If you’re a Vizsla enthusiast, you’re most likely familiar with their classic golden rust coat color.
Unlike other dog breeds, vizsla coat colors are one of the distinguishing features of the breed with only a handful of shades recognized within the Hungarian Vizsla breed standard.
So, what exactly are the standard Vizsla colors? In this article, we’ll explore the approved Hungarian Vizsla dog colors that make them so recognizable, and explore the significance of coat color in this beloved breed.
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.
What Is The Breed Standard For Hungarian Vizsla Colors?
The Vizsla dog breed is a distinctive and beloved breed that is known for its loyalty, intelligence, and affectionate nature.
One of the defining characteristics of the breed is its coat color, which is a key element of the Vizsla breed standard in all countries around the world.
Understanding the standard Vizsla coat colors is crucial for anyone considering ownership or breeding of this dog breed.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) The Vizsla breed has a standard coat color of golden rust, also referred to as russet gold.
Similarly, The Kennel Club in the UK describes the Hungarian Vizsla color as:
Russet gold, small white marks on chest and feet, though acceptable, undesirable.The Kennel Club
And in Australia the breed standard refers to the approved Vizsla dog color as “various shades of russet gold and dark sandy gold”.
Bred to hunt and retrieve alongside their owners in the forests and fields of eastern Europe, the coat should be uniform throughout the dog’s body, with no other colors and ideally with no markings.
Lighter shades of golden rust are common over the shoulders and neck and some slight variation in shade is common between the different seasons of the year.
However, it is important to note that not all Vizslas will have the exact same shade of golden rust, and some may be lighter or darker depending on their genetics.
The acceptable shades can range from dark sandy gold to a darker rusty red.
The AKC standard states that solid dark mahogany or pale yellow are considered faulty colors and the Australian breed standard indicates “red, brownish or lightened colour is undesirable”.
What Color Is Golden Rust?
The color golden rust can best be described as a warm and rich color that combines the shades of gold and reddish-brown, similar to the color of rusted metal.
It has a deep, earthy tone with a slight shiny golden shimmer. The golden aspect of the color adds a bright quality, while the rust component gives it a more subdued and rustic feel.
Overall, the color golden rust is a unique and distinctive shade that feels warm, elegant and natural.
Other colors, such as black, white or a yellow Vizsla, are not considered standard for the breed and may indicate mixed breeding.
Vizsla Coat Markings
All Vizsla breed standards outline the preference for a solid coat color.
But there is some flexibility in the standards for the presence of small white markings on the chest and toes.
The Vizsla Club of America specifies that while “white on the forechest, preferably as small as possible, and white on the toes are permissible”,
Solid white extending above the toes or white anywhere else on the dog except the forechest is a disqualification.Vizsla Club of America
In fact the Australian standard is more specific again, stating that:
A little white patch on the chest or at the throat, not more than 5 cm in diameter, as well as white markings on the toes, are not considered faulty.Dogs Australia
Apart from these small white markings, all other markings or colors are not considered standard and can indicate mixed breeding or genetic anomalies.
And it is important to note that Vizsla mixes with non-standard colors or markings can still make great pets, and their coat color does not affect their overall health or temperament.
However, your Vizsla must conform to the breed standard in terms of coat color and markings if you wish to compete in AKC conformation shows or be considered for breeding.
Origins Of The Hungarian Vizsla Color Standard
The original Hungarian Vizsla breed standard, first agreed in Hungary in the 1920s, states the vizsla breed standard color is “zsemlesarga es annak kulonbozo aranyalatai”.
This literally translates to “yellow bun and its various shades”.
This document explains the term as French bun yellow and many take this description to mean the color of a French baguette.
So while there are varying shades of “French baguette” the essential golden rust color remains the standard for Vizsla colors today.
Other Defining Features Of The Vizsla Coat
In addition to the unique Vizsla colors, there are a few other defining features of their coat important for the breed standard.
Self Colored Dog
Vizslas are what is known as a self-colored dog – meaning they have only one color. It is one of the interesting facts about vizsla dogs.
What this means is that all parts of their:
- Eye color and eye-rims
- Lips and nose
- Toenails and the pads of their feet all blend with the color of their coat.
This is not common in other dog breeds and is another feature that makes Vizsla colors unique.
Apart from the standard coat color, the Vizsla’s coat texture is also an important characteristic of the breed.
The Hungarian Vizsla’s coat is short, dense, and smooth, with a natural shine that enhances the dog’s appearance.
Their coat is single layered, which means they don’t have an undercoat. This means they shed less than other breeds and are much easier to groom.
If you think you may have seen a Vizsla with a shaggy coat, you may have met a Wirehaired Vizsla.
The Wirehaired Vizsla, while sharing many similarities to the Hungarian Shorthaired Vizsla, is a separate breed.
The Wirehair has a slightly longer, dense and wiry coat and a shaggy beard.
Non-Standard Vizsla Dog Colors
So you may be thinking you’ve seen a different color Vizsla.
But now you know more about the standard Vizsla coat color, what is the dog you actually saw?
There are several dog breeds often confused for Vizslas, as well as some Vizsla mixes with a different coat color.
Here we take a look at some of the most common breeds and colors that Vizslas are confused with.
Ever heard someone refer to a grey Vizsla? We know there isn’t a grey Vizsla, but what they may have seen is a Weimaraner or a Weimaraner-Vizsla mix.
Similar in appearance to the Hungarian Vizsla, the Weimaraner dog has a beautiful silver grey coat but is a completely different breed to the Vizsla.
We compare the differences between the Weim and Vizsla here.
Dark Brown Vizsla
Another common question is “is there a brown Vizsla”. As we know a purebred Vizsla cannot be dark brown.
So there are a couple of dog breeds and mixes that a brown dog that looks like a Vizsla could be including:
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Vizsla-GSP mix
- Vizsla-Labrador mix
- Vizsla-Weimaraner mix
We compare the differences between the Vizsla and GSP here.
Perhaps the most commonly confused dog is the red Vizsla.
There are several purebred dog breeds that look like Vizslas with a red coat. These include:
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Redbone Coonhound.
The most distinct difference apart from the incorrect color shade is that these dogs are not self-colored. Their noses and eye-rims are typically black.
So what breed is a dog that looks like a black Vizsla?
This dog is most likely a German Shorthaired Pointer – which is a similiar gundog breed that can be bred with a solid black coat.
A black and tan Vizsla is most likely a Doberman-Vizsla mix.
Merle Or Brindle Vizsla
Two popular dog colors are merle or brindle.
Describing a dappled or striped coat color, these are not purebred Vizsla dog colors and would indicate mixed breeding.
FAQs About Vizsla Coat Colors
Apart from only buying a Vizsla from a responsible breeder, you can tell if a Vizsla is purebred by its coat – which should be a solid golden rust color with no other colorings.
The Vizsla is also self-colored which means the nose, eye-rims, nails, toes and toenails should also be the same color as their coat.
No, unlike popular dog breeds like Labradors, Vizslas do not come in any other colors.
The Vizsla breed standard includes a single color, described as golden rust. Any other Vizsla colors would indicate mixed breeding or genetic anomolies.
Before You Go
I hope you found this guide to vizsla coat colors helpful.
While there may be some variation in the shade of the coat, it is important to ensure that any purebreed Vizsla considered for ownership or breeding purposes conforms to the Vizsla breed standard in terms of coat color and markings.
For more information on vizsla coats, you may like to read this article about vizsla shedding.
And to learn more about their grooming needs (hint: it is pretty simple), read our guide to vizsla grooming.
More Vizsla Breed Guides
- Fascinating Facts About Vizsla Dogs
- Are Vizslas Hypoallergenic?
- Why Do Vizslas Have Docked Tails?
- Dog Breeds Similar To Vizsla Dogs
Or, you can find all the vizsla breed guides here.
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