Vizsla: Breed Profile

| Updated: August 19, 2023
Vizsla dog standing at attention

Origin History of the Vizsla:

The origin of the Vizsla is steeped in history. The breed is believed to have descended from ancient hunting dogs used by the Magyar people, who settled in Hungary more than a thousand years ago. These dogs were likely used to hunt game birds and hares and were developed to both point and retrieve. Images of this fantastic breeds past can be found in art from as early as the 10th century and a 14th-century manuscript.

By the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Vizsla had become a distinct breed with excellent scenting powers, and they were even used to deliver messages during World War I. Unfortunately, the aftermath of the two World Wars nearly brought an end to the breed. Fortunately, they managed to survive and the first members of the breed were imported to the United States in the early 1950s.

At that time, the breed looked much different than today, with longer muzzles, bonier top skulls, and some even had a houndy appearance with long ears. The Vizsla Club of America was formed in 1954 and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1960. Since then, breeders have worked to standardize the Vizsla’s distinctive appearance and aristocratic bearing. Today, dogs of this breed are beloved companions and can be found performing a multitude of jobs. Moderately popular, they are ranking 43rd among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Vizsla dog in a field of wildflowers
Credit: Olga Zarzycka / 500px/ Gettyimages

Vizsla Appearance:

The Vizsla is an elegant and graceful breed with an athletic physique. They have a lean, muscular frame covered in a short and smooth coat. The predominant color of the coat is solid golden rust, although some breeders offer darker mahogany red, pale yellow, and other variations. The eyes and nose come in various shades of brown. They have a wide chest and a long, thin tail that is slightly curved. Their head is proportionate to the size of their body and they have long, pointed ears. They also has a distinctively noble and intelligent expression. Overall, this is a strong and graceful breed with a distinctive look.

Studio portrait of Vizsla Dog in Studio
Credit: Catherine Ledner/ Gettyimages

Diet and Nutrition:

Vizslas are a highly active breed that requires a diet that provides them with the energy they need to stay healthy and active. As with all dog breeds, it is important to feed your loveable pooch a high-quality diet that is tailored to meet their individual needs. This means providing them with a diet that is rich in protein and fat, as these are necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy muscles and joints. Additionally, a good diet should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

When it comes to feeding your dog, it is important to stick to a regular feeding schedule. This will ensure that your pup is getting the right amount of food at the right times, which can help him maintain a healthy weight. A good rule of thumb is to feed twice a day, with each meal consisting of 1-2 cups of high-quality dog food, depending on their age, size, and activity level. If you are unsure of how much or how often to feed your pup, consult with your veterinarian for advice.

It is also important to provide your Vizsla with plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. This will help to keep them hydrated and will also help keep their energy levels up. Additionally, it is important to provide your fur baby with plenty of mental stimulation and exercise to help keep them fit and active. This includes providing them with daily walks, interactive toys, and plenty of playtimes with their family. By providing your pup with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and mental stimulation, you can help to ensure that they live a long and happy life.

Common Health Issues Affecting Vizslas:

Common Health Issues affecting Vizslas can include joint-related issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas, and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). Vizslas are also prone to a variety of eye disorders, such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and entropion, a condition that causes the eyelids to roll inward and irritate the eye. They can also suffer from epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Heart issues, such as cardiomyopathy and patent ductus arteriosus, are also common in Vizslas. Finally, they can also be affected by various skin problems, such as dermatitis, allergies, and mange.

It’s important to be aware of the potential health issues that Vizslas may face and to take the necessary steps to try and prevent them. And always remember, regular vet checkups are essential, and it’s important to feed any dog a healthy, balanced diet to help keep them in optimal condition. It’s also important to make sure that your Vizsla gets plenty of exercise, as this will help keep them fit and healthy.

An alert muscular Vizsla dog stands in grass on the edge of a blue lake while it rains.
Credit: Hillary Kladke/ Gettyimages

Interesting Facts About Vizslas:

Vizslas are an incredibly unique and interesting breed! Here are some interesting facts about the Vizsla that you may not know:

  • 1. The Vizsla is one of the oldest breeds in the world, dating back to at least the 10th century. This breed was used as a loyal hunting companion by the Magyar people, who lived in the area of modern-day Hungary.
  • 2. The Vizsla is known for its incredible sense of smell and is able to detect the presence of birds, game, and other animals from up to a mile away.
  • 3. Being incredibly loyal and affectionate dogs, often described as being “velcro dogs” because they become so attached to their owners.
  • 4. Vizslas are also incredibly intelligent and have been used in many different roles, from police dogs to therapy dogs.
  • 5. The Vizsla is an energetic breed that needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
  • 6. The Vizsla is the national dog of Hungary and is often referred to as the “Magyar Vizsla.”

Where to Adopt or Buy:

The best place to adopt or buy a Vizsla is from a reputable breeder or a rescue organization. Reputable breeders should be familiar with the breed and provide detailed information on the dog’s history and lineage. They should also provide a health guarantee and be willing to answer questions.

Hungarian Vizsla puppy dog laying on sofa. Hungarian Vizsla Gundog.
Credit: Anthony Brawley Photography/ Gettyimages

Rescue organizations are a great option if you are looking for an adult Vizsla who has already gone through the puppy stage. They can provide detailed information on the dog’s background, as well as information on their physical and mental health.

Adopting from a rescue organization is also a great way to give a Vizsla a second chance at life. If you do decide to purchase a puppy from a breeder, make sure they are a responsible breeder and has a good reputation. Ask questions such as how long they have been breeding Vizslas and whether the parents have been tested for health issues. You should also ask for a written contract outlining the terms of the sale. As always, it is important to do your research before deciding to adopt or buy a Vizsla.


The Vizsla is a loyal, loving, and affectionate dog that is perfect for a family that can provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are very intelligent and biddable, making them easy to train with positive reinforcement. They are also very energetic and need plenty of exercise and activity to stay happy and healthy.

They make great watchdogs and can even compete in dog sports and activities. However, they need to be socialized early and not left alone for long periods of time. They get along well with children, other dogs, and cats, but may not be the best choice for homes with small pets. The Vizsla is an excellent choice for those looking for an active, loving, and loyal companion.


Q: Are Vizslas good family dogs?

A: Yes! Vizslas are highly affectionate and loyal dogs that thrive in families. They are known for their intelligence and athleticism, making them ideal family pets. They love to play and be around people, and they are very easy to train. With proper socialization, they can get on great with children and other animals.

Q: How much exercise do Vizslas need?

A: Vizslas need plenty of exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. They are highly energetic and need at least an hour of physical activity every day. This can include walks, runs, hikes, and games of fetch. They also need plenty of mental stimulation, so keep them busy with toys and interactive activities.

Q: Are Vizslas prone to any health issues?

A: Vizslas are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Not all of these dogs will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed. Common health issues include hip and thyroid dysplasia, epilepsy, and skin allergies.

Q: What kind of grooming do Vizslas need?

A: Vizslas have a short, smooth coat that lies close to the body and only needs to be brushed with a rubber curry brush and wiped down with a damp cloth. They should also have their nails trimmed once or twice a month. Additionally, they should have regular veterinary checkups to keep them healthy.

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