What is a Vizsla?

Bethney Foster
Bethney Foster
Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

The vizsla is a breed of pointer-retriever dog that originated in Hungary. Also known as the Hungarian short-haired pointing dog and the Hungarian pointer, the vizsla is a medium-sized dog. The smallest of the pointer-retriever breeds, the vizsla is used to hunt fowl and upland game.

The vizsla is believed to be one of the oldest hunting breeds. Depictions of the dogs have been found in etchings from the 10th century. Bred by the Magyars, the breed likely descended from several types of pointers, the Transylvanian hound, and the now-extinct Turkish yellow dog. During the period between World War I and World War II, the breed was saved from extinction when fleeing Hungarians smuggled some of the dogs out of the country with them.

Vizslas do not do well in a kennel setting but bond quickly to people. They are generally good with other dogs and children. As they are hunting dogs, they aren’t recommended for homes with cats unless they are raised from puppies with cats. They should not be trusted with other small pets such as rodents and rabbits.

Males weigh between 55 and 65 pounds (25 kg and 30 kg) and females between 45 and 55 pounds (20 kg and 25 kg). The height of the male is 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm), and the female is 20 to 24 inches (51 to 61 cm). The coat is soft and rust-colored, and the nose and eyes are a lighter color of brown than the coat. The vizsla has long ears that hang down past the face.

The vizsla requires daily exercise, which should include running. The dogs are easily trained and eager to please, but can become destructive if they do not get enough activity. The breed seeks out warmth and often bask in the sun. They are also strong swimmers.

As a breed, vizslas tend to be healthy, with lifespans of more than 14 years. There is some predisposition to skin and food allergies, and some of the dogs are sensitive to anesthesia during surgery. The breed is also prone to hip dysplasia.

The breed is recognized by kennel clubs around the world. Clubs that recognize the vizsla include the American Kennel Club, the Continental Kennel Club, and Australian National Kennel Club. There are also vizsla rescue agencies associated with many breed clubs.

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    • Veterinarian with a puppy
      Veterinarian with a puppy