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 ethnic groups 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 Soviet Period. However, Vizslas faced and survived several near-extinctions in their history, including being over run 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 started arriving in the United States at the close of World War II. As interest in and devotion to the breed began to increase, owners formed the Vizsla Club of America to gain AKC recognition. As a result of registering foundation stock with the AKC, Vizsla owners were able to get official recognition on November 25, 1960, as the Vizsla became the 115th breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. There are two breed clubs for the Vizsla in Britain, The Hungarian Vizsla Club and The Hungarian Vizsla Society. The winner of the Best In Show award at Crufts 2010 was a Vizsla named Hungargunn Bear It’n Mind.
Medium-sized, robust but not too heavily boned. The head is gaunt and noble. Tail is of moderate thickness and rather low-set. His gait is graceful and quite elegant with a lively trot. The coat is short and straight, dense and coarse and feels somewhat greesy to the touch. Colour is solid russet gold.
Vizslas are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Vizslas will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY;
(PRA) is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Fortunately, dogs can use their other senses to compensate for blindness, and a blind dog can live a full and happy life. Just don’t make it a habit to move the furniture around. Reputable breeders have their dogs’ eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist and do not breed dogs with this disease.
The signs of the illness are problems with swallowing – both food and water – excessive drooling, and usually also muscle wasting around the head. Typical onset is usually in adolescence or maybe up to about two years of age and often there is an acute episode of retching, gagging, choking, dysphagia and hypersalivation. Sometimes the onset is more insidious with just inefficient and messy eating and drinking being noted. Often there is an initial diagnosis of megaoesophagus. Significantly elevated CK levels, fatigue, aspiration pneumonia and a stiffness of gait are other common findings. The illness is believed to be immune mediated and inheritable. With prompt diagnosis and treatment it can usually be well controlled.
Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is a genetic (polygenic) trait that is affected by environmental factors.