Copyright © 1998 by Lisa Clowdus
- Nov 1995, Vizsla mailing list updated
- Feb 1998, Rewritten
The Vizsla, or Hungarian Pointer, is thought to be one of the oldest
sporting breeds - a hunter and companion to the Magyar (Hungarian)
people. The Vizsla, whose name means alert and responsive, was prized
by the land-owning aristocracy for its hunting abilities, its regal
appearance, and its warm personality. The Vizsla's habitat was the
Hungarian plains - a warm and fertile region where partridge and other
game birds flourished. Between World War I and World War II, the
Vizsla nearly became extinct. Hungarians who fled the Russian
occupation in 1945 smuggled their beloved dogs out of the country. The
Vizsla first appeared in the United States in the early 1950s and was
admitted to AKC registry in 1960.
The Standard is the physical "blueprint" of the breed. It describes
the physical appearance and other desired qualities of the breed
otherwise known as type. Some characteristics, such as size, coat
quality, and movement, are based on the original (or current) function
for the dog. Other characteristics are more cosmetic such as eye
color; but taken together they set this breed apart from all others.
The Standard describes an ideal representative of the breed. No
individual dog is perfect, but the Standard provides an ideal for the
breeder to strive towards.
Because of copyright concerns over the collection of all the Standards
at any single site storing all the FAQs, AKC Standards are not
typically included in the Breed FAQs. The reader is referred to the
publications at the end of this document or to the National Breed Club
or to the AKC
for a copy of the Standard.
Vizslas are very friendly, affectionate, loyal dogs that make
wonderful family pets and hunting dogs. They need to be treated like a
member of the family, preferring to sleep inside and being close to
their people. Most Vizslas are lap dogs - with males weighing 55 to 65
pounds and females 45 to 55 pounds - be prepared! They do not make
good "kennel" dogs. They should be active, but not hyper. They require
daily exercise and will get into mischief if bored. Vizslas are very
easy to train, being both intelligent and eager to please. They are
sensitive and should not be severely disciplined, but are not "soft."
Vizslas love warmth and are frequently found basking in the sun.
Vizslas are outstanding hunters and will both point and retrieve. They
have very sensitive noses, good eyesight and a natural enthusiasm for
the hunt. It's fantastic to watch a Vizsla lock up on point - it's
hard to find words to express their grace, beauty and intensity. Field
trials are a large part of most Vizsla club's activity schedules.
Although Vizslas are primarily known for their skill in hunting upland
game birds such as pheasant, quail and grouse, they are also used for
hunting waterfowl and even small fur animals. Most Vizslas are strong
swimmers and should be introduced to water when they're young.
Vizslas have beautiful, soft, rust-colored coats that require very
little maintenance. They do shed, which especially shows up against
black clothes. They're clean dogs and have very little odor. There is a
wirehaired Vizsla, more common in Europe, but rare in the United
States and not recognized by the AKC.
Vizslas are commonly known by their owners as "velcro-dogs".
They are very touch-oriented and prefer to be in contact with their
people at all times. They will accompany their people everywhere,
including into the bathroom and shower. If you do not appreciate
constant canine companionship, the Vizsla is not the dog for you.
In general, Vizslas are an extremely healthy breed and it is common
for them to have a life span of over 14 years.
Some Vizslas are prone to skin and/or food allergies. They can be
sensitive to anesthesia used during surgeries and it is recommended
that owners consult their veterinarian regarding the use of a special
anesthesia, such as isofluorine gas, during surgery. Vizslas may
be sensitive to other drugs as well, consult your veterinarian for
Vizslas are susceptible to hip dysplasia, although careful breeding
has kept this problem to a minimum in the breed. All Vizslas that are
going to be bred should be x-rayed and certified clear of hip
dysplasia by the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). X-rays must
be taken after the age of 24 months, when a definitive diagnosis can
be made. If you are purchasing a puppy, make sure that both parents
have been OFA certified.
Less common genetic diseases in Vizslas include hemophilia,
von Willebrand's Disease, tail defects, and epilepsy.
As in any active sporting breed, Vizslas are energetic and
enthusiastic. However, the Vizsla should not be hyper. Good breeders
take care to breed for a good disposition, intelligence and
personality - as well as conformation and hunting skills. Vizslas do
require daily exercise, which should include running, not just
walking, and they should have companionship and toys so that
they do not become bored. A bored Vizsla can become a
Vizslas are extremely agile and can easily clear fences over six
feet (and some Vizslas may be even more "talented"). They do require
a securely fenced yard. Usually, a Vizsla will not jump high fences
to leave his yard unless he is bored or lonely.
Vizslas can live in any environment if they have enough exercise, a
warm, dry place to stay, and love and attention.
Like most dogs, Vizslas who are well socialized will get along very
well with children, cats, and other dogs. They love affection and
companionship. In general, the more people and animals that are
around them, the happier they are.
Many Vizslas are known for their "mouthing." They are very
soft-mouthed and like to gently hold a hand in their mouth. Many
like to carry articles of clothing and shoes around, like a
retriever. Most Vizslas love to retrieve.
Yes, almost every Vizsla Club has a rescue committee. Please check
for Breed Clubs using the Resources below to contact a club nearest you.
Check out the website
for all types of Vizsla information, including Vizsla Club contacts
world-wide, photographs, owner profiles, articles on health, humor and
training, Vizslas of Merit (title-holders in hunting, conformation,
obedience, agility, tracking, canine good citizen, etc.), discussion
groups, the Vizsla Listserv, links to other Vizsla sites and much more.
From the main page, select Vizsla Home Page for a detailed list of
Coffman, Marion. Versatile Vizsla. Illustrated, 272 pages, 1992.
$34.95. ISBN 0-931866-54-5. Alpine Publications Inc.
Gottlieb, Gay. The Complete Vizsla. Illustrated, 160 pages, 1992.
$25.00. ISBN 0-87605-377-0. Howell Book House.
The Vizsla News, published bimonthly by the Vizsla Club of America.
Get information on membership and subscription rates via
www.vizsladogs.com under Vizsla Home Page, select Clubs then
Vizsla Club of America.
Many local and regional Vizsla Clubs publish regular newsletters -
contact clubs for information.
There is a very active Vizsla Listserv, with over 500 members
world-wide, including everyone from new owners to people
interested in learning about the breed to people with decades
of Vizsla experience. Subjects include Vizsla characteristics,
behavior, health, training, hunting, showing, obedience, humor,
rescue and more. Both serious and light-hearted discussion is
encouraged. The list may have 50 or more messages daily
and there is a digest option available if you choose to receive
one consolidated e-mail message per day. In order to subscribe,
send a message in the following format:
In the body of the message include:
The server gets your e-mail address from the system when it is
sent. You will receive a welcome message with information about
the list, how to receive the digest version and send messages.
You can also subscribe to the Vizsla Listserv online via
www.vizsladogs.com by selecting Vizsla Listserv and following
Check out the website http://www.vizsladogs.com then go to
the Vizsla Home Page and select Clubs to find an updated list
of Vizsla Clubs world-wide. There are also links to clubs
and organizations, such as the American Kennel Club, which
list specific Vizsla standards for their country.
Check out the website http://www.vizsladogs.com then go to
the Vizsla Home Page and select Clubs or select Rescue to
get contact information on Vizslas needing rescue in your
area. Also, the Vizsla Listserv is a wonderful resource to
find Vizslas needing homes all over the world or to offer
your services to assist in Vizsla rescue.
If you need more Vizsla information or do not have access
to the world-wide web, feel free to contact me directly at
Lisa Clowdus, firstname.lastname@example.org