Described as lively, intelligent, obedient, sensitive, and easily trained by the kennel club, Hungarian Vizlas have become an increasingly popular breed choice, with over 3000 being registered with the kennel club in 2022. So the questions begs, why are they becoming increasingly popular, and would a vizsla be right for you?
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Part of the UKC gundog group, vizslas are considered a medium breed, usually weighing between 20-30kg (44-66lbs) with bitches slightly smaller than their male counterparts. Their coats are short and come in a beautiful rust colour, with brown noses and long floppy ears. They shed minimally and don’t tend to drool so are soft furnishing friendly! Considered a separate breed to the Hungarian Vizsla, the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla is a longer coated variation of the breed.
Hungarian Vizslas are a faithful breed; often described as “Velcro dogs” due to their loyalty and need to be close to their owners. As lovely as it is to have a dog that highly values time spent with you, watch out for signs of separation anxiety; this attentiveness to their owners can leave them more prone to developing this behavioural problem. As a highly intelligent and energetic breed, they are also very trainable and do well in activities such as scent training (capitalising on their strong scent drive), obedience training and dog sports such as agility and canicross. When training a vizsla it is important to remember they are also known to be sensitive, and positive, reward-based training method is always recommended.
As any working breed, these dogs need plenty of space to let off steam and play. The exact amount of exercise required for each dog varies a lot. But many vizsla owners report needing at least an hour of moderate exercise daily. This doesn’t have to mean walking the same route for an hour every day, as the same scents and sights quickly become less stimulating. Therefore they will be less likely to tire your dog out. We recommend varying activities daily to keep a high drive dog stimulated and happy, such as using a mix of scent games, obedience training, retrieving games and walks in new places, both on and off lead, as well as utilising food dispensing toys.
The 2020 Breed Health Co-ordinators’ Annual Health Report prioritised autoimmune disorders, cancer and epilepsy as the top health concerns for the breed. Hypersensitivities such as skin allergies have also been seen to commonly affect the Vizsla. As with most large breeds, hip dysplasia is a known problem. And those buying a vizsla puppy are encouraged to source from health tested parents, to include hip and elbow scoring and eye screening also. Vizslas are a breed known to the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to be predisposed to pectinate ligament abnormality (PLA), this abnormality in the eye increases risk of developing primary glaucoma. Because of this, eye screening is recommended for all Vizslas being bred. Wirehaired Hungarian Vizslas are also pre- disposed to hyperuricosuria, a condition increasing the chance of them developing urinary stones. This condition can also be tested for in breeding parents.
Is a Vizsla the right dog for me?
The negative side of this high level of energy and intelligence is that the Vizsla can become easily bored if their needs aren’t met, which can lead to destructive behaviours such as excessive chewing and barking. This means they’re not suitable for dog owners looking for a low maintenance breed. And they more suited to families who will have the time and motivation to put their drive to good use. They may also be less well suited to families with young children, due to their size and energy levels. However if you’re looking for a loyal companion to spend an active lifestyle with, the Vizsla may be the dog for you. Generally healthy, well-tempered and social, this breed makes a fantastic pet.