Vizslas’ “Hunting Dog” Legacy
As discussed earlier, Vizslas were originally bred as hunting dogs that were used to point and retrieve small animals and game birds, which made these dogs invaluable hunting companions.
With the “pointing” stance of the front foot slightly off the ground, rigidly held tail and the muzzle pointing in the correct direction, the Vizsla showed hunters where the game was hiding and when the game was down, they would quickly retrieve it and bring it back.
Further, the breed’s heavily webbed feet, with the webbing or extra skin between the toes, were bred into the ancestors to provide maximum surface area, allowing the dogs to propel themselves easily and swiftly in water and also provide better stability on the land.
Can Vizslas Swim?
Vizslas love to swim. In fact, they are considered to be among the best swimmers among various dog breeds. Vizslas have a natural ability to swim and they particularly enjoy swimming, especially on hotter days when they find swimming the best way to cool off.
Not only is the breed very active and energetic, but their webbed feet also make them excellent and very fast swimmers, navigating through the water very quickly. However, the limitation is that because the Vizsla does not have an undercoat to provide insulation, they can’t spend too many hours in the water like other breeds. This also prevents you from taking your pet swimming when the weather is too cold.
Is Swimming Good for Vizslas?
Not only is swimming extremely fun and refreshing, but it can also be a good way for your Vizsla to get his dose of exercise. Further, Vizslas love any type of physical activity outdoors.
In fact, swimming is the perfect activity to utilize your Vizsla’s accumulated energy, keeping them physically and mentally stimulated while preventing them from becoming anxious.
Swimming not only refreshes your pet but enables them to relax. However, you must ensure that your pet’s time swimming in the water is always supervised and he is safe at all times.
Also, if you feel that your Vizsla is afraid of water, then you must not force them to get into it as it will only make them more fearful. If you have a pool, pond, river or sea near your home, then it’s a good idea to get your Vizsla acclimatized to it from when he is very young so that he is comfortable in the water.
When Can My Vizsla Start Swimming?
Ideally, it is best to get your Vizsla to learn to swim when he’s a young puppy, at around 8 weeks. However, you must take care to teach them how to swim nice and slow and the best place to start is in an inflatable pool, a large tub or even your bathtub with little water.
You can make swimming a fun and enjoyable experience for your Vizsla puppy by adding a couple of toys to the pool. When your pup is comfortable in the water and can understand the basic commands then you can take them to a larger pool, pond or lake with shallow water.
Get into the water with your pet and play fetch along the steps of the pool, the shore or the shallow end of the pool. Once your pooch gains confidence, then you can encourage them to get deeper into the water and soon your furry friend will be an expert swimmer. However, make sure that you keep an eye on your pet and supervise them when he’s in the water.
Tips to Make Swimming Safe and Enjoyable for Your Vizsla
Watching your Vizsla dive into the water and swim gracefully can be a wonderful experience; however, it is important to take adequate precautions to ensure that your pooch is safe, especially if he is swimming in a lake, river, pond or any other natural water body.
- Take a life jacket along with you for your Vizsla to ensure that he is safe while swimming in the water.
- Carry some fresh water for your pet and ensure that he is hydrated so that he does not drink from the water he’s swimming in.
- Carry a few towels and dry your pet off thoroughly after a swim so that he doesn’t lick and ingest any harmful substances from his coat.
- When you take your Vizsla swimming, make sure that the water isn’t cold. Because, unlike most dogs that have an undercoat to protect them from the cold and keep them warm, Vizslas don’t have one and can get cold very easily.
- Be aware of the dangers in the water such as rocks, fallen branches, fishing gear, etc. that may injure your pet if he lands on them. Also, keep a watch out for poisonous snakes, snapping turtles and other creatures that may harm your pet.
- Be aware of any bacteria and parasites in your areas. Also, ensure that your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date, which can keep them safe from any harmful pathogens.
- If there are any algae in the water or notice an area that is greenish-blue, red or olive green, then keep your Vizsla away from these areas. Also, check for any alerts of algae growth in your area before you take your pet swimming.
- If you’re planning to take your Vizsla swimming in the ocean, then keep a watch for rip currents that can be dangerous. Also, make sure that your pooch does not drink any salty ocean water.
Vizsla Ear Care
Vizslas have long and floppy ears and are quite prone to ear infections because the long ear flaps keep the ear covered, preventing the airflow and trapping the moisture and heat inside.
This creates the perfect environment for infections. So, you must clean your Vizsla’s ears regularly and if your pet swims pretty often, then his ears will need to be cleaned frequently.
Steps to Clean Your Vizsla’s Ears
- First, collect the required supplies like cotton or gauze pads, a towel and an ear cleaning solution.
- Put a few drops of ear cleaner into your pet’s ear and massage the base of the ear gently.
- Wipe the ear gently using the cotton or gauze pad and repeat until the ear is clean.
- Let your Vizsla shake themself to get rid of any water.
- Finally, using the towel, clean up any mess.
Nothing can beat the idea of a cool and refreshing swim on a hot summer day. And, what can be better if you have your best friend with you. Vizslas by nature love water and your pet is sure to jump at every opportunity he has to take a plunge.
Not only is swimming great fun for your pooch, but also an excellent way to expend all their energy, keeping them fit, active, healthy and happy.