Vizslas are distinct looking, red-coated Hungarian hunting dogs that are known for their incredible prowess and stamina on the field and loyalty towards their family. They are athletic dogs that have for long been the pride of Hungarian households and are gradually becoming popular in other parts of the world as well, especially the United States.
Since the breed is most widely known as a gundog or a hunting dog, it is often assumed that it can be an aggressive or unfriendly breed. But is that the case? The following sections will take you through information about the Vizslas’ temperament and other traits.
Are Vizslas a Friendly Breed?
Contrary to popular opinion, Vizslas can be friendly and kind dogs despite their astute hunting skills. They may look and sound serious and distant, but they are affectionate and jovial dogs that make for great pets.
But are they friendly only with their humans, or can they be around other dogs and pets in the house as well? The answer is a resounding yes! Like most other breeds, Vizslas can get along with other dogs (and even cats) if they are socialized from an early age. They may not be the go-to dogs if you have younger kids but can be great pets for older and more energetic children.
The only time Vizslas may get aggressive is if they feel that their loved ones are threatened, whether their human adoptive parents or even another dog they have grown up with and consider part of their pack. In a nutshell, therefore, Vizslas are friendly dogs that can be excellent with other dogs, children and even cats when socialized properly and given the right kind of environment to grow up in.
However, if you have smaller pets like hamsters, guinea pigs, or other rodents or rodent-sized pets, Vizslas may not be the best option. They are hunting dogs and have been bred for centuries for this very trait, therefore, it is in their genetic makeup to go after animals of this size. If you have a hamster, guinea pig, or even a bird as a pet, it would be difficult to keep them safe from your Vizsla.
Personality Traits to Keep in Mind
Vizslas are strong, loyal and energetic hunting dogs that thrive in the company of people they love. They are not meant to be kennel dogs and prefer to be with their owners. In fact, they do not like being alone for long periods of time and require constant interaction and stimulation from their owners. They are known to suffer from separation anxiety and can also get alarmed by loud noises, so a thunderstorm will be especially challenging for a Vizsla.
They are friendly dogs and will not be aggressive with strangers unless they feel threatened (though early socialization is essential). They are also good guard dogs and are not known to bark excessively.
However, it must be noted that Vizslas are medium-sized active dogs that thrive best in a household that can give them the required exercise. It is important that one not only takes their Vizsla pet out for regular walks but engages them in constant activity and even makes room for them to run around and make mischief in the apartment or home. This does not mean Vizslas require a lot of space, but it simply means they require a lot of attention and engagement.
Vizslas are medium-sized dogs that can grow up to 22 to 24 inches in height in the case of males and 21 to 23 inches high in the case of females. Note that this is the ideal standard specified by the American Kennel Club and there can be variations in the breed in general. Males can weigh up to 50 lb, while females may weigh up to 45 lb.
They have a short and smooth coat that stays close to the skin. There is no undercoat in Vizslas. They have a distinct red coat, ranging from shades of mahogany to light rust, though the breed standard according to AKC is golden rust. The eyes, eye rims, lips, nose, etc. typically blend in with the color of the coat in what is known as a self-colored physical trait. Vizslas are light-footed dogs that have a far-reaching and graceful gait. Being gundogs, they are also swift runners. They have naturally floppy ears.
While Vizslas have a short coat, they are seasonal shedders that do require careful grooming, though perhaps not as much as a breed with a longer coat. A rubber grooming brush is a good item to keep in your grooming kit. Brushing their coat once a week is a good routine to set.
They do not require frequent bathing, but if they get dirty or have come home after rolling around in the mud, you can give them a bath in lukewarm water and a good dog soap or shampoo. Since the ears are naturally floppy, you may want to lift them and check inside every now and then to ensure they are clean. Look out for signs of irritation or itching, it may be indicative of wax build up or infection.
Vizslas are friendly, energetic and intelligent hunting dogs that make for great pets. When socialized in time, they can also be good with other dogs and pets in the house, though you cannot be sure they will not attack smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs. They are also good with kids, though it is important not to leave a smaller child near them without supervision.
Vizslas have a long history and have served Hungarian nobility for many centuries. But by the end of the First World War, they were nearly extinct. It is because of how incredible they are as companion dogs and how skilled they are as hunters that they were brought back into popularity and were recognized by the AKC in 1960. So if you already have dogs at home and are wondering if a Vizsla puppy could make a suitable and safe addition to the family, do not hesitate to bring one home!