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Are Vizslas Good Hunting Dogs? Everything You Need to Know

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher

vizsla running

The Vizsla is a lesser-known Hungarian dog breed that was exported from the country during the World Wars, though the whole breed almost went extinct.1 They were bred for hunting, but were they any good? Yes, Vizslas are good hunting dogs that excel at flushing, pointing, retrieving, and tracking.

Let’s learn some more about Vizslas as hunting dogs, including a bit about their history and how to best use them in the field.

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Vizslas in History

The Vizsla was bred from hunting dogs in central Europe, specifically Hungary. The region was first settled by the Magyar tribes, who brought a hound directly leading to the modern Vizsla bloodline. Central European breeds like the German Shorthaired Pointer and Transylvanian Hounds are thought to be key components of the modern Vizsla bloodline, but others are harder to pinpoint since there are few historical records on the subject of the breed’s heritage.

Vizslas were loved by Hungarian nobles, who used them to hunt small and big game. They can flush out small birds like grouse, ducks, and partridge, but they were useful for boar as well. Vizslas were bred in limited quantities, the bloodline a closely guarded Hungarian secret.

After a series of wars ending in World War II, the Vizsla breed was thought to be extinct. However, some devotees of the breed had secretly brought some to other European countries and the US.

Most recently, Vizslas are sometimes bred with German Shorthaired Pointers and even English Setters, because genetic diversity becomes an issue with these “royal” breeds. Intelligence, obedience, and hunting ability are the most common traits Vizslas are bred for, but more affectionate Vizslas are in demand too.

vizsla canine
Image Credit: Canine by Vizslafotozas, Pixabay

How Are Vizslas Used to Hunt?

Unlike other hunting dogs, Vizslas can serve several functions when hunting. They can flush, point, retrieve, and track, which is especially valuable in teams of other hunting dogs. Let’s briefly cover how the Vizsla does each of these jobs below.

Vizsla Hunting Jobs:
  • Flushing: Vizslas have a strong prey drive and sense of smell, which makes them excellent at flushing small game for a hunter to get a clearer shot.
  • Pointing: The most popular way to use Vizslas in the field, they’re great at pointing and revealing the game’s location without prematurely disturbing it.
  • Retrieving: Another great job for a Vizsla, they’re skilled at retrieving small game after it’s shot. Smaller birds and mammals, like rabbits, are most common.
  • Tracking: Used in conjunction with Mastiffs or other big hunting dogs, Vizslas are great at sniffing out elusive prey in the wild.

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Vizsla Character & Temperament

Hunting dogs don’t have the best reputation as house pets, but they’d surprise you! Vizslas are considered one of the most affable, family-friendly hunting breeds out there. They demand lots of time, love, and attention from their family when they’re not working. If neglected, they can get destructive to their surroundings, like many other energetic dogs.

Outside of hunting, Vizslas are very much a people dog. They want to be with their family at all times and can develop separation anxiety pretty easily. This means you need to give them enough exercise and mental stimulation to wear them out.

With all that said, Vizslas are hunting dogs, and they may display aggression. That’s typically curbed and controlled during socialization, obedience, and more advanced hunting training. If a particular Vizsla is unusually aggressive, it’s usually because of poor training or not enough exercise and stimulation.

Image Credit: Anna, Pixabay

Are Vizslas a Good Family Dog?

Even the hunting Vizslas can make great family pets, and they’re less demanding than Mastiffs too. Vizslas aren’t as aggressive and are more eager to please than bloodhounds, who are infamously independent.

While Vizslas aren’t our first pick for a family dog, they can make great hunting buddies and family dogs. In fact, a lot of the training that goes into making a Vizsla great hunting dog directly translates to making them a better family dog!

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Vizslas were literally bred for hunting, and their ability hasn’t been lost over their long history. If you want, you can even make the amicable Vizsla a part-time hunting dog and a full-time family dog.

Featured Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

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