The Vizsla, occasionally referred to as the Hungarian Pointer or the Hungarie Vizsla, is a hunting dog originating from Central Europe. Sleek and slim yet muscular in appearance, this dog requires plenty of physical exercise and human affection. Created in Hungary to work as a pointer and retriever, the Vizsla dog breed has an aristocratic bearing. All he really wants, though, is to be loved. He’s a super companion for an active family who can provide him with the exercise and attention he craves.
A breed fit for a queen, Vizslas are commonly associated with being the cleanest and most poised of all breeds. Don’t let their majestic good looks fool you — this breed is a hunter by nature and loves to run, romp and chase in the wild. Part retriever and part pointer, this breed needs constant rigorous exercise to remain happy and healthy.
If you’re looking for a more exotic variation of the Pointer, the Vizsla is your dog — especially if you intend to spend a lot of time with him, and give him plenty of opportunity to run, hike, walk, and play hard every day. This is an active, people-oriented dog who needs a great deal of exercise to avoid becoming bored and destructive. He also thrives on gentle, consistent training from an early age to develop good habits and avoid bad ones, such as digging. His worst fear: being separated from his family, which means he absolutely can’t live in the yard.
The Vizsla is a sleek dog with long ears framing his chiseled face, and eyes that match the rich, copper tone of his coat. Aside from shedding a bit, his grooming needs are basic: A weekly brushing, occasional nail trims, and regular cleaning of the ears and brushing of his teeth.
Smaller in size to the similarly built Weimaraner, female Vizslas weigh between 40 and 55 pounds, while males can reach up to 65 pounds. This makes them a good choice for families who want a dog that’s big, but not too big. And speaking of families, Vizslas tend to be great with children, although they can be untrustworthy around pet cats. If you bring a Vizsla into your home, be prepared to give him the guidance, attention, and love he needs to be a part of your family.
Other Quick Facts
- The name is pronounced VEEZH-la or VEESH-la.
- Vizslas need 30 minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise every day, and they excel at brain games, such as puzzle toys.
- With the exception of the Brittany, the Vizsla is the smallest of the versatile hunting dogs.
- They are used to hunt rabbits and upland game — pheasant, grouse, partridge, and turkey — as well as to retrieve waterfowl.
- Vizslas are protective and make excellent watchdogs.
- Comparable Breeds: Italian Greyhound, Weimaraner
- Vizslas are an active breed and need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. They enjoy long walks, jogging, and playing fetch, as well as dog sports.
- Vizslas are low to moderate shedders and need only weekly brushings to keep them free of loose hair. They rarely need baths and don’t have a strong doggy odor.
- Vizslas thrive on human companionship. They’ll follow family members from room to room and like to be touching or touched by their people.
- Vizslas aren’t recommended for people who work long hours. Vizslas can suffer from separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors.
- Vizslas tend to be chewers. Keep your Vizsla supplied with plenty of chew toys to protect your possessions.
- Vizslas do best in homes with fenced yards where they can safely run and play.
- Vizslas should live in the home with the family, not outside. Their coat doesn’t protect them from cold temperatures and they can’t thrive without human companionship.
- Although they aren’t recommended for homes with young kids, Vizslas are very affectionate with children and can make great companions for older, energetic kids.
- Training and socialization is a must with this breed. They can be difficult to handle if they aren’t properly trained and they can become shy and timid if they’re not properly socialized.
- Vizslas do well with other dogs and will even get along with cats if they’re raised with them. However, they’re not a good fit for homes that have small pets such as rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, or birds.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, a pet store, or from a breeder who doesn’t provide health clearances or guarantees. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies and breeds for sound temperaments.
- If you’re buying a puppy, meet the puppy’s parents — they’re an indicator of what your pup’s future personality might be like. They should be friendly and sociable, not high-strung or overly shy.
The Vizsla is social in nature and loves human companionship. It needs a soft bed to sleep and rest upon at the end of the day, but beware: a lack of exercise can cause a Vizsla to become restless. And although it can survive outdoors in temperate weather, the Vizsla should be kept inside when it is frigid outside. The occasional combing is enough to free this dog of its dead hair.
The Vizsla is not recommended for apartment life. It is moderately active indoors and does best with at least an average-sized yard.
This is an energetic working dog with enormous stamina. It needs to be taken on daily, long, brisk walks or jogs. It makes a great rollerblading or bike riding companion. In addition, it needs plenty of opportunity to run, preferably off the leash in a safe area. If these dogs are allowed to get bored, and are not walked or jogged daily, they can become destructive and start to display a wide array of behavioral problems.
A Vizsla’s grooming routine is about as easy as it gets. Brush the short, smooth coat weekly with a rubber curry brush or a firm bristle brush to distribute skin oils and keep the coat gleaming. Baths are rarely necessary; four to five times a year is plenty.
The rest is basic care: Keep his ears clean and dry, and trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. And brush his teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Is this breed right for you?
If you love dogs but hate the potential mess and smells, then the Vizsla is right for you. This self-cleaning pup maintains a groomed look and scent naturally. Couch potatoes beware: This breed must run on a daily basis — a short walk around the block just won’t do. This breed makes the perfect running partner, but if you’re not into running miles, Vizsla owners must provide ample outdoor space for this high-energy breed.
Did You Know?
The Vizsla has been quite the social climber: Hungary’s early Magyar hordes first used the striking, copper-colored Vizsla as a hunting dog. As early as the 10th century, the breed became a popular companion dog for the country’s elite barons.
Children and other pets
The Vizsla is a loving dog who’s friendly and tolerant with children, but his exuberance can be overwhelming for kids younger than six years old.
As with any dog, teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and supervise any interactions between dogs and kids to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Vizslas get along with other dogs and can be friends with cats, especially if they’re raised with them. They might be a little too fond of pet birds, if you know what we mean. Nor should they be trusted around small pets such as rabbits, hamsters, or gerbils.
In popular culture
- Former White House Press Secretary and cohost of The Five, Dana Perino has owned two Vizslas, Henry (deceased) and Jasper.
- Kubrick the Dog, a 2011 photography book by British fashion photographer and film maker Sean Ellis.
- Gary Dell’Abate, also known as Baba Booey from The Howard Stern Show has a Vizsla named “Murphy“.
- Major League Baseball pitcher, Mark Buehrle, owns three Vizslas, Drake, Duke and Diesel
- The Hungarian cartoon Frakk, a macskák réme (“Frakk,the nightmare of cats”) centers around a vizsla dog named Frakk.
A dream day in the life of a Vizsla