The Vizsla is a Hungarian hunting dog, and the smallest of the so-called "pointer retrievers." Although originally it was prized as a hunting dog, it served as a great family dog as well. These affectionate and extremely loyal dogs even bond with strangers. That said, they are also fearless and extremely high-energy, and will do anything to protect their loved ones. Should you decide to adopt a Vizsla as a pet, you won't be sorry. These extremely trainable dogs are loving, loyal, and absolutely devoted. You'll fall in love with your pet almost as fast as it will with you!
The Vizslas' ancestors were excellent as hunting dogs for the Magyar tribes in 10th-century Hungary. These Carpathian Basin inhabitants left etchings that are over 1000 years old showing Vizsla ancestors with their masters. In written documentation, the first mention of the Vizsla as a dog breed was in the Illustrated Vienna Chronicle, which was prepared by order of King Lajos the Great in 1357, by the Carmelite Friars.
The Vizsla was highly revered by Hungarian barons and warlords. As a result, their purebred status was preserved because the aristocracy in Hungary protected them as prized possessions as well as superlative hunting companions. Referred to as "yellow pointers," these dogs were treasured, regarded as extremely valuable.
The breed survived Hungary's Turkish occupation from 1526 to 1696, and the Hungarian Revolution, as well as both World Wars and occupation by Russia. Even so, they were nearly extinct as a result of the popularity of English Pointers and German Shorthair Pointers in the 1800s, and again were nearly extinct after World War II. There were only about a dozen pure Vizslas alive in Hungary at that time, but the breed has since been reestablished. Originally, several strains of Vizsla dogs were developed to suit various hunting styles, a practice which is still maintained today in Austria, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia.
In the United States, the Vizsla began to gain prominence after World War II, as people began to take note and become devoted to the breed. The Vizsla Club of America was established to encourage Vizsla recognition by the American Kennel Club. The AKC recognized the breed in 1960 at which time it was classified as a member of the sporting class.
The Vizsla has also been used to develop other breeds, such as the Wirehaired Vizsla, the German Shorthair Pointer and the Weimaraner.
Athletic and streamlined, with an elegant appearance and a prancing gait, the Vizsla originates as a medium-sized dog used for hunting, although today in the United States, it is mostly used as a companion dog. Lean and muscular, the expression is one of alert devotion. The eyes are various shades of amber, and the tail is usually docked at maturity in the US (a practice which is illegal in other areas of the world). The coat is short and sleek, hard and smooth, and comes in different shades of a rustlike color. There's no undercoat, meaning that your pet is best suited for temperate climates. Standing between 20 and 26 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 40 and 60 pounds, these regal dogs are the smallest of the so-called "pointer retriever" breeds.
More than anything, the Vizsla was born to love. This pet is loyal, attentive, and extremely high-energy, absolutely devoted and loving to family and strangers alike – although if those the dog cherishes are threatened, it becomes their fierce protector. Vizsla puppies are socialized easily but benefit from formal diverse exposure efforts when young, and obedience training is a must. Highly responsive to established rules and very eager to please, Vizsla puppies that have not been socialized properly can become destructive and high strung.
While a well-trained Vizsla who is kept in the proper environment will be very easy to control, it's imperative that you give your high-energy pet plenty of mental and physical stimulation. The Vizsla needs vigorous exercise in order to be well-behaved and should be taken for a walk of a minimum of a mile in length or longer at least daily. If you're not a particularly athletic person, it's best to choose another breed that doesn't need such strenuous exercise.
Chewing: This is one habit Vizslas have that can be very frustrating for owners. As long as you provide proper chew toys to your pet and train it to use them to the exclusion of other tempting but inappropriate items (such as shoes, for example), your pet will be very obedient and eager to comply. In addition, the chewing habit will be much less prevalent once your pet has reached adulthood, as long as the dog is not overly stressed. A common reaction to anxiety, chewing will be provoked in the absence of enough exercise, companionship and mental stimulation. This is not a dog to be left alone and MUST have continual companionship from its human loved ones.
Small pets: Although Vizsla puppies are excellent family dogs and can be tolerant of even small children provided you have established yourself as the "alpha" dog (its leader) with guidance the dog respects at all times, they are hunting dogs at heart and may not be safe around small pets like gerbils, mice, or other rodent pets, birds, etc. Despite this dog’s very obedient character with its strong motivation to please, it may not be able to overcome its inbred instincts. Therefore, it's best to forgo having small pets in the house once you adopt a Vizsla.
Vizsla Proper Environment
Vizslas are very athletic and must have plenty of room to run and play. They cannot tolerate the confinements of apartment life or the lethargy of sedentary owners. Instead, they thrive on rambunctious family life or the devotion of an active single owner, with plenty of exercise, friendship and attention. This breed is very talented and can learn obedience tricks like fetching, tracking, or pointing very easily, excelling on the competitive show circuit for these tasks as well. In addition, they perform as outstanding watchdogs.
Properly bred, the Vizsla lives to be about 10 years old, although care must be taken to adopt a puppy from a reputable breeder who has not engaged in focused inbreeding. They can be prone to hip dysplasia, as can most larger dog breeds, as well as a skin disease called sebaceous adenitis, epileptic seizures, and hypothyroidism. Reputable breeders will test dogs for these conditions before they choose to use them as sires or dams, so make sure you choose a breeder who carefully tests dogs for any hereditary difficulties before breeding occurs.
Your pet is very easy to groom with simple brushing and dry shampooing as needed. If a real bath is necessary, use mild shampoo. The Vizsla is a moderate shedder.
Group Classification: Gun Dog, AKC Sporting
Country of Origin: N/A
Date of Origin: N/A
Shedding: Lite Shed
Body Size: N/A
Weight M: 45-60 pounds
Height M: 22-26 inches
Weight F: 40-55 pounds
Height F: 20-24 inches
Litter Size: 6-8 puppies, typically 7 puppies to a litter
Life Expectancy: 11-15 years
Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Solid rust colors in any shading. Very pale yellow and very dark mahogany colors may be a fault in some registries. Black in the coat is a serious fault.
The Vizsla is a high-energy dog. It is, as a result, not a city animal. It does not function well cooped up in a small apartment dwelling. A home with a large, well fenced yard is best suited for its needs.