Dutiful and athletic, the Vizsla has been prized for many centuries for both in the field and in the show ring for his incredible hunting and pointing skills, doing it with style and grace. Now, he expands his expertise into family homes, being a friendly and affectionate canine pal that always wants to be by his beloved owners’ side as much as possible. With that, it’s no surprise that the breed’s popularity increases for people looking for an elegant, loving, and active companion year by year.
Origins of the Vizsla
Boasting a noble and ancient heritage, the Vizsla traces their roots in the 8th century during the era of the Hungarian Magyar clans. The Magyar warriors prized these dogs for their agility, speed, endurance, and bravery, making these excellent companions during hunts. An early piece of artwork was even discovered, depicting the Magyar tribesman with his falcon and a dog resembling the Vizsla.
As centuries passed, the Vizslas were then adopted by Hungarian noblemen, who continued to develop and refine the breed both in his skills and temperament, resulting in the present-day all-purpose, versatile Vizsla that captured the interests and heart of many canine enthusiasts.
While events may seem to have transitioned smoothly, the Vizslas were put on the brink of extinction during World War I. Thanks to the efforts of many devoted breeders, the breed was saved and preserved. Come World War II, Hungarians brought the Vizslas with them as they fled from the Russian occupation.
In the 1950s, the Vizlas successfully resurfaced, escaping their bad fate, started to rise in popularity, and soon reached the United States. The American Kennel Club granted the breed its full recognition in 1960, becoming AKC’s 116th breed.
Characteristics of the Vizsla
Height: 21-24 inches
Weight: 44-60 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
The Vizsla is a regal, medium-sized, well-proportioned dog. He is blessed with swiftness, stamina, and athleticism, with a seamless, elegant, and ground-covering gait and a light-footed trot. Adding to his noble appearance are his head with a distinct chiseled-look, long, square-shaped muzzle, brown, expressive eyes, and large, lop ears lying on the sides of his face. The breed’s hallmark is his golden rust-colored short coat, which is short, smooth and dense, that serves as one of his protection in his long history in the field.
People adore not only his sophistication but also his affectionate nature and zest for life. The Vizsla builds strong bonds with the people he is most comfortable with and loves being their lap dog. He’s undoubtedly lively and will flourish more as a loving companion with families that can provide him the time and attention he needs.
With his hunting lineage, the Vizsla is highly active and will relish fun activities, such as traveling, hiking, swimming, tracking, flyball, runs, and hunt tests. If his energy requirement is not met, he is prone to developing behavior problems like biting on furniture, excessive barking, and digging.
Such robust energy also means he will fare better with older kids. While he is fond of being with children, he may view them as puppies, mouth or bite them, knock them down, or snatch their toys. Fortunately, he can behave appropriately with them as long as he is properly socialized.
Regarding other pets, he usually tolerates cats and dogs, with the proper introduction or much better, if he grew up with them. However, given his high prey drive, having rodents, reptiles, or birds might not be an excellent choice. Due to his hunting ancestry, mishaps can happen, causing him to kill such animals.
When it comes to his family, expect the Vizla to be a stellar watchdog. Though generally gentle, he is courageous, and his protective nature will cause him to act if he deems his beloved humans are threatened. Highly vocal, he will bark to let you know of any suspicious activity. Though, he will also use his voice to impart whatever he is feeling through unique moans, grunts, or whines.
In general, the Vizsla is a wonderful and loving dog that will best suit an active family that would engage him in fun activities throughout the day and cuddles with him at nighttime.
Caring for the Vizsla
The Vizla’s short, smooth, dense coat requires minimal grooming to keep it in good condition. Weekly brushing usually suffices as he lacks an undercoat and sheds very lightly. Bathing is rarely necessary and may only be needed should he get foul-smelling, dirty, or muddy.
Other grooming needs include cleaning his ears, having a dental care regimen, and trimming his nails. Examine his lop ears weekly for debris, wax build-up, redness, or parasite. Wipe it clean using vet-approved ear wash if needed to avoid infection. For his dental health, brush his teeth at least once a week to prevent gum disease and tartar build-up. Then, trim his nails monthly to avoid tears, cracking, or splitting.
As an exuberant dog, the Vizsla needs at least two hours of excuse each day to keep him physically satisfied. He will do better in a home that is spacious enough for him to play or has a well-fenced year where he can run and roam. To support his energy needs, provide him high-grade, nutritious dog food, enriched with high protein content.
In terms of his health, the Vizsla is considered a robust breed. However, like all other canine breeds, there are health conditions he can be more genetically susceptible to, such as epilepsy, swallowing disorder, auto-immune diseases, and hip dysplasia. Consult your trusted veterinarian to develop your dog a proper diet plan, get him the necessary immunizations, and help detect any potential health to ensure that he maintains a good quality of life.