The Vizsla was already known in early Hungarian history. The ancestors of the present Vizsla were the trusted and favorite hunting dogs of the Magyar tribes who lived in the Carpathian Basin in the 10th century. Primitive stone etchings over a thousand years old show the Magyar hunter with his falcon and his Vizsla.
The first written reference to Vizsla dog breed has been recorded in the Illustrated Vienna Chronicle prepared on order of King Lajos the Great (Louis the Great) by the Carmelite Friars in 1357.
Companion dogs of the early warlords and barons, Vizsla blood was preserved pure for centuries by the land-owning aristocracy who guarded them jealously and continued to develop the hunting ability of these “yellow-pointers”. Records of letters and writings show the high esteem in which the Vizsla was held.
The Vizsla survived the Turkish occupation (1526–1696), the Hungarian Revolution (1848–49), World War I, World War II and the Russian Occupation. However, Vizslas faced and survived several near-extinctions in their history, including being overrun by English Pointers and German Shorthair Pointers in the 1800s (Boggs, 2000:19) and again to near-extinction after World War II. A careful search of Hungary and a poll of Hungarian sportsmen revealed only about a dozen Vizslas of the true type still alive in the country. From that minimum stock, the breed rose to prominence once again. The various “strains” of the Vizsla have become somewhat distinctive as individuals bred stock that suited their hunting style. Outside Hungary, vizslas are commonly bred in Romania, Austria, Slovakia, and Serbia.
The Vizsla was used in development of other breeds, most notably the Weimaraner, Wire-haired Vizsla and German Shorthair Pointer breeds. There is much conjecture about those same breeds, along with other pointer breeds, being used to reestablish the Vizsla breed at the end of 19th century.
The Vizsla is a medium-sized short-coated hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, they are lean dogs, have defined muscles, and are observed to share similar physical characteristics with the Weimaraner.
Various breeds are often mistaken for Vizslas, and Vizslas are often mistaken for other breeds Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are some of the most commonly confused breeds. The body structure of a Vizsla is very similar in appearance to a Weimaraner and Redbone Coonhound(U.S.A), though the Vizsla is typically leaner with more defined musculature. Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are larger than Vizslas. The nose of the Vizsla will always have a reddish color that blends with the coat color. Black, brown, light pink, or another color nose is an indication of another breed. Eyes and nails should also blend with coat color.
Vizslas are very high energy, gentle-mannered, loyal, caring, and highly affectionate. They quickly form close bonds with their owners, including children. Often they are referred to as “velcro” dogs because of their loyalty and affection. They are quiet dogs, only barking if necessary or provoked. Sometimes when these dogs feel neglected or want something, they will cry.
They are natural hunters with an excellent ability to take training. Not only are they great pointers, but they are excellent retrievers as well. They will retrieve on land and in the water, making the most of their natural instincts. However, they must be trained gently and without harsh commands or strong physical correction, as they have sensitive temperaments and can be easily damaged if trained too harshly. Vizslas are excellent swimmers. Like all hunting dogs, Vizslas require a good deal of exercise to remain healthy and happy.
The Vizsla thrives on attention, exercise, and interaction. It is highly intelligent, and enjoys being challenged and stimulated, both mentally and physically. Vizslas are very gentle dogs that are great around children. The Vizsla wants to be close to its owner as much of the time as possible. Many Vizslas will sleep in bed with their owners and, if allowed, will burrow under the covers.