Hungarian Short-haired Pointing Dog (Rövidszörü Magyar Vizsla)

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various shades of russet gold and dark sandy gold (semmelgelb)
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • friendly
  • forms strong bonds with its family
  • great guardian
  • easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • very energetic
  • needs a lot of daily exercises

The Vizsla is an outstanding multifunctional working dog with its homeland in Hungary. This universal hunter is best known for its red coat and pleasant temperament. Nowadays it enjoys wide-spread popularity as a companion dog and its number in the Western countries never stops growing.

The Vizsla owed its creation to Magyar people (Hungarians), which had already bred this dog as early as 1000 years ago. When the Magyar people abandoned its nomadic life and settled on a huge territory in the Carpathian Basin it became significant challenge to find accessible source of protein. The easiest way to provide itself with highly nutritional meat was hunting wild birds.

Ancient Hungarians used the combination of falcon and the Vizsla in their hunting. The Vizsla would detect the birds with its scenting abilities and then point the hunter its seat. Tasked falcon would then be set free to kill and fetch the winged prey. The word «Vizsla» is translated as «pointer» from Hungarian and this perfectly signifies the main function that the dog carried in the hunt. Gradually the breed was adapted to hunt all sorts of game from rabbit to bear. It proved to have excellent retrieving skills as well as supreme nose and serious attitude towards its working responsibilities.

The first depiction of the Vizsla can be found on the primitive stone cravings nearly the I A.D., where it is showed in hunting scene with Magyar lords and falcons. Since then the breed was only referred with connection to the Hungarian aristocracy. So it was granted a nickname «Gift of Kings» which describes its noble past. During the Turkish occupation the Vizsla was mixed with the Yellow Pointer and acquired from it unique red colour of its coat.

During the XVIII century both German and British gundogs were brought into Hungary and replaced the Vizsla in its primarily role. Towards the end of this century there were too few pure-blooded dogs left in its homeland. Several committed breeders set a goal to restore former popularity of the breed and their efforts proved to be successful. It’s a common believe that they mixed the Vizsla with the English Pointer, German Shorthaired Pointer and Irish Setter.

The aftermaths of the two World Wars terribly affected not only the well-being of Hungarian people but they were also catastrophic for Hungarian dogs including the Vizsla. Furthermore the communist occupation made out of the dog’s breeding highly dangerous hobby since it was associated with much-hated aristocracy. As the result the Vizsla was threatened by complete extinction. The breed was saved by a handful of Hungarian refugees and several American soldiers, who exported their Vizslas in other countries.

The breed arrived to America in 60s of the XX century and got recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1960.The United Kennel Club (UKC) approved it in 1984. In Western countries the Vizsla is valued generally for its overall versatility. Its outstanding scenting talents have been successfully used in airport security, drug detection, search and rescue, arson detection. It’s still actively engaged in hunting activity but more and more animals serve solely as trustworthy and sweet companion dogs.

The Vizsla was not developed exclusively for working purpose but its breeders also strived to enhance its qualities as a pleasant family pet. They fully accomplished this ambitious goal and created highly people-oriented dog, which was effective in its working duties and good-natured and sociable in the home environment. This dog is prone to experience severe separation anxiety so it shouldn’t be left alone for a long time. It will make an infatigable participant of all children’s games but should be trained to control its turbulent energy in order not to harm a child in the heat of the play.

The Vizsla is always open to new acquaintances and meets strangers with welcoming wagging of its tail. That’s way it will become a poor guard dog, which will happily greet an intruder and agreeably show him in the house. This watchful dog is capable to signal about the approach of a stranger to your door but it will be done only out of anticipation to make a new friend.

This breed was not exhibit to the company of other canine animals but it’s quite all right with them and doesn’t apt to display any sorts of aggression. The Vizsla will gratefully share its life with several other dogs and the more, the merrier. Nevertheless it’s not recommended for co-habituation with small breeds since it may harm them unintentionally in especially exuberant game. This dog was tasked to detect and retrieve back prey and not to kill it so it’s quite capable of living peacefully with other home pets including a cat. It’s worth to consider though that frisky and highly energetic Vizsla may accidentally hurt other pet in attempt to invite it into a play.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• epilepsy;
• sebaceous adenitis;
• eyes problems;
• hypothyroidism;
• lymphosarcoma.

The Vizsla has short coat, which will require nothing more than occasional brushing. This means that it’s really easy to maintain it in a neat condition. The dog’s floppy years are prone to attract dirt and grime so the owner should check and clean them on the regular basis.

The rest consists of common care procedures and includes nail clipping, rare baths, teeth brushing, and so on. The Vizsla sheds moderately and permanently. Nonetheless its short and pale hair will be fairly unnoticeable on your clothes, carpets and furniture.

The Vizsla is renowned for its eagerness to please and diligence in training. This dog is smart enough to learn wide variety of doggy tricks except for some assignments, which demand enormous power or ferocity. As a rule it excels at agility and obedience competition as well as performs with fabulous results in field trials.

The breed also provides a wonderful companionship for handicapped and can be trained to become a reasonable police dog. The Vizsla’s training plan should have only positive reinforcement in its core since abusive training techniques are absolutely unacceptable with this dog.

The Vizsla usually brims with energy and craves to spend most of its day playing and running. That’s why an average active family will have to really try its best in order to keep this dog fully satisfied. A vigorous walk with this dog should last minimum an hour but the majority of the specimens will demand much more.

The unwelcomed deviations in the behaviour of the Vizsla appear usually as the result of a lack of physical activity. The breed isn’t suitable for individuals with unstable working schedule or who are not ready to spend at least ten to fifteen hours of their times per week in walking and playing with this dog. Ideally the dog should have an opportunity to take care for its exercise need itself in a spacious yard adjusted to your house.