If you’ve never heard of a Vizsla before, we won’t really judge you—after all, these dogs went nearly extinct once before regaining popularity and a literal new lease of life! Native to Hungary, these beautiful, sleek dogs are known for their lovely coats and their inordinate fondness for cleanliness!
However lovely a coat may be, though, the shedding that comes with it can really determine whether you view the coat as a symbol of beauty and pride or one of pain and frustration!
If you’re wondering how much Vizslas shed, how to deal with the shedding and if they even shed at all in the first place, you’re in the right place. Read on to find the answers!
But First—a Little Bit about Vizslas!
These dogs are extremely athletic and were bred as sport dogs and with their perfect medium-sized build, they’re neither too large nor too small, making them a great fit in many types and sizes of families.
Vizslas made their first appearances in literature in the 14th century, where they were described as being companion dogs to barons, aristocrats and warlords alike.
These dogs lived through the Turkish Occupation, the Hungarian Revolution and both World Wars, only to be nearly wiped out by something as relatively mundane as the increasing popularity of Shorthaired and English Pointers in the 1800s!
All Vizslas today are descended from around a dozen of their forefathers that survived this period in Hungary.
Vizslas broke into the scene in the United States at the end of the Second World War and were recognized by the AKC in 1960.
Related: Do Vizslas Like to Dig?
As mentioned, Vizlas are extremely athletic by nature, making them born hunters. To complement this, these dogs have superb noses, an easy-to-train character and a sense of ease in water, forests and fields alike.
Their fearlessness and protectiveness further add to their formidability as hunters. However, Vizslas can also be super sensitive, achingly gentle, well mannered and affectionate.
Their loyalty and tendency to stick to their masters’ sides has earned them the name ‘Velcro dogs’—these dogs don’t like being apart from their ‘hoomans’ and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods.
(This affinity to staying close may stem from the fact that in their origin story, if these dogs didn’t stick close to their masters, they would have simply died from the cold).
In appearance, short-coated Vizslas have a light, lean build with muscle definition and awe-inspiring robustness.
Their noses are always reddish (brown, black and light pink are indicative of a mix) while their eyes and nails perfectly blend with their reddish-brown coats.
One of the weirdest-coolest things about this breed is that they tend to groom themselves, like cats, earning them the moniker ‘self-cleaning’.
This means you only need to go through the whole doggo bath-time ritual only 5-6 times a year (in fact, some Vizslas have never been bathed at all!) and almost never have to shell out at the groomers.
Any odor (which is also rare) from all the cleaning can simply be wiped away with a cloth.
However, all this self-cleaning also means—hairball! This isn’t anything to worry about, though—coughing up hairballs isn’t restricted to the felines alone.
The hair is coming out of one of the ends—it’s either “digested” or coughed up—so you shouldn’t worry about it getting stuck inside either!
Related: Are Vizslas Easy to Train?
The Vizsla Coat
Vizslas have coats that are short or medium length and unlike some other breeds, do not have a frequently-shedding undercoat.
This means two things—lesser shedding to deal with and lower insulation, which means that these dogs aren’t biologically designed for colder climes. (Just saying, though, the latter gives you the opportunity to swaddle your Vizsla in the cutest doggo sweaters and socks!)
The Vizsla coat, however, isn’t hypoallergenic, which means that they can trigger allergies by releasing allergens in their urine, saliva and shed dead skin cells—also known as ‘dander’.
That said, no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic (and you shouldn’t believe anyone who insists that they are).
Vizslas are natural redheads, with a gorgeous solid red/rust/russet gold/copper brown coat. Of course, the spectrum of red is large and hence, each Vizslas is its own unique shade of rust, unless it’s from the same litter.
Some even have a lovely mix of gold and dark sand, but the norm is a solid coloring in the coat.
However, know that the AKC doesn’t accept certain shades of red (and other colors) as they don’t adhere to the breed standards set by the club.
This includes shades such as dark mahogany red and pale yellow, so if you have a Vizsla you want to enter into competitions, this fact should definitely be borne in mind.
According to the AKC rules, Vizslas should have coats that are smooth, dense, close lying and short.
Overall, Vizslas and their coats are low maintenance, costing you much less than having to care for many other breeds.
So, Do Vizslas Shed?
Long story short, yes. Like all dogs, Vizslas shed and though it be light, it be regular! As puppies, the shedding is almost unnoticeable and as adults, the shedding happens year round but not too heavily.
The lack of an undercoat means that there is no additional seasonal shedding that you have to worry about.
How Much Shedding Should I Prepare For?
In the whole doggy verse, Vizslas are only average shedders, so their shedding is what is considered ‘normal’ for dogs.
Brushing them will result in hair on the brush and you’re sure to find some hair on your furniture and floor, but nowhere close to how much you’d find if you had a Retriever or even a Labrador in the house.
Where it can get a little frustrating, though, is that the coat is quite short, so shed hair won’t show up very obviously on your furniture and floor—this is both a pain (because you can’t efficiently clean what you can’t really see) and a blessing in disguise (because what you can’t really see won’t affect your aesthetics!).
When Can I Expect the Shed Storm?
Though there is no seasonal shedding, there are certain periods where Vizslas shed more—the spring.
This is the time where your Vizsla, like much else of nature, is indulging in some TLC and growth, where he or she gets rid of all the excess hair from last winter. The darker, slightly thicker winter coat makes way for a new shorter, lighter summer coat.
There is no other reason why your Vizsla should shed, except for reasons that warrant medical attention.
Dealing with Vizsla Shedding
There is no way to stop your Vizsla from shedding—it is natural and you shouldn’t even be looking to stop it. So if you can’t stop, the next best thing to do is to deal with it efficiently!
Fortunately, this is easy, since Vizslas have short coats and are a low-maintenance breed. Brushing your Vizsla every few days (once or twice a week) will get rid of any dead or loose hair and dead skin, leading to lesser shedding around the house.
This brushing will also keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny.
Damp cloths also work to remove dead hair—all you have to do is run it over your dog. Pay special attention to the beard and eyebrows.
Do I Need Any Specific Tools?
Nope—there is very little grooming equipment you will need for your Vizsla.
A nice soft-bristled brush or pet grooming gloves for brushing, a soft cloth you can dampen and rub your Vizsla down with if you don’t want to brush or bathe him/her and the usual nail clippers to keep the nails short and you’re good to go!
You may also want to consider a good shampoo for your Vizsla, for the times when you do bathe him.
The great thing with Vizslas is that since you’re bathing them so infrequently, you can afford to splurge on the highest-quality doggo shampoos out there!
Never use your own shampoo on your dog (or any pet) as these could cause irritation and infections—they’re engineered for humans and should remain that way in usage!
Are Some Vizslas More Shed Prone Than Others?
No, unless there’s a medical reason behind it. All Vizslas shed pretty much the same, whether pups or adults. The breed is pretty homogenous, with no variations in the fur.
All Vizslas shed the same amount, so if you notice any bald patches or higher-than-normal shedding, visit the vet at the earliest.
Possible Medical Reasons for Increased Shedding
There are a few medical reasons behind why your Vizsla could be shedding more than usual. These are:
As it is with any being, the right diet is important for your Vizsla. Poor-quality feed that lacks nutrients will lead to a dull coat and more shedding.
Food rich in the necessary fatty acids, like omega-6 and -3, coupled with healthy treats, will go a long way in keeping your dog’s coat healthy. Occasionally throwing in a raw or boiled egg (though this may take away some of the nutritional value) will also greatly help. Oily/fatty fish are also great additions to make.
Pregnancy and Feeding
Similar to humans, pregnancy and feeding may cause increased hair loss in your Vizsla. Don’t worry, though—once she’s done feeding the litter, the shedding will go back to normal.
If your Vizsla is suffering any skin infections/irritation or conditions from external or internal parasites, there could be an increase in shedding.
An increased amount of scratching, especially in one particular spot, is a good indicator of a skin condition or irritation—get your vet to check this spot as some parasites are also too tiny to be spotted by the amateur eye!
More often than not, increased shedding is resolved with the diet. If not, visit your vet. Remember, when in any doubt, turning to your vet instead of Google is the better, safer option.
The Final Word
Sure, Vizslas shed all the time, but they really don’t shed more than the average dog. The shedding is quick and easy to clean and the fact that your Vizsla is self-cleaning is a huge bonus and makes your job easier!
So if you’re considering bringing home a Vizsla and were worried about the shedding, rest assured! Shed your worries instead and bring home one of the most loyal, affectionate dogs on the planet.