The Vizsla

By Jacob Schaben

History of the Breed
Vizslas are a breed that has been recognized and celebrated as a dog of royalty in the country of Hungary, where they originated. Most of the known early roots of this breed are traced back to families of the upper class. Its high status among society meant the dog was looked upon as a prized possession by its owner. The breed nearly disappeared after World War II but was fortunately revived and has become known as one of the most revered breeds of sporting dogs in the country in recent years. Most owners will boast about the close connection that they are able to make to their Vizsla. This is a breed that really loves people and will stop at nothing to get the approval of their owner. This is why Vizslas can be very flexible to many different lifestyles.

Wired vs. Smooth differences
Most of the Vizslas that you will see while you are out and about will be of the smooth-haired appearance. The smooth texture has become popular due to the low amount of shedding that you will have from the fur. Most owners will tell you that their dog rarely leaves hair on the furniture and requires minimal brushing. The short coat of this breed means that the undercoat is absent on these dogs. This means that your dog may have a tough time staying warm on cold winter days if it is not being active. The short coat and close relationship developed with owners makes this dog an excellent housedog. The Wirehaired Vizsla is recognized as a separate breed. The biggest difference between the two breeds is the length of their hair. Most all other traits are the same. Wire-haired Vizslas were bred to be able to withstand colder temperatures and thus have longer, coarse hair. The hair of the Wire-haired Vizsla will help keep them warmer when the weather turns cold.

Acceptable traits/standards
The distinguishing Rust-colored coat of the Vizsla is one of the main features that will catch your eye. This is the only acceptable coat color for the breed. Few other breeds have a coat that is as uniform throughout the body. Noses, eyes, and toenails will also have this same color. Small white patches on the chest and feet are fairly common and also acceptable under breed standards. Typical weights will range from 40-65 lbs. Healthy Vizslas will maintain a lean, muscular look with muscles easily visible. Breeders should dock the tails of Vizslas when they are born and remove dewclaws.

Training Tips For Breed
Vizslas are natural-born pointers. You will notice that even untrained dogs will point things like butterflies, songbirds, and the occasional squirrel in your yard just for fun. Most anything else that you want the dog to do must be taught. Fortunately, Vizslas are very quick learners. As stated before, this is a breed that strives to gain the approval of its owner. A dog in training can pick up new things quickly if the owner can effectively show approval for a job well done. Things like potty training generally can be done in a short period of time. If you are willing to put in the time to make the dog understand what you want it to do then most likely it will be able to be taught new things quickly.

Daily Needs Requirements
Vizslas prefer to have lots of exercise. Anything from short walks around town to long days in the field are greatly appreciated and will lead to a better relationship between owner/dog. This is not a breed that will do well being kept in confined spaces for long periods of time. This is a breed that prefers to have a close relationship with its owner. Many Vizslas prefer to be near their owner and will definitely find their way into your personal space. Many families with children bring Vizslas into their homes, as they are companions that show love through playfulness and tenderness. We often joke about the fact that our dog must truly thinks that she is a human because she is always wanting to do whatever it is that we are doing, not even stopping short of sitting in a human-like position in a chair.

Family or Outside
Iowa winters can be a very harsh time of year for all animals including Vizslas. The shorter coat of this breed provides some protection from the elements but may not be enough to keep them warm on very cold nights. If you do not plan to keep your dog inside then you will need to find some sort of way to help provide heat to your dog. Heat lamps, heat pads, and an enclosed form of shelter are usually enough to keep them happy. However, you will notice that they prefer to be indoors with you so that they can hang out and bug you for attention.

Hunting Style
Vizslas are a pointing breed. This is a trait that does not need to be taught to them but may require practice in order to perfect. Young dogs may need a few practice runs with you in the field before they are ready to take command and sniff out everything they find. It won’t take them long to discover what you are there to do. In my personal opinion, it is always a good idea to expose an inexperienced dog to hunting in a one-on-one setting. This way you can express to the dog what they are doing well along with correct undesired habits with all of your attention. One thing that I have noticed about well-trained Vizslas is that they want to hunt for their owners and will be constantly watching you to make sure that their effort is coordinated with where you desire to go. All too many times I have seen undisciplined dogs of many breeds put their nose down only to lose sight of where they are going and jump the birds up too far ahead to get a good shot. They are known for their keen nose and good endurance while searching for game and have the ability to cover lots of ground in a short period of time. This means that they do well in large fields of grass, food plots, or filter strip habitats. Game retrieval is also a gift that many well-trained Vizslas have. Those of us whom need the occasional assistance with finding a winged bird dug deep underneath the brush will appreciate the tracking ability that is bestowed to these dogs once they find the trail.

Purchasing Tips
Doing your homework when looking for your puppy is always a good thing. A reputable breeder should be someone that you feel comfortable communicating with. If something doesn’t feel right then ask about it. If a breeder is hard to communicate with or unwilling to allow you to see the puppies/mother then it would probably be wise to widen your search. Vizslas have increased in popularity over the last couple decades, which means there is a good chance that you will see owners at parks, hunting areas, or event in large cities willing to give you insight into where they got their dog. There are even social media pages made specifically for Vizslas owners and enthusiasts. Visiting one of these pages and getting acquainted with the community is a good place to start to hopefully point you in the right direction!