Other names: Vizsla, Wirehaired Vizsla, Hungarian Pointer, Magyar Vizsla, Rövidszörü Magyar Vizsla, Drötzörü Magyar Vizsla
The Hungarian Pointer exists in two varieties: the short-coated and the wire-haired Vizsla. The two breeds are distinct but possess the same working skills. They are versatile hunting dogs, employed in plains, woods and water. The Vizsla, as it is more commonly known, has an incredible sense of smell, is a great retriever and has a fair amount of social competence. In this, he is a premium choice for an assistant to any hunter. He is also an excellent companion dog that brings joy to both small and big ones alike, and that can adapt to many different lifestyles.
Key facts about the Hungarian Vizsla
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Origins and history
We know very little about his origins: he is perhaps the result of a cross between a Hungarian Hound (a short-legged Transylvanian or Pannonian Hound) and a ‘yellow’ hunting dog from Turkey. Recent studies have brought attention to the presence of Sloughi (Arabian Greyhound) blood in him too. The breed, more commonly called Vizsla, is believed to have been born in the 17th century, but has attained its current characteristics over the course of the 19th century, through cross-breeding with various foreign Pointer breeds.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 7 - Pointing Dogs
Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Hungarian Vizsla
Female : Between 21 and 24 in
Male : Between 23 and 25 in
Female : Between 40 and 77 lb
Male : Between 44 and 60 lb
Generally fawn or sand-coloured, the coat can be any shade of russet gold.
Type of coat
The coat is short.
The short-haired variety has a close-lying coat, coarse and hard to the touch, and lacks an undercoat.
The wire-haired variety has a coat that is commonly described as ‘wiry’, spread flat, dense and matte, with an abundant and water-repellent undercoat.
The eyes usually match the coat but should be as dark as possible.
The Hungarian Pointer is a very handsome, medium-sized dog, with a noble appearance and light bone structure, lean muscles and very resistant tendons. He has the physique of a genuine athlete, made to run. The head is narrow and the muzzle blunt, not pointy. The stop is moderate. The eyes are rather oval, and exude an intelligent expression. The ears are set slightly to the back and fold flat over the cheeks. The lips are thin and adherent. The limbs are straight and upright: the hind legs form quite an open angle. The tail is carried horizontally in short-haired varieties while it is carried quite low and curled over in the wire-haired variety. In addition to this, the wire-haired variety has a slightly more significant body mass.
Good to know
The wire-haired Vizsla is indeed a breed in its own right, created in 1930, but does nevertheless possess the same capacities and temperament as the short-haired Vizsla.
This pointing dog is very close to his social group and loyal to his master. He is just as happy outside while working at his master’s side, as he is in the warm comfort of his home. He can adapt to all lifestyles and appreciates the comforts of indoor living.
Always active and naturally cheerful, this pointer loves to play and enjoys strategy games in particular (intelligence-based games, treasure hunts, etc.).
Be careful not to play ‘fetch’ too often, as it reinforces the already pronounced retrieving instinct.
This active dog is far from being the little dog that spends his days snoozing on the couch.
However, rather balanced by nature, he can be calm and still, given that all his needs are satisfied as regularly as possible.
Like many work dogs, this Hungarian dog is very smart and knows how to best apply his skills to the tasks he is entrusted with. His intelligence is made evident by his remarkable versatility, and allows him to fulfil all of his master’s wishes.
This dog is known for his hunting skills, he is versatile and can adapt to all landscapes, even the most challenging ones. On plains, in the woods or water, he expresses his full potential with elegance, endurance and determination.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Never shy nor aggressive, the Vizsla welcomes guests in his home open-heartedly and is just as friendly with strangers encountered during walks. Having said this, being very attached to his social group, if he feels that his family is in danger, he can rapidly turn into a deterrent.
Hunting dogs are usually quite independent, but this certainly isn’t the case of the Hungarian Pointer, who would do anything to please his kin. He never tires of doing so, and remains very loyal to members of his social group, and to his master in particular.
Behaviour of the Hungarian Vizsla
If the Vizsla pup is taught to spend time alone at home from a young age, he can absolutely tolerate his owners’ absences, even once he becomes an adult.
Bear in mind however that this work dog requires a lot of stimulation, both in physical and mental terms, and can therefore get bored easily. Prolonged absences will not be tolerated.
Easy to train / obedience
The Vizsla is reputed as being particularly submissive and easy to train, and this is far from being hearsay. This work dog does indeed love to learn, and to please their master.
Therein, he is a very pleasant and cooperative companion, especially if his owner’s approach is coherent, good-willed and fair.
Brutality does not work with this sensitive dog, who digs his heels in at the faintest demonstration of violence, be it physical or psychological.
Like any respectable Pointer, this dog gets to bark easily, which can quickly become excessive if the Vizsla pup is not taught to channel his barking in other ways from a youngest possible age.
Tendency to run away
Even if it can be reined in through appropriate training, the Vizsla’s hunting instinct still remains very pronounced. This continental pointing dog will indeed hit the road in pursuit of an interesting trail whenever it is possible.
He can be destructive when he starts getting bored or if a positive and gradual habituation towards being alone hasn’t been carried out while the Vizsla was still a pup.
Greedy / Gluttony
Even if snacks will not be indispensable to the training process, they can help move it along and are a welcome addition for this dog that is somewhat gourmand, but not excessively so.
Very sociable and never aggressive, this dog is exclusively made for hunting or companionship, not for guardianship.
Docile, smart, sociable and jovial, this dog is perfect for a first adoption. However, despite his many qualities, you must not forget that he is a work dog and has significant daily physical and mental needs. His owners owe it to him to be available and active.
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Hungarian Vizsla in a flat
Even if it is said that a pointing dog can adapt to an urban lifestyle and live in a flat, his ideal environment would still undeniably remain the countryside.
What’s more, whether he lives in a flat or a house with a garden, and whether he resides inside or outside, this dog needs several walks a day that consist of more than just doing his ‘business’.
The walks must be long, varied and preferably off the leash (if the environment is secure) for this athletic dog to fully express his potential.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Enduring, active and intelligent, this dog will be the perfect companion to an athletic owner with whom he can practice several canine sports, such as: cani-cross, bikejoring, musical freestyle, tracking, mantrailing, hunting, agility, flyball, etc.
In short, anything that would help stimulate the dog in a physical, mental or olfactive way is welcome.
Idleness, isolation and boredom can literally destroy this work dog, that is otherwise very balanced by nature.
Travelling / easy to transport
His medium size, sociability and docility do allow this hunting dog to accompany his owners on various trips without any problems. However, many places still refuse the presence of dogs, which is often the only obstacle in transporting and travelling with this dog.
Hungarian Vizsla and cats
Contrary to what one might expect, this hunting dog can absolutely get along with his feline counterparts. It is still advised that he grows up by the cat’s side to fully consider it a part of his social group.
Hungarian Vizsla and dogs
Very sociable, it is rare for this dog to initiate fights with his fellow canines. However, this should not stop you from socialising the Vizsla pup in a precocious manner, from his very first months, to ensure that he develop and reinforce his ‘canine code of conduct’.
Hungarian Vizsla and children
The Magyar Vizsla, as he is called in his native country, loves children and very much enjoys spending time with them as long as they respect him, and learn to leave him be when he is resting in his basket, for instance.
Hungarian Vizsla and the elderly
This pointing dog constant need for activity is not compatible with a sedentary life.
The price of a Hungarian Pointer varies depending on its origins, age, and variety (short-haired or wire-haired). You have to count an average of £1010 for dogs subscribed to the Kennel Club.
With regards to the monthly budget required to meet the needs of a dog of this size, you have to estimate an average of £40 per month.
This hunting dog doesn’t require much maintenance, bearing in mind that the wire-haired variety requires more brushes than the short-haired one, that is, in order to maintain the aesthetic and protective qualities of his coat.
Other than that, the folded ears must be checked and cleaned regularly.
Lacking an undercoat, hair loss is less significant in short-haired individuals than it is in the wire-haired variety. But at any rate, hair loss is most pronounced during autumn and spring- moulting seasons. During these periods, brushes will have to be carried out daily.
Nutrition of the Hungarian Vizsla
This dog is not at all difficult to feed- he can be just as content with dry food (kibbles) as with more traditional food (such as B.A.R.F or home-cooked).
What is key is that the daily portions be adapted to the dog’s physical activity, and that is why it is recommended to consult veterinary advice, in order to meet this work dog’s needs as best as possible.
Be careful about very active dogs, which must be at rest before and after every meal, in order to minimise the risk of gastric torsion.
Health of the Hungarian Vizsla
The average life expectancy is 12 years.
Strong / robust
Even if he braves all kinds of challenging weather, the Hungarian Pointer is only moderately robust, unlike his fellow Pointers, which are generally more resilient.
The absence of an undercoat in the short-haired Vizsla helps him tolerate heat. Since he loves the water, walks around water sources are recommended.
When he’s working, this dog can tolerate challenging weather without a problem. And even though he prefers to be part of a social group, he can also reside outside, as he is not particularly vulnerable to the cold.
Tendency to put on weight
It is only those dogs that do not get a sufficient amount of exercise that could indeed be prone to excess weight, but the latter remains a very rare case with this breed, in light of how energetic it is.
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye defects