Golden Rust Vizsla in the Snow Tanko

Vizsla Dog Breed

Other names:
Hungarian Pointer
Hungarian Short-Haired Pointing Dog
Magyar Vizsla

Pronunciation: [Veez-shla]

This ancient hunting dog that is nevertheless very modern in her thinking is a rare breed from Hungary. The term visla in Hungarian basically means "beagle," but it is used loosely to mean "retriever," pointer" and "deer-hound." The "vizsla" pronunciation tends to be incorrectly said with a short "i." Until the mid-20th century, these beautiful dogs were very difficult to acquire and nearly never seen outside the region. Members of this breed are excellent companions for active individuals or families.

Vizsla Breed Details

If you are looking for a great hunting dog and wondering "Should I get a Vizsla?", this page is for you. Although this breed is the smallest of the Pointers, it is also one of the best. Having a rich history that stretches back nearly a millennium, they know what to do and basically are awaiting your command. Perhaps one of the most intriguing Vizsla facts is that this may well have been the first-ever dual-purpose dog breed: they were meant to hunt as well as to live in the home. Although they are extremely friendly, they are also best for families who have a natural human alpha and has experience with this special breed.

Below is a list of Hungarian Vizsla facts including advantages as well as a few problems.


  • Extremely loving
  • Loves agility play
  • Excellent gun dog
  • Superb hunting dog
  • Beautiful show dog
  • Makes friends everywhere
  • Works well with other dogs
  • Does very well in obedience
  • Will always be at your side
  • Top-notch scenting capabilities
  • Highly skilled competition breed
  • Tend to have very low "doggy odor"
  • Is said to be a relatively healthy breed


  • Can bark a lot
  • Easily distracted
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Can be shy if not socialized
  • May not be a good watchdog or guard dog (unlikely to attack)
  • Quickly develops separation anxiety (leads to behavior problems)
  • Must be accompanied to prompt exercise
  • Will chase and kill smaller animals and birds
  • Blowouts happen twice annually and are messy
  • Not good in homes with very young or small children
12 - 15 yrs.
21 - 25 in.
45 - 65 lbs
OverallFamily FriendlyChild FriendlyPet FriendlyStranger Friendly
Easy to GroomEnergy LevelExercise NeedsHealthShedding Amount
Barks / HowlsEasy to TrainGuard DogPlayfulnessWatch Dog
Apartment DogCan be AloneGood for Busy OwnersGood for New OwnersIntelligence

Vizsla Breed Description

This lovable, clingy and all-purpose dog is rare but remarkable. She is excellent as a family companion, a show dog, a hunting canine and as a competitor. To have your Vizsla swimming with you, hiking the mountains or doing most anything you like, is sure to be a great experience. Although training may take years and be difficult, and living conditions restricted to other dogs or perhaps no other pets at all, this is a great dog through and through.

Vizlas are incredibly intelligent, and it's best that they be trained by an experienced professional. If these dogs are not properly managed so that they wait for commands, they can be more than challenging.

When it comes to Vizsla dogs 101, the first thing you'll always learn is that these "velcro" dogs are almost literally that: constantly clinging. Wherever you may roam, they'll be your shadow. These dogs probably develop separation anxiety quicker than any other breed.

No Vizsla breed information is complete without understanding the energy of the breed. These dogs need more than a moderate amount of exercise every day. While there are a few breeds that require more exercise than the Vizsla, there are few — if any — that require one other thing: you. Even if you have a large yard from which your Vizsla won't escape, you will need to be on hand to get her to run and play. She simply won't do so on her own.

Vizsla Breed History

The Vizsla origin is believed to have been in a variety of breeds both extinct and extant: the Balkan Beagle Bloodhounds, the ancient Foxhound, the Greyhound, the Pammion Hound, the Romanian Copie, sundry Setters, the Sloughi, the German Vortsthund, and last but certainly not least — Yellow Turkish dogs. While it is not known exactly how this breed came about, there is no doubt that it was an intentionally bred, highly desired, all-purpose dog whose emergence from Hungary was a horrific one.

The Vizsla history is a long, noble and sad one. It is believed that for nearly 1,000 years, the Vizsla had been a prized dog kept by kings, nobility and war lords. All of that came crashing down in the early 20th century when the region was twice the center of a world war and thereafter the spoils of one victor starting yet another war. Prior to the devastating modern calamity, Vizslas — or a dog closely resembling the breed — were depicted in stone etchings, manuscripts and paintings dating back to the 14th century.

By the 18th century, the dog was well-established historically. There were numerous dog competitions throughout Europe, and the Vizsla excelled in many of them. Alongside the development of hunting firearms, the Vizsla was recognized as a great gun dog. In the midst of World War I, as the breed was threatened with extinction, modern breeding began. In 1936, the FCI formally recognized the Short-Haired Hungarian Vizsla. Then came World War II.

Both because of as well as due to the dog's exclusivity, the Vizla nearly died out again. The upper classes that kept them were immediate targets for the Russian forces sweeping into Europe after WW2 — which meant their dogs were also at risk (at least of being left behind); those that made it out had no time for pedigree papers.

The breed enjoyed a rebound in the United States in the 1950s. Working with the U.S. State Department, a Missouri resident named Frank Tallman accepted three imported Vizlas to provide foundation stock. The first known U.S. litter was born in 1952 and in the following year, 1953, Tallman incorporated the Magyar Vizsla Club of America. By 1960, the AKC formally recognized the Vizsla. The dog became ever more popular, and these days the breed remains strongly emergent.

*There was apparently a long-lost document in the form of a hand-written letter from the 1960s; it was recovered in 2010 in Canada. Claiming that it "identifies the ancestors of all Hungarian Vizslas today," the letter was translated from Hungarian into English. It may be read in its entirety at Those who have or wish to get a Vizsla will surely want to read this.

Vizsla Appearance

The Vizsla, which is the smallest of all Pointers, is a tall, slim and unique-looking dog that to the lay eye may easily be confused with a Redbone Coonhound, a Rhodesian Ridgeback or a Weimaraner. A Vizsla tends to be thinner, however, and has one feature that stands out from all other breeds: a uniform hue throughout her hair, eyes, nose and toenails that matches the short-haired, golden-rust-color Vizsla coat.

Like those breeds with which they appear somewhat similar, this dog has a large, slightly domed head, a big, squarish muzzle and huge, floppy ears that frame eyes that are sure to melt your heart. The long, arched neck is muscular. A sleek body, strong chest and docked tail — to about 2/3rds the original length — complete the dog. Note, these are not the same as the Wirehaired Vizslas which sport bearded faces.

Vizsla Colors

The images below represent the coat colors and patterns associated with Vizslak.

Additional Coat Colors
Golden rust
Red Golden
Sandy Yellow

Vizsla Variations

There are not really any variations of the Vizsla — and certainly none that are accepted by the AKC. Still, there are many varieties of the basic coat color, and these are explained elsewhere on this page. Some may say that the long-haired Vizsla that occasionally pops up is a variation, but informed sources proclaim this a mutation. Reputable breeders will not use a long-haired Vizsla for breeding.

There is a separate breed called the Wire coated Vizsla, and this is certainly not a variation. There is also no such thing as a miniature Vizsla or another size type.

Vizsla Temperament

Don't let their focused ability and unhesitant ferocity in the field fool you; the Hungarian Vizsla temperament is a complex one. They are dual-purpose dogs — meaning a sporting dog that was also a family companion. They are extremely clingy, and for this reason, they are nicknamed "velcro dogs."

Separation anxiety is just one of the many notable Vizsla characteristics. Because these dogs are so demanding, intelligent and amiable, they will make friends everywhere. Training may be difficult, and you will have to be far more patient than with most dogs (as well as either be experienced or seek experienced trainers), but once the Vizsla starts seeking to please you, there'll be no stopping her.

There is no singular Vizsla personality, however, for some will be hard-headed, perpetually energetic and ready for the hunt; others will be relatively laid-back and much better as therapy dogs. Regardless of your Vizsla's energy levels, she will always be sensitive, loyal and working. Be sure to give her a worthwhile job to help her burn off that mental and physical energy. You should also know that this breed is very vocal, and while you will want to train her to only speak when needed, she should not be entirely prevented from barking, whining, etc.

Living Requirements

Owning a Vizsla can be challenging, but with consistent, patient and careful training, they'll learn to be great family dogs who won't wake the neighbors. Perhaps the one thing that must be reiterated is their separation anxiety. Pretty much no amount of training will prevent her — in the prolonged absence of Vizla owners — from barking, chewing on things and generally destroying property. Otherwise, these extremely friendly dogs can be a bit more vocal than most.

Although they are field dogs who excel in pointing, hunting and retrieving, Vizslas are not outdoor dogs — especially in less-than-warm climates. They are fine indoors, but they must be taken outside a couple times daily for long periods of exercise, or allowed into a high-fenced yard. They will chase small animals, however, and so they must always be on a lead or in a secure area.

This dog may not be best for those who have allergies. The Vizsla is not hypoallergenic, and while they don't shed a lot, they do have two annual blowouts that will amaze you despite the dog's very short-haired coat.

Vizsla Health

Some say that the Vizla is apparently not prone to many health problems, and that the breed tends to be susceptible to the typical ailments that target all dogs:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures
  • Allergies
  • Eye ailments
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Von Willibrand's disease

The Vizsla Club of America's "Welfare Foundation 2008 Health Survey" is a remarkable endeavor, started in 2008, that has provided a baseline for future Vizsla health studies. You can access it on their website for thorough health information.

Vizsla Health Concerns

Below are potential health concerns associated with Vizslak.

Sebaceous adenitis
Hip dysplasia

Related Pages

About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:April 14, 2017