When you take one look at the Vizsla, you can’t help but think, what a charming Golden Rust dog. Indeed, that is all true as a companion. Yet, on the trail, this medium size breed is game for high energy pursuits and possesses the versatile skill capabilities hunters dream about.

Moreover, this is a breed that owns the whole arsenal. That is; beauty, brains and brawn. Additionally, one shouldn’t forget this breed’s persistence. The persistence to survive. While some of that hinges on their enthusiasts, it is quite clear, that extinction is not taking this breed anytime soon.

So where does the breed come from? What is their story?

Here is what you need to know about the Vizsla.

History

To say that the Vizsla has had a few close calls would be a bit of an understatement. Indeed, the breed’s luck at beating extinction survives invasions and World Wars. Thanks to the dedication to a few enthusiasts from different eras, people today can enjoy the breed as companions.

Nobody is quite sure of the breed’s true origins. Some claim the Hungarian Pointer dates back to the 8th century, while others suggest the 11th, and more claim the 11th century. Yet, nobody has much evidence upon the 15th century.

Research and historic documents point to a Gothic panel featuring a breed thought to be the Vizsla from the 15th century. While others cite the references of a Vizsla with its people. The trouble with that is, as others often point to, “Vizsla” is Hungarian for “pointer.” Simply, people may be referencing to a pointer type breed rather than a specific type.

We do know that the Magyar Tribe was fond of the breed and began the whole breed development. The tribe would require an all-purpose dog that could do a bit of it all. What we know about the breed today, certainly would fit the yesteryear version for sure. Furthermore, etching have been found showing a hunter with their falcon and the Hungarian Pointer. According to the website, Moonmoth.net, some believe the early bloodline of the Vizsla to be a cross between the Transylvanian Hound and the obsolete Turkish Yellow dog.

After Hungary’s brush with invasion, and the invention of firearms, the needs of hunters began to change. In the early 20th century, land grabbers nearly took the Hungary nation to its knees. The breed again, like in the 1800’s, nearly became extinct. A few enthusiasts would have different plans and by 1924, a club was in tact to promote and preserve the Vizsla. The first time the breed would register was of that year as well.

Following the World War 2, people began to smuggle the Vizsla outside of Hungary. Up until then, the breed was exclusive to the land of Hungary. Imports into England began in the 1930’s, yet most dog lovers would consider the breed rare, only having 13 puppies in all by the early 50’s. Moreover, it wouldn’t be until 1971, that the Hungarian Pointer would become more popular.

Perhaps the United States may have had a hand in that as well. During the 1950’s, imports of the breed began to emerge and by 1960’s,  the Viszla would gain official recognition. Steadily growing popular, especially within certain bureaucratic law enforcement agencies such as the Transportation Security Adminstration. 

Today, the breed works in hunting upland game, waterfowl retrieving and rabbit hunting. They also serve as Seeing Eye Dogs, serve as wonderful companions and are champions at different canine events. The American Kennel Club lists the breed as the 30th most popular breed in America.

Size

Dashing and tall, this breed is of medium size. A male, according to standard, should stand between 22 to 24 inches, where a female will range between 21 to 23 inches.

With regards to weight, a male can range between 55 to 60 pounds and a female 45 to 55 pounds.

Personality and Temperament

One of their strong suits is the Vizsla’s eagerness to please their master and willing to participate in most hunting endeavors and outdoor activities. Certainly, this is a breed that belongs with an active or outdoorsy person. When it comes to hunting, the Vizsla is built for long performance, owning high endurance, a great sense of smell, brave, alert, and smart. This is an above average training breed, one of the more intelligent gun dogs around. They enjoy and excel at physical exercise. From field trials, obedience, rally to agility. You can train the breed for just about any role. 

As a companion, this is what most hunters found to be their best trait. They are trustworthy, loyal, dependable and  loving. Affectionate and always looking for a special and close bond. Close contact is big for this breed. They are fine with children and good with other dogs. Yes, they have the ability to wander and the inclination of prey drive.

This is a breed that will acclimate to a country or rural setting more than apartment. They would prefer the warmth over the cold. Wherever and whatever, it is important they play an important part in the family. 

A Vizsla enjoys public settings, long walks and fetch with their family. Hiking trails to lake visits, or just letting them stretch their legs for a good run. 

While the breed is loving, they are protective. You won’t be able to impose your will on this breed’s family and the Vizsla won’t tolerate threats. They’ll bark and alert when the need arises.

All in all, this is a gentle breed with the talent of being able to turn on the their fearless and bold mode. From hunting all day to laying around with their hand. This easy to train breed is a delight for someone who loves the outdoors and has experience with a breed of this caliber.

Health

Generally, the Vizsla is a healthy breed, that can expect to live between 12 to 14 years. Of course, this is an active breed, that will exert itself, thus exerting their body and moreover, joints. When you buy a Vizsla, make sure you purchase from a credible breeder. Do your homework and ask the questions. A reputable breeder should be able to provide you with the proper documents and health clearances necessary to make the best decision possible. In addition, you’ll want to schedule regular veterinarian visits to ensure your Vizsla stays healthy.

Hip Dysplasia isn’t a huge issue for the breed, but they do run into it on occasion. This is the malformation of the hip joint, which lead to lameness and pain. Discomfort is typical, and when your dog begins to favor one side to another, it can be an indicator of an issue with the hips. According to the survey by leading authority,  Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, the Hungarian Pointer ranks 136th on their list. This gives them a 6.9 dysplastic rating out of 16,000 plus evaluations. This puts them among the ranks of the Lhasa Apso, Dachshund and Bull Terrier.

Elbow Dysplasia is the abnormal growth of the elbow which can cause the same issues that Hip Dysplasia does. The breed has a 2.2 rating in OFA’s survey, which ranks them 88th and among the Basenji and Barbet out of the 2,700 plus evaluations done on the breed.

Hypothyroidism is a lack of hormonal production from the thyroid gland, which will affect the breed’s coat among other things, can lead to weakness and lethargy. The breed only ranks 88.8% for a normal rating, which is 74th worst out of 114 breeds. This isn’t awful but it is something to be wary about.

Haemangiosarcoma, which is common in the breed, is a cancer or tumor of the blood vessel cells. It can lead to depression, loss of appetite, nose bleed and weakness. Bleeding, losing weight, and a foul odor are a few signs. The disease begins in the circulatory system and invades the cells and can be deadly.

Another serious issue the breed faces is Polymyositis. This is a non-infectious systemic muscle disorder with three types: acute, progressive and chronic. It is more common among adult dogs. It’s not atypical for a dog with Polymyositis to suffer lethargy, muscle weakness, depression, lameness and weight loss. There is an oral cortisteroid as a form of popular treatment.

Finally, an inflammatory skin disease or Sebaceous Adenitis, which affects the Vizsla’s coat. Nobody is sure why this occurs, but it does seem to impact a dog in their young to middle ages. Lesions may surface at the head, face, and their trunk, just to name a few likely spots. Topical therapy and treatment for the rest of the Vizsla’s life may be necessary.

Care

The Vizsla should receive a minimum of 30 minutes daily exercise. Whether that be one of their favorite activities — jumping, or allowing them to stretch their legs and do what they do best — run. This is a breed for someone who can handle a dog of this magnitude. Someone with an active lifestyle or who can give them a role or job to make the Vizsla happy. 

Early training and socialization will go a long ways in ensuring that your Vizsla is a friendly and hygienic dog. Make sure you are consistent, firm, but fair in reasoning the rules with them. Don’t allow the breed to manipulate them because they will try. 

This is a breed that should be close with their family and have contact with their family daily. They shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time, as this can lead to destructive actions due to boredom. Plenty of mental and physical stimulation and attention is necessary.

Not an apartment breed and should have plenty of space. You’ll want to watch your kids around the breed simply due to their strength. Cold weather isn’t a climate the breed will acclimate to kindly. 

Check their ears on occasion, trim their nails every so often and watch around smaller animals like mice and perhaps cats. The prey drive for this breed may be a bit high and they could run off chasing a smaller animal. A fence or leash will prevent that.

Feeding

The Vizsla should do fine with eating a high quality, meat as the first ingredient dry kibble. A perfect balance of minerals and vitamins are necessary for coat care and healthy joints. In addition, you can feed them fruits and veggies that they’ll tolerate.

Keep in mind, your Vizsla may not eat as much as your neighbor’s dog. Different variables can come to play with how much a dog eats, such as; age, metabolism, or activity rate. Spaying and neutering can also have an impact on how much a Vizsla will eat.

Most owners recommend feeding their Vizsla between 3 to 4 cups per day. Once in the morning and once in the evening to help reduce the chances of Bloat or Gastric Torsion. It also helps keep your dog on your schedule and prevent overeating. 

As always, you should provide your Vizsla with fresh drinking water.

Coat

Some here and there finesse is all it takes to care for the Vizsla. Perhaps a once a week comb through will do the trick and help eliminate dead hair from collecting all over the furniture. This is a seasonal shedder, which means they shed heavily twice a year, typically.

The breed has a short coat, that should be smooth to the touch while lying close to the body. The coat is dense and has no acceptable markings.

According to the American Kennel Club, there is one acceptable option for coat color on the Vizsla: Golden Rust.

Yet, you may see a few with red, red golden, sandy yellow, just to name a few.

Fun Vizsla Facts

  • The Vizsla is the 30th most intelligent breed obeying the first command an incredible 85 percent or better of the time.
  • This breed is the 115th to gain recognition with the American Kennel Club.
  • According to the AKC, the Vizsla is the first to win five different sport championships held by the AKC.
  • Dana Perino, former Press Secretary under George W Bush and a co-host of the Fox News show, The Five, owns a Vizsla.
  • The breed was instrumental in search and rescue missions during the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • An old breed that is so ancient, they predate the Weimaraner by 200 years.

Closing Words

The Vizsla needs no help writing up their resume. An excellent hunter, with a great nose to track down a lead, with the ability to retrieve, hunt upland and point. 

But what makes them so special is the connection they make with their family. Sweet, loving and affectionate, this loyal dog will continue to be a popular force inside the dog kingdom for years to come.

 

 

 

 

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