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 http://countryoforiginvizslas.com/breed-standard/history. Those who have or wish to get a Vizsla will surely want to read this.