Created in Hungary to work as a pointer and retriever, the Vizsla dog breed has an aristocratic bearing. All he really wants, though, is to be loved. He’s a super companion for an active family who can provide him with the exercise and attention he craves.
Vizslas are depicted on etchings that date back to the 10th century. They originate from Hungary bred by the Magyars, who used them as hunting dogs. They are thought to have descended from several types of pointers along with the Transylvanian Hound and the Turkish yellow dog (now extinct). “Vizsla” means “pointer” in Hungarian. The dogs worked as hunters, their superb noses and endless energy guided them to excel at catching upland game such as waterfowl and rabbit. The breed almost became extinct after World War II. After the war, when the Russians took control of Hungary, it was feared that the breed would disappear from existence. In an attempt to save the breed, native Hungarians smuggled some of the dogs to America and Austria. Some of the Vizsla’s talents include retriever, pointer, game bird hunter, obedience competitions, agility and watchdog.
The Vizsla is a medium-sized short-coated hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, they are lean dogs, have defined muscles, and are observed to share similar physical characteristics with the Weimaraner.
Various breeds are often mistaken for Vizslas, and Vizslas are often mistaken for other breeds. Redbone Coonhounds, Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are some of the most commonly confused breeds. The body structure of a Vizsla is very similar in appearance to a Weimaraner and a Redbone Coonhound, though the Vizsla is typically leaner with a more defined musculature. Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are larger than Vizslas. The nose of the Vizsla will always have a reddish color that blends with the coat color. Black, brown, light pink, or another color nose is an indication of another breed. A Vizsla’s eye and nail color should also blend with the coat color.
Despite their penchant for sticking close to their human pals, Vizslas are versatile and hard-working dogs who are happiest when they have a job to do. In a family, that job can be hunting companion, therapy dog, or jogging buddy. Give him at least an hour of exercise per day, and the Vizsla will be your best friend.
If you’re interested in dog sports and activities, your Vizsla would probably be happy to compete. The Vizsla is the first and so far only breed to produce a quintuple champion — in conformation, field, obedience and agility. His superb scenting skills make him a natural hunter. Vizslas have also been guide dogs, drug-detection dogs, therapy dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs, and have competed in falconry, flyball, tracking, and hunt tests. Whatever you do with your Vizsla, train this sensitive dog with kindness and positive reinforcement. He’s quick to learn, and his keen senses and protective instinct make him an excellent watchdog.
Vizslas are talkers, and will whine, moan, or make other noises to let you know their opinion on everything that’s going on. Some can become recreational barkers if this habit isn’t controlled early on. Not surprisingly, the best home for a Vizsla is one in which someone is there during the day to keep him company and give him the activity and mental stimulation he needs. Without them, he can become bored and destructive. With the right family, however, he’s a lively, loving, gentle friend who will return tenfold the love you give him.