PetMD Editorial
Written by:
PetMD Editorial
Published: March 24, 2009

The Vizsla, occasionally referred to as the Hungarian Pointer or the Hungarie Vizsla, is a hunting dog originating from Central Europe. Sleek and slim yet muscular in appearance, this dog requires plenty of physical exercise and human affection. 

Physical Characteristics 

The Vizsla has certain physical characteristics that distinguish it from other dogs, such as its lightweight and muscular body and its short, smooth rust-colored coat. The Vizsla covers ground stealthily and elegantly; its gait, meanwhile, is quick, enabling the dog to run and at very high speeds. 

Personality and Temperament 

The Vizsla loves spending time outdoors and its temperament may vary. You are just as likely to see a timid Vizsla as an over-active or stubborn one. However, most are full of energy, warm, sensitive, and gentle. The Vizsla loves hunting birds and has an innate instinct to target them.  


The Vizsla is social in nature and loves human companionship. It needs a soft bed to sleep and rest upon at the end of the day, but beware: a lack of exercise can cause a Vizsla to become restless. And although it can survive outdoors in temperate weather, the Vizsla should be kept inside when it is frigid outside. The occasional combing is enough to free this dog of its dead hair. 


The Vizsla, which has a lifespan of 10 to 14 years, may suffer from hypothyroidism, dwarfism, persistent right aortic arch, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). It is also prone to minor health concerns like lymphosarcoma and canine hip dysplasia, or major issues such as epilepsy. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip and thyroid tests on the dog. 

History and Background 

Many experts believe the Vizsla descended from the hunting and companion dogs of the Magyars, a people that settled what is now Hungary more than a thousand years ago. These hunters were in search of a breed capable of pointing out game and retrieving them in thick bushes.  

By the mid-1700s, the Vizsla earned the respect of the warlords and business elite. And though the breed did see a decline in numbers by the end of the 1800s century, it did see a resurgence of popularity in the 20th century. The Vizsla would finally receive official recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1960. Today the breed is not only popular as a hunting dog, but as a show-dog and pet, too.  

Vizsla dogs earned wide recognition among the warlords and business class by the mid 1700s. They faced a great deal of decline by the end of the nineteenth century, but fortunately, proper breeding helped to revive their numbers.

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