Vizslas are medium-sized dogs with short golden or rust-colored coats. They’re lightly built but robust hunting dogs.
Vizslas originated in Hungary and were bred to work in fields, forests, and water. They’re agile and energetic. They need a lot of affection and plenty of exercise.
Below, you’ll find all you need to know about Vizslas and how to take care of them. If you’re looking to add a vizsla to your family, you should know a few things about this noble yet goofy breed.
Characteristics of Vizslas
Vizslas are versatile dogs built to be rugged yet elegant athletes. They have long, silky ears that make their face appear more sensitive and loving around their family and more intense when they’re working.
Overall, vizslas are loyal dogs who form a tight bond with their owners.
Vizslas temperament. Vizslas have an energetic, gentle-mannered demeanor. They’re affectionate and sensitive dogs. They have a fearless outlook and a well-developed protective instinct.
How big do vizslas get? Vizsla males and females are relatively close in size. Males’ heights range from 22 to 24 inches tall, and females range from 21 to 23 inches tall. Males are heavier, weighing between 55 and 60 pounds, while females weigh slightly less: between 44 and 55 pounds.
Vizsla life expectancy. A healthy, well-bred, and well-cared-for vizsla can live between 12 and 14 years.
Vizsla personality. Vizslas are great companions. They make good jogging or biking buddies. They have an eager, graceful trot with serious stamina. They do best, though, when they use their full brain with challenges and exercise.
These dogs are great dogs for families with older children or young adults. They are active most of their life and need space to play as they grow. They’re fun, loving dogs and want to make their owners happy.
Vizslas have a short, sleek coat that doesn’t require a lot of grooming. They don’t have an undercoat but do shed and need occasional brushing. They’ll need an occasional bath when they start to smell bad or get dirty. Their toenails need to be regularly trimmed.
They’ll also need their ears checked regularly. Look for dirt, wax build-up, or signs of irritation. You can use a mild ear-cleaning solution or talk to your vet about stronger products that they might recommend.
Daily teeth brushing is also important. You should also keep up with routine prevention medication. Flea and tick control, along with heartworm prevention, can help you keep your Vizsla healthier.
Vizslas are an active breed and need plenty of physical and mental exercise. Each dog’s needs will vary, but you should generally try to give your dog 30 minutes of daily physical activity. You can supplement your dog’s exercise with fetch or other options, like running off-leash. Even as they get older, Vizslas stay active and playful.
Vizslas are highly intelligent, curious, and can be manipulative if not properly trained. To direct this intelligence, consistent and positive training should start when they’re puppies. Quickly establishing good communication and good behavior is important. Vizslas are sensitive and react positively to attention.
Different training options include:
- Field trials
- Hunting tests
- Dock diving
- Barn hunts
- Scent work
Vizslas need good-quality dog food, and this food can be split between two meals. You can talk to your vet about the right food for your dog. Treats are great for training but should take up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
Raising a healthy, happy vizsla means giving them attention and care daily. They respond well to positive reinforcement and affection. You’ll need consistency and patience when working on obedience training, though you’ll find that vizslas are quick learners.
Vizslas are great dogs who can live a long and healthy life, though they will need the proper care and attention.
Health Problems to Watch for with Vizslas
Vizslas are typically healthy dogs that live a longer-than-average life. As with most breeds that have a longer lifespan, though, vizslas face a greater risk of cancer. Good breeders should also screen their dogs for:
- Seasonal allergies
- Eye disorders
- Hip dysplasia
- Ear infections
Recommended health tests include:
- Hip evaluation
- Ophthalmologist evaluation
- Thyroid evaluation
Common cancers found in vizslas, meanwhile, include lipoma, mast cell tumors, hemangiosarcoma, and lymphoma.
Fortunately, routine vet appointments can help catch certain conditions before they start or seriously advance.
Hip dysplasia. This is a condition where your dog’s hip joint doesn’t fit together correctly. This can lead to arthritis later in your dog’s life.
Entropion. This is a painful condition where your dog’s eyelids turn inward, irritating their eyes.
Epilepsy. Epilepsy is a brain condition that causes seizures. Certain breeds are more prone to seizures than others.
Autoimmune conditions. Vizslas are more likely to develop autoimmune conditions that cause their immune systems to attack their own cells.
Hyperuricosuria. HUU is a condition that causes bladder stones in Vizslas. If they reach a certain size, these bladder stones can require surgery.
If you notice any signs of illness or causes for concern, you should immediately talk to your vet. They’ll be able to run tests and keep an eye out for potential health conditions.
What to Consider Before Getting a Vizsla
Vizslas have fast-growing nails that require regular trimming. If your dog is hesitant or refuses to let you trim their nails, you can try a filing tool. If that doesn’t work, you may need to schedule nail-trimming appointments with your groomer.
Most owners say vizslas are a quiet breed, but their noise level will mostly depend on their personality and training. When they don’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation, they may act out. This may involve barking if a vizsla is left alone for long periods.
Starting training early helps set your dog up for success. Vizslas are good at picking up new skills, making them great for first-time owners. Early training and socialization are also good ways to help your dog adapt to new people and other dogs. This helps them become confident, well-mannered dogs.
Another thing to consider is your vizsla having separation anxiety. They form strong bonds with their owners and want to always be with their companions. If they’re left alone for too long, they can act out from stress.
While all dogs need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, vizslas require more. They need at least two hours of exercise every day. They make great running partners after they’re fully matured at 18 to 24 months.
They also have a good sense of smell and regularly enjoy going on "sniff walks." This helps stimulate their mind and their body. Puzzle games and agility training are great for mental stimulations.
A well-socialized vizsla can be great around older children but might be too unruly to be around young children.
They can typically get along with other dogs. They have a high prey drive, though, so they might not be great around smaller pets. Always supervise your vizsla when they’re around other animals.
Vizslas can also make great emotional support dogs. Their sweet, loving, and kind nature makes them great at caring for their owner. They will need to undergo specific training before becoming certified emotional support dogs, but they’re a great breed to provide physical and mental support by loving you and getting you outside.
A vizsla could be great if you’re looking for a dog that will fit your active, outdoor lifestyle. They need a lot of attention and exercise, but they’re also loving dogs who are willing to go anywhere with you. Whether the two of you are hiking, walking, or running, they’ll be there for you.
History of Vizslas
The vizslas of today were bred from Magyar cavalry dogs. The Magyar people were marauders who ravaged Western Europe in the mid-800s. They bred speed, agility, and toughness into their horses and dogs. Magyar warriors needed lighting-fast animals to keep up with their marauding.
For centuries, Hungarian nobles refined the breeding of vizslas to create modern-day vizslas. They’ve since become an all-purpose hunting dog with much popularity in the U.S.
The first vizsla came to the U.S. in 1950.
Vizslas were held in high regard for a long time. They survived the Turkish occupation of Hungary, the Hungarian Revolution, World War I, World War II, and the Soviet Cold War.
However, there were two periods where vizslas faced near-extinction. They were once almost overrun by Pointers and German Shorthair Pointers in the 1800s and around World War II. In fact, in the late 19th century, there were only a dozen purebred vizslas left in the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Luckily, the breed is back and better than ever, gaining popularity in multiple countries.
Vizslas have a long and noble history. Today, they’re wonderful companions for young couples and families who have enough time to care for them.
They are multi-purpose dogs, also known as versatile vizslas. Their affectionate nature has made them wonderful family pets. While they were originally bred to hunt, they love spending time with their owners and prefer to live outdoors.
While they need regular time outside, they also love to cuddle with their owner after a good deal of exercise.