A vizsla: the right dog for me?
The vizsla has a remarkable appearance with a spectacular color. His noble head and athletic physique make many a head turn. They are intelligent hunting dogs that are easy to train. Their affectionate nature also makes them suitable as a family dog. Yet they are not suitable for everyone.
- Height at the withers: male 56-64 centimeters, bitch 53-61 centimeters
- Weight: 20 to 30 kilograms
- Coat care: easy, moulting
- Movement: very demanding
- Nutrition: average
- Character: lively, affectionate, sensitive and intelligent
The vizsla is a very old dog breed that dates back to the Middle Ages and has been used as a hunting dog since the 10th century. They originate in Hungary where they could only be kept by the nobility. Over the centuries they were bred within aristocratic circles to become extremely talented hunting dogs. Vizslas fall under the ‘Pointers’ category. After World War I and World War II they were almost extinct. The breed’s bloodlines in Austria allowed the breed to survive. Hence, the vizsla is also sometimes called an Austro-Hungarian hunting dog. The vizsla is at the basis of the development of the Weimaraner and the German Shorthaired Pointer, both of which have similarities and are also world-renowned for their hunting talent.
The vizsla has a slim and athletic build with strong musculature. The head has a noble appearance with a lot of character. The eyes are the same color as the fur. The coat varies from uniform dark wheat yellow, cognac, to dark golden. The dog can reach a shoulder height of 61 centimeters. Vizslas look alert and intelligent from their eyes.
The short-haired coat has a strong shine, which is even more noticeable in a healthy diet. That shine looks even better when the sun shines on it. The short-haired vizsla generally brings very little odor. Due to the lack of undercoat, the short-haired vizsla is totally unsuitable to be kept outside.
The coat of the wire-haired vizsla is quite wiry and on the head forms clear eyebrows, mustache and a beard. The coat is medium length, 2 to 3.5 inches. The wire-haired vizsla has a water-repellent undercoat.
Temperament and character
The vizsla is a very affectionate dog. The dogs were nicknamed ‘velcro-vizsla’ or ‘velcro-dog’ for a reason. They stick to their owner, as it were. This is expressed, for example, in standing between the legs of the owner or leaning against the owner. They are also a cold sensitive breed that likes to come and take advantage of the body heat of their family members. The fireplace or stove is another attraction for the dog.
The vizsla is a very sensitive dog that cannot tolerate harsh training at all. Harsh words or physical torment will not be forgotten by the intelligent vizsla and will result in a frightened, unhappy dog. It is very important that you get the dog along in the education in an enthusiastic way. Due to his intelligence, he is not difficult to raise at all. He understands very quickly what is expected of him if it is learned and asked correctly. He likes nothing better than to please his owner and work for him. Enthusiastic rewards are the drive of the vizsla.
The vizsla is fixated on other (wild) animals because of its hunting instinct, but when it grows up with other animals from an early age, it leaves them untouched. He will point out a strange animal on the property or game in nature to the boss. The dog stalks its prey after which it holds up one front paw, sticks its tail straight back and points the prey with its nose. This is called ‘standing up’. Then he waits for command or action from the boss before taking any action. If the boss is not around, the decisions are made themselves, sometimes with unwanted consequences.
The vizsla is well suited as a family dog, provided it is given plenty of exercise and love. It is less suitable for small children. He will never intentionally hurt children, but vizslas are often over-enthusiastic, way too brutal, and they don’t know their own strength. Small children are more than once taken by surprise, run over, jumped and sometimes even catapulted away. Punishing the dog for this only causes total misunderstanding because he means well. In addition, its tail, often at face level of a child, is a real whip that can be very painful even for adults.
The vizsla is not a big eater but will also eat the excess in its bowl, which will eventually lead to obesity. A weighed amount at several times of the day is therefore preferred. Its muscle mass requires a lot of energy and therefore good nutrition is necessary. Good nutrition consists of at least 70% pure meat without vegetable residues or by-products, such as grains or rice. You will usually not find such food in the supermarket, but on the internet or in pet shops. You pay more for such quality, but the daily amount you have to give is usually less and you save on (later) vet costs. In addition, good nutrition is essential for the lifespan and especially the quality of life of any dog. In the colder times of the year, the vizsla may be given a little more food. Make sure that he maintains weight.
The vizsla needs a lot of exercise to stay healthy and to release its energy. If he can’t get rid of his energy enough, he will show behavioral problems such as destroying things, barking or sprinting hyperactive inside and knocking over or damaging anything. Due to his affection and fixation on the owner, he will not easily do things alone. In order for the dog to get enough exercise, the owner will have to actively participate. That means several times a day brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, fetching games to infinity, etcetera. A vizsla is almost tireless. And when he does get tired, he will be recovered very quickly, ready for more action. The vizsla is therefore only suitable for sporty people who can be active with the dog at several times of the day.
Point of attention: a puppy or young dog should not walk a lot, especially large breeds. This can cause joint problems later on. After all, the bones are only fully grown after 14 months. Only from the age of 8 weeks: 10 min, max. 5x / day, and add 5 min each month: 12 weeks: 15 min, max. 5x / day, 16 weeks: 20 min, max. 5x / day, etc. .
Always make sure you have smooth objects when retrieving or as a toy. Hairy objects where dirt and sand can get in, such as tennis balls, cause tooth wear.
Are you very sporty and do you have a lot of free time that you want to spend with your dog? Do you realize that hunting dogs like the vizsla are not mere companion dogs and are quite demanding? Is the price of quality feed and care worth it to you? Do you have a loving family with older children who love to see animals? Do you have a soft and friendly character?
Then the vizsla is definitely something for you!