Hungarian Vizsla – Breed Information and Characteristics

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Vizsla is a muscular breed with ancient history. They are graceful and loyal dogs who dislike being left alone. Read on to discover more about this breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
21 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder
45 to 65 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Vizsla is an energetic and gentle dog, mostly known for his red-coated appearance.

For centuries, this loyal dog has been the pride of Hungarian sportsmen. In the last few decades, their popularity in America increased, making them a more popular breed with each passing year. Thanks to his sleek golden-rust coat, this breed is easy to recognize.

They are always light-foot and fit, with a long body and a silky coat. They are sensitive when it comes to sharing love with family members and intense when it comes to working.

This breed will make a strong bond with their owners and will always hate being left alone.

Vizsla is often described as an athletic dog with many talents, making him perfect at various sports and activities. They are great companions for jogging or biking.

Vizsla Quick Facts

Real name: Vizsla
Nickname: Hungarian Pointer
Origin: Hungary
Breed type: Hunting Dogs
Weight: Males 45–66 lb (20–30 kg), Females 40–55 lb (18–25 kg)
Height: Males 23–27 in (58–69 cm), Females 21–24 in (53–61 cm)
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Litter size: 6-7 puppies
Color: Golden rust color in several shadings
Coat: Short, smooth and dense, without a woolly undercoat

Vizsla History

Vizslas have a fascinating background, as dog experts believe that Vizlas’ ancestors were dogs of the Magyar tribes who settled in present-day Hungary territory.

Archeologists have found stone etchings that depict the Magyar hunter with his falcon and his dog, today known as Vizsla.

Historians believe that the Magyar people came from the Russian steppes sometime in the mid-800s and moved through Western Europe for at least 50 years.

Historians believe that these tribes were exquisite warriors who knew how to breed horses and dogs.

Once Vizslas’ reached the Hungarian ground, Hungarian nobles and warlords loved this breed and even set the modern Vizsla type. Over time, Vizsla became known as an all-purpose hunting dog who could do almost anything.

When it comes to the States, Vizsla is a very young breed. The very first Vizsla dog came to the States in 1950 and thanks to a U.S. State Department employee, who smuggled the breed from – at the time, Communist Hungary.

Fifty years later, a Vizsla named Chartay became the first dog in AKC history to earn championships in five different sports—a quintuple champion. Versatile and Vizsla often go hand in hand.

Vizsla Physical Appearance

The Vizsla is a medium-sized dog with a short coat that rounds up the breed’s distinguished appearance. This dog is lightly built, with attractive shaded golden rust.

Since the dog was bred to work in field, forest, and water, Vizsla grew up to be an agile and energetic breed. The head is lean and muscular, while ears are thin, long, and silky.

Jaws are strong, and eyes are medium in size. The neck is strong, smooth, and muscular, while the body is strong and well proportioned. Feet are cat-like, round, and compact with toes close.

Hind legs are straight as viewed from behind, while the hocks are parallel to each other. The coat is short, smooth, and dense. There is no woolly undercoat.

It’s common for people to mix Vizlas with other similar dogs in appearance. The reddish coat color isn’t so frequent in dogs, and there are only a few breeds with this distinguished appearance.

Redbone Coonhounds, Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are most commonly mixed up.

Vizsla is very similar in appearance to a Weimaraner and a Redbone Coonhound, although Vizsla is leaner and has a stronger and better-defined musculature.

On top of that, Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are larger than Vizslas. Plus, Vizsla will always have a reddish nose color, that blends with the coat color.

Vizsla Personality

Vizslas are known as high energy dogs with gentle manners and caring nature. This breed is quick to bond with owners, children, and even strangers.

They are often called ‘velcro’ dogs because of their loyalty and affection. When they are unhappy, alone, or even worse – neglected, they will cry.

Some Vizslas will bark at strangers if they feel threatened or that someone is invading their space or pack members. If trained properly, they will be an excellent guard dog.

Vizslas thrive on human companionship, and they will follow you from room to room. They also like to be pet, and they will demand cuddles.

This breed isn’t recommended for people who work long hours. Since they are deeply attached to people, they may suffer from separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors.

Vizslas tend to be chewers, so chewing toys inside the home is a good idea if you want to protect your possessions.

In general, Vizslas aren’t recommended for homes with young kids, but they are very affectionate with children and can make a great companion for older, energetic kids.

Like any other dog breed, you should educate your children on how to behave around dogs and never touch them while eating or drinking water.

It’s also important for children to know to respect a dog’s space. Vizslas thrive on exercise, attention, and interaction.

Vizslas are highly intelligent dogs who need a lot of mental stimulation when young. Again, they can be great around children if trained right with proper socialization.

They will insist on sleeping under the covers at night because they want to be close to their owners as much as possible. Vizslas are great retrievers both on land and in the water making the most of their natural instincts.

They must be trained gently and only using positive reinforcement because they have a sensitive temperament and can be easily damaged if trained too harshly.

Vizsla Training

Training and early socialization are what make a well-mannered dog. Every dog should go through early training and socialization. Many want to know when a dog’s training should starts?

The truth is that training should start as soon as you bring your puppy home. Of course, you need to respect all vaccination shcedule and introduce your puppy to other dogs when it’s safe.

Exposing your dog to new places, new smells, and different people will teach him not to be scared of the unknown and get to know the world better. Vizslas need positive and consistent training.

They are highly intelligent, and they will try to manipulate you like all dogs and try to get things their way. However, a firm attitude, a hand of treats, and well-structured and positive training will take you a long way and help you have a well-behaved vizsla.

Ensure that you know how to communicate with your dog and be focused on training because otherwise, it will be hard to live with untrained vizslas.

They need something to do, so it’s crucial to have appropriate toys because they will get into trouble when bored. Luckily, they love training, and they thrive on attention.

Since this is extremely sensitive breed, make sure that you know how to train him. If you feel that you need extra help in training your Vizsla, contact a professional dog trainer.

This breed needs at least 60 minutes of activity per day, and since they are rather active, it can’t harm to roll in dog’s sports such as agility, hunting tests, scent, work, tracking and so on.

Vizsla Exercise

Vizslas were bred to be hunting dogs, which means that they need both physical and mental exercise and satisfaction.

Of course, some dogs may be more or less active than others, but they have a strong need to be active in general.

If you have Vizsla already, you probably know that this breed needs at least 30 minutes of active playtime per day, although 60 minutes maybe perfect for keeping your Vizsla happy. Some dogs may need even more.

Vizslas will enjoy leash walks and games of fetch. They are superb runners but should be allowed to run only in safe and fenced areas – you won’t be able to catch your Vizsla.

Make sure that your Vizsla is microchipped, so you can quickly reunite if he manages to escape from a leash or gets spread from fireworks.

Although they are great at jogging or hiking comapnies, bear in mind that young dogs shouldn’t run distances until they reach maturity at about 18 to 24 months.

Older Vizslas typically remain active and playful, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know how to care for senior dog.

Vizsla Grooming

Only one look at this breed and you will know that this breed doesn’t require a lot of grooming time. They do shed; although they dont have an undercoat, there is a need for occasional brushing.

A simple rubber grooming brush should help grooming your Vizsla – proper grooming tools will always help make grooming more comfortable and faster process.

They will need a bath only when they get filthy because dogs have different skin values than humans do and don’t need frequent bathing.

Keep their nails short – you can use a clipper or a grinding tool. Ears shoudl be checked frequently for dirt and any sign of wax build-up.

Keep the teeth and gums healthy by providing a good food and cleaning teeth as recommended by your veterinarian.

For grooming, always use only dog-safe products, and if you have any doubt, talk to your veterinarian.

Vizsla Health

Vizslas are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they may be prone to specific health conditions. When considering a breed, you should be informed about the breed’s heal.

If you are adopting from a local shelter, you will be well-informed about the breeds health condition, and you will get a dog that’s neutered or spayed.

If you are buying a puppy, make sure that your cooperate only with a responsible breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy and puppy’s parents.

These papers should prove that a dog has been tested. In Vizlas, you can expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hips and thyroid and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that the eyes are normal.

In general, this breed lives between 12 to 15 years. As in all breeds, cancers are a concern. They may also be sensitive to:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Ear infections
  • Eye disorders
  • Melanosis or entropion

The Bottom Line

Vizsla will be a great addition to your family if you want a medium-sized dog, packed with energy and is very friendly and sensitive.

A Vizsla is a dog that will demand attention, family time, and extra cuddles. This breed hates being alone, so if you don’t have to train and engage with this breed, you might think about another breed.

This breed hates being alone and can quickly develop separation anxiety, so if you tend to spend countless hours outside your home, rethink your decision to have a dog.

If you know for sure that you can handle having a dog both time-and-financially-wise, and you are ready to have a polite dog who loves spending at least 60 minutes per day outside, a Vizsla might be for you.

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