Anyone who has met a vizsla in an off lead dog park will instantly be taken by their striking coat and stature and usually their friendliness. These are like super sized santa’s helpers (Simpsons). While classed as a medium sized dog, many males can border on a large size.
While there are two rarer vizsla’s around – a hard-wirehair one: Wire-haired Vizsla and a rare long-haired Vizsla, most people usually see a tan think coated one.
But of course every dog comes from somewhere and they weren’t always almost exclusively used as very friendly pets to play with children. Because of their moderately generic pointer look most people don’t give it much thought, but these dogs go back to at least the TENTH century ! 10th ! That is while most breeds are only a few hundred years old at most – these guys are literally ancient as far as dog breeds go.
Their origins are strongly ‘pointer’ with some Transylvanian Hound blood and Turkish yellow dog (now extinct). The word “Vizsla” literally means “pointer” in Hungarian. So clearly this is also a European dog.
Vizsla as hunting dog
This site is all about hunting dogs and so you should be aware that while the original pointer had the specific task of seeing prey and pointing to it, this quickly expanded so that they would chase their live prey go ground and restrain or kill it and retrieve it to their hunting owner.
If you have ever been lucky enough to see young Vizslas in the park, you will know they have boundless energy and willingness to run and play with other dogs. A curious dog that is social when not on a specific hunting mission.
Originally and now, they were and are trained for upland game such as waterfowl and rabbit (ie generally smaller prey). This is because they have moderately fine leg bones (and long legs) and a thin skin that could easily get ripped if running through thick brush or trying to kill large game. Hence ducks, quail, pheasant, hares and foxes are also fair game. These dogs are fairly robust, but they are not pigging dogs !
Vizsla Specific requirements for hunting
- Excellent nose,
- firmness on the point,
- excellent retrieving including tracking scent when swimming
- Physically fit for hard terrain and extreme weather conditions (though may require coats when very cold and not on a specific physical hunt).
Vizsla at home
A note on behavior the vizsla is a sensitive dog (that is to human verbal abuse) and they have an extreme dislike to rough treatment or harsh commands and threatening human body language. Some trainers still work with negative reinforcement but this can force a vizsla to become aggressive or shy which is a disaster for both hunting and as a companion dog.
At home the have boundless energy because they were bred for long runs and swims and to retrieve game for a master. If they don’t get two long off lead runs per day they can turn to being destructive and taking possessions in the house. Likewise they can also become good ball stealer(s) in the park.
As a great energy outlet for these dogs in urban areas a lot of owners turn to weekend Obedience trials, Agility, Fly-ball, Tracking and Endurance.
Because of their intelligent and sensitive nature they also make great therapy dogs and for families with children. though their hunting instinct doesn’t always make them an easy fit for families with cats and small rodent pets.
A lovely dog with high energy that needs a high energy family to keep up with them.