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What Is A Vizsla? – The Perfect Pup For Active Peeps

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Way back when I was raising my second guide dog puppy, Derby I wondered: What is a Vizsla?

Why did I ask that question? Well, we went on the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA) Service Dog Training Day outing back in 2008.

I took my puppy in training, Derby for a bus ride and a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm.

OCTA sponsored the training day and allowed any service dog or service dog in training to ride the bus for free on that day.

One of the dogs we met that day was a cadaver dog in training.

While most of the service dogs in training were Labradors or Golden Retrievers this cadaver was noticeably a different breed.

Guess what dog breed he was?

That’s right! A Vizsla.

We asked the handler a lot of questions and got answers about Vizslas and cadaver dogs but ever since then, I’ve been curious about the Vizsla.

Today I present to you the perfect pup for active peeps, the Vizsla!

Vizsla - Holding big stick

What Is A Vizsla?

A quick, short excerpt from Wikipedia says:

The Vizsla is a natural hunter endowed with an excellent nose and outstanding trainability. It was bred to work in fields, forests or bodies of water. Although they are lively, gentle-mannered, demonstrably affectionate and sensitive, they are also fearless and possess a well-developed protective instinct.


We’ve met this breed several times since our encounter on the OCTA buses. We always love to ask questions of their owners.

Two things have stood out during our conversations:

#1. Vizslas Are High Energy Dogs

They are a sporting breed and used for hunting so this is expected. What I didn’t expect was that people have told me they are more energetic than our Labs and Goldens.

#2. Vizslas Don’t Have That Dog Smell

I always thought this was an interesting fact about the dog especially since our Golden Retrievers have a distinct doggy smell especially when they get wet.

From what I’ve heard Vizslas do not have that characteristic doggy smell. While I’ve never taken a big whiff of any of the breeds I’ve come across, I’ve also never noticed any serious odor when around the breed.

That being said actually owning a Vizsla would be the real determining factor on whether or not they had that stinky, doggy smell.

Please if you own a Vizsla tell us a little about what they smell like in the comment section below.

Main Characteristics

Average Size

Male22 – 24 inches55 – 60 pounds
Female21 – 23 inches45 – 55 pounds

Energy Level

The Vizsla is a very high-energy breed and as I mentioned earlier this has been confirmed by a half dozen owners we’ve run into over the years.

One of our good friends who recently brought home a Vizsla with the hopes of adding a new running partner to the family found out that her dog could run for days.


The American Kennel Club recognizes the Vizsla in one color: Golden Rust.

The Vizsla is not found with any markings.

Health & Longevity

On average Vizsla’s live approximately 12-14 years. That’s around what I’d expect for a medium-sized dog like the Vizsla.

According to the Vizsla Club of America, breeders should screen for the following conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia (OFA evaluation) – at 24 months or older
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis (OFA evaluation)
  • Eyes (to be examined by a board-certified ACVO Ophthalmologist and registered with the OFA)
    In addition, these optional health screens are recommended for breeding stock:
  • Elbow Dysplasia (OFA evaluation) – at 24 months or older
  • Hip Dysplasia (PennHip evaluation) – at 24 months or older
  • Cardiac (evaluation by a board-certified/ACVIM Cardiologist and registered with the OFA) – at 12 months or older

Epilepsy exists in the breed, as does lymphosarcoma and various skin issues.

Vizsla Temperament

Lively, loving, and gentle – the Vizsla, or Hungarian pointer, makes for a versatile hunting dog as well as a loving companion for active families.

Bred to be a “walking gentleman’s shooting dog”, Vizslas spent hours upon hours in the field, and this energy level remains very much a part of the breed.

They possess an interesting mix of characteristics; they are a pointer that also has some retriever qualities.

This sounds a little bit like two of my Labs, Archer and Elsa. They both came from the same breeder and used to point as well as retrieve!

Athletic and light on their feet, Vizslas need a large fenced yard to romp in, but this should not be their only source of exercise, nor can they live outside.

They have considerable exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship needs, without which they can become neurotic, hyperactive, and destructive.

A minimum of one to two hours of vigorous exercise each day will keep everyone’s sanity.

Vizslas also love to chew, so it behooves their owners to supply them with a variety of chew and interactive toys.

Vizslas can make fine companions for active families, but their exuberance can be overwhelming to younger children, so older, active children are usually a better match.

Generally, Vizslas get along well with other dogs, but cats and small animals are at risk. While polite and friendly to strangers, the Vizsla makes a good watchdog.

In fact, some can be barkers, and it is common for a Vizsla to “talk” to their people with various whining, moaning, and groaning.

“Velcro Vizslas” describes this breed’s insatiable desire to be with their people.

Too much time alone and no job to engage in are the most common reasons Vizslas lose their homes.

Vizslas will chase small animals, so for their safety, must always be leashed unless in a fenced area.

Some people have been successful with a Vizsla in an apartment setting, but you should have places to exercise your dog close by and remember this dog must have his exercise every single day; once these needs are met, Vizslas can be very cuddly.

Although more challenging, a Vizsla would be far better off in an apartment, getting sufficient exercise and stimulation, than being left alone in a large yard.

Vizslas need early and ongoing socialization to counter the tendency of many to be wary of strangers and novel experiences.

Socialization should begin in puppyhood and continue through the age of two.

The unique combination of pointer and retriever attributes makes for interesting training; while Vizslas do have some of the pointer’s independent nature, they tend to be more willing than most pointing breeds.

You will experience the best results using positive reinforcement methods; harsh and highly punitive methods will likely shut down your Vizsla.

This breed is versatile not only in the field, but also in activities; they make for a versatile hunting dog, a jogging partner, and a fine companion for active families.

Jogging or running should not begin until growth is complete (~ two years) so as not to cause joint damage.

How Often Should I Groom My Vizsla?

The Vizsla’s coat is short, smooth, and dense.

The smooth coat is the only type recognized by the American Kennel Club, but there also exists a wirehaired variety, a longhaired variety, and even a woolly.

The smooth coat is easy to care for; since dirt falls off, they stay very clean with little work.

Bathing can be done, as needed, but most owners just use a damp rag to freshen up their dogs.

Weekly brushing with a curry or soft bristle brush will keep the normal shedding to a minimum.

During spring and fall, the coat will “blow”, allowing a new coat to come in; during these times, the shedding will increase dramatically, and brushing more frequently will lessen the hair falling in your house.

Ears should be kept clean and dry. Toenails should be trimmed; even if your Vizsla wears their nails down, you will want to maintain the ability to handle their feet, especially useful as they age, when wearing to the nails typically slows down.

Teeth must also be checked and cleaned regularly.

How Much Does A Vizsla Eat?

The amount of food a Vizsla will require can vary depending on age, activity level, and type of food fed.

On average, Vizslas will eat 3 – 4 cups of food, fed in two meals per day; a high-quality food should be fed.

Free feeding should be avoided.

A constant supply of fresh, clean water must always be available.

How Much Does A Vizsla Cost?

Prices for Vizslas vary widely, running from the $600-$1,000 range to up to $2,000.

Breed rescue organizations are another option, where lovely dogs needing a home can be found; adoption fees vary widely but are generally in the $200-$500 range.

Whether you acquire a dog from a breeder or rescue, do your homework to be assured that the temperaments of the dogs are tested and sound.

Ongoing expenditures include the typical supplies, food, and regular vet visits.

Breeds Similar To Vizsla

Don’t put them in the same category as a wire haired German pointer, that is a completely different personality breed that will test even the most experienced dog owner and unlike the vizsla are never predictable.

Final Thoughts

We think the Vizsla is one of the most interesting breeds.

If you’ve been following us for a while then you already know we are a Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever family. We even have a half Golden half Lab mixed breed.

However, since learning about the Vizsla way back in 2008 we’ve been intrigued.

A Vizsla may be in our future and maybe we can train one to be a service dog.

Do you have a Vizsla?

Tell us about your experiences with your dog in the comment section below.

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What Is A Vizsla? - Tåhe Perfect Pup For Active Peeps - holding a big stick

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  1. Love our Vizsla! We have lots of property for her to roam on, we’ve never had to worry about her staying too far, as she is a velcro dog… 😉
    Very agreeable to train, never destructive, she isn’t a chewers either. Her grooming is minimal, and her smell is non existent. She was the best choice for our family. My husband hunts and I run, but she prefers to hang with the teens and chase balls all day!
    She was the best decision for a dog breed. The only downside is her neediness… if I’m cooking ahead there, working out she’s there, sleeping she’s there… and if not she whines loud enough to let us know she wants to be there. 😁

    Also, her excitement is unmatched. You’ve heard of cocaine bear? I give you cocaine dog (at least according to any guests)

  2. We have 2 Vizslas. One male, one female. The female turned out larger than male (different moms) both had same sire. The female is a “talker” and I do mean talker – sometimes we expected her to break out in English (once she did- story for another time). Male whines to communicate but will howl the blues when he thinks dad has driven away. They required abundant exercise- hiking and swimming, especially when younger. They stick to our side no matter where we go. We have gently trained them and they respond to normal speaking voice. Ours were crate trained from inception and they love their own “rooms”. We highly recommend crate training- everybody sleeps better. The most destructive chewing times were when they were young. Ex: if a sprinkler was being fixed, the male would dig it up and bring it back. We learned to do repairs with him in house. We love and cherish them.

  3. Never had wet dog smell with our two….they are very intelligent but can be stubborn and destructive of not handled constantly…they attach to one person and are very loving..

  4. I am a disabled veteran & have a 6 year old Viszla I bought at 6 months old.
    She is affectionate, loyal, listens well & very in tune to my mental health issues.
    Although not trained as a service dog, she certainly has become my best friend & gives me reason to get up every morning.

  5. I have had 2 Vizsla, they never had dog smell. Lot of energy and easy to train. Yet, in hungary they say, there are dogs and than there are Vizslas, one meaning, easy to train but they have strong human like personalities, so dont push them hard or they get a bit head strong.
    They dont small, but mine would 2 a year go found something to role in that could stink and hard to wash out. They are love on 4 legs and will never leve you side.

  6. We would never have any other breed now that we have our Vizsla Danny Boy!!

  7. I have had Vizslas for 40 years. Would never have another breed!!!! No smell, so clean, so loving. I can leave them outside with no supervision. I’ve never had one leave our farm. Each one has lived to be at least 13, one 14. The downside has been health issues. One had mast cell tumors at age nine. We opted for chemo treatments and he died of old age at 13. My current one has pancreatitis and can only eat a low fat prescription diet. He is 13 now. Warning! Bedtime will never be the same. They have to sleep with you, heads on the pillow beside you. Manys the time I will wake up clinging to one foot of the bed and no covers. They like being covered with throws. RUN DON’T WALK TO ADD ONE TO YOUR FAMILY

  8. Our lovely lady definitely doesn’t have that dog smell. Her feet smell a little like biscuits (UK digestives).

    Definitely high energy, very intelligent, ours can be slightly aloof and quite protective but is a persistent cuddler.

    If you’re active, and want a loyal and steadfast companion, I don’t think you can do much better.

  9. I own 2 Vizslas. One is a barker (4 yrs old), the other isn’t. They are easily trained and if hiking or running they won’t get far from you. They love people and are truly “Velcro”dogs. I had 2 before these guys and will never have another breed. Yes, they need exercise, but so do I!

  10. In regards to the smell, I grew up with vizslas and going through 5 of them none ever had a “dog” smell. The most they have is more like a body odor that any human would have.

  11. As a proud Vizsla owner and active person, I couldn’t agree more with this article! Vizslas are truly the perfect pup for people who love to stay active and explore the outdoors. They have boundless energy and enthusiasm, and are always up for a good adventure.

    Not only are Vizslas great companions for outdoor activities like hiking, running, and swimming, but they are also incredibly loyal and affectionate. They thrive on human interaction and love nothing more than spending time with their owners.

    But it’s not just their physical abilities that make Vizslas such wonderful pets – they also have a sweet and playful personality that is sure to bring a smile to your face. They are great with kids and other pets, and are always eager to make new friends.

    Of course, like any breed, Vizslas have their unique quirks and challenges, but with proper training and socialization, they can make amazing pets for the right person. So if you’re looking for a furry companion to join you on all your adventures, I highly recommend considering a Vizsla – they won’t disappoint!

  12. Thanks for sharing Geoff! I added your commentary to the main post. Thank you for sharing about your Vizsla!

  13. Vizsla love to learn new tricks or tasks all the time. My latest one has recently learned to wave goodbye! A new trick every month is good. Once he recognises people by name he will take toys to that person on request (command is too hard a word for the breed), I believe the breed just loves to please as long as they receive praise and sometimes a treat for pleasing. Certainly a gentle voice, can be firm when needed but no need to be a raised voice goes a long way.
    Don’t put them in the same category as a wire haired German pointer, that is a completely different personality breed that will test even the most experienced dog owner and unlike the vizsla are never predictable.

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