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Working Wednesday: The Hungarian Vizsla

These Russet Gold HPR's are becoming increasingly popular in the field and you see more and more of them every season on shoots. Beating, picking up and even some sitting on the peg. These medium-sized HPR's have held a rare position throughout the centuries as being some of the best all round sporting dogs - being a perfect household companion, family dog and excelling out in the field.

Vizsla Fun Facts:

  • A Vizsla can reach up to 40mph when running at full speed!

  • 'Vizsla' literally means 'Pointer' when translated from Hungarian

  • Their history dates back to the 10th Century

  • The Vizsla's fine, greasy coat equips them for working in high temperatures of plains

  • They need over 2 hours of exercise per day as they are very active, energetic dogs

Hungarian Vizsla History

Some research suggests the origins of this breed lie in the ninth century, some suggests the eleventh, whilst other points to a later time. In her seminal book on the Hungarian Vizsla, Gay Gottlieb includes a museum picture of a Gothic panel from the fifteenth century: it shows a dog that is believed to be a Vizsla.

The one thing we can rely upon, about which there can be little doubt, is that the Vizsla has a very long history. She explains how the breed has changed its appearance somewhat over the centuries, to the lovely animal we now delight in. In its early days, the breed was bred with the The Yellow Turkish dogs and latterly many other breeds are thought to have been in its bloodlines. Gay Gottlieb refers to Setters, Bloodhounds, the German Vortsthund, the Balkan Beagle, the ancient Foxhound, the Pammion Hound and the Romanian Copie, as well as the Greyhound and the Sloughi. Little wonder, then, that it carries such a variety of instincts and characteristics, all making it such a versatile breed and adaptable companion for many different types of owner.

During the early part of the twentieth century, the Hungarian Empire experienced many difficulties from hostile countries intent on stealing its land and taking over its rule. During this time, the Vizsla also experienced difficulties and lovers of the breed determined to save it from the possibility of extinction. They formed a club in 1924 that resulted in individual dogs being registered for the first time in its history. However, things got even worse for the Vizsla after the disintegration of the Hungarian Empire, particularly during the second World War and the Russian Occupation. Fortunately, some immigrants to Europe and further afield smuggled their Vizslas with them and the breed thus became established outside Hungary.

Working Vizslas:

Like all gundogs, Hungarian Vizslas require regular stimulation and exercise... at least 2 hours per day. As HPR's they are expected to hunt up game over a wider beat than a spaniel, hold a nice natural point, flush on command and retrieve what is shot. Once trained, they do an excellent job in all respects.

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