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As the name suggests, the Hungarian vizsla originated in Hungary and is known as the national dog of the said country. It is bred as a gun dog, highly-prized for its hunting skills. Although considered the smallest pointer-retriever breed, the Hungarian vizsla is not small at all with a weight of 45–65 pounds and height of 53–64 centimetres at the withers. Because of its outgoing and friendly nature, it is the perfect family pet that is ideal for first-time dog owners.
Are you thinking of owning a Hungarian vizsla? Here is a brief background of this large gun dog.
The origins of the Hungarian vizsla are difficult to trace, but it is believed to have existed since the ninth century when Magyar tribes came to settle in the Carpathian Basin, now known as Hungary. The Magyar tribes (coming from the Steppes of Asia) brought with them their hunting and herding dogs that evolved into what we know as the Hungarian vizsla today.
For centuries, the Hungarian vizsla was bred and developed for the sporting nobility of Hungary. It was mainly utilised to scent and search birds that were netted or caught by falcons. However, when the use of firearms was introduced in the 1700s, the Hungarian vizsla was required to be an all-around pointer and retriever dog for both fur and feathered animals. The vizsla was required to be fast with excellent nose to hunt deer, wild boar, and even wolves.
During the twentieth century, after the First and Second World Wars and the Russian invasion and occupation of Hungary, the number of Hungarian vizslas dwindled. The breed survived when most Hungarian vizsla owners fled to Europe and the West, where it became an established breed. It was also in this period when there were a growing number of Hungarian vizslas in the majority of the households in Hungary that the breed became the country's national dog. The breed is KC-registered.
The Hungarian vizsla is a medium-size sporting breed that appears slim, sleek, and sophisticated. It weighs 45–65 pounds and stands 53–64 centimetres at the withers. Its head is well-proportioned and looks noble, with moderately wide, slightly dome-shaped skull. It also sports a moderate stop with a well-developed nose and wide nostrils. The nose must be the same colour as its coat, the muzzle is blunt, and the jaws are well-muscled. Its lips are tight with no pendulous flews, as opposed to most hound dogs. It has oval-shaped eyes that are medium in size, with colours harmonising with its coat colour and nose, often dark as possible.
The Hungarian vizsla is compact and muscular with a strong and solid back that is tight and straight. Its loins are short, broad, and muscular, also slight arched or straight. The chest is deep, well-muscled, and moderately arched as well. Its coat is short, dense and must be coarse and hard to touch. The coat should cover the whole body with a less coat on the underside of the belly. The vizsla sports no undercoat. Acceptable coat colours include russet gold and dark sandy gold. Red, brownish, and other light colours are not desirable or acceptable.
When it comes to grooming, Hungarian vizsla is low-maintenance. It is a self-cleaning dog breed with little to no doggy smell. Its short, dense coat only requires weekly brushing to keep its coat in good condition. However, since this dog breed does not have an undercoat, it often has low tolerance to cold, so make sure to wipe its coat dry when it gets wet to avoid getting a chill. Other than the coat, also check its ears for any signs of infection and wax build-up, trim its nails to prevent overgrowth or cracking, and brush its teeth regularly to keep gum diseases at bay.
The Hungarian vizsla is gentle, loyal, and affectionate, which make it a perfect companion for first-time dog owners. This dog breed forms strong attachments with its owners and is often called ‘Velcro vizsla,’ because it will stick to your side no matter what. The vizsla is territorial and clingy that it will whine or cry when it feels neglected or bark when strangers try to invade its pack (its family). With this said, it makes a great guard dog.
Training the vizsla is easy as it is a natural people-pleaser and always wants to be around people. It does not hurt that it is also intelligent and a quick learner. Regardless if you are an inexperienced dog owner, the Hungarian vizsla can be a good choice for you, provided that you have the time to make sure that it is given tons of mental and physical stimulations. It is a high-energy dog that requires its daily dose of exercise; if not, it may develop serious behavioural issues and become destructive.
Given the proper socialisation and training, the Hungarian vizsla is gentle around children and is always up to play interactive games, whether indoors or outdoors. However, like in any dog, it is best to make sure that interaction between children and dogs are well supervised to avoid any accidents. The Hungarian vizsla gets along well with other dogs, especially since it was bred to work in packs. However, cats and other small animals will need to be introduced when the vizsla is still young. Still, care must be observed when the vizsla is around small animals.
A typical serving for an adult Hungarian vizsla is three to four cups of premium-quality dry dog food per day, spread between two meals. However, the amount to feed your dog may not be as accurate since servings will depend on the dog's age, size, gender, health, metabolism, activity level, and health. It is best to consult with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to help you determine the proper diet for your Hungarian vizsla.
Here is the typical calorie needs that an adult, 55-pound Hungarian vizsla will need per day:
The active, medium-size sporting breed such as the Hungarian vizsla will require a high level of protein and little to no carbs to support its muscle growth and high energy requirements. Animal protein from beef, lamb, chicken, and eggs are highly recommended.
The Hungarian vizsla is generally known to have a lifespan of nine to fifteen years. However, like most pure breeds, the vizsla is predisposed to genetic health problems such as hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, polymyopathy, glaucoma, cerebellar ataxia, Alabama rot, cancer, hypothyroidism, dwarfism, immune-mediated diseases, and some skin problems.
The Hungarian vizsla is a high energy dog that must be given at least two hours' worth of daily exercise. It thrives in an active environment where its family engages in outdoor activities such as hiking, running, or jogging. It also enjoys outdoor interactive games. When you allow a vizsla to play or run outside, whether on-lead or off-lead, make sure it is within a securely fenced back garden, so it will not think of escaping.
Purchasing a well-bred Hungarian Vizsla puppy may cost you between £600 and £3000. To ensure it stays healthy at whatever age you need to feed it high-quality food, which can set you back £20-£30 a month. You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment such as food bowls, leads, collars, and beds, which will likely be about £200 depending on the brand.
When it comes to healthcare, you need to be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. You can offset some medical bills if you get a pet insurance, which can range from £45 for a time-limited cover up to £70 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, size and weight, the type of cover you choose, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.
Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £1000 annually. Roughly, you will be setting aside £100-£140 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose. This estimate is also exclusive of walking or grooming services that you might want to use at times.
Are you sure the Hungarian Vizsla is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
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