Vizsla

Vizsla

The Vizsla is a virtuoso dog who excels on the hunt as both a pointer and retriever. This powerful, rust-colored breed is also a skilled athlete and search and rescue dog. Vizslas have energy to spare and need owners who have the time and stamina to meet their high requirements for exercise, play, and mental stimulation. As long as they are kept active, Vizslas make wonderful, loving companions for singles, couples, or families. Though gentle and affectionate, one Vizsla may be shy with strangers, while another is gregarious.

Physical Description

Coat

The Vizsla's coat is short and smooth. The color is a golden rust, though the shade can very from light to dark. Some Vizslas have small, white markings on their chest and toes.


Height

Average Height: 21-24 inches


Weight

Male: 55-60 pounds

Female: 44-55 pounds

Breed Standard & History

The Vizsla is a muscular, medium-sized dog with a sleek silhouette. You can see his athleticism in his build and in his agile movements. His stride is graceful, and he is capable of great speed. This hunting dog has intelligent, curious eyes, and a sculpted face framed by large ears. Vizslas have a distinctive, monochromatic appearance, as their eyes and nose match their fur. Their tails are usually docked on the longer side.


The modern Vizsla is descended from ancient hunting dogs of the Magyar tribes of Central Europe and Hungary. Etchings from more than 1,000 years ago show hunters with their Vizslas by their sides. With their highly developed hunting skills and amenable personalities, Vizslas remained popular among aristocrats through the 20th century. The breed neared extinction several times, including in the aftermath of World War II, but was restored by a focused breeding effort. Vizslas first came to the US in the 1950s.


AKC Breed Category

Sporting Group

Personality

General Temperament

The Vizsla personality can vary widely. It's possible to bring home a Vizsla who is shy, nervous, stubborn, confident, or gregarious. Most Vizslas, however, are gentle, loving, and highly attached to their people. Socialization is of utmost importance with this breed to draw out their best qualities, and minimize their more difficult traits. They also have limitless energy and require ample exercise so they don't develop unwelcome habits, such as destructive chewing or excessive barking.


Family Life

Are Vizslas Good with Kids? If a Vizsla is acclimated to kids from an early age, he views them as playmates and good company. Vizslas are rambunctious, however, so they are not great pets for families with very young children.


(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)


Are Vizslas Good with Other Pets? Vizslas are amiable with other dogs, and will tolerate the family cat if they were raised together. Because of their hunting instincts, they should not be asked to coexist with smaller pets and birds.


Protective

Vizslas are protective of their families when they sense imminent danger; otherwise, they'll warmly welcome anyone their people welcome.


Are Vizslas Good Guard Dogs? Innately gentle, Vizslas don't make the best guard dogs. Though they may bark excessively out of boredom or agitation, they don't usually bark to sound the alarm.


Energy Levels

Vizslas have an abundance of energy. They love to run, play, exercise, and train. In between, they love to gnaw on things, so keep chew toys handy as an alternative to your furniture.


Specific Concerns

  • They need at least an hour of exercise each day.
  • They are chewers, so it's best to provide them with plenty of chew toys.
  • They're prone to excessive barking when lacking companionship and activity.
  • They are often 'Velcro Dogs' who never stray far from their humans.
  • Their short coats don't protect them from the cold.
  • Without training and socialization, Vizslas can become unruly or overly timid.

Requirements

Indoor

Vizslas are indoor dogs who crave companionship around the clock. This needy dog will follow you around the house, seeking to give and receive affection, and looking at you with those soulful eyes. Though not hypoallergenic, a Vizsla's shedding is light and manageable, so your home won't be overrun with fur with a Vizsla as your housemate.


Outdoor

Vizslas enjoy being outside on hunting excursions, playing dog sports, taking walks, and going on runs. But they are indoor dogs who shouldn't be left outdoors for long stretches of time without company; they are also prone to separation anxiety. This breed will appreciate a dog jacket when it's cold because his coat is not insulating.


Exercise

Vizslas are athletes who require an abundance of vigorous exercise every day. Long walks, training sessions, and playtime should add up to at least an hour per day.


Endurance

Vizslas possess an abundance of stamina and energy for lengthy runs and play sessions.


Activity distance rating

  • Running Miles: Vizslas make excellent running buddies; they will be able to keep up with serious runners for at least three to four miles.
  • Hiking Miles: This lively breed will happily hike with you for four to five miles in comfortable weather. Their coat is not hearty enough to keep them warm when it's raining or cool.


Food

Vizslas are active dogs who require about three to four cups of quality dog food, split between two meals. Exactly how much will vary depending upon your dog's activity level and age. Talk to your veterinarian about the optimal diet for your dog.


Alone Time

Vizslas need to be near their people and tend to develop separation anxiety when left alone frequently or for too long. If your family is out of the house most of the day, a Vizsla is not an ideal pet.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

12-14 years


Grooming

Brush the Vizsla's short coat every few days to keep it shiny. He does not tend to get very dirty or smelly, so a bath once a month is usually sufficient. Trim his nails every few weeks and gently clean his ears every week to prevent wax buildup, which can lead to infection.


Common Health Issues

Vizslas may be prone to some serious health concerns, including:


  • Canine hip dysplasia
  • Heart conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Canine cancer
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

You can minimize serious health concerns in a Vizsla by purchasing from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.

Trainability

Basics

Vizslas are whip smart and eager to please. They will learn basic obedience commands in a snap, especially if you let them run a little before lessons so they are settled enough to pay close attention.


Advanced Training

These athletic dogs love being put through their paces on an agility course, whether it's for fun or competition. They excel at a wide variety of dog sports, and make excellent drug-detection, guide, and therapy dogs.


Sporting Dog Training

Bred as hunting dogs, Vizslas are naturals when field training as trackers, pointers, and retrievers.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Vizslas.

Explore Other Breeds

No. Vizslas shed and thus release pet dander into your home. Dander is the cause of most pet-related allergies. However, Vizslas are considered hypoallergenic by some because they shed so lightly their fur and pet dander is easily managed.

With their webbed feet, Vizslas are natural swimmers who love the water. They won't be able to stay in the water for long, however, because they lack insulating undercoats.

Many Vizsla owners note these dogs have a particular love of burrowing under covers. The denning instinct will send many dogs breeds under the blankets for a sense of security and warmth. Vizslas may be extra likely to snuggle into the bed covers because they don't have an undercoat and enjoy the extra measure of warmth.