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The aristocratic Hungarian Vizsla, also sometimes called the Hungarian Pointer, is an outstandingly well balanced dog that combines athleticism, poise and field trainability (hunt, point and retrieve), with the addition of being a fabulous family pet.
As the name suggested, the Hungarian Vizsla has its roots in Hungary and Eastern Europe and can be traced back as far as the 9th century with drawings and carving in caves in the Carpathian Mountains depicting a master, his hunting birds and a Vizsla like dog at his feet. In these early years, this type of dog was bred to be a working dog who accompanied the nomadic people of the region to hunt, point and retrieve various game, from the smallest mammals to large and dangerous bears and boars. They continued being a popular dog for this purpose and by the 13th century the dog had evolved into the beautiful and distinctive red-gold colour animal we know today.
The name 'Vizsla' is first recorded in manuscripts dating from the mid 1300's and it has been revealed that the prefix 'Vis' is derived from one of the oldest dialects in the Hungarian language meaning 'to search'.
By the 1800's, the Vizsla was a popular dog with the aristocracy, being prized for its noble appearance, courage and trainability as a sporting dog. It was held in high esteem and after a hard day's work, it was allowed to sleep and live with the family as a companion. The popularity of this dog continues to this day and is still used as a reliable working dog and family pet. The Vizsla has played a part in the development of other Pointer breeds of dog including the Weimaraner.
Average height to withers: Males between 22-25 inches and females between 21-24 inches.
Average weight: 20-30kg for males and 18-25 for females.
This distinctive and beautiful dog really does have a noble and aristocratic air about it and never fails to impress. Its main, striking feature it the short, satin coat which shines with health in an autumnal, rusty golden red colour. There are various shades within this colour, from coppery browns to sunset, russet reds. All are acceptable and they may also have some small white markings on the feet and chest although breeders find this undesirable. The coat is short and there is no under coat.
The build of the dog is lean but robust and muscular. The skull is well defined with a longish muzzle and quite widely set between the ears. The ears themselves are soft, on the larger side and v shaped which lie close to the head and fall forwards and its nose will always seem to 'blend' into its coat. The eyes are usually a darker colour than the coat but yellow or black eyes are considered to be undesirable. The moderately long, arched neck falls away into strong shoulders and a broad, deep chest. The back in level, quite short with quite a high rump.
The overall appearance of the Vizsla is well balanced and regal.
The Hungarian Vizsla is often called the 'velcro' dog, earned through its loyal habit of sticking closely and attaching to a specific person within the family. A lively mix of gentleness, obedience, loyalty and fearlessness, the Vizsla is a high energy dog that is demonstratively affectionate and is a good companion for children being patient and kind towards them.
Highly intelligent, the Vizsla requires a lot of exercise and stimulation and is quite easy to train, using gentle methods - this is a sensitive dog which does not respond well to harsh methods and loud voices. The instinct in this dog to hunt and retrieve is strong in this breed, both on land and in the water, but this does not usually create any issues if the main role for the dog is as a family pet. This dog is also noted for its desire to be with people. Given the opportunity it will happily spend all its time with its family and can often be found under the covers in the bedroom, having burrowed its way in!
This is a very healthy and robust breed of dog and is affected by few conditions or illnesses. On average, it lives between 10-14 years. One of the more common issues with the Vizsla is skin conditions and allergies which, when given its very short fur, is not surprising.
The Vizsla is low maintenance in terms of grooming, requiring minimal care. It is also very low odour even when wet and sheds very little. Given its susceptibility to allergies, a regular flea and tick treatment is advisable as well as regular skin checks to make sure no allergies or rashes have appeared. This dog is best suited to a family or owner with an active lifestyle who was to include their dog in all there pursuits as it is a dog that is quite reliant on people.