A combination of good looks, athletic prowess and loyalty makes the Hungarian Vizsla a wonderful companion for dog lovers, as Michelle Segal discovers.
Favourite activities: This pooch needs about an hour each day of physical exercise (playing and socialising in an off-leash park is ideal). It also loves to swim and excels at dog sports. Also high on the Vizslas list of priorities is a good nights sleep under the blankets of its owners bed and lots of close contact with the family.
Personality: This is an active, happy and loyal breed that thrives in the right household and will be a loyal, affectionate dog to its family. The Vizsla needs human companionship and will be content as long as it is included as part of its human family and receives its daily dose of exercise, mental stimulation and affection.
Suitable for: Singles and families, as long as the Vizslas owners have the time to exercise their dog and provide the required amount of companionship and stimulation. This pooch thrives on human contact and should be kept inside as one of the pack.
Watchdog Qualities: Not known for its watchdog qualities, the Vizsla will alert owners to a stranger approaching the property, but that’s about all although their large size is usually enough to deter any possible intruders.
Backyard Requirements: The Vizsla is an extremely active breed and needs plenty of room to move. A large yard is preferable, however your Vizsla will need to be let off leash daily for a good run. High fences are also a must as this breed has been known to scale walls to escape, especially if bored or not exercised adequately.
This amazing breed really does live up to its adopted name, the Versatile Vizsla. With an endearing temperament, convenient size and striking looks, the gorgeous Vizsla makes an outstanding companion for individuals and families.
As its name states, the Hungarian Vizslas origins are linked to Hungary. Its thought the Vizslas ancestors referred to as yellow dogs hunted with Asia Minors Magyar tribes, who eventually introduced the dogs to Hungary as early as the ninth century. The breed was eventually developed into a remarkable hunting dog by Hungarian nobility and survived wars and occupations to become recognised internationally as a very special gun dog and companion.
From the moment you arrive home with your Vizsla puppy, you will be able to tell you have selected a very special friend. Your puppy will be boisterous and playful and will eventually develop into a dog which is known for its intelligence, athletic prowess, exuberance and loyalty. The only Vizsla characteristic prospective owners need to be aware of from the start is this breeds high energy level, which means it may not be suited to everyone.
This is an aesthetically pleasing dog, but is not for everyone, explains Ros Leighton, committee member of the Hungarian Vizsla Club of New South Wales. What I love most about these dogs is their high energy, high intelligence, responsiveness and their focus on people, but prospective dog owners can underestimate the Vizslas training needs, and they may not be a good choice for a novice dog owner. The Vizsla has high-energy and high-maintenance needs when it comes to training, exercise and companionship.
The Vizsla is a medium-sized dog, making it perfect for many, and it is also a lean, slick-looking canine. It is very much a people dog and becomes strongly attached to its family. A contented, well-adjusted Vizsla will be un-aggressive, happy and enthusiastic, and will bark only when necessary.
The demanding part of owning a Vizsla is ensuring this energetic and robust dog receives its required dose of daily exercise to keep it physically and mentally stimulated, and is well trained from the start.
The Vizsla is still a breed that can do what it was originally designed for to hunt, emphasises Leighton. Therefore it is best suited to those who are not too busy and have the time for an ongoing commitment to training and exercise.
If you are not a physical person or do not have the time for a decent outing each day, this pooch may not be right for you. Without its daily outing and mental stimulation, your Vizsla will become depressed and troublesome.
Breeders also stress this pooch is very much a people breed and will need to be taken in as one of the family. In fact, the Vizsla is often described as the Velcro dog because it tends to stick to its owners, wanting to be constantly by their side.
Some also claim the breed is happier living inside with the family, not only because of its close bond with its owners, but because it can suffer from the cold due to its thin coat, which has no undercoat. If your Vizsla uses a kennel outside, breeders emphasise the kennel needs to be properly insulated and very warm.
The Vizsla sports a beautiful coat, which is usually a golden-rust colour. The sign of a pure Vizsla is a reddish nose, which will blend beautifully with the dogs coat colour.
When it comes to grooming, the Vizsla is not high maintenance due to its thin, uncomplicated coat. A grooming mitt or rubber brush can be used a few times a week to get rid of dead hairs (the Vizsla sheds twice a year), and bathing is only needed when necessary to avoid stripping the coat of its natural oils.
A huge plus with this breed is that it does not have a strong dog smell, even when wet, and likes to keep itself very clean.
As with all breeds, its advisable to start puppy training with your new Vizsla as soon as possible to ensure a well-mannered and socialised adult dog. Vizslas are extremely intelligent and will train well if they are stimulated and treated kindly. This breed will not react well to harsh training methods, which can have negative and destructive consequences.
The Vizsla is especially suited to dog sports due to its inherent athleticism and will excel at agility, tracking and obedience. They adore swimming and will take to any body of water with gusto sometimes even saving swimming children, a throwback to their working days as hunting and retrieving dogs.
Daily: The Vizslas daily needs include about an hours exercise and stimulation each day. If you live in a tick-prone area, a daily check for ticks, especially during summer, is imperative. If you suspect your dog may have a tick, rush to your vet immediately. If it stays outside, your Vizsla must be kept warm and snug in winter as it will feel the cold more than other breeds due to its thin, single-layer coat. Ensure there is always fresh water for drinking and feed an appropriate diet.
Weekly: A brush once or twice a week with a grooming mitt or rubber brush will get rid of dead hairs. Check ears, eyes and trim nails.
Other: Bathe only when necessary to avoid stripping the coat of natural oils. Gastro-intestinal worming every three months for adults, more frequently for puppies, as well as heartworming and vaccinations.
For more information on the Hungarian Vizsla or to find a breeder, contact your state canine council via the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) website at www.ankc.org.au or state breed club. In New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Kennel Club via its website at www.nzkc.org.nz/about.html
New South Wales: www.vizsla.org.au
South Australia: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Queensland: email email@example.com