In order to give you the best information about the history of this great breed, we have used the same information that you will be able to find on the Vizsla Canada website. Our history does not cover the individual types of vizslas (smooth or wirehaired) but just the general breed history. You can visit the Vizsla Canada site for even more breed information.
The Vizsla breed lays a strong claim to being one of the oldest documented sporting dogs in the world. The Magyar tribes which wandered the Russian Steppes and lived in the Carpathian basin during the eighth century, were known to hunt extensively when not breeding cattle. An anonymous scribe of Hungarian King Adelbert III (1235 – 1270) wrote about the history and wanderings of the Magyars, including their use of the yellow pointing dogs called the “Vizsla”. Early illustrations of this dog appear in chronicles written by Carmelite Friars in 1357. Other Hungarian documented references to the Vizsla appear in the 1500’s.
There is little doubt that the basic Vizsla was crossbred throughout the centuries with other breeds, including hounds. The Magyars apparently always took such crosses back to the basic Vizsla because hound noses are black and the true Vizsla nose is brown or flesh coloured. Even today, the resemblance of the Vizsla is closer to the lighter wild dogs of the Russian Steppes in colour and quality of coat. The Vizslas were companion dogs of the early warlords and barons and kings. Their blood was preserved pure for centuries by the land owning aristocracy and held in high esteem by their owners.
The Vizsla has survived the Turkish occupation, the Hungarian Civil Wars, World Wars I and II, and the Russian occupancy. Late in the 19th century, the Vizsla suffered a decline and during the Second World War, came close to becoming extinct. In 1945, when the Russian occupation forces invaded Hungary, many of the wealthy aristocrats were forced to flee their beloved land. Several were able to smuggle their Vizslas and pedigree records out of the country. These owners fled to various parts of Europe and North America with their dogs and from this small, remaining Vizsla stock are descended our present day dogs. Some of these Hungarians came to Canada and the United States in the early 1950’s and brought their dogs with them.
The Vizsla Standard
Essentially pointer in type, the Vizsla is a medium sized, distinguished and very aristocratic looking dog. The tail is docked one-third and dewclaws are removed. The Vizsla is fun loving, lively, gentle, and very affectionate. It is sensitive but demonstrates a fearless protectiveness. Its desire and need to be close to people means it does not make a good kennel dog. These dogs reach their full potential when allowed to live as true family members. Males tend to mature more slowly than females.
This dog excels in the field as a distinguished upland game pointer and retriever:
- its intelligence and trainability allow it to shine in obedience
- its beauty and structure are evident in the conformation show ring
- its superior ability to scent makes it a good tracking dog
- its agility and speed serve it well in other areas such as flyball and agility competition.
Vizslas are also used in pet therapy/visitation and as hearing/seeing eye dogs.
The Vizsla is one of the most versatile breeds in the world. Did you know that the first triple champion (show, field and obedience) in the history of the American Kennel Club was a Vizsla! It was TC Kutya Kai Costa bred by Marion Coffman and owned by R. Costa. To date, only two purebred dogs are confirmed to be AKC triple champions and the second one is also a VIZSLA. “Chartay” now known as TC Legacy’s DeChartay UDX MH VC, bred by Diane Shearer and Gregory Gollick and owned by Jack and Bettylou Sharkey, became a quintuple champion, first in AKC history.
Is the Vizsla Breed for you?
Vizslas have primarily been bred for hunting, a skill in which they naturally excel. But they are also very loving and wonderful family dogs. The Vizsla is a spirited breed, marked with intelligence and a deep sense of awareness. They are very strongly connected with their caregivers and they are very loyal.
Vizslas love to play, and are very affectionate. They are social dogs, and they need to be encouraged to socialize by taking them to parks, groups, and places where they have a chance to play with other animals. As active hunting dogs they need lots of exercise and activities.
They are sensitive and need to be treated with lots of love, respect, and care, which they return tenfold. Caring, loving discipline, and training are essential in bringing out a Vizsla’s highest potential. I am sure you can see by these pictures that Vizslas are a handsome and attractive breed. Their natural attributes coupled with their attentive, ready-to-please disposition, make them wonderful companions, partners, and show dogs.
Owners need to have a home with a fenced yard and be able to provide a good balance of activities. They are easy to groom and good with children. They are very clean, with no undercoat, and rarely cause allergies.