- Breed group — Sporting group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 21-24 inches
- Weight — 44-60 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Short and smooth with silky ears
- Coat colors — Typically reddish-golden but may be rust-colored or even sandy yellow. White markings are common around the chest.
- Exercise needs — High
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — When necessary
- Lifespan — 12-14 years
- Temperament — Playful, adaptable, affectionate
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — Hungary
Vizsla fun facts
- The vizsla is a great hunting dog with both pointer and retriever traits.
- They almost went extinct in the 19th century with only a dozen or so purebreds left.
- The first American Kennel Club Triple Champion was a vizsla.
Vizsla temperament and characteristics
This medium-sized dog is known for being an all-around friendly breed, but it’s sensitive to stressful or chaotic environments. Dubbed Velcro dogs for the way they stick to their people, they generally bond with the whole family but may not be the best for busy families or those with very young kids. Vizslas are very active and playful and usually enjoy socializing with other dogs. This breed also tends to be friendly towards strangers and will likely greet your guests with a wagging tail and happy disposition, though it’s always important to socialize your pup while they’re young.
The Vizsla is a medium-sized dog with an athletic build. The AKC breed standard states that the coat should be any shade of gold or rust. This breed always stands out due to its unique rusty color. Their eyes are bright, dark brown in color, and their ears are floppy and hang close to the head. We teamed up with FidoTabby Alert, and according to their database, the common coat color for the Vizsla is (87%) red.
Common vizsla health problems
Vizslas are generally healthy dogs, but there are certain medical conditions they might be predisposed to having.
- Elbow and hip dysplasia. This chronic condition occurs when joints develop improperly in growing dogs or when there is extra stress on the joints. It’s common in larger breeds.
- Eyelid entropion. Entropion is a hereditary disorder where the eyelid rolls in toward the eye, allowing the dog’s lashes to irritate the cornea, potentially causing pain or ulcers. Surgical correction is the only known treatment for entropion.
- Ocular melanosis. Melanosis causes pigmented cells to accumulate in the eye and block the drains that remove fluid from the eye. This causes pressure inside the eye to increase, leading to damage to the retina and the optic nerve. It’s also called pigmentary glaucoma because this condition often results in glaucoma.
- Hypothyroidism. This occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough of the thyroid hormone, resulting in weight gain, aggression, dry skin, and more. Treatment typically involves medication to replace hormones.
- Epilepsy. This is a brain disorder characterized by multiple seizures . It doesn’t currently have a known cause but can sometimes happen after a brain injury or disease. It may also be congenital or inherited, so it’s best not to breed dogs with known epilepsy.
- Ear infection. Ear infections are common in dogs with floppy ears, like the vizla, where moisture and debris can get trapped.
Cost of caring for vizslas
Thankfully, caring for a vizsla shouldn’t cost more than most other breeds. Grooming is typically minimal and done at home versus needing a professional groomer, but you may need to pay for a dog trainer if you need outside help with this energetic breed. Medical costs related to caring for a vizsla are relatively average. However, if your pup were to develop one of the mentioned health conditions, vet bills may get steeper.
One way pet owners can reduce out-of-pocket expenses is by purchasing health insurance. You may also consider developing a pet budget. It’s also important to get your vizsla from a reputable breeder who does genetic testing to check for possible predisposed conditions.
History of the vizsla
The vizsla, also known as the Hungarian pointer, was thought to date back to the Middle Ages to the Magyar barbarian tribes that invaded central Europe. Hungary quickly adopted the breed and used them as hunters, but it nearly went extinct after World War II. To save it, some Hungarians smuggled their vizslas to North America and Austria. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in the 1960s, and vizslas have been strongly present in the United States ever since.
Caring for your vizsla
The vizsla breed specifically will likely need ample training and socialization as a puppy. Because these dogs are easily attached to their humans, your vizsla may develop separation anxiety when you leave. Crate training will prevent them from destroying your house or accidentally hurting themselves.
Lastly, no one likes to think about losing their new dog, but unforeseen things happen, and it’s important to be ready, especially with a high-energy breed that needs ample exercise and mental stimulation. Consider looking into FidoAlert, which provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared.
Vizslas thrive in an active home with lots of physical and mental stimulation. Once hunting and working dogs, they do best with ample outdoor space where they can get lots of physical exercise. Rather than relying solely on daily walks, joining an agility or other dog sports group, or doing daily brain games like puzzle toys or nose work might be necessary outlets for your vizsla.
If you work long hours or can’t keep up with a regular exercise routine with your dog, you may want to consider a different breed.
Vizslas grooming is relatively low maintenance as long as pet owners are vigilant about at-home upkeep. Here are some tips for keeping your vizsla clean:
- Invest in a stiff bristle brush — A vizsla’s coat is short and sleek, but they still require regular brushing to prevent shedding.
- Brushing their teeth regularly — Weekly is good, daily is great, and twice a day is even better. This might seem like a big ask, but building a teeth-brushing routine early on can help prevent your pup from getting periodontal disease.
- Grab yourself a pair of nail trimmers — Keep your vizsla’s nails from breaking or from overgrowth, both of which can cause bleeding and potentially lead to infection.
- Keep the ears clean — Knowing how to properly clean your vizsla’s ears can help fight infection and prevent unpleasant symptoms such as itchiness and irritation. Whether you request routine cleaning from a groomer or learn to clean your puppy’s ears at home, have some ear-cleaning solution and cotton rounds on hand.
Diet and nutrition
The vizsla does not have special nutritional requirements, and they’re usually good eaters. These dogs should receive high-quality dog food approved for their age by your veterinarian. For example, a healthy, 10-month old active vizsla puppy may eat about 4-5 cups of high-calorie food each day, whereas a senior or less active dog may consume about 2-3 cups each day. Carefully portion treats to prevent obesity.
Training your vizsla
This breed is highly intelligent and requires ample training to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Because they were bred to be hunters, they enjoy having a job. Obedience training can be helpful as well as agility or other canine games. Vizslas are known for being very people-oriented, so it’s not uncommon for them to develop separation anxiety when their owners leave. Working with a behaviorist can help curb these issues.
Breeds similar to the vizsla
Not quite sure that a vizsla is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- English pointer. The popular English pointer, also a sporting dog, makes a wonderful family dog. This breed requires early socialization and training but is highly intelligent and trainable.
- Australian shepherd. When properly trained, this medium-sized intelligent herding group breed is especially great with young children.
- Weimaraner. The friendly, obedient Weimaraner — or the Gray Ghost — loves exercise and quality time with their humans.
Frequently asked questions
Is the vizsla a friendly dog?
Vizslas are known to be a friendly breed, great with families and kids. They welcome guests with wagging tails and enjoy socializing with humans and other dogs.
What is a vizsla dog known for?
This breed was bred as a hunting dog in Hungary with traits of a pointer and a retriever.
What two breeds make a vizsla?
The vizsla is a mix of a pointer dog and a retriever, making it a great hunting breed.
Is a vizsla a rare breed?
While the breed almost went extinct in the 1940s, vizslas are now very popular and not considered to be a rare breed.
What is it like to have a vizsla?
The Velcro vizsla creates a very strong bond with their people, energetic and affectionate, needs ample exercise, and is best for an active family.