If you’re looking for a versatile hunting dog that is able to join you in any weather over all sorts of terrain, then look no further than the Wirehaired Vizsla (WHV). This relatively new breed has all the wonderful qualities of the smooth-coated Vizsla, but with a more weather-resistant wiry coat.
The Wirehaired Vizsla is an innate hunter, with a keen nose for birds or mammals, on the land or on the water. When tracking their prey, they are determined to follow the scent wherever it takes them. This member of the Sporting Group has a strong drive and is naturally gifted at pointing and retrieving.
These dogs love to hunt all types of quarry. They are a favorite with falconers, hunters who use a trained bird of prey, and actually have a history of being associated with that sport. Their intuitive and calm nature makes them particularly suitable for falconry.
In fact, it was falconers and hunters in Hungary who first developed this breed in the 1930s. They were looking to establish a sturdy, all-around hunting dog that could tolerate harsh winter weather in the forests, fields, and water. They were hoping for a dog with the same color and traits of the Vizsla, but with a heavier build and a thick wiry coat that would protect the dog from the tough environment and extreme cold winter weather of the uplands of northern Hungary.
The first breeding program crossed Vizsla females with a brown German Wirehaired Pointer. Early generations were promising, and by 1943, the first Wirehaired Vizsla, Dia de Selle, was shown in conformation. Other breeders began to work hard on developing the breed; however, World War II saw the near extinction of both the fledging WHV and the Vizsla.
There are few records from that time period, but thankfully several kennels continued to develop the WHV. Those early bloodlines may have included other breeds being crossed with the Vizsla, such as the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Irish Setter, Pudelpointer, and maybe even a Bloodhound. Eventually, the Wirehaired Vizsla found its way to North America, and the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 2014.
This is a lean and strong dog, with powerful, yet elegant movement. The coat is dense, wiry, and golden rust in color. The rest of the dog is self-colored, in other words the eyes, eye-rims, toenails, lips, and nose all blend with the color of the coat. The harsh beard and characteristic eyebrows give the WHV a distinctive appearance. Although there are many similarities with the smooth-coated Vizsla, the Wirehaired Vizsla is generally a bit larger and heavier-boned.
The WHV is known for being trainable and intelligent, fast and agile, and possessing a superior scenting ability. They are natural athletes and benefit from regular exercise and mental stimulation. This makes these dogs excellent companions for many activities besides hunting. Consider tracking trials, agility, obedience competitions, conformation trials, or flyball. Wirehaired Vizslas are also outgoing and friendly dogs with gentle personalities, so you might even enjoy training your WHV as a therapy dog.