vizsla
(Photo/TMArt, Shutterstock)

Hunting Dog Profile: The Graceful, Genial Smooth-Coated Hungarian Vizsla

One of the most affable pointing breeds, the Hungarian Vizsla is a fabulous, versatile gun dog. Read on for more about this packable, companionable pointer.

In Hungarian, the word “vizsla” simply means “tracker” or “searcher.” And the Hungarian Vizsla is just that. This medium-size, pale brown pup is a bird-doggin’ machine. And they make for a loving and loyal companion, too.

However, the breed nearly met its demise at the turn of the 20th century. Less than a dozen purebred Vizslas were used to propagate the breed back to successful numbers.

Although the breed isn’t as popular in numbers as, say, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon or the Labrador retriever, it isn’t uncommon to spot a little yellow-brown dog traversing upland territory here in the United States.

The Vizsla, by the Numbers

hungarian vizsla puppy
(Photo/Ivanova N. via Shutterstock)

The Hungarian — or Magyar — Vizsla is a medium-size pointer that can often be smaller than most. They can range from 21 to 25 inches at the shoulders and weigh anywhere from 40 to 55 pounds. The breed is generally long-lived, at 10-14 years of age expectancy.

A Vizsla’s color is highly consistent, as you can see in pictures. And although they do shed, the coat requires minimal care.

The smooth-coated Vizsla also has a wire-haired counterpart, similar to many pointers. The wire-haired Vizsla is a bit more cold-hardy and water-loving than its smooth-coated sister.

Personality-wise, the Vizsla is a highly affectionate gun dog who is family-oriented, gentle, and social. They’re great with kids, other dogs, and most pets as long as they are conditioned appropriately.

Vizslas are prone to some of the health problems found in many canines, such as hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. When buying your pup, be sure to have records from your breeder that both clear and test your dog for these future health conditions. A responsible breeder will provide you with this info and much more, including vaccinations, breed registration, and feeding information.

Hunting the Hungarian Vizsla

vizsla
(Photo/Ivanova N. via Shutterstock)

A high-energy and enthusiastic partner, hunting and training your Vizsla for hunting provides both appropriate exercise and mental stimulation for this brainy breed.

This is a dog that craves human contact and spending time with its people. And, like many breeds, it can become anxious and destructive if these needs aren’t fulfilled.

This Hungarian pointer will both point and retrieve, and some Vizslas do take nicely to water with proper training. But, the smooth-coated Vizsla is primarily an upland hunting dog, with a penchant and a passion for birds on land.

Vizslas can also be trained to blood track wounded game, and some breed aficionados claim that their tracking history goes back to the 10th century.

However, as ancient as these roots may seem, a lot of pointing blood has shaped the modern-day Vizsla into a fine specimen of a gun dog. Today, the American Kennel Club and Vizsla Club of America both recognize, celebrate, and safeguard this once-rare breed for stateside hunters and breed lovers alike.

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Final Thoughts

Not all pointing dogs are as friendly, open, and social as this brilliant and beautiful gun dog. And if you’re looking for a pointer who will love children, enjoy company, and blend in just as nicely with the family as with the field, the Vizsla is an excellent choice.

Plus, the striking look of this elegant breed will garner attention nearly everywhere you go. Should you see a Vizsla puppy in your near future, you’ll likely have new friends around every corner, asking about your lovely and athletic canine sidekick. And luckily for you, your pup will be just as big a star chasing pheasants in big, golden fields.

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Nicole Qualtieri
By

Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.