The distinctive and appealing Hungarian vizsla boasts an endearing look and characterful personality. Active and intelligent, this breed demands plenty of attention from their owners but rewards them with great loyalty. Great with children and an amazing therapy dog, the beautiful vizsla is well-suited to family life.
Which breed group is the Hungarian vizsla in?
Breed group: Gundog
Hungarian vizsla breed history
The precise origins of the Hungarian vizsla are unknown. Similar dogs feature in art dating back more than 1000 years. Magyar settlers from the Asian steppe arrived in Europe and used dogs for hunting. The animals that they brought to Hungary would have been bred with local dogs to evolve suitable hunters. The result was the impressive vizsla, a versatile hunting dog which had become a distinct breed by the late 19th century. However, the dogs were almost wiped out during the two World Wars. Fortunately, the vizsla survived and became popular in both the UK and the United States during the latter half of the 20th century.
Hungarian vizsla breed characteristics
A medium-sized dog, the vizsla boasts a muscular body, alert expression, and noble head. The distinctive russet gold short coat has a natural sheen which ensures that this dog is instantly recognisable. Its square muzzle tapers slightly to the tip and the vizsla’s dark eyes are oval. Moderately long ears are set low and hang next to the dog’s cheeks while their feet are somewhat cat-like. This dog’s tail is quite thick and is carried slightly curved. When the dog is in motion, the tail is carried horizontally.
Vizslas are treasured for their friendly nature and loyalty. They are intelligent and easy to train but can exhibit stubbornness. They are active dogs who appreciate time in the great outdoors and require stimulation throughout the day.
- Lifespan: 9-15 years
- Height: up to 64cm
- Weight: up to 30kg
- Square muzzle
- Russet gold coat
- Short coat which feels slightly greasy
- Cat-like feet
- Good with children
- Easy to train
- Suffer from separation anxiety
- Need plenty of exercise
Health issues with the Hungarian vizsla
A robust breed with a long lifespan, the vizsla is nonetheless prone to several health issues as follows:
- Hip dysplasia
- Idiopathic epilepsy
- Immune-mediated diseases
- Polymyopathy - Vizsla muscle disease
- Cerebellar ataxia
- Alabama rot
- Skin issues
What is the Hungarian vizsla bred for?
The vizsla was bred as a hunting dog and was the first choice of the Hungarian nobility prior to the introduction of firearms. It would search for birds that were then killed by falcons or netted by the hunters. When guns became common, the vizsla was used as a gundog that could tackle diverse prey and terrain.
What sort of owners does the Hungarian vizsla suit?
Low maintenance and intelligent, vizslas are loyal dogs that can be excellent family pets. They are great with children of all ages and easy to train. As such, they are excellent choices for first-time owners and have proved to be impressive therapy dogs. However, it is important to bear in mind that these dogs need lots of training from an early age and can be hyperactive. They require plenty of exercises and don’t take well to being left on their own. For these reasons, vizslas are suited to owners who are at home all day and who can devote a reasonable amount of time to entertaining their pet.
Some vizslas are surprisingly sensitive and so are easily hurt and many dislike walking in the rain. These dogs can also be stubborn and owners report that vizslas may acquire severe cases of selective hearing!