AKC Dog Breeds: Vizsla

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Sporting Group
Height: 20-26 inches   Weight: 40-60 pounds  Color: solid rust colors in any shading

Originally from Hungary, the Vizsla is a medium-sized, short-coated hunting dog that is essentially Pointer in type, although he combines characteristics of both pointer and retriever. An attractive golden rust in color, this "dual" dog is popular in both the field and the show ring due to his power and drive while hunting and his trainability in the home. The Vizsla’s ancestors were hunters and companions for the Magyar hordes, a tribe that settled in what is now known as Hungary. A favorite of early barons, Vizslas are depicted in etchings as far back as the 10th century. Nearly extinct by the end of the World Wars, the Vizsla gradually regained popularity and began to be imported into the United States in the 1950s. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1960.

General Appearance

The Vizsla is a sleek, muscular, medium-sized hunting dog with a beautiful rusty-gold colored short coat. The front legs are straight. The head is lean, chiseled and aristocratic, with a long tapering muzzle. The muzzle is neither pointed like a Dachshund nor square like an English Pointer. The slightly domed skull is broad between the ears and has a line up the middle of the forehead. The round-tipped ears are pendant and rather long. The neck is muscular, without dewlap. Its musculature is well developed over the entire body. The tail is docked to 2/3 its original length. The eye color blends in with the coat color and the nose is brown. It has a developed jaw, porcelain-white teeth and a distinguished, robust, elastic gait. The hair is short, abundant, and tight to the whole body. The coat can be solid golden rust in different shadings. In some standards, solid dark mahogany red and pale yellow are faulty, and any noticeable area of black in the coat is a serious fault. 


Alert, responsive, and gentle, the Vizsla is a dog with great stamina, plenty of energy, and a friendly attitude. His name literally translates to 'alert and responsive' in Hungarian. These are adaptable dogs, and are well suited to both experienced and inexperienced dog owners. These dogs do thrive on the attention, interaction, and companionship of their owners, and some may find them quite clingy. This is not the right choice for those with little time to dedicate to a pet. The Vizsla has high energy levels, and does need a good amount of exercise, preferably interactive play and activity. He is quick and agile, which means that a secure and safe area must be provided for play and exercise if he is not on a leash. The Vizsla can be a chewer, especially when bored, so appropriate toys are a good idea. Also, bear in mind that without the necessary physical and mental stimulation and interaction that he needs he can get bored, and this can lead to destructive behavior. The Vizsla is a quick learner and an intelligent dog, so training shouldn't prove too much of a challenge. He is eager to please and responsive, faring well in obedience training. He can be easily distracted and independent, so a firm yet very positive method is important when training. In order to promote a stable and confident temperament early socialization is advisable. The Vizsla will generally bark to raise an alarm, and can make effective watchdogs. Their size can also act as a deterrent for potential intruders. These dogs get along fine with strangers and other animals, as well as with children. The Vizsla is an ideal pet for an active owner with the time to dedicate to a loving pet.


Both wirehaired and shorthaired Vizslas do not require extensive grooming. You can, however, do a few things to ensure your dog's coat remains clean and shining. First, bathe the dog regularly. Vizslas love to swim in the water. Their choice of aquatic medium, however, may leave a lot to be desired. A bath will remove the swampy smell and allow you to see whether there are any nicks or scratches requiring medical attention. Next, brush the coat at least once a week. This will reduce shedding to a minimum. Vizslas are not heavy shedders, but brushing keeps the amount of dead hair ad dander to a minimum.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Vizsla is generally healthy, but has a tendency toward hemophilia and hip dysplasia. They do not tolerate cold climates. The Vizsla has an average life span of 11-15 years.

Activity Level

The Vizsla is an extremely active breed that requires strenuous activity daily. They thrive in a large fenced area or a leashed jog with their owner. They also require mental stimulation, such as play sessions with their family to ensure their happiness. They are not recommended for apartment dwelling due to their enormous stamina.


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