The Vizsla is a versatile dog breed that originally hails from Hungary.
Having been refined by the Hungarian nobles and warlords over the centuries, the Vizsla breed didn’t make it to the United States of America until the 1950s.
The first Vizsla was smuggled out of Communist Hungary with the help of a US State Department employee, according to the American Kennel Club.
While this dog breed is commonly known as the Vizsla, they can also be called the Hungarian Pointer.
Vizsla can serve a number of functions in modern society – they were traditionally used as hunters, they’re members of the sporting group so can excel at sports and activities, while they can make affectionate and loyal family pets.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Vizsla pros and cons, examining some of the advantages and the disadvantages of the Vizsla breed.
Dedicated best friend
If you’re looking to have a dedicated and loyal best friend by your side at all times as you journey through life, look no further than the Vizsla. In fact, the breed is often described as the “Velcro Vizsla”. This trait is a result of their hunting background as the Vizsla was trained to be a pointer and retriever who stuck to the side of their owner. The AKC give the breed a five-star rating in terms of being affectionate with members of the family.
A Reddit user gave an example of their Vizsla’s obsessive love.
Every time you walk in the door he is so excited to see us and loves to be pet. I can sit on the ground with my arms open and he’ll come running. They will stand on your feet or lean on you or lick you or just hit you with your tail pretty much 24/7.
Take part in sports
Dog lovers who relish an active lifestyle whether it’s going for regular runs, a long bike ride, hiking in the mountains or going for a swim will have the perfect workout buddy in the shape of a Vizsla. These Hungarian dogs are extremely active and don’t tire easily. They’ll match your energy step for step. Dog walking website Wag Walking recommend around 90 minutes of exercise a day for a Vizsla. The AKC explain that the Vizsla need physical and mental exercise:
In addition to leash walks and games of fetch, most Vizslas need opportunities to run hard off-leash on a regular basis. Mental exercise is as important as physical activity, so training should be part of their routine.
They can excel in dog-specific sports given their athletic frames and natural agility. Vizslas can be excellent running or jogging companions but the AKC warn that Vizslas shouldn’t run long distances until they reach maturity at about 18 to 24 months. The AKC offer some suggestions for activities with a Vizsla dog.
There are countless ways to have fun with these versatile dogs, including field trials, hunting tests, conformation, obedience, rally, agility, dock diving, barn hunts, lure coursing, scent work, and tracking.
Easy to groom
Vizslas aren’t hypoallergenic so you can expect some shedding if you own a member of the breed. Aside from their shedding, their coat is relatively easy to maintain. They’ve got a short sleek coat with no undercoat so Vizsla owner will need to give them a quick regular brush to maintain their coat. The AKC offer other suggestions for grooming:
When they get especially dirty (or when they roll in something smelly), they will need a bath with lukewarm water, a good-quality dog soap, and thorough rinsing. It is important to keep the toenails short, either with a clipper or with a grinding tool. Ears should be checked frequently for dirt, wax build-up, or signs of irritation.
Allxxe shared on Reddit just how low maintenance the Vizsla coat is.
The little hairs get everywhere but it’s no where near as bad as a lab or golden. I notice them most on fleecy sweaters or blankets. I don’t notice them on the furniture at all and they certainly don’t ball up and create little hair balls along the baseboards or in the corners (again – like the lab hair and golden hair).
And frankly, for me, the slight inconvenience of shedding is way offset by the fact they need almost 0 coat care (no snowballs in winter, no burrs or twigs, mud just flakes off as it dried or with a quick brush) – unlike some of the non-shedding breeds that are similar in personality/activity level.
Sociable with people and dogs
The Vizsla dog breed has earned a reputation for being a friendly and social breed. However, their social personalities shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s important to socialize your Vizsla from a young age. It’s a good idea to take your Vizsla to socialization classes.
We’ve already touched upon the Vizsla’s high energy levels – and this can be a con if you’re someone who wants an easy life and doesn’t like to get out of the house. These Hungarian dogs require a lot of mental and physical stimulation. If you’re not prepared or you’re unable to give it to them, you should be prepared for the consequences, which will likely exclude disruptive and destructive behaviors.
A Vizsla owner on Reddit gave a brutally honest testimonial on life with a member of the breed.
We honestly made a mistake getting a Vizsla. When we got our dog it was just the three of us. Our Vizsla is in the prime of his life and we have two little kids. Our dog deserves better. We have a decent fenced in yard but he doesn’t exercise himself and he likes to be chased. I didn’t train him well enough to drop the ball when playing fetch so he tends to stretch out a bit then just jogs around so I rarely get him worn out within our yard. The winter is especially tough because of his short coat he doesn’t like to be outside by himself and we don’t get out with him anywhere near as much as we should. if we happen to go out for an evening occasionally he will chew up some of the kid’s toys.
Part of your everyday lifestyle
We touched upon the “Velcro Vizsla” at the start of the article. This trait can be a pro and a con. Some dog lovers might not want a constant shadow. That’s what a Vizsla will likely be. They’ll follow you around your home. You can forget about privacy as your dog will want constant company.
A Reddit user shared some examples where his Vizsla doesn’t understand boundaries.
The dog will have to become part of your everyday lifestyle. You will never do anything along again, ever. Whether that is taking a poop or “fun time” in bed, the Vizsla will be there staring at you. You will never have leftovers, ever again. Nor will you ever be the fastest on the trail run. Your car will be filthy. You will lost many things that you formerly thought were important to you, that are now owned by the Vizsla.
Separation anxiety is a chronic canine disorder that can affect dogs of all breeds and mixes. It usually occurs when a dog owner leaves the home but you may notice symptoms before you even leave your home. For example, if your dog barks, howls or whines relentlessly when left alone, your Vizsla likely has separation anxiety. If your Vizsla destroy clothes, furniture or shoes, this is probably a sign of separation anxiety.
One Vizsla owner shared the extent of her dog’s separation anxiety problem.
Our Vizsla is 1 year and 2 months old and she just can’t be alone. When she was younger, she was ok for short periods of time but one time we went out for drinks and our fire alarm went off and since then we can’t even take the garbage out downstairs without her crying excessively. We have had complains from our start a building because we live in an apartment and we have just come to accept we can’t possibly make plans without bringing our dog … which is exceptionally frustrating. My husband can’t even go for a run when i’m in the office.
Need a lot of socialisation
Vizslas can be social dogs but you really need to dedicate some serious time to socializing these dogs. It’s a good idea to socialize your Vizsla puppy as much as possible by taking them to socialization classes, exposing them to new people and different situations in a controlled environment. The AKC write on their website that “this is a sensitive breed, so early and ongoing socialization is important to make sure the dog has the confidence to enjoy various activities”.
A Vizsla owner offer some advice to a new Vizsla parent when it comes to socialization of their 12-week old pup on Vizsla Forums.
The main reason is to establish and deepen the bond that will become part of your lives. This bond will cause Oso to always want to please you. It will allow the two of you to communicate your needs better. The side benefit is Oso will have a well rounded socialization period. This is a great time for you to try new experiences that you can include Oso with as well. Putting your self in new situations will give you a better appreciation for what he is going through.
Not apartment friendly
If you live in an apartment or small home in a city or urban setting with limited space both inside and outside, this may not be the breed for you unless you’re content to spend a lot of time out of the house, training your Vizsla and planning mentally stimulating activities. For a new dog owner who isn’t prepared to be constantly on the move and spend significant time outdoors, this may not be the breed for you.
A Reddit user who has a Vizsla and German Shorthaired Pointer explained that her active breeds do well in an apartment because of their daily routines.
I have a four year old vizsla and eight month GSP, both raised in apartments and they are totally fine because we spend a good Portion of the day outside. As long as the get out multiple times a day it’ll be fine. If you work in training and mental exercises it goes a long way as well! Best part is even if the Vizsla gets in the sea they really don’t have a strong wet dog smell.
However, another Vizsla owner revealed that they moved from an apartment to a house within months of getting their dog after struggling to keep up with the long, daily walks.
I got my Vizsla in an apartment. By the time they were 4 months old I was looking to move to a house and by 6 months we were in one. Taking him on two 2-4 mile walks a day was fine for a while, but it got old. I still walk that much sometimes, but to need to be forced too just added unnecessary stress. However, we wanted to move to a house anyways and we could have made the apartment work fine.