Breed Profile – Hungarian Vizsla


A great all-round gundog and increasingly popular in the UK, the Hungarian Vizsla is the focus of this breed profile. Vizslas also make fantastic family pets and are beautiful to look at. It’s a win-win combination!

History of Breed: The Hungarian Vizsla is a typical HPR (Hunt Point Retrieve) gundog. HPR dogs are all-purpose hunting dogs. They typically have a good nose, steady pointing skills, great retrieval and a love of working on land or in water. It is thought the Hungarian Vizsla originated in Europe in the 16th century, being particularly popular in Hungary, hence the name. The breed almost died out during World War 2, but has increased in popularity since. Current stock was mostly bred from dogs taken out of Hungary by emigrants.

hungarian viszla gun dog portrait

Life Expectancy: Approximately 13 years.

Size: Medium, 53-64cm in height and 20-30kg in weight.

Features: Characterised by their noble head and smooth, sleek russet coat, the Hungarian Vizsla is instantly recognisable. They are robust and strong with a deep chest and muscular back and shoulders. Long straight forearms and well developed thighs lead to rounded, arched, tight, cat-like feet. The tail is long and tapered and would traditionally have been docked.

Energy Levels/Exercise Required: As an HPR dog, Vizslas have a lot of energy and require over two hours of exercise every day. In particular exercise that satisfies their desire to hunt, point and retrieve. They have a huge amount of enthusiasm and would play retrieval games for hours on end. They also love playing in water, either at the seaside or in rivers. A dog with such high energy levels needs to get a lot of energy and essential nutrients from its diet. Therefore a dog food such as Dr John Titanium is a good idea. The Dr John range is specifically catered to provide all that a working gundog needs.

Potential Health Problems: A resilient breed, the Hungarian Vizsla tends to be healthy with few problems. However hip dysplasia could be a possibility in later life. This condition can be exacerbated when a dog is overweight, so feeding to condition is essential. Canine epilepsy is also something to ask about when talking to breeders. Vizslas can also be prone to food allergies, in which case a dog food for sensitive digestive systems can be beneficial, such as Dr John Hypoallergenic.

Temperament: The Hungarian Vizsla is highly intelligent and obedient, responding to training exceptionally well. It is also gentle, affectionate and sensitive with a strong protective instinct and loyalty.

Family Dog/Child Friendly: Their high energy levels and good temperaments make the Hungarian Vizsla well suited to a busy family life. Especially one where it can join in with a lot of outdoor activities. They make ideal companions thanks to their affectionate and loyal nature. Furthermore they get on well with young children.

Likes: Lots of exercise, fun and games that exercise gundog instincts, attention and affection.

Dislikes: Lack of exercise and attention.