The Vizsla: Breed Facts & Temperaments
Vizslas are energetic, affectionate, and gentle dogs that are very popular among Hungarian sportsmen. It is a gundog that has the gentle temperament of a Labrador Retriever, the athleticism of a Weimaraner, and the speed of an Afghan Hound. It can also be clingy when not working. Vizsla dogs continue to rise among the most popular dog breeds in America.
History of the Vizsla
Hungarian barons and warlords of the 14th century are known to have bred the very first Vizsla dogs. They loved the breed so much that they guarded the dog’s breed purity. However, the American Kennel Club says that these dogs have been around since the time of the ancient Magyars. Archeologists found evidence of early Magyar hunters with their falcons and a Vizsla-like dog.
The Magyars ravaged Western Europe in the mid-800s. They marauded village after village on horseback. They also had with them their nimble, red canines. These were the perfect dogs that epitomized the traits of the Magyar cavalry: toughness, speed, and agility.
Through many centuries, the Hungarian nobility began refining the unique qualities of the ancient Magyar red dog. It became an all-purpose hunting dog that was fast, intelligent, and biddable.
The dog almost went into extinction in the 19th century. Hungarians showed preference for the German Shorthaired Pointer and the English Pointer around this time. The breed also faced extinction during the Second World War. After the war, Hungarian breeders decided to conduct a survey of the number of purebred Vizslas left. The survey showed that only a dozen or so purebred Vizslas were left after WWII.
The very first Vizsla in the US arrived before the close of the Second World War. Interest in the breed grew at a steady pace. People began breeding the dog in earnest. By 1960, the American Kennel Club gave the Vizsla the recognition it deserves.
Quick Facts About the Vizsla
Knowing the origin of the Vizsla dog breed should help you gain a basic understanding of this canine. Learning more facts about the breed can help you make the decision whether to get it for your family or not.
- A medium-sized, athletic breed
The Hungarian Vizsla is a medium-sized canine breed. Males can reach a height of about 22 to 24 inches. Females tend to be shorter by one or two inches. The same is true with the dog’s weight. Males are heavier than females. They can weigh 55 to 60 pounds, while their female counterparts can weigh 44 to 55 pounds.
The Vizsla breed is an athletic dog. It has a very distinguished bearing and appearance. It has almost the same body type as the Redbone Coonhound and the Weimaraner. It is for this reason that some people mistake the Vizsla for these breeds. What separates the breed from other athletic canines is that its musculature is more defined.
- Solid, golden rust color only
Another distinguishing characteristic of the Vizsla breed is its color. There can only be one color, although it can occur in different shades. The color of this dog should be that of copper-brown or rust. Some would say it is dark, sandy gold or russet gold. Any other color is a disqualification in many kennel organizations. If Hungarian Vizsla breeders give you a puppy that is pale yellow or mahogany red in color, walk away. This is not the standard color of the breed.
It is also important to point out that the coat is not the only part of the Vizsla that has a golden rust color. Other parts of its body should have the same shade as its coat color. For instance, its nose should always have a reddish hue. The color of its nails and eyes should also blend with the color of its coat. Any other color should raise suspicions that the dog is not a Vizsla. It is for this reason that many people call this canine breed the perfect camouflage dog.
- A sprinter
When people talk about the world’s fastest dog breeds, they always think about the Greyhound. However, it is not only the fastest canine on the planet. The Vizsla is an excellent sprinter, too. It can reach a top speed of 40 miles per hour. This is about the same speed as the aristocratic Afghan Hound.
It cannot best the Greyhound’s 45 MPH or the Saluki’s 42 MPH top speed. However, being in the top 3 is remarkable enough for a dog that is not as streamlined as the top 2 fastest dog breeds.
- The first triple champion in the AKC
This is one fact that very few people know about the Hungarian Vizsla dog. The American Kennel Club confers the title of Triple Champion to any canine that can win three Championship titles in a single year. These include the Champion of Record, the Herding or Field Champion, and a Champion title in agility, tracking, or obedience.
A Vizsla was the very first canine breed to win the Triple Champion title from the AKC in 1980. Kai was the champion in obedience, show, and field. It underscores the breed’s remarkable work ethic, intelligence, and trainability.
- A canine velcro
Not many people realize that Vizslas are Velcro dogs. This is not at all surprising, given its history. The strong bond that they form with their masters makes the Vizsla one of the neediest dog breeds in the world. It is also a whiner. It wants its owner’s attention every time. They will sit in your lap or at your side. When you walk or stand, they will stick at your hip.
- Outdoors for work, indoors for everything else
Vizslas are high-energy dogs that love to run and go hunting with their owners. They love to showcase their remarkable agility. They are excellent in pointing and retrieving. While it is easy to think that the Vizsla is an outdoor breed, it cannot live outside the house.
The reason for this is its short, single coat. They do not have an undercoat, unlike most breeds. They may not be able to regulate their body temperature that well. They may have problems staying warm when it is cold outside or staying cool when it is hot. That is why a Vizsla should always live indoors. When it is time for play and work, the outdoors is always a great place.
- Excellent swimmers
Despite having only a single coat, Vizslas are excellent swimmers. This is a trait that they got from their Retriever ancestors. They will never mind jumping into the water to retrieve a struggling or a downed fowl. Their webbed feet make them especially good in the water.
- They are expensive
It may come as a shock to you to learn about the Vizsla puppies price. The lowest price for a Hungarian Vizsla puppy is about $1,000. Reputable Hungarian Vizsla breeders can give you a puppy for $1,800. Adult Vizsla dogs have a steeper price tag. It is not uncommon to find a Hungarian Vizsla price of $2,400 to $2,600. If you adopt a Vizsla, you can get it for about $170 to $650. It is still a very steep price compared to other dog breeds.
Things You Should Know
The facts about the Vizsla dog breed should already give you an idea of what kind of dog you are bringing home. However, this may not be enough for some people. You will also need to learn other important things about this breed if ever you want it for a pet.
In its native Hungary, the Vizsla is a very robust breed. They can live up to 14 years. Their active lifestyle also frees them from many diseases that are often found in other dog breeds.
Unfortunately, poor breeding practices have led to the creation of Vizslas that are more prone to certain health issues. These include canine epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, and cancer. Some dogs can also suffer from hip dysplasia; although this is quite rare. Other potential health problems can include dwarfism, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and persistent right aortic arch.
Vizsla training is a must. This is an intelligent breed that people bred for work. If you do not give it a purpose in life, it can grow bored and show its destructive side. Training can help address many potential behavioral issues in canines. For example, training can help temper the tendency of the Vizsla to whine whenever it craves for attention. You can also use this opportunity to minimize its tendency to become a Velcro dog.
It is best to train the Vizsla with care and caution. This is a very sensitive breed. It can detect the slightest hint of negative emotions in your voice. This is often enough to make the dog cower in fear. It will be quite difficult to win its trust again. Positive reinforcement training methods are always better than those that employ punishments. It fosters the positive relationship that the dog expects and wants from its owners.
Exercise is the key to a happy and healthy Vizsla dog breed. This is a workaholic breed that loves to do a lot of things. It loves to take a hike, run, or play a fun game of dog fetch. And if you have a body of water nearby, water-related activities can come in handy, too.
Given its high energy, a Vizsla requires a minimum of 2.5 hours of exercise every single day. This makes the dog a poor candidate for families who are always away from the house. Vizslas are also not good for those who cannot spend the minimum 2.5 hours of workout every day. One should always think about getting a Vizsla. If you cannot commit to giving the dog plenty of work, exercise, and play in one day, this is not the pet to bring home.
The high-energy nature of the Vizsla requires calorie-dense and nutrient-dense, high-quality dog food. Some people think that the best diet for a high-energy dog is one that is rich in carbohydrates. Keep in mind that carbs provide energy in the short term. If you want more sustained energy for your Vizsla, then you should focus more on proteins and heart-friendly fats.
There is another reason why you should not feed your Vizsla too much carbohydrates. You do not want it to develop hyperglycemia, which can predispose the dog to diabetes. Obesity can be a major concern, too. As such, pay attention to the amount of dog food that you give. Learn how to calculate the correct calorie requirements of your pet based on its weight, age, life stage, and other factors. Do not rely so much on what the dog food label says. Also, feed your Vizsla at least twice every day. This will help reduce the amount of food that it takes per meal.
It is not surprising that the Vizsla is very easy to groom. There is no undercoat to worry about. The fur is also very short that once weekly brushing is often enough. This is necessary to keep the coat as healthy and shiny as possible. If you dislike the characteristic smell of dogs, then the Vizsla is for you. It does not have that characteristic odor that some people may find offensive.
The rest of a Vizsla’s grooming includes once a month trimming of the nails and weekly cleaning of its ears. The teeth require proper care, too. It would be best to start brushing the Vizsla’s teeth while it is still young.
The Vizsla temperament is gentle-mannered, caring, loyal, and very affectionate. As already mentioned, it can form a very strong bond with its owner. It is a people-oriented breed that can also show its gentle and affectionate nature to kids and strangers.
These are attention-seekers. If they are unhappy or feel neglected, Vizsla dogs will whine. Some dogs will also bark at strangers, especially if it believes the person has “invaded” the dog’s “pack” space. You can turn a Vizsla into a reliable guard dog if you are able to train it properly.
Vizsla dogs are very loyal and gentle-mannered canines. However, they are not for those who prefer doing nothing all day long. This is a dog that thrives on activities and interaction.