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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Gentle, Energetic
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 31 of 194
  • Height: 22-24 inches (male), 21-23 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55-60 pounds (male), 44-55 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Vizsla standing in three-quarter view
Vizsla head facing left
Vizsla sitting facing forward
Vizsla coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

That of a medium-sized, short-coated, hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, the coat is an attractive shaded golden rust. Originating in Hungary, the Vizsla was bred to work in field, forest and water. Agile and energetic, this is a versatile dog of power, drive and endurancein the field yet a tractable and affectionate companion in the home. It is strongly emphasized that field conditioned coats, as well as brawny or sinewy muscular condition and honorable scars indicating a working and hunting dog are never to be penalized in this dog. The requisite instincts and abilities to maintain a “dual dog” are always to be fostered and appreciated, never deprecated.

HEAD

Lean and muscular. SA partially or completely black nose is a disqualification. Freckles due to aging or sun exposure are not to be faulted. Ears, thin, silky and proportionately long, with rounded-leather ends, set fairly low and hanging close to cheeks. Jaws are strong with well developed white teeth meeting in a scissors bite. Eyes medium in size and depth of setting, their surrounding tissue covering the whites. Color of the iris should blend with the color of the coat. Yellow or any other color is faulty. Prominent pop eyes are faulty. Lower eyelids should neither turn in nor out since both conditions allow seeds and dust to irritate the eye. Lips cover the jaws completely but are neither loose nor pendulous.

NECK & BODY

Neck strong, smooth and muscular, moderately long, arched and devoid of dewlap, broadening nicely into shoulders which are moderately laid back. This is mandatory to maintain balance with the moderately angulated hindquarters. Body is strong and well proportioned. Withers high. While the Vizsla may appear square, when measured from point of breastbone to point of buttocks and from the highest point over the shoulder blades to the ground, the Vizsla is slightly longer than tall. A proper proportion of leg length to body length is essential to the desired overall balance of the Vizsla. The Vizsla should not appear long and low or tall and leggy.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulder blades proportionately long and wide sloping moderately back and fairly close at the top. Upper arm is about equal in length to the shoulder blade in order to allow for good extension. Forelegs straight and muscular with elbows close. Feet cat-like, round and compact with toes close.

HINDQUARTERS

Hind legs have well developed thighs with moderately angulated stifles and hocks in balance with the moderately laid back shoulders. They must be straight as viewed from behind. Too much angulation at the hocks is as faulty as too little. The hocks are let down and parallel to each other.

COAT

Short, smooth, dense and close-lying, without woolly undercoat. A distinctly long coat is a disqualification.

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vizsla illustration

About the Vizsla

The Vizsla is easily recognized by his sleek golden-rust coat. They can stand between 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and are the picture of a lean, light-footed hunter’s companion. The long, silky ears frame a facial expression that is sensitive and loving around the house and intense when at work.

As a hunter expected to work closely with humans, Vizslas form a tight bond with their owners and hate to be left alone.

Athletes of many talents, Vizslas excel at various sports and activities. They are eager and graceful trotters of great stamina, making them ideal jogging or biking companions. An expert on the breed tells us, “If you don’t have the time to encourage this breed’s full use of its brain, you’re wasting a good dog.”

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Vizsla puppy

Find a Puppy: Vizsla

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Care

NUTRITION

Most Vizslas are good eaters, and the majority do well on any high-quality brand of dry dog food. Some owners choose to prepare their own cooked or raw diet, following specific nutritional instructions from recognized experts. To add variety, many owners supplement kibble with small amounts of leftovers from their own meals (avoiding onions, raisins, grapes, chocolate, and other foods that are not healthy for dogs). Owners need to watch out for overfeeding and resulting weight gain. There is considerable variation in individual dogs’ caloric needs; a young, active dog may require four or five cups each day of a high-calorie food, while older or less active dogs may need less than half that quantity.

GROOMING

Vizslas have a short, sleek coat with no undercoat, so they don’t require complicated grooming. They do shed, and occasional brushing with a rubber grooming brush is helpful. When they get especially dirty (or when they roll in something smelly), they will need a bath with lukewarm water, a good-quality dog soap, and thorough rinsing. It is important to keep the toenails short, either with a clipper or with a grinding tool. Ears should be checked frequently for dirt, wax build-up, or signs of irritation. Regular use of a mild ear-cleaning product will help prevent problems. To keep teeth and gums healthy, regular cleaning is recommended; use a product formulated for dogs (not human toothpaste).

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

Vizslas were bred to be active hunting dogs, and they need both physical and mental exercise. Individual dogs’ needs vary, but, in general, owners should plan on a minimum of 30 minutes of active exercise daily—and some dogs will need more than that. In addition to leash walks and games of fetch, most Vizslas need opportunities to run hard off-leash on a regular basis. Mental exercise is as important as physical activity, so training should be part of their routine. Vizslas can be excellent running or jogging companions, with the caveat that young dogs should not run long distances until they reach maturity at about 18 to 24 months. Older Vizslas typically remain active and playful.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Vizslas need consistent, positive training, starting in puppyhood. They are highly intelligent, curious, and sometimes manipulative, so owners need to establish solid communication and teach good behavior. Untrained Vizslas are hard to live with. They can find many creative ways get into trouble if they don’t have a “job.” Fortunately, they typically love training and thrive on the attention they receive. This is a sensitive breed, so early and ongoing socialization is important to make sure the dog has the confidence to enjoy various activities. With good socialization and consistent training, there are countless ways to have fun with these versatile dogs, including field trials, hunting tests, conformation, obedience, rally, agility, dock diving, barn hunts, lure coursing, scent work, and tracking.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Eager to Please

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Vizslas are generally a healthy breed. A typical lifespan is about 12 to 15 years. As in all breeds—and in mixed-breeds—cancers are a concern. Other health problems are not common, but things to watch for include skin issues such as seasonal allergies; eye disorders, such as melanosis or entropion; hip dysplasia; epilepsy; and ear infections. Careful breeders do their homework ahead of time for the best odds of producing sound, healthy pups.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Vizsla
Vizsla
Vizsla
Vizsla

History

The Magyar people bolted from the Russian steppes sometime in the mid-800s and for 50 years ravaged Western Europe. These brutal marauders rampaged across the continent on horseback, leaving in their wake a wide swath of death, destruction, and t. They ranged as far west as Paris and as far south as the toe of Italy, before settling in what is now Hungary.

The supremacy of Magyar cavalry was predicated on three qualities: speed, agility, and toughness. Accordingly, Magyar warriors carefully bred these qualities into their horses—and their dogs. In this lightning-fast kingdom on horseback, it was either keep up or perish. The Magyars’ nimble red dogs, ancestors of the modern Vizsla, kept up.

Over centuries, Hungarian nobles and warlords refined these dogs and set the type of the modern Vizsla. The breed became famous as a swift, all-purpose hunting dog who could do just about anything asked. In modern times, that eagerness has won Vizslas generations of American fans.

The first Vizsla to come to America, in 1950, was smuggled out of Communist Hungary with the help of a U.S. State Department employee. Fifty years later, a Vizsla named Chartay became the first dog in AKC history to earn championships in five different sports—a quintuple champion. It’s no wonder that the words “versatile” and “Vizsla” so often appear in the same sentence.

Did You Know?

The Vizsla is also called a Hungarian Pointer.
At the end of World War I, the Vizsla was all but extinct.
The importation of the breed into the United States began in the 1950s
The Vizsla was admitted into the American Kennel Club in 1960.
The Vizsla is a multi-purpose dog that is suitable for work on upland game, on rabbits, and for waterfowl retrieving.
The Vizsla is essentially Pointer in type with characteristics of Pointer and Retriever.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

That of a medium-sized, short-coated, hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, the coat is an attractive shaded golden rust. Originating in Hungary, the Vizsla was bred to work in field, forest and water. Agile and energetic, this is a versatile dog of power, drive and endurancein the field yet a tractable and affectionate companion in the home. It is strongly emphasized that field conditioned coats, as well as brawny or sinewy muscular condition and honorable scars indicating a working and hunting dog are never to be penalized in this dog. The requisite instincts and abilities to maintain a “dual dog” are always to be fostered and appreciated, never deprecated.

HEAD

Lean and muscular. SA partially or completely black nose is a disqualification. Freckles due to aging or sun exposure are not to be faulted. Ears, thin, silky and proportionately long, with rounded-leather ends, set fairly low and hanging close to cheeks. Jaws are strong with well developed white teeth meeting in a scissors bite. Eyes medium in size and depth of setting, their surrounding tissue covering the whites. Color of the iris should blend with the color of the coat. Yellow or any other color is faulty. Prominent pop eyes are faulty. Lower eyelids should neither turn in nor out since both conditions allow seeds and dust to irritate the eye. Lips cover the jaws completely but are neither loose nor pendulous.

NECK & BODY

Neck strong, smooth and muscular, moderately long, arched and devoid of dewlap, broadening nicely into shoulders which are moderately laid back. This is mandatory to maintain balance with the moderately angulated hindquarters. Body is strong and well proportioned. Withers high. While the Vizsla may appear square, when measured from point of breastbone to point of buttocks and from the highest point over the shoulder blades to the ground, the Vizsla is slightly longer than tall. A proper proportion of leg length to body length is essential to the desired overall balance of the Vizsla. The Vizsla should not appear long and low or tall and leggy.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulder blades proportionately long and wide sloping moderately back and fairly close at the top. Upper arm is about equal in length to the shoulder blade in order to allow for good extension. Forelegs straight and muscular with elbows close. Feet cat-like, round and compact with toes close.

HINDQUARTERS

Hind legs have well developed thighs with moderately angulated stifles and hocks in balance with the moderately laid back shoulders. They must be straight as viewed from behind. Too much angulation at the hocks is as faulty as too little. The hocks are let down and parallel to each other.

COAT

Short, smooth, dense and close-lying, without woolly undercoat. A distinctly long coat is a disqualification.

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vizsla illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
GOLDEN RUST Check Mark For Standard Color 098
GOLDEN 093
RED 140
RED GOLDEN 153
RUST 161
RUST GOLDEN 163
SANDY YELLOW 169

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
WHITE MARKINGS 014

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