Yep, Hungarian love their dogs. All makes and sizes and types and breeds, you’ll see locals walking their dogs all day long and well into the night. Probably the most symbolic dog breed of Hungary is the Vizsla. The Vizsla is truly one of the most stunning breeds of dogs anywhere. They are loyal, beautiful and graceful and they are fantastic companion dogs.
However, people thinking of adding a Vizsla to their family should be aware that they are a powerful, active breed, and are only right for the right type of owner. For example, the Vizsla is a great match for families with small children. They love to engage in playful games and lots of different activities with children with no worries about hurting them.
This breed is not really recommended for people whose jobs require them to leave home for several days in a row. Vizslas are quite temperamental and will even cry occasionally if left alone for long periods of time. So if you work from home or there is someone else around your domicile most of the time, you are probably ideally suited for a Vizsla. They will reward you with their gentle, playful nature, along with the extreme dedication and loyalty to you and your family.
The Long Vizsla History
The Vizsla breed has existed for more than 1000 years. It is supposed to have descended from the hunting dogs used by the Magyars who settled in Hungary at the end of the 9th Century CE. Since it was a talented hunting dog, the Hungarian Vizsla was also used to deliver messages between troops during World War I. The ravages of the two World Wars almost eradicated the breed, but fortunately it has endured as one of the most popular breeds in modern-day Hungary.
The Vizsla Lifespan
The Vizsla is a vigorous and relatively long-lived breed, living from 12 to 14 years. Their biggest growth period is between four and nine months. Vizslas are almost fully grown at one year old, but they will not reach their full maturity until 18 months.
Vizslas are Great Hunting Dogs
Vizslas are wonderful pointers and retrievers, and no hunter could want a better companion. The breed excels in retrieving game on all sorts of terrain; as superb swimmers, they also work well in water. It should be noted that they do have sensitive temperaments, so harsh training should be avoided. They are also a very energetic breed and should be given at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. They love to go on long walks and especially enjoy jogging and playing fetch. Vizslas are not for the lazy owner – unless having a bored Vizsla destroy your house is part of your program.
Vizslas are Smart and Stubborn
The Vizsla is bred to be a versatile working dog. They are quick to learn, but they also have an independent streak, which often makes them appear to be stubborn. They are easily distracted by fascinating (to them, anyway) sights, scents, and sounds. You have to show them, using a stable consistency and a huge amount of patience, that they have to pay attention to you. Early socialization is a must. They have to be trained properly, or they might be shy in strange situations or excitable and easily startled. If properly trained however, the breed is well-known for being friendly to people and animals.
While many people do not believe that Vizslas shed (and puppies, in fact, don’t shed too much), adult Short-Haired Vizslas shed pretty much all the time. Their hairs are usually short, though, so the shedding isn’t as noticeable as a longer-haired dog. The Vizsla is an almost perfect match for people with a sensitive nose and who don’t want to bathe their dog every week. As a matter of fact, in general Vizslas are a low-maintenance dog in the area of grooming. A regular weekly brush is usually all they need. One special area of concern, however, is their nails. They will need their nails trimmed approximately every two months. If you can hear their nails clicking when they walk on a hard surface, they are too long. A frequent trim will also prevent you from getting scratches when your bouncy Vizsla jumps up to greet you.
The Vizsla is a Truly Wonderful Companion
Vizslas are often referred to as “Velcro dogs”; i.e., they tend to stick very close to their owners, sometimes even literally. The reason for this is that this breed was developed to be a pointer and a retriever, working very closely with hunters; as a result, they like to lean against you or become your foot warmer. They thrive on human attention and tend to bond very strongly with their owners. Vizslas are also a very talkative breed, and they will whine, moan and make noises to let you know they are around. They are a people-loving dog and thus are very well-suited to living indoors. So much so, in fact, that the breed does not have an undercoat and so should not be allowed to remain outside in the winter.
Four more quick facts about the Vizsla:
7. At about two weeks old, their ears will open and they will be startled by sudden noises.
8. Some people think a Vizsla’s tail needs to be docked because it might split while hunting or racing.
9. The Vizsla’s top speed is 60 kph; see if you can match that!
10. The oldest recorded Vizsla lived to nearly 21 years!