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Vizsla Breed Info: Pictures, Characteristics, Facts, Puppy Info

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By Nicole Cosgrove

wirehaired vizsla dog in water

Height: 21-23 inches
Weight: 45-55 pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Colors: Red, fawn
Suitable for: Hunting, families with older kids, active families or singles
Temperament: Energetic, docile, affectionate

The Vizsla is a versatile pup that initially comes from Hungary. They were bred as pointing and trailing dogs and were first used in falconry. These dogs hunted with the trained falcons to capture small mammals on the hunt. They can also be called the Hungarian Vizsla, Hungarian Pointer, or the Drotszoru Magyar Vizsla.

The Vizsla is a muscular dog, meant for many years to be an agile and hardworking breed. They strike an elegant and rather stunning appearance with their rust-colored coat. Their coat only forms a single layer and has a slicked-back appearance. Vizslas are high-energy dogs that need plenty of attention and exercise.

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Vizsla Puppies

close up of Vizsla puppy dog
Image Credit: Tamas Pap, Unsplash

Vizsla puppies have never fallen out of fashion and are still well-loved. Even though they might not be the most common dog breed, they are still easy to find. However, you should be prepared for a rather expensive puppy, even without a good pedigree. Just like with any dog, you should always try to check out your local shelter before you go to a breeder.

If you decide to go with a breeder, ensure that they are using best practices when they breed and care for all of their dogs. One of the best ways to do this is to ask for a tour around their breeding facility. Any breeder should be happy to do so since they should take pride in how they treat their animals. They should be willing to show you through any part of the facility they allow their dogs. While moving through the tour, keep an eye out for the healthy nature of their adult dogs and puppies. Check for the safety precautions they have for their dogs and the people who live and work in the facility.

Before finalizing the adoption of your new puppy, ask to see the parent’s certification and registration papers if they are claiming they have them. These can help you affirm your dog’s heritage and get a better idea about their history. Finally, once you have picked out your puppy and are moving forward with the adoption, ask for a copy of the parents’ veterinary records. This can alert you about any potential illness or disease that could be heritable. You can inform your vet about this early on so that they can keep a close eye on any specific signs of illness as your puppy gets older.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Vizsla

1. Vizslas were initially the hunting dog associated with the 10th-century Magyar tribe.

The Magyar tribes of Hungary were the originally political and cultural units for Hungarians. They came from the Ural region within what we now think of to be central Russia. These tribes continued to migrate over the Eastern European steppe, or so our historical texts and tracking point to today.

These Hungarian tribes conquered the Carpathian Basin’s indigenous communities at the beginning of 900 AD and mixed with them, forming the Magyar as history knows them today.

With these, the conquering of the Carpathian Basin, the principality of Hungary was subsequently formed. They were a grand and well-organized people, so it should come as no surprise that the Vizsla originates from dogs they crossed and specifically bred.

The Vizslas were meant to be a working dog, helping alongside many men to further each of the Hungarian tribes’ community. Their elegance, muscular stature, and intelligence all speak to this breeding.

Today, historians believe that the stunning Vizsla’s ancestors include the Weimaraner’s ancestor, a dog breed we still have today. The Turkish Yellow Dog and the Transylvanian Hound were also believed to have been involved, although they are currently extinct breeds.

2. Vizslas later became an elitist’s dog and were practically made extinct because of it.

The Hungarian society progressed and built upon itself, growing both in size and complexity after establishing the principality. The Vizslas grew with them and became the dog of the noblemen and aristocratic society of Hungary. They were used as hunting dog and a companion.

During this time, the Vizsla was at the height of their local popularity. They were not available to “common” people, but anyone who meant anything in aristocratic society had to own one of these dogs.

Because of this specific association to the elite of Hungary, the breed was almost completely wiped out. During World War II, the Soviet Army invaded Hungary and purposed to slaughter all Hungary nobility. They killed everything within their households, including the dog that represented these elite classes.

As Hungarians began to flee the country, they smuggled some of these dogs out with them. This bravery helped to save the breed since they had not spread further outside of Hungary previous to this point in history.

After the war, dogs began to spread and become more popular in European countries. They were first imported into America in 1950. The dogs were recognized as a long-standing dog breed by the AKC in 1960.

One of the most famous of all of the Vizslas is Pete. Pete was a dog that excelled as part of the search-and-rescue team in the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.

3. Hungarian Vizslas are often nicknamed “Velcro Vizsla.”

Most hunting dogs are known for their affectionate natures. They need plenty of training to work well with their hunter counterpart and quickly form bonds throughout this time.

The Hungarian Vizsla stands apart even in this since they are known for bonding extremely fast. This characteristic has given rise to the nickname “Velcro Vizsla” since they continually want to be around their owners. They are seemingly attached to them and will follow them everywhere.

Vizslas can bond well with their whole family but will typically pick one person, in particular, to bond closest.

vizsla playing-pixabay
Image credit: Anna-f, Pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Vizsla 🧠

We already know about the tendency of the Vizsla to be a “Velcro” dog, but what else can you expect if you adopt one of these unique dogs?

Vizslas are very athletic and are quite active. They seem to know how to differentiate between play and exercise and times to remain calm, such as when they are in home. If they do not get enough mental and physical stimulation, behavior issues can manifest. They may start to bite and scratch furniture, doors or bark excessively.

These dogs are a bit of a puzzle. They are very affectionate and intelligent, but around strangers, they can be quite shy. They might also be very stubborn with someone that they have not yet gotten to know well.

Socialization is essential with these dogs since they will be much less shy and unruly around strangers if they get accustomed to meeting new people when they are young. They learn quickly and can adapt especially fast as a younger dog.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Vizslas can be excellent dogs for families, especially since they are so affectionate. Because of their high amounts of somewhat unruly energy, they are best to be homed with older children. Although they would never mean cause harm, the medium and muscular build of a Vizsla can knock kids over like a feather.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Vizslas are not typically aggressive dogs when it comes to other dog breeds. Since they are hunting dogs, they should be very carefully monitored around smaller animals like cats or rabbits.

Early socialization is one of the most critical factors for these dogs. If they are not socialized early on, their behavior will be less manageable when they meet new humans and animals.

vizsla dog standing in a white sand desert
Image Credit: Barna Tanko, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a Vizsla:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Keeping up the muscular stature of the Vizsla and feeding them enough for their work and activity requires quite a large amount of food. They are not considered a large-breed dog, but some would say that they can eat like one.

Vizslas should receive between 3 and 4 cups of food each day. It is best to divide this into two meals to support their digestive system better. Give them half of their daily allotment in the morning and the other half in the evening.

When selecting dog food for your Vizsla, it is best to find some formulated for a highly active dog. They need more protein than other dog breeds might. Vizslas can tend to overeat if given the opportunity. When taking them in for their veterinary appointment, check with your vet to ensure that they are not over or underweight.

Exercise 🐕

Vizslas need plenty of activity each day. They are considered a highly energetic dog. As mentioned previously, if they do not get the exercise they need, they can become extraordinarily vocal or destructive.

If you live in a rural area, it is easier to get your Vizsla exercise since they can run around your property. Vizslas do not tend to run very far from where their favorite humans will be since they would not want to get lost away from them.

In urban areas, take your dog for walks or runs every day. You can also take them to the dog park to socialize them with other animals. They should get about 90 minutes of activity each day, so be prepared for a lot of movement.

If you prefer hiking, running, or walking with your dog, aim for 14 miles each week to ensure that they receive the exercise they need.

Image Credit: henriethaan, Pixabay

Training 🦮

Training a Vizsla does not tend to be very difficult once you have managed to bond with them. These dogs are eager to please their favorite people and love to do things that get them up and out of the house. They need plenty of mental stimulation as well.

Break up training into several sessions that are about 10 minutes each day if possible. It is best to exclusively use positive reinforcement during the training since they are sensitive to their owner’s emotions. Harsh words will cause them to shut down quickly and bring out their stubborn traits.

Vizslas are people-oriented and will happily hang on your every word. If they do something wrong, do not reprimand them. Instead, continuously reward everything they do correctly, and you will find success much faster.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your Vizsla is one of the most manageable parts of owning these dogs. They are incredibly low-maintenance since they do not have an undercoat and therefore shed minimally. They only need to get brushed once a week to spread out the oils from their skin and maintain a healthy coat.

Since Vizslas have such a thin coat, if you live in a cold area, be prepared to fit them with a doggy jacket or sweater.

Beyond caring for their coat, check and gently clean their ears weekly. Brush their teeth at least once a week but preferably more often. Their nails should get clipped about once a month, although, with enough exercise on hard surfaces, they may wear down naturally.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Vizslas are an old breed that tends to be robust and healthy. There are certain conditions that they are more prone to than some others. Keep a watch out for these and check for them specifically on the veterinary records of their parents.

Minor Conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Tricuspid valve dysplasia
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies

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Male vs. Female

There are no significant differences in the characters of males and females in this breed. Males might be a couple of inches taller and up to 15 pounds heavier than females, but the size difference is not very noticeable.

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Final Thoughts

Vizslas are strong-willed, highly loyal, and very affectionate dogs. Although they might be expensive to adopt, they are worth it for anyone looking for a hard-working and dedicated companion.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Shakarrigrafie, Shutterstock

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