Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Vizslas are as sleek as they are gentle and affectionate, making them a popular companion. They’re sweet, loving, and love a hard day’s work, too. Here’s what you need to know about the Vizsla, from their origins to intelligence, energy levels and more.
Also Known As...
The Velcro Dog (because they stick close to you even when you're outside). Hungarian Vizsla. Hungarian Pointer. Magyar Vizsla. "Haha, look at that orange Hungarian goofball!"
The Vizsla is originally from Hungary. “Vizsla” is actually a translation of “pointer” in Hungarian. They date back to the mid -1300s, when they were bred by aristocracy for hunting. They came in and out of popularity over the centuries, even facing extinction on two occasions - in the 1800s and after World War II. After World War II, interest in the Vizsla rose in the U.S., where more and more of the dogs were brought and bred.
Vizslas are medium-sized dogs, standing 21-24 inches tall at the shoulder.
Female Vizslas typically weigh 44-55 pounds, while male Vizslas usually weigh 55-60 pounds.
Vizslas are true sweethearts. They’re gentle, affectionate and energetic, and have more than earned their “Velcro” nickname. If you have a Vizsla, you have a companion ready to stick by your side through thick and thin.
They’re protective of their pack and have plenty of energy from their years being bred to hunt, but are quite gentle. They form bonds with their pack quickly, which is great for training, but also means they hate to be alone, as they can pine for their owners when on their own. Keep that in mind when selecting one of these dogs as pets - they don’t do well during long hours alone.
Intelligence / Trainability
Vizslas are intelligent dogs that take well to training from an owner who’s up for the challenge of training a high-energy dog with a smart mind and a small penchant for stubbornness. They have a high level of energy, which means they’ll need consistent training from their owner in order to prevent Vizslas from taking out their pent up energy on belongings, furniture or that pile of mail.
They love a good training session, in fact, as it provides them with the mental stimulation and attention they enjoy so much.
They’re agile and have great memories, which means you can have a lot of fun during training, teaching them new commands and playing games that keep their minds sharp.
Best Training Techniques For Vizslas
Vizslas have energy to burn, which means they need lots of exercise and also need someone with patience to train them. They take well to training overall - they were trained to hunt for hundreds of years, after all - but can be quite excitable.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Vizslas are sensitive creatures, and so do not take well to harsh training. Be gentle but firm in your training sessions - there’s no need to yell or physically correct a Vizsla with much force.
Vizslas need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. They have long legs and plenty of stamina, so love long walks daily. They do well ideally with a yard where they can play, as well as with an owner who can get them the exercise they need, whether through long play sessions, jogs or regular hikes in the woods.
When bored or restless, the Vizsla can become destructive around the house, especially when left alone, so keep that in mind. They don’t have an undercoat, so if you live in a cold environment, get some sweaters ready for the winter and don’t leave your Vizsla out in the snowy yard for long in the colder months.
Good For Families And Kids?
Vizslas are extremely loving and gentle, and that extends to interacting with children, as well. They want to be close to their owner, so if you socialize your dog well to get along with children, a Vizsla should be fine. With their high energy, they may be a match for your kids, too. However, if you decide to have a child after you already have adopted a Vizsla, be prepared for a little sibling rivalry.
Vizslas have an average lifespan of 11-15 years.
Like all dogs, Vizslas are at risk for certain medical conditions. Health conditions common to this breed include epilepsy, blood clotting disorders, hip dysplasia, eye disorders and some cancers lymphosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma.
Vizslas are high-energy dogs who need lots of exercise to stay happy. They’re a perfect companion for someone who loves jogging, long walks, has a large yard or who loves to run around and play with their pooch outside. Vizslas love nothing more than to go on a rigorous walk or run with their favorite human by their side.
Friendly With...(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/other pets?)
They’re loving and gentle with people to the point that they’ve been dubbed the “Velcro,” dog, and that sweet nature extends to those outside their pack, too. They bond with others quickly - strangers are just friends a Vizsla hasn’t met yet.
If socialized properly, Vizslas can also be good with dogs and other household pets. Just remember they were bred to hunt, so introduce your dog and cat carefully to one another.
Coat & Grooming
The red-coated Vizsla is relatively easy to take care of when it comes to coat and grooming care. They have a short, rusty-haired coat that requires regular brushing, but not much else. They do shed, so give them regular brushings to take care of their short, smooth coat.
It’s important to note that these dogs don’t have an undercoat - that means they’ll need a sweater come winter. They only need to be bathed once every three months or so, unless, of course, they’ve been out in the mud or have been swimming.
It takes them a minute to warm up to the idea, but once you get a Vizsla in the water, they’re strong swimmers who love the water.
Toys Vizslas Would Like Best
With their boundless energy and excellent memories, there are plenty of toys that can make a Vizsla happy. Puzzle Toys are great for when they’re stuck inside and need some mental stimulation, as well as treats.
To work their jaws and to get out some of that big energy, Vizslas also love Super Chewer Toys that can stand up to a good chewing session. Tug Toys are great for Vizslas, as well, since they combine two of a Vizslas favorite things - playing, and playing with you.
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Many dogs, including Vizslas, are prone to hip dysplasia as they age. It’s a medical condition that affects a dog’s hip joints, making it painful to walk. If you notice your Vizsla displaying any signs of hip discomfort such as limping or wincing, you may want to consider incorporating helpful supplements into your pooch’s diet.
As always, consult a vet before doing so.
BARK's Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Vizsla with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
For older Vizslas or dogs suffering with arthritis or hip dysplasia (or just any dog that likes lying down!), a comfortable, supportive dog bed is probably a good idea.
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup's tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your hardworking pal. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues to Find the Vizsla of Your Dreams
Ready to get yourself one of these rust-colored sweethearts? Check out these organizations to help you bring home a gentle, loving Velcro dog in your area.
- The Vizsla Club of America operates across the United States, bringing together owners and Vizslas in search of their forever home. This is a volunteer rescue network that operates through coordinators around the country to find these creatures loving homes.
- Midwest Vizsla Rescue helps rehome abandoned or surrendered Vizslas with new, loving owners. They offer adoption services based out of Kansas.
- Colorado/Wyoming Vizsla Rescue Group helps place Vizslas with new homes after they have been abandoned or abused. They serve Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, western Nebraska and western Kansas.
- Adoptable Vizslas on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Vizslas
With their copper-colored coats, floppy ears and sweet eyes, sometimes you just need to look at a Vizsla when you’re having a tough day. Or a good day. Or a regular day. Here are a few favorite Vizsla Instagram accounts:
FACT: Goose is one seriously goofy Vizsla...and all the more adorable for it!
The name says it all with this one. Come to this insta for pictures of rust-colored puppies rolling in the grass, swimming or sleeping in bed.
Whiskey the Vizsla goes on all sorts of adventures in the great outdoors.
This wire-haired Vizsla will steal your heart with his gentle eyes and love of nice, long scratches.
***Looking for a gift to blow your Vizsla's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Featured image via Duck_Dog_Goose/Instagram