The Vizsla (pronounced “vee-zh-lah“) is much more common and popular than their difficult-to-pronounce breed name might suggest.
As of the time of publication, the distinctive, tall, rangy, reddish Vizsla is the 31st most popular purebred dog breed registered through the American Kennel Club (AKC).
In adulthood, the athletic, intelligent and active Vizsla is a force to be reckoned with, according to the Hungarian Vizsla Society.
But in puppyhood, what Vizslas tend to be best known for is their prodigious ability to sleep. How much do Vizsla puppies sleep? Let’s find out together!
How Much Do Vizsla Puppies Sleep?
The amount of sleep your Vizsla puppy will need will absolutely depend on their age and life stage.
Like all puppies, Vizsla puppies are born blind and deaf. If they are not nursing or pooping, they are probably sleeping for at least the first two to three weeks of life.
After their eyes open, Vizsla puppies will spend more time awake exploring their world.
But as this Vizsla owner forum highlights, even young adult Vizslas can still readily sleep up to 17 hours per day!
Learn About the Vizsla Breed from a Vizsla Owner
In this short and informative YouTube video, you can watch a Vizsla owner putting a young Vizsla dog through his paces.
Experience training time, hear about the behavior and temperament of the breed, and learn more about whether this is the right dog breed for you.
Vizsla Puppy Stages of Sleep and Growth
In this section, we will take a look at the rapid-fire growth and development that a Vizsla puppy goes through on the path to adulthood according to Magi’s Vizslas breeder.
There is so much going on, as you will see, that it is actually not surprising Vizsla puppies need to sleep as much as they do!
Whelping to three weeks of age
The process the mother dog goes through to give birth is called “whelping.” When a Vizsla puppy is first born, they are blind and deaf. They can’t stay warm without help from their mother. Their only senses are smell and taste.
They spend 90 percent of their time sleeping. The other 10 percent is divided between nursing and eliminating. They need to sleep so much because their body is growing rapidly.
The eyes open first at two weeks and the ears typically follow around three weeks. The baby teeth also start growing in around three weeks. But the puppy continues to sleep extensively throughout this first phase of life.
Three to seven weeks of age
At three weeks old, a Vizsla puppy can see, hear, and chew. Independence brings curiosity and activity. The puppy is gaining weight at a fast rate – often a pound per week.
However, between eating, eliminating, teething, and weaning, there is still a lot of sleeping going on – up to 70 percent of the typical day.
Seven to 12 weeks of age
By week seven, many Vizsla puppies will be making their way to their new forever home, adjusting to life without their mother and littermates, going through potty training, and learning basic obedience skills.
This can put a lot of stress on the young puppy, especially during the night during the crate training period.
While it may seem like your Vizsla puppy spends most of the night whining or crying in their crate at first, sleep remains a top priority.
12 to 17 weeks (three to four months) of age
The period of time from 12 to 17 weeks amps up the intensity yet again for a young Vizsla puppy.
Your Vizsla is still eating a puppy diet with more frequent feedings and there is still a lot of internal growth and development that is underway.
Your puppy’s bones, skeletal system, gastrointestinal system, brain, and bowel are transforming and maturing, which means that between short training sessions, potty breaks, eating, and eliminating, you will see a lot of sleep.
17 to 40 weeks (four to 10 months) of age
Starting around six months old, your Vizsla puppy will begin eating more like an adult dog, with fewer daily meals and more control over bowel and bladder function.
But to hear Vizsla owners tell it, this won’t change their need for a lot of sleep. Expect the daily amount of sleep to remain the same.
40 to 52 weeks (10 months to one year) of age
As your Vizsla approaches their first birthday, more changes are on the horizon. As the long leg bones finish growing and their diet transitions to adult dog food and portion size, your Vizsla starts to look like an adult dog at last.
And a sleepy adult dog, too – adult Vizslas seem programmed to either be “on” or “off” to hear the Vizsla Club of America tell it.
In other words, a working Vizsla is all go and no stop. And a Vizsla who is done working is all stop and no go.
One year and older
As this popular Vizsla owner forum highlights, even in adulthood, a Vizsla alternates between intense activity and intense sleep.
A Vizsla adult dog that is getting sufficient daily exercise, training, and enrichment will need and crave sleep to recover, as It’s a Vizsla Thing blog explains.
Aren’t Vizslas Supposed to be High Energy Dogs?
According to the Central Wisconsin Vizsla Club, the name “Vizsla” translates to mean “alert and responsive.”
In fact, any Vizsla dog breed guide you read will likely mention that the Vizsla is an extraordinary gun dog and canine athlete and does best when paired when an active owner who wants to spend a lot of time outdoors.
So why do Vizslas sleep so much? Is this normal? Is there something wrong if your Vizsla puppy is sleeping 17 to 20 hours per day?
In puppyhood, sleep is also when the body does most of its big growing and developing.
So even though it looks like your Vizsla puppy is just taking yet another nap, they are actually working very, very hard to grow up with each nap they take!
During adulthood, your Vizsla will still need a lot of sleep because sleep is the time when the body mends and repairs itself.
The truth is the Vizsla that gets enough daily exercise and activity is going to be a quiet, sleepy dog when at home.
For an adult Vizsla dog whose growth plates have closed (X-rays can confirm this and clear your dog for more vigorous exercise), “enough daily activity” is about 45 to 60 minutes daily.
This can be divided up in any number of ways and may include jogs or runs together, hiking, K-9 athletics, interactive play, training time, solo play, and playtime with other dogs at the dog park.
Vizsla Health Issues That Are Linked to Excessive Sleeping
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), the Vizsla breed does have certain known genetic (heritable) health problems that may cause excessive sleeping.
Autoimmune thyroiditis can cause an imbalance or malfunction in hormones that can lead to sleepiness. Cardiac issues may also be linked to excessive sleepiness.
Pain caused by hip or elbow dysplasia, serious joint problems that cause the malformation of the ball and socket hip joint, may contribute to a Vizsla’s reluctance to get up or exercise.
Vision or skin issues may also cause discomfort that results in a less active dog.