Adopting A Hungarian Vizsla

History and origin: Hungary’s national dog, the Hungarian Vizsla is a hunting dog who first appeared in Central Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries.  He was used to locate and flush birds for falconers, whose trained birds of prey would then bring the hunted birds down.  The Vizsla’s short coat allowed him to be used in the warmer climates of southern Hungary.

Description: The Vizsla stands 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 45 and 60 pounds.  He has a short, low-maintenance shedding coat that requires regular brushing to keep it in healthy condition.  The color is a rich rust.  The tail is docked.

About the breed: The Vizsla is a distinguished -looking dog and one of the purest breeds in the world.  He is an active, playful, happy dog who makes an excellent family pet.  This is an alert hunting breed who is good at pointing and retrieving and has a personality somewhere between that of a Pointer and a spaniel.  Although he is easy to train, this breed is sensitive and stubborn, a combination that makes training a challenge.  Also, similar to the Pointer, the Vizsla can be easily distracted by scent and may choose to ignore your commands if he smells something worth looking for.  He can be timid around strangers and so must be socialized early on.  He is usually fine with other dogs and with children, so long as no roughhousing occurs.

Some Vizslas can be hard to housebreak and can be submissive wetters.  The Vizsla needs early obedience training to overcome a tendency toward nonthinking hyperactivity. The “Come” command is especially important, as it is with any breed with strong scenting ability. Due to his sensitive yet stubborn nature, the training must be firm but never harsh.  Daily exercise is mandatory; without it, this breed will become restless and destructive.  His lean, muscular body makes him the perfect jogging partner.  Any kind of retrieving, field, or agility work will help direct this active breed’s energy.

Feeding:  Recommended feeding for this breed is 1 ½ — 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal amount or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.

Ideal home: The Vizsla needs to live in a house with a fenced yard and does not do well in the apartment.  He needs daily exercise and perhaps a job such as hunting, retrieving, or agility work.  A hunter or jogger would enjoy this dog.  Cold climates are not the best for this short-coated breed.  Children are fine as long as they do not roughhouse.  The owner of a Vizsla must be patient yet firm, and must enjoy a dog with boundless energy.  Harsh training techniques will ruin the dog.  A Vizsla owner must have time to train and socialize this breed, which can be destructive and noisy if left alone for long periods.  The elderly and disabled should avoid this active breed.