Vizsla – Everything You Need To Know

Vizsla is a purebred medium-sized hunting dog that originated in Hungary. They are often described as “velcro dogs” and are affectionate with their humans. Vizslas have an aristocratic bearing and were primarily bred to be pointers and retrievers due to their nature of working closely with their owners. They are active dogs, versatile, hard-working, and the happiest when they are busy. They are athletic, excel in canine sports, and make their humans proud. Vizslas are gentle, energetic, loyal dogs and can be everything a family needs.

Vizsla Pros and Cons

Elegant appearanceHigh exercise needs
Easy to groomSuffers separation anxiety
Energetic and athleticGets distracted easily
Polite and sociableDifficult to train

Vizsla Basic Information

  • Name: Vizsla
  • Origin: Hungary
  • Group: Sporting group
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: 21-24 inches
  • Weight: 45-65 pounds
  • Coat: Short, smooth and dense
  • Color: Yellow, copper-brown, russet gold, dark sandy gold
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Companion dogs, hunting, sporting dog
  • Barking Level: High
  • Shedding Level: Low
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 6-7 puppies
  • Other Names: Hungarian Pointer
  • Original Passtime: Hunting, retrieving
  • Life Span: 10-14 years

History of Vizsla

The ancestors of the Vizsla dog breed were nimble red dogs belonging to the Magyar people. The Magyar left the Russian steppes around mid-800 AD and ruined Western Europe for about 50 years. Their brutal kingdom left behind death and destruction before settling in the south of Italy’s present day. The Magyar warriors were predicted on three qualities: speed, agility, and toughness. They bred these qualities on their dogs and horses. According to them, it is either keep up or perish. Their red dogs kept up and were refined to the present day Vizsla by the Hungarian nobles and landlords. Eventually, Vizsla became known for their all-purpose qualities, including being a hunting dog and the family dog, and there is nothing they can not offer. In 1950, a U.S State Department employee smuggled Vizsla into America from Hungary. The AKC recognized Vizsla in 1960 and ranked 43rd among the 155 breeds registered by AKC. By 2000, a Vizsla named Chartay became the first dog to win championships in five different AKC sports.

Vizsla Highlights

  • Vizslas are highly energetic, active dogs and need sixty minutes of regular exercise daily.
  • They excel in canine sports and enjoy long walks, fetch, and other dog games.
  • They love the human touch and thrive on their human companion.
  • They suffer separation anxiety when left alone for long.
  • They are great chewers and need to be supplied with chew toys.
  • They are best suited in bigger homes with fenced yards where they can romp and run joyfully. 
  • Vizslas had become almost extinct at the end of the First World War.
  • They are multipurpose dogs and can be used for upland games and waterfowl retrieving.
  • Vizslas do well with other dogs and cats in the household
  • They are difficult to handle if they aren’t being trained and socialized properly.

Vizsla Personality

Vizslas are velcro dogs that are known for loyalty and affection. They are gentle and caring and form strong bonds with their humans. They do well with children and also with strangers. They are most unhappy when they are neglected or left alone. Vizslas make good guard dogs when trained well. 

Vizslas are excellent hunters, pointers, and retrievers. They retrieve on land and water with their natural instincts alone. They are strongly attached to their human family and thrive on attention, exercise, and interaction. Vizslas insists on being the sleeping partner; hence be prepared to share your bed for unasked cuddles.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh
Kid-friendlyMedium to high

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingLow
Good for new ownersMedium
Sensitivity levelHigh
Tolerates being aloneLow 
Cold toleranceLow
Heat toleranceHigh 

Vizsla Physical Features

Head: The head is lean and muscular. The skull is mediumly wide between the ears. The muzzle is of equal length, square and sharp. Nostrils are slightly open, and whiskers serve a functional purpose. The nose is self-colored. Freckles because of aging or sun exposure are allowed. The ears are thin, silky, and long. The eyes are medium-sized. 

Neck: The neck is strong, smooth, muscular, arched, and moderately long. The shoulders are moderately laid back.

Topline: The backline is steady and level. The chest is broad and deep with well-sprung ribs.

Body: The body is strong and well proportioned. They are slightly longer than tall. 

Tail: The tail is thicker at the root and is docked one-third off.

Forequarters: The shoulders are clean, long, sloping, muscled, and close to the body. The forelegs have sufficient bones and muscles to provide balance. The feet are small and catlike, and the toes are well arched and strong. Nails are thick and blunt.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters are well balanced and powerful. The hips and thighs are muscular, and the legs are straight and parallel. The declaws should be removed.

Coat: The coat is smooth, dense, short, and lustrous.

Color:  Golden rust in various shades.

Gait: The gait is smooth and graceful, exhibiting power and effortless speed. Well-balanced with good reach and strong drive.

Vizsla  Temperament

Vizslas are gentle, lively, and affectionate dogs that are highly adaptable. They prefer to be close to their humans and create a strong bond. They can be shy, stubborn, and excitable sometimes. They are active, hardworking, energetic, and athletic and love to be busy always. They are always eager to please and learn real quick. They have high energy levels and bark to alert their owners. Vizslas do well with children and other pets in the household. Vizslas are talkative and vocal and will express their opinions by whining and barking. With lesser mental stimulation, they can become bored and destructive. They make an excellent family companion and are everything, such as therapy dogs, hunting companions, and your buddy for jogging. Their overall temperament includes

  • Loyal
  • Hard-working
  • Fearless
  • Sensitive
  • Intelligent
  • Watchdog
  • Playful
  • Fun-loving
  • Athletic
  • Energetic
  • Affectionate
  • Gentle 

Vizsla Training

The Vizslas are intelligent, eager to please, and respond to training well. Like any other dog, they need early socialization and puppy training classes. The training requires patience and consistency during the period. They are sensitive to any adverse reactions and need positive reinforcement while training. They love being around people, and treats and cuddling do wonders while training. They are active and look forward to the training sessions, playing fetch, which helps in training regarding behavioral corrections. Obedience training and socialization help behavioral correction and bring out the best in any dog. Vizslas become bored easily hence it is necessary to keep the training interesting. Their Training can include the following:

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Trainability Overview  

Easy to Train  High 
Intelligence  High
Prey Drive  Low 
Tendency to Chew, Nip & Play-bite  Medium to high 
Tendency to Bark or Howl  High 
Wanderlust Ability  High 
Attention/Social Needs  Medium  

Vizsla Exercise Needs

Vizslas are highly active and energetic and need ample exercise. A daily exercise routine of 60-120 minutes is ideal for keeping the dog’s mental and physical stimulation intact. Walking 2-3 times a day with a bit of running and play keeps the dog happy and healthy. They are good at activities like agility, fetch, and flyball. They enjoy running, walking, hiking, agility, and indoor games. A proper exercise routine helps the dog with the following benefits.

  • Social interaction
  • Weight control
  • Stress relief
  • Behavioral corrections like excessive chewing, persistent barking
  • Brain stimulation
  • Strengthening muscles
  • Routine toileting
  • Mental health and happiness

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsHigh
IntensityHigh to medium

Vizsla Grooming

Vizslas have short and smooth coats. They shed less and require minimum maintenance. They are easy to groom, and the coat needs to be brushed 2-3 times per week. They may need extra brushing during their shedding season. Brushing helps remove clump hair and pull out the loose fur during shedding. One of the essential parts of grooming is bathing which keeps the dog clean. However, frequent bathing causes dry skin and itches. Bathing your dog using shampoos with Balanced ph. for dogs, pet wipes will keep your dog’s coat fresh, clean, and shiny. They can also be bathed once a week. However, daily brushing helps to keep the fur from knots and tangles

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They are prone to collect ear wax quickly. Hence, Ears should be cleaned and regularly checked as they are prone to ear problems. Brush their teeth daily to prevent plaque and other dental problems. Never brush the teeth with a stiff brush as it will harm the gums and teeth. Also, make sure to use dog-friendly toothpaste. 

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Also, clean their eyes and trim their nails as a part of everyday grooming needs. Their toenails must be checked once a week as longer nails may harm and injure the dog. You can trim the toenails with a commercial dog nail trimmer or with the help of a vet or professional groomer.

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Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow 
Amount of sheddingLow

Vizsla Health

Vizsla is a healthy and active dog. Yet, it’s always wise to be aware of the health conditions they are prone to. 

Health Overview

General healthMedium
Weight gain tendenciesHigh 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Many eye infections involve the retina’s slow deterioration. In the initial phases, puppies become night-blind. As it progresses, they lose their eyesight during the daytime as well. However, most canines slowly adapt to their slight or complete sight loss as long as their home surroundings remain the same.

Epilepsy: This is the most prevalent neurological disease in canines, concerning about 0.75 percent of the population. Epilepsy is a broad name for disorders characterized by repeated, uncontrollable seizures caused by a brain defect. 

Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a condition in which a dog’s metabolism is slowed due to the lack of thyroid hormone production. Among the signs and symptoms are:  

  • Lethargy  
  • Gaining weight  
  • Reluctance to work out  
  • Hair Loss 

Cardiac Problems: Dogs often suffer from cardiac problems. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the signs or symptoms that could lead to cardiac problems in dogs. The most common cardiac issue is left ventricular hypertrophy, an enlarged heart’s left ventricle. This enlargement can be caused by many factors, including high blood pressure, obesity, and old age. 

Owners need to know how to recognize these symptoms and take their dogs to the vet for treatment. Dogs with a history of heart disease may show signs like coughing or breathing problems, fatigue, lethargy, and vomiting. These signs are often accompanied by decreased appetite and weight loss.

Lymphosarcoma: It is a type of cancer commonly seen in dogs. It affects various parts like the spleen, gastrointestinal tract, liver, lymph nodes, and bone marrow. The cancer is treated with chemotherapy, and about eight percent of the dogs get respite.

Spay or Neuter: In spay, the ovaries or uterus in females is removed, and in the neuter, the testicles of the male dogs are removed. It is done to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy or fathering unwanted puppies and decrease the likelihood of certain types of cancer.

Recommended Tests for Vizsla

  • X-Rays 
  • CT Scan 
  • Eye Examination 
  • Physical Examination 
  • Blood Work
  • Vet-certified proof of genetic testing

Vizsla Diet and Nutrition

Vizsla needs a large quantity of high-quality food, and they should eat 3 to 4 cups of meal every day. Each puppy is distinctive, and the correct amount and quality of food depend on age, weight, activity level, health, and more. The meals can also be split into two 2 cups daily. They are prone to obesity, and hence overfeeding must be avoided. Vizsla pups can be given dry food, wet food, or both. Ensure the diet contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, chondroitin, and glucosamine. They can also be fed with fruits and vegetables that give carbohydrate energy. Never hesitate to consult a vet to meet your pup’s dietary requirements to keep them happy and healthy.

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Vizsla Living Condition

Vizsla loves to be around humans, follows them all day and night, and is not apartment-friendly. They need sufficient space or homes with bigger yards. They love outdoor activities like walking, running, playing, hunting, and visiting dog parks. When allowed in a backyard, the place should be adequately fenced. They love the attention of their owners and develop strong bonds. They suit homes with children and other pets well with early socialization and puppy training. They cannot tolerate cold weather conditions and are good with hot temperatures. They thrive on companionship, playtime, training, praises, and cuddles.

Did You Know?

  • Vizslas was also known as a Hungarian Pointer.
  • In 1954 Vizsla Club of America was formed.
  • Vizslas reached extinction after World War I.

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