Sporty Spice of the Canine World: The Vizsla Dog Breed

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three vizsla dogs in fieldAre you a person with a zest for life? Is your life filled with a balance of play and pursuits that keep your mind and body fit and healthy? A Vizsla dog could be your perfect match!

This enthusiastic and eager dog has a love of people, and having a purpose in life. Bred as hunting dogs, Vizslas are versatile and make wonderful companions.

What’s in a Name: Visza? Vizla? Visla? Vishla? Vizsla!

Are you wondering how to say the name of this breed? The spelling of Vizsla is Hungarian, and so is the pronunciation. When you say the name of this breed out loud, it sounds like “veezla” or “veeshla”.

If you’ve ever heard the name Tarre Vizsla, it’s a different species altogether – it’s the name of a character in Star Wars!

The name Vizsla means “pointer” in Hungarian. These dogs are also known as the Hungarian Pointer and the Magyar Vizsla. These names give a hint to their history and origins.

A Brief History of the Hungarian Vizsla Dog Breed

Vizslas have European ancestry dating back to at least the eighth century. The Magyar tribe or clan brought Vizslas with them to the Carpathian Basin in central Europe. Fast forward to the 1800s, the basin formed part of the Austria-Hungary Empire. By then, the Vizsla had become a hunting dog and companion for noble folk.

Hungarian Vizslas were near extinction after World War I in Europe. However,  breeders focused on bringing them back from their original lines.

The Vizsla was first brought to the United States in the 1940-1950s. The breed gained recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1960.

Ever the Athletes: Appearance of These Sporting Doggos

The Vizsla is sleek, lean and distinguished! They are built for athleticism, agility, strength, and endurance. This medium sized elegant looking dog is one of the smaller boned hunting dogs.

Their ears are long, and their nose and eye colors should match and blend in with the color of their coat.

The Coats and Colors of Vizsla Dogs!

Vizslas have a very low maintenance coat and don’t carry much of a doggy odor! A Vizsla’s coat is short, smooth and dense. Brushing is usually needed once a week – a little more often during seasonal shedding.

Bathing is only required occasionally. The Vizsla coat color in the breed standard is golden rust. Shade variations include those in gold, red, rust and sandy yellow colors. They may have white markings on their chest.

Do Wirehaired Vizslas Exist?

Wirehaired Vizslas are a separate breed, first bred in the 1930s. They are from the same extended family. Wirehaired Vizslas are the result of crossing Vizslas and German Shorthaired Pointers.

The Wirehaired Vizsla has the same colorings as a Vizsla. However, their coat takes after their genes from the German Shorthair Pointer.

Average Size and Weight!

Vizslas are medium-sized dogs. Their height and weight ranges are:

  • Height to the shoulders: 22-24 inches (male), 21-23 inches (female).
  • Weight: 55-50 pounds (male), 44-55 pounds (female).

Temperament and Personality of These Energetic Hunters!

The Vizsla is a very, very, loving and dedicated dog! These gentle dogs are not discriminating either. This pack dog is a team player – they are likely to love everyone in the family equally!

vizsla puppies in grass

Their devotion is so strong they are known as one of the Velcro dogs! They like to be right by the side of their human companions at all times and will trot around with you in the house!

This also means they are not outdoor kennel pets, nor do they like spending long periods alone. They are best living with you and/or a family and sharing as much inside space as they possibly can.

Both the minds and the bodies of this breed are high energy and need regular workouts! If not working regularly as hunting or a gun dog, Vizslas need mental stimulation.

They enjoy games, play, and physical movement. The kind of energy these dogs have to burn is not just a leisurely evening stroll around the block! They will like going for a run with you or alongside you on a bike. Vizslas are smart and intelligent dogs and enjoy agility sports and field trials.

For a Vizsla, Puppy School is a Must!

All pups need training and socialization from a young age, and Vizslas especially so! Vizslas are very intelligent and have good memories. They need to learn good behavior early.

This breed is also sensitive. Training needs to include positive reinforcement as a psychological trigger for good behavior. They are quick learners and love learning, so the rewards will be huge for the both of you!

How Long do They Live?

The Vizsla breed has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.

4 Potential Vizsla Health Issues and How to Prevent Them

Vizslas are generally robust and healthy dogs. However, like all breeds, there can be conditions they are predisposed to. We all know the saying, prevention is better than cure!

They do need regular daily exercise and a healthy nutritious diet. Health issues that may affect Vizslas include:

1. Ear Infections: Dogs with long ears are more prone to ear infections. This is because their ears don’t get a lot of air circulation. Check, clean and dry dogs ears carefully to help prevent infection. Especially after heavy exercise, swimming, and bathing.

2. Separation Anxiety: Anxiety in a pet can be just as debilitating and stressful as it is in humans. These pups really do like to be in constant company. Early puppy training and socialization can help with times when they are alone. Training also helps ensure it doesn’t become a learned behavior.

3. Sebaceous Adenitis: This is a skin condition that isn’t common but one that can affect Vizslas. Symptoms include skin scaling, marks and bacterial infections in their hairline. Keep an eye on their coat and skin, and any signs of skin problems, check with your vet.

4. Other Diseases: Other conditions that can affect Vizslas include epilepsy, hip dysplasia, eye disorders and cancer. If you are buying a purebred, always look for reputable breeders. They will have evidence of health screening, and won’t breed from dogs with known health issues.

3 Facts You Didn’t Know About This Breed!

  1. A Vizslas beautiful color coordinated nose is not just aesthetically appealing! Vizslas have an excellent sense of smell. The breed is often trained as tracking dogs and for scent work.
  2. Vizslas are pointers and retrievers. As pointers, they will use their nose to “point” in the direction of prey. As retrievers, they will find their way to the target – over land and by swimming through water.
  3. Scars in an adult dog can be a badge of honor! This is because they are a “dual dog” – a hunting dog as well as a companion. Interestingly, scars earned in the “field” are not a reason for disqualification in show competitions.

viszla dog on bench

Vizsla Puppies for Sale!

Are you sold on the versatility of a Vizsla to share your outdoor and indoor activities with? Check with the American Kennel Club or the Vizsla Club of America. Both sites list breeders selling puppies across the US.

What to Look for in Vizsla Breeders!

Reputable breeders are committed to the wellbeing of their dogs. They should be able to provide you with information on their breeding and health program.

They should allow you to visit their Vizsla puppies and parents so you can see them in the environment they are raised in. A breeder should also ascertain that this is the right breed for you, and help with ongoing support if you need it.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Vizsla Rescues!

Both the AKC and the Vizsla Club are networked with rescue groups across the United States. Vizslas tend to stay active and playful throughout their adult lives.

This means adopting an adult dog from a Vizsla rescue group will not necessarily mean you miss out on the “playful puppy” stage. You will, however, be giving a dog that, for many possible reasons, needs a new home!

Common Questions 

Are Vizslas good swimmers?

Should Vizslas sleep outside or inside?

How often do Vizslas need brushing?

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