The Hungarian Vizsla: is it the right breed for you?
Hungarian Vizslas are loyal, lively and loving dogs, earning the nickname ‘Velcro dogs’ because they like to be near their owners.
They have plenty of energy and love to be outdoors, so make perfect companions to those who have active lifestyles. Vizslas were originally bred as hunting and retrieving dogs, they enjoy training and love nothing more than a game of fetch.
Hungarian Vizsla summary:
- Active dogs with a history of retrieving
- Coat is short and reddish gold in colour
- Top speed of 40mph
- Average size = 54 - 64 cm
- Average weight = 20 - 30 kg
- Life expectancy = 10 - 14 years
- Estimated monthly cost = High
- Exercise needs = High
- Attention needs = Medium
- Sociability = Medium
Please note: A dog’s exercise, training/stimulation and grooming requirements can depend on several factors such as age and health. The same goes for ongoing costs of ownership. For advice on one specific dog, we always advise chatting with a vet.
Strong and energetic, Hungarian Vizslas needs a lot of exercise. They can become bored if they don’t get enough physical & mental stimulation. They’ll require at least 2 hours of exercise a day to ensure that their exercise needs are met.
If you and your family are keen on outdoor adventures and are looking for a four-legged friend to come along, a Vizsla could be the perfect companion for you.
They’ll happily join you on hikes and jogs, although they will require a bit of training before they get the hang of running with you. Vizslas also love to go for a doggy paddle, so be sure to take the right precautions before you let them go for a dip.
To keep them happy and healthy, take them to a secure environment where they can run off-lead, with lots of interesting things to see and sniff.
As with all breeds, be careful not to over-exercise them whilst they are still growing, as this can have long term effects on their joints. As well as outdoor activities, Vizslas need to stay mentally stimulated with training and puzzle games.
Vizslas are loyal, active dogs who need plenty of space to roam. Because of their size, they might not make the best pet if you have young children, because of the risk of knocking them over. They are better suited to households with adults and older children. As with all breeds, it’s recommended that children are supervised when playing with dogs.
They aren't ideally suited to apartment living and require a spacious environment because of their high energy levels. Houses with large gardens or immediate access to large green spaces are ideal living environments for Vizslas.
Whilst they are still so young and receptive, it's a good idea to introduce your Vizslas to other dogs, people and livestock as well as car travel and unfamiliar noises, such as traffic.
Vizslas love to spend time with people and love nothing more than a good pat on the head. They have been known to be quite noisy and barking can become a problem. Read our top tips on how to deal with barking.
Affectionate dogs that form strong bonds with their owners, Vizslas can be prone to developing separation anxiety. It’s good practice to leave them on their own for small periods during training so that they can get used to being by themselves.
Vizslas are intelligent dogs who respond well to training because of their eagerness to please their owners.
Because of their size and strength, it’s important they are trained from an early age with plenty of positive reinforcement to stop them pulling on the lead or jumping up.
As is the case with all breeds, Vizslas will start to approach new experiences with caution when they are around 12 weeks old. Therefore, it’s really important for their development that they experience as many different situations as possible.
Vizslas are low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Thanks to their short coat, a quick brush once a week will suffice. You should only need to bathe your Vizslas when they get muddy or roll in something smelly.
When considering the lifetime cost of owning a Vizsla, remember to take into account the following costs:
Vizslas are prone to certain health problems, just like all breeds. This doesn’t mean your dog is guaranteed to contract any particular disease – it’s just something to bear in mind.
To keep your Vizsla as healthy as possible, monitor them closely and attend routine 6-month health checks with your vet. This will allow the vet to give your dog a thorough check-up and to pick up on minor (often symptomless) conditions before they have a chance to escalate into something worse.
Possible health complications for Vizsla Include:
- Dental disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Hyperuricosuria (HUU) – a condition that affects wire-haired Vizslas where stones can form in the bladder, which requires surgery.
Before welcoming a new dog into your household, make sure you’re able to cover the costs of any routine or emergency medical treatment they may need. Pet insurance will help massively with this. Why not ask your vet about their recommended pet insurance policy?
Your Vizsla will need a balanced diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It’s best to feed them complete dog food specially formulated for large breeds to ensure that they are getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients.
Growing pups may prefer 3-4 smaller servings during the day, rather than two larger meals. This can be reduced to two meals a day as your dog gets older.
The recommended portion size will depend on your individual dog. You’ll need to take into account their activity level, age and metabolism. To avoid weight gain, make sure your Vizsla has a healthy and balanced diet and gets plenty of exercise.
Are Vizslas suitable for first time owners?
Vizslas may not be the easiest companion, especially if you’re a first-time pet owner. They’re intelligent and large dogs that can quickly become a handful if they’re not properly stimulated and socialised.
They need lots of attention and exercise, so if you’re out of the house for most of the day, then they might not be the most suitable breed for you.
That said, if you lead an active outdoor lifestyle and are able to give them the time and attention they need, there’s no reason for a Vizsla not to be your ideal pet. If you have done your research beforehand, owning a Vizsla can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Need more info?
For more info on finding the best dog breed for you and your lifestyle, have a chat with your vet. Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page.