To ‘search and to track’, the direct translation from Hungarian for the Vizsla, a breed steeped in aristocratic standing, they are a naturally inquisitive, affectionate and gentle animal that craves and appreciates an active lifestyle. As breed standard goes, an adult Vizsla stands approximately 57-64cm tall and weigh around 20-22kg, a smooth, streamlined silhouette of an athlete. Their rich russet-gold coat and moderate bone give them an elegance that is not often seen in other retrieving breeds that often carry a denser coat and are fuller in the body. Popular opinion differs as to if the wirehaired Vizsla is calmer than his smooth haired counterpart or if individual breeding lines are likely involved, but the wirehaired Vizslas are often slightly taller and carry a small amount of extra bone. The wirehaired Vizslas’ rougher coats are also often considered a little more suited to the British weather and rugged shooting field. Often considered an all-purpose, well-rounded and adaptable gundog, a member of the HPR group of gundogs and a popular choice with hunters and falconers alike, first introduced to Britain in the mid-20th century following imports from Hungary and the United States. In recent years they have steadily increased in popularity.
Handsome and distinguished without appearing aloof, they are a happy, lively medium. Loyalty is a main staple in this breed, a highly desirable characteristic for a working dog enabling their handler to be confident in the notion their dog will remain steadfast throughout a day in the field. Despite their penchant for staying close-by to their owners these dogs love nothing more than to be given a day job, be that traditional hunting in the field, retrieving and pointing- their true mastery, or something more contemporary such as Canicross or Mantrailing. Of course, as with all working dogs, their innate loyalty only goes so far and there is no replacement for thorough and correct training and stimulation from their handler to channel and direct their enthusiasm.
Their excellent nose and keen-to-please attitude to training makes them a popular choice for hunters of fowl, upland game- although they may be considered primarily a hunter, their mild-mannered, affectionate personalities earn them a dual career as excellent companions and family dogs. They are a familiar sight at a field trial, the perfect competitive environment to test the ability of the dog to quarter the ground systematically in search of quarry, to point game, flushing on command rather than on impulse, to be steady when doing so and to retrieve tenderly to hand from land and water. These are tasks that the Vizsla has proved themselves as competent and efficient in, time and time again, although it is well reported that despite their trainability, that trainability should be handled delicately. A harsh voice and strong physical correction do not often sit well with their sensitive temperaments but get this balance right and you will earn a partnership rich with loyalty and adoration.
With regards to health issues, the turn of the century lead to a much wider stock base being used which decreased the prevalence of and risk of hereditary diseases which include Epilepsy, Entropion and occasionally Hip Dysplasia. However, the latter is less common than in other breeds and responsible breeders will look to mitigate this risk with thorough health testing and hip scoring of both parents.
With all things considered, whatever your flavour, smooth or wirehaired, the Vizsla looks to make an excellent partner both on the field and as a companion to have lounging on your sofa.
Chudleys has built upon 45 years of passion for the physiology, feeding and management of working dogs, priding itself on its commitment to quality. Chudleys have formulated a specialist range of highly nutritious dog food, which contains substantial levels of quality protein alongside a patented blend of antioxidants, known as Quality Life Care (QLC). With a product to meet the requirements of every working dog, visit the Chudleys shop.