Hungarian Vizsla

Hungarian Vizslas are really beautiful dogs with an awesome history as gundogs used for hunting. Learn all about the breed in our in-depth guide.

Hungarian Vizsla 1

Height: 21 – 32 in (52–65 cm)
Weight: 20 – 30 kg
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Pedigree Breed (recognised by the Kennel Club?): Yes.

Positives and Negatives of the Breed

Pros

  • Intelligent and devoted
  • Gentle around all children
  • Highly trainable
  • Love indoors and out

Cons

  • Can be very energetic
  • Sensitive and sleight
  • Stubborn and can hate bad weather
  • Clever and can be hard to occupy

Overview

Hungarian Vizslas are very handsome dogs with an awesome history as gundogs used for hunting purposes.

They’ve become adopted as a favourite family dog due to their extremely receptive, kind and gentle attitude and compatibility with children of all ages and pets.

Hungarian Vizslas are intuitive dogs with a high drive to learn and they are at the beck-and-call of their owners at all times making them superbly easy to train and very obedient.

One of the headline attractions of the Hungarian Vizsla is its extremely slick golden coat and striking eyes. They are superbly elegant dogs that move stylishly.

They’ve become somewhat of a hallmark of the country home and are very well suited to outdoorsy types.

Hungarian vizsla dog

That said, they’ve become quite famous for their highly preferential nature regarding the weather and maybe very reluctant to venture out in rain and cold.

The independent yet obedient temperament of the Hungarian Vizsla has helped it become a very popular pedigree breed.

Hungarian Vizslas may have close ancestors that have existed for some 1000 years but stronger evidence suggests their rise to prominence in the 1900s as hunting became more formalised and organised.

Demands increased for intelligent dogs that could take on multiple hunting tasks. The Hungarian Vizsla had the aesthetics to match and quickly became a household name across Hungarian middle and upper classes.

Hungarian Vizsla puppies

After WW2, some Hungarian Vizslas were smuggled out of the country and the breed began to find worldwide popularity.

They are still one of the most popular hunting dogs around but mostly, they are treasured as loyal and friendly family pets.

Hungarian Vizslas roles as hunting dogs developed due to their expert ability to retrieve prey. This technique is called Hunt, Point and Retrieve – Hungarian Vizslas are adept at finding animals and returning them to their hunters.

This type of hunting became more important with the widespread use of rifles. The priority became retrieving dead prey from a longer distance rather than actually tackling and killing the prey.

History

Hungarian Vizslas unsurprisingly originated in Hungary where they date back perhaps some 1000 years to ancient ancestors that shared similar roles in the field.

Early settlers in the area named the Magylas produced prints and other artefacts with dogs highly resemblant of the Hungarian Vizsla, evidence of this dog’s ancient roots.

Hunting dogs back then would have still been Pointers, dogs that retrieved prey after their owner had pointed them in its direction, but they would have been part of a mixed pack including large ‘catch’ dogs that helped take down big prey.

Hungarian Vizslas become more evident throughout the 18th century Hungarian Empire. Hunting has always been very popular in Hungary and their middle and upper-class households frequently partook in large-scale hunting events across the vast countryside.

Hungarian Vizslas were selected for their excellent intelligence and ability to retrieve but also for their elegant aesthetics, they are perfectly fitting for middle and upper-class countryside living today.

Recommended: A Poochon dog is a Poodle mixed with a Bichon Frise, the result being this very charming, supremely cute sand soft little dog.

hungarian vizsla licking lips

Personality

Hungarian Vizslas are straightforward and obedient, perfect for novice owners who are looking for medium-sized dogs.

Their ability to please their owner is thoroughly bred into their genetics and as a result, these dogs are easy to train and rarely have many idiosyncracies or difficult traits.

Hungarian Vizslas are very friendly and affectionate and they love their owners and families. This extends to the owner and all who he/she trusts, including other strangers and pets.

Small children are also highly compatible with Hungarian Vizslas as they’re supremely tolerant and docile and are nearly always measured in their reactions.

hungarian vizsla lying down

Hungarian Vizslas are quite quiet dogs, probably as loudness would have been debilitating when trying to hunt.

They will likely stay quiet when you come in the house or when they hear something outside, etc. This can be a great asset for those that live in flats and apartments.

Hungarian Vizslas are primarily energetic dogs though and a lot of outside exercise is a must. Without proper stimulation, Hungarian Vizslas are quick to develop behavioural issues and may resort to destructive behaviour, e.g. chewing upholstery and furniture.

Their physicality combined with their intuitive and intelligent temperament means you’ll have to put a lot of input into keeping them occupied and thus, they do not suit those with sedentary lives.

They also suffer from above-average separation anxiety and thrive in larger family units with plenty going on around them.

Hungarian Vizslas are known for their rather humanistic behaviours, especially regarding sitting and sleeping.

They often sit upright, like we do, and are very entertaining in the way they tend to mimic their owners. It’s very obvious this is a dog with great respect for humans, particularly their owner and family or ‘pack’.

Hungarian Vizsla 2

Health

Hungarian Vizslas are pretty robust and physically durable dogs and have above-average lifespans for dogs of their size.

Their diets are quite easy to cater for but an optimum quantity of macronutrients is vital if they’re spending a lot of time working as a gundog outside.

With proper care, exercise and diet, a lifespan of 15 years are definitely possible. The Hungarian Vizsla dog is one that maintains a pretty low profile of potential genetic disease, though they can be quite allergic and sensitive to both drugs and foods.

Another possibility is idiopathic seizures, tests are available but these can strike randomly at almost any age. They are usually not harmful so long as someone is there to support the dog until the seizure passes.

Like with all athletic dogs, arthritis is likely to occur later on in life and eye problems are another possibility.

Vizslas have thin coats and no undercoat which leaves them quite vulnerable to cuts, thorns and splinters. Always check your Hungarian Vizsla after they’ve torn off into the undergrowth and tend to any wounds immediately.

Next Breed: The Tibetan Terrier dog is not one to shy away from intruders or evident threats where present. They are alert and have keen senses, able to spot movement from a great distance and react clearly to tell their owners.

Exercise

Hungarian Vizslas are bred to be fit and active and they need to be kept as such. They are lively both physically and mentally, neither can be neglected and owners must be willing to put 1 – 2 hours into their Hungarian Vizsla every day.

These dogs have always had a very purposeful role to play and this carries through in their exercise demands. The more outside time, the better, and your Hungarian Vizsla is likely to be happiest when zipping about forests or fields.

Whilst this dog is an outdoorsy type, you might find they’re reluctant to get muddy or wet, such is their elegance and the way they carry themselves with pride!

Still, you mustn’t let this put you off. Hungarian Vizslas like to roam, forage and investigate and they’ll need plenty of time off the lead.

Overall, they’re best for those with big gardens or land but can live in smaller spaces if their owners are highly dedicated to exercising them sufficiently.

Hungarian Vizslas need mental stimulation too and their attention span is best focussed on something to prevent it from leading to destructive behaviour.

Doggy games involving mental and motor challenges are a great idea – try lots of different ones until you find one that your Hungarian Vizsla really enjoys.

Hungarian Vizsla 3

Training

Hungarian Vizslas have long been trained to carry out relatively complex tasks with efficiency and speed. They are loyal and devoted then by default and are very willing to learn from their owners.

This makes them exceptionally easy to train as a family pet, perfect for novice owners.

Obviously, more work is required if you want your Hungarian Vizsla to still act as a hunting dog, but even then, it will become quickly apparent that this is very much in the Vizslas DNA and it’s usually a very willing and cooperative participant.

Hungarian Vizslas are enthusiastic dogs but lead training should be easy and they’ll quickly learn to walk by your side once restrained from pulling with the use of a harness.

A Hungarian Vizsla puppy should be socialised from a young age to build its confidence. One area they might need training is in their eating habits. As outdoorsy dogs that love to investigate and forage, they may eat their food too quickly when presented in a bowl.

For these dogs, food is a part of their working day and thus, making them work a bit for their food may aid their stimulation. Consider a foraging mat if your Vizsla is awkward eating out of a dog bowl and eats too fast sometimes resulting in vomiting or bloating.

Recommended Article: Presa Canario dogs are Molosser-type Mastiffs, which means they have ties to ancient Greek battle dogs that were bred for their physical size, power and durability.

Grooming

Hungarian Vizslas have short thick coats and need little grooming. They get cold easily as they have no undercoat, so keep them dry and consider a jacket in winter.

Their ears are quite large and floppy and should be kept clean to prevent build-ups of wax that can lead to infection.

Recommended: The Spanish Water Dog is very intelligent and bred for its superb ability to smell, see and hear during hunting sessions. As a gundog or pointer, their primary use in hunting was to retrieve game after it had been shot and killed.

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