Vizslas are a breed of dog that have become increasingly popular as pets over the years. However despite their popularity, there are still many intriguing facts about vizslas that remain largely unknown.
In this article, we will explore some of the most fascinating and little-known vizsla dog facts about this unique breed.
From their history to their personality and breed traits, you are sure to learn some new and fun vizsla facts to share with your fellow Vizsla Owners.
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.
1. The Vizsla Breed Has A Long But Tumultuous History
The first references to a vizsla-like dog breed (the yellow pointer) go back as early as the 8th century, when the Magyar nomads began settling in the region now known as Hungary.
However the first credible reference to the vizsla is found in the Illustrated Vienna Chronicle by Carmelite Friars in 1357. The image depicted a hunting scene with a dog of similar appearance to the vizsla.
And from the 16th Century, letters exchanged by aristocrats of the time describe a highly valued hunting dog that is considered to be early versions of the vizsla we know today.
But by the late 19th Century the breed had fallen out of favor, with hunters preferencing the English Pointer and German Shorthaired Pointer and breeding of the vizsla slowed.
By the end of WW1 the Vizsla population had dwindled to such dire numbers, it was thought the breed may become extinct.
Only a dozen or so pedigree vizslas were found according to this article in the 1971 issue of the Hungarian Review.
Thankfully the breed was re-established in the 1920s thanks to a passionate few and numbers began to grow again.
But the following decades saw even more upheaval as the Kingdom of Hungary collapsed, a dictator installed, borders redefined and then the onslaught of WW2.
The First Hungarian Vizsla Breed Standard was drawn up at this time, but by the end of WW2 it is thought that up to 90% of vizslas in Hungary had died or been destroyed by the Communists.
However, thanks to people such as Elizabeth Mihalyi and her vizsla Panni, the breed was resurrected after the war and found new interest in the United States and Britain.
2. Hungarian Vizslas Are Champion Dogs
One of the proudest facts about vizslas we share in this list is their success as Champion dogs. Two such examples are outlined below.
In 2006 a Vizsla named CH FC AFC OTCH MACH Legacy’s DeChartay UDX(5) MH, a.k.a. “Chartay”, was recognized by the AKC as the most accomplished dog in the AKC’s 122 year history.
Chartay was the AKC’s first Quintuple Champion, achieving the title in 2000.
Vizslas have also been recognized in the UK, with SH CH/AUST CH HUNGARGUNN BEAR IT’N MIND winning Best In Show at Crufts in 2010.
3. Most People Pronounce Vizsla Incorrectly
One of the most polarizing Vizsla dog facts is that most people pronounce the word “vizsla” incorrectly.
The correct pronunciations of the word vizsla are “vee-shluh” or “vi-shluh”.
This is because in the Hungarian language the combination of letters “zs” is pronounced like the “s” in the word measure.
4. Vizsla Come In Only One Color
One of the best vizsla fun facts to share with other dog owners is that the Hungarian Vizsla is a self colored dog that is only bred in one solid color, described as “golden rust”.
While there are different shadings, there is not a range of vizsla colors, unlike other popular gun dog breeds like the Labrador Retriever and German Shorthaired Pointer.
They are also one of few self colored dog breeds. Their coat, eye rims, eyes, lips, nose, nails, feet, pads, ears are all the one color!
5. The Vizsla Color Was Mistranslated
This may be one of the most contentious facts about vizslas shared in this list but let’s take a look..
The vizsla is historically referred to as the “yellow pointer”. But through the mid 20th Century many vizslas in both Europe and the United States were bred darker, even tending to mahogany or brown.
It is believed by some Vizsla breeders and historians that the color listed in the original Magyar Standard in Hungary was mistranslated as “rust” instead of the correct translation of “french roll yellow” (as in the baked top of a baguette).
Others point to the US importation of vizslas from the old Czechoslovakia, where breeders tended to breed vizslas to a darker color than in Hungary.
The result was a focus on breeding darker colored dogs for many generations, with “darker colors preferred” specifically listed in the US Standard for decades.
Thankfully this error was identified and the Breed Standard adjusted.
Most breeders now breed for the lovingly described french baguette color, aka golden rust.
6. Vizslas Were Bred To Blend In On The Field
The Vizsla dog as we know it today was bred by Hungarian aristocrats to hunt game birds on the Great Hungarian Plain.
Their golden rust color was perfectly suited to blend in when hunting on the fields and forests of Hungary and helped them stalk birds unseen.
7. Vizslas Were Used As War Dogs In WW1
One of the most incredible Vizsla facts is about how vizsla dogs helped soldiers during WW1.
An issue of the 1956 Vizsla News (ref: vizsladogs.com) shares a first-hand account of the highly valued vizsla war dogs by a young man drafted to the Austro-Hungarian army in World War 1.
Vizslas were used during WW1 for relaying messages, scouting for patrols and standing guard.
The personal account highlights several occasions when the actions of the dogs helped protect the men in battle.
8. Vizslas Prefer To Sleep Inside
Unlike other dog breeds, vizslas are not an outside dog when at home.
Despite their resilience and stamina in all types of weather when hunting, when at home vizslas prefer to live and sleep inside.
Their single short coat and a desire to be close to their owner means many will prefer your bed or your couch to their dog bed!
9. Vizslas Can Coexist With Prey Animals
One of the surprising facts about vizslas is that despite their high prey drive, vizslas can be trained to co-exist in the home with animals such as cats and chickens.
There is no doubt this is much easier and achievable if you introduce a vizsla puppy to furry and feathered friends. But it is possible with an adult vizsla too.
Many a cat and vizsla live happily together (proof below)!
10. The V Is For Velcro
One of the most well known vizsla fun facts is they are a loyal and sensitive dog breed that want to be with their owners round the clock.
Commonly referred to as Velcro Dogs, you may never again relax, sleep, shower or go to the toilet on your own once you own a vizsla!
They may be an oversized lap dog and little shadow, but vizsla cuddles are the best!
11. Vizslas Have A Single Coat
Unlike most dog breeds, Hungarian Vizslas do not have an undercoat – they have a single short coat.
While this single coat makes grooming a breeze, it does mean they feel the cold more than other dogs when not busy hunting or exercising.
Don’t be fooled though – despite the one coat, vizslas still shed and need the occasional brush.
12. Vizslas Are A High Energy Dog
Rated a 5 out of 5 by the AKC in terms of energy, one of the most well known Hungarian Vizsla facts is they are a high energy dog that need daily exercise.
Unlike other dog breeds, vizslas need time to run freely off leash to burn that physical energy.
Their energy levels are often underrated by prospective vizsla owners and one of the reasons why vizslas are abandoned at shelters every year.
13. Vizslas Are Prized Working Dogs
One of the lesser known facts about Vizsla dogs is their success as working dogs in roles such as:
- Detection dogs
- Service and assistance dogs
- Guide dogs
- Search and rescue dogs, and
- Therapy dogs
The Vizsla’s heightened sense of smell means they are in demand as medical assistance dogs and detection dogs in both the US and UK.
Their intelligence, trainability and biddable nature makes them the perfect candidate for working roles such as these.
14. Vizslas Are A Good Family Pet
Despite their breeding as hunting dogs, vizslas are also excellent family pets.
They are affectionate, sensitive, playful and loving dogs who get along well with children and other pets.
Of course there are always caveats to this, as vizslas also need plenty of attention, exercise and training from their families to be at their best.
15. Vizslas Were Only Bred In Mainland Europe Until The 1950s
Unlike a lot of other dog breeds, vizslas were mostly unknown outside of Europe until the 1950s.
There may have been a small number of vizslas imported into the UK and US in the late 1930s.
In Marion Coffman’s book “Versatile Vizsla” she states the very first vizslas came to the US in the late 1930s by European immigrants. These dogs were family pets and not registered.
But the first registered Hungarian Vizslas in the United States was in 1950, Canada in 1955, in the United Kingdom in 1953 and Australia in 1973.
16. The Wirehaired Vizsla Is A Separate Breed
One of the least known facts about vizslas is that despite very similar looks, hunting traits and personality, the wirehaired vizsla is a separate breed to the Hungarian Vizsla.
Likely developed in the 1930s, the wirehair vizsla is a crossbreed of the German Wirehaired Pointer and the Hungarian Vizsla.
The Wirehaired Vizsla was recognized as a standalone purebred dog by the AKC in 2014.
Before You Go
I hope you enjoyed reading these fascinating facts about vizslas.
For more about the breed, read this guide about Vizsla Pros and Cons or find out if vizslas make good guard dogs.
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