Vizsla

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The Vizsla is a speedy, sporty, super friend and quite the looker, too. Learn more about this dog in our complete guide.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
12 to 14 years
Size:

Medium

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Low

Temperament:
AthleticGentleFearless
Coat Color:
Golden Rust

Best For

The Vizsla is best for extremely active pet parents (yes, calling all you Serena Williams wannabes) who live in homes that have access to outdoor space. Pet parents who will do best with this dog have to be willing to train consistently.

Vizsla Traits

What makes the Vizsla a Vizsla? Let's find out how they stack up.

Vizsla Temperament

Bounding, wiggling, racing away—the Vizsla dog breed has a high-energy personality that’s always ready to go, go, go. (They’d make an ideal sub for the Energize Bunny should he ever retire). Inquisitive and loving, a Vizsla is sometimes called a “Velcro dog” as they tend to stick close to their people. As for aggressive tendencies or a penchant for biting, the Vizsla temperament isn’t known to engage in either. Instead, a gentle, friendly nature and a playful demeanor are far more common Vizsla traits.

Having a Vizsla in a home with kids and babies is a fine idea—and the breed also enjoys the company of other dogs, especially when they’re young. Bonus: They can even be trained to live peaceably with cats. But keep in mind that Vizslas have a high prey drive and may chase a kitty, so if you plan to introduce a feline to the family, take care to keep the cat safe until your Vizsla puppy is well socialized.

Vizsla qualities also include a high level of competence and an ability to learn quickly, making this dog highly trainable. Vizsla intelligence has long been prized as the breed has a distinguished history as a faithful hunting companion that was bred to both point and retrieve. Modern-day Vizslas have equally demanding jobs as seeing eye dogs, search and rescue animals and as professional sniffers (think drugs or explosives). And Vizslas even have a patriotic streak, serving as canine recovery workers at Ground Zero in New York City after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

How to Care for a Vizsla

A Vizsla guide to care puts great emphasis on physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep this extremely active canine happy. Luckily, health and wellness are breed hallmarks and Vizsla grooming is quick and easy.

Vizsla Health

The Vizsla lifespan is a generous one (up to 14 years), and the breed is considered to be healthy. Still, all dogs are prone to certain health problems. Here’s a look at the common Vizsla health issues you might encounter with this medium-sized canine:

  • Seasonal Allergies: A Vizsla may develop atopy, which is seasonal allergies (pollen, mold, dust) that causes skin itching and ear infections. Treatment often consists of oral or topical medications, allergy shampoo or injectable immunotherapies.
  • Eye Disorders: Several eye conditions may appear, including ocular melanosis, an inherited disease that thickens and discolors the iris and causes glaucoma in some cases. While there’s no cure, anti-inflammatory and glaucoma medicines can help. Entropion, a rolling inward of the eyelids that results in the lashes irritating the cornea, is another eye disorder; surgery is the treatment. Progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA, is a degenerative, hereditary eye disease that may result in blindness and is another potential. Dogs with PRA can usually adapt to this vision loss, though there’s currently no treatment for it.
  • Epilepsy: This inherited seizure disorder may be partial or generalized, but fortunately, it can be eased with anti-epileptic medications.
  • Hip Dysplasia: When the hip joint is malformed, it won’t fit well into the socket—and dysplasia is the result. This can cause pain and lameness. Hip dysplasia is genetic in origin and can be treated with medications and supplements, dietary changes or weight reduction. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
  • Ear Infections: Since a Vizsla is prone to atopy (allergies), ear infections may result, which can lead to pain, scratching of the ears and ear discharge. Topical medications can treat these infections, but if they become severe or chronic, surgery may be indicated.
  • Thyroid Conditions: Hypothyroidism, typically caused by the destruction of the thyroid gland, may appear as lethargy, weight gain and coat changes in your Vizsla. Thyroid supplementation is the go-to treatment.

Vizsla History

The Vizsla’s history is inextricably linked to the Magyars, an ethnic Hungarian group who traversed a wide-ranging swath of Asia and Europe centuries ago before settling in what is now Hungary. The Magyars’ prowess on horseback was legendary as was their ability to ride fast with equally fleet-footed dogs at their sides. Their canine pals featured reddish-brown coats—and today’s Vizslas are their descendants.

Originally bred as Magyar companions in their quest for dominance across the continent, Vizslas later became the favored hunting breed of Hungarian nobles. Vizslas were actually early multitaskers because they served two jobs as pointers and retrievers of rabbits, upland game (quail, partridge) and waterfowl (ducks).

At the end of World War I, the Vizsla breed was nearly extinct, with just a handful of purebreds in existence. Fortunately, breed enthusiasts were able to repopulate the dog again, and they began to arrive in the US after World War II in the 1950s. The Vizsla was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1960 and has grown to become a popular family pet ever since.

Vizslas continue to display great versatility as working canines in many different capacities, including that of seeing-eye dog, on drug detection details for the Transportation Security Administration and as part of search and rescue teams at disaster sites, including the one that occurred in New York City on September 11, 2001.

If you’d like to bring this energetic pup into your home, Vizsla dog prices tend to be about $2,000 from a breeder. The AKC Marketplace has information about Vizsla puppies for sale. You can also reach out to Vizsla rescue organizations or your local animal shelter to adopt one.

FAQs

Do Vizslas shed?

Yes, Vizslas do shed but not as much as some breeds with longer, thicker fur. As long as you brush your pup once a week, you’ll keep their coat looking shiny and healthy.

How do you pronounce Vizsla?

The Hungarian Vizsla’s name isn’t easy to say upon first glance—so here’s some help. This dog breed’s name is pronounced VEESH-lah.

What are the most popular Vizsla dog names?

The most fun Vizsla names—and most appropriate!—are often connected with the Vizsla’s origin in Hungary, so you might like Laszlo, Zoltan or Jozsef. You might also consider the Vizsla’s past work as a hunting dog and pick names such as Chase, Ranger or Scout. Or you can simple get more dog names here.

Are Vizslas good family dogs?

Yes, Vizslas rank highly as family dogs as their friendly, playful nature mixes well with small children. Still, all dogs need early proper socialization in order to live in harmony with little ones. Make sure your Vizsla is well-trained during puppyhood.

Are Vizslas smart dogs?

Yes, Vizslas are extremely intelligent and love to learn. This breed adores attention and working alongside their pet parents, whether learning to sit, stay and come or playing fetch in the back yard.

What are the most common Vizsla dog mixes?

The most common Vizsla mixes are:

  • Vizsla-Lab mix (Labralas)
  • Vizsla-Pitbull mix (Vizsla Pitbull)
  • Vizsla-Weimaraner mix (Vizmaraner)
  • Vizsla-Poodle mix (Vislapoo)
  • Vizsla-Beagle mix (Vizsla Beagle)
  • Vizsla-German Shepherd mix (Vizsla German Shepherd)
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Top Takeaways

Super athletic yet lightly built, a Vizsla is a marvel while in motion. Speedy and curious with a distinct toasty brown coat, this breed makes an excellent running or hiking companion and a loving family pet. If you’re into lots of exercise and have the space to let a Vizsla race free, this former hunting animal turned heroic worker is one to check out.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Carly Fox, DVM, of Animal Medical Center in New York City and dog trainers Margaret Simek of One Happy Dog and Mary Thompson, owner of Happy Hound University.

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