If you’re looking for an affectionate, intelligent and energetic pup, the Hungarian Vizsla is your breed. With a striking appearance, vivacious personality and a very clever mind, Vizslas have a lot of appeal.
There’s a lot to consider when a Hungarian Vizsla joins your pack, from feeding them the right food to stimulating their clever minds. So, where do you start?
Whether you’re in the early stages of considering a puppy or already have a dog, this is your go-to guide to parenting Hungarian Vizslas. Our holistic approach covers all the ins and outs of your pup’s health, from diet and nutrition to physical and mental wellbeing.
What does a Hungarian Vizsla look like?
Hungarian Vizslas are known for their short, russet gold coats with matching eyes and nose. There can be slight variations in hue, and some have small white patches on their chest or toes.
Vizslas are also known for a bat-shaped pattern on their chest (like Batman) and angel wings: two patches of lighter hair that spreads across their shoulders.
Vizsla (pronounced ‘Veeshla’) means ‘pointer’ in Hungarian. They share a similar profile to other pointers including the German Short-haired Pointer (GSP) and the Weimaraner and is the smallest of the three. These breeds point their body towards their prey, often lifting a front leg to 90°, hence their name.
They’re affectionately known as Velcro-Vizslas because of their affectionate nature and strong bond with their family pack.
Initially bred to be pointers for the hunt and retrievers of quarry, they were particularly popular hunting dogs amongst the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. They have webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers.
The breed has come close to extinction twice because of the Hungarian Civil War and World War 2 but are in healthy numbers now.
Different types of purebred Vizslas
Purebred Vizslas come in two officially recognised types:
Short-haired Vizsla: short, smooth hair
Wirehaired Vizsla: longer, coarse hair
What can a Hungarian Vizsla be mixed with?
Purebred Vizslas are highly regarded for their distinctive appearance and friendly demeanour. Hybrids are unusual and may be an accidental litter rather than a designer breed.
Here are eight crossbreeds and the traits they’re bred for:
Vizmaraner (Weimaraner cross): High-energy and sensitive Weim nature.
Vizslador (Labrador Retriever cross): Loving and loyal Lab temperament.
Vizslamann (Doberman cross): Larger size with low grooming needs.
Vizslapoo (Poodle cross): Hypoallergenic Poodle coat.
Vizsla Ridgeback (Rhodesian Ridgeback cross): Strong and athletic Ridgy traits.
Vizsla Shepherd (Australian Shepherd cross): Trainable, hard-working characteristics.
Golden Vizsla (Golden Retriever cross): Companionable Retriever personality.
Vizsla GSP cross: Trainable, intelligent and affectionate.
How big does a Hungarian Vizsla grow?
A Hungarian Vizsla is a medium-sized dog that stops growing by 18-24 months.
A Vizsla’s mature size and weight depends on their parents and whether they’re male or female.
Height: Up to 60 cm
Weight: Up to 30 kg
How long does a Hungarian Vizsla live?
Hungarian Vizslas can live for up to 10-15 years.
A high-quality diet, regular exercise, canine enrichment, and a calm environment can support a Vizsla’s long and healthy life.
Caring for a Hungarian Vizsla puppy
Vizsla puppies have big clumsy paws and large floppy ears. Many are even born with blue or green eyes that slowly change to amber over time.
They may look cute, but their high energy and insatiable curiosity requires supervision and training from day one.
Give your Vizsla puppy a nutritious diet and establish a good exercise routine to keep them fit and occupied.
Here’s how to give them the best start in life so they grow up to be secure and resilient adults:
What to feed a Hungarian Vizsla puppy
Vizsla puppies don’t stay little for long and they love to explore the world around them, so give them a fresh food diet to nourish their mind and body.
When they’re young, Vizsla pups can benefit from high-quality proteins for muscle and tissue growth; essential vitamins and minerals for bone development; and low GI carbohydrates for energy.
Your puppy’s microbiome (the millions of bacteria in your puppy’s gut) is central to the development of their immune system and plays a vital role in digestion. A diet rich in various wholefood ingredients is a great way to support the diversity of good gut bacteria.
Portion control is important to dogs of all ages, including puppies. Too much food can cause unnecessary weight gain, putting excess strain on their growth plates and bones.
You can give your pup any leftover dog-safe veggies, salads and lean meats from your table — great for your dog and for reducing landfill! Avoid sharing salty, high-fat scraps and anything with onions.
As hunting dogs, they have a keen sense of smell. Keep your cupboards closed and your bins lidded so they don’t eat things they shouldn’t.
Exercising a Hungarian Vizsla puppy
How much exercise does a Hungarian Vizsla puppy need?
Vizslas are active, high-energy dogs requiring regular exercise. Long walks or runs can put strain on a puppy’s joints and growth plates, so opt for shorter walks and playtime every day.
A general rule of thumb is five minutes of exercise for each month of age until they reach adulthood.
Swimming is an excellent alternative as it doesn’t put too much stress on their joints. Introduce your pup to water from a young age so they become confident swimmers.
What size harness do I need for a Hungarian Vizsla puppy?
Excitable puppies are likely to pull on the lead until they’ve mastered loose-leash walking.
A well-fitted harness distributes pressure across their body instead of around their neck and spine. Choose one with a front and back clip to give you more control during training.
A Hungarian Vizsla puppy will probably need a small harness and will grow into a medium or large harness by the time they reach physical maturity. There are many different styles and fits, so try some at your local pet store before you buy.
What toys do Hungarian Vizslas like?
Hungarian Vizslas are intelligent dogs that thrive on mental stimulation. Provide them with enrichment opportunities to engage their mind like puzzle feeders or games that use their instincts and scent skills.
This breed loves interaction and will often instigate tug-of-war with you or another dog-friend. Durable toys that can withstand vigorous play are worth the investment.
Training a Hungarian Vizsla puppy
Vizslas are highly trainable and enjoy learning new skills. They love to please their owners by showing what they can do — preferably in exchange for a high-value treat!
With any kind of puppy training, it’s about consistency, repetition… and a lot of patience!
How to toilet train a Hungarian Vizsla
A puppy can hold their bladder for approximately one hour for every month of age. Your Vizsla will need to go to the toilet throughout the day and night, and each time is an opportunity for training.
Give your pup praise and affection, or a treat, as soon as they eliminate in the right area. This establishes positive reinforcement that connects their action with a reward.
Vizslas learn quickly but accidents do happen. Be consistent and patient and they’ll be toilet trained in no time.
How to crate train a Hungarian Vizsla puppy
Crate training provides your Vizsla with their own peaceful space to relax and sleep in. Create the feeling of a den with a cushioned pad on the base and a blanket covering three sides.
In the first few days, encourage familiarity with the crate without shutting your pup inside. Pop a treat inside and close the door so they want to go in and get it or add high-value toys to their den and let your dog play with them.
Dogs don’t like to sleep where they eliminate, so you can toilet train your puppy using a crate. Once they feel comfortable and safe inside the crate, you can pop your puppy in for 20-30 minutes and then take them outside for a bathroom break. If they don’t go, repeat the exercise until they do.
Take crate training in small steps and give yourself six months to train your pup. Never use the crate for punishment as they’ll develop a negative association and refuse to use it.
When do Hungarian Vizsla puppies calm down?
Hungarian Vizslas are energetic dogs with big personalities even as adults, but you should notice slightly calmer behaviour when they’re around two years old.
How to train a Hungarian Vizsla
Vizslas are highly intelligent and love to learn. They respond well to positive reinforcement which strengthens the bond with their parent.
How do I stop my Hungarian Vizsla from biting?
Chewing is a way for puppies to explore the world and soothe the discomfort of teething.
Unwanted chewing and biting behaviours should be discouraged when they’re young, but you can still train mature dogs in a similar way.
Vizsla puppies love interacting with their parents, so you can use this to your advantage. Every time they try to bite, end your interaction with them. They’re testing their boundaries and need to understand the consequence of biting is to lose playtime with you.
You can also provide your Vizsla with age-appropriate chew toys, so they learn what they’re allowed to gnaw and what’s off limits, like your new runners!
How do I get my Hungarian Vizsla to sleep at night?
If your Hungarian Vizsla struggles to sleep or is crying at night, check your routine is setting you up for success:
Make sure your pup has depleted their stored energy through exercise, training or enrichment in the daytime.
Feed them in the early evening so that their digestive system isn’t keeping them awake.
Let them go to the toilet just before bedtime so they’ve got an empty bladder.
Create a calm environment so they can relax and prepare for sleep.
Ensure their bedding is comfortable and away from cold draughts.
Be consistent with where you would like them to sleep. We recommend training them to sleep on their own bed every night, so they know where their spot is.
How do I train my Hungarian Vizsla to be alone?
Vizslas can be trained to be alone for moderate periods, but they are sensitive dogs that are known to develop separation anxiety if they are regularly left alone for long stretches of time.
Start by leaving the room or the house for a few minutes. This introduces your dog to short absences and reassures them that you will return. If they respond well, you can gradually increase the length of your absence. If they show any signs of anxiety, go back a few steps and repeat the training.
You can encourage them to develop a positive association with your absence by giving them puzzles or treat-stuffed toys to keep them entertained. Playing classical music can also reduce feelings of stress in dogs.
It can be tempting to give your dog lots of love and cuddles before you leave, but this makes your departure a big deal and can heighten their anxiety. Try to leave and arrive without any fuss so they respond in the same way.
How to groom a Hungarian Vizsla
Vizslas have a single coat of short hair that doesn’t require clipping or cutting, making them easy to maintain. They’re also known to lick themselves clean, like a cat.
You can take your Vizsla to a reputable groomer, but if you’d like to take care of your pup’s cleaning needs at home, here’s where to start:
How to clean a Hungarian Vizsla’s ears
A Vizsla’s floppy, velvety ears are one of its many well-loved traits. Check your pup’s ears regularly, from an early age, as part of their health and grooming routine.
Clean their ears using a damp cotton pad to wipe the outer area and the visible part of the ear canal. Try not to insert anything into the ear canal itself to avoid damage. Only clean their ears when they require it as overcleaning can disturb the natural balance of bacteria.
For a more thorough clean, you can use a vet-recommended ear-cleaning solution.
If your dog frequently rubs or scratches their ears or shakes their head, they may have an ear infection requiring attention from your vet.
How to clean a Hungarian Vizsla’s eyes
Dogs sometimes get eye-goop, like us. Use a clean cloth and warm water to gently wipe their closed eyes to remove any discharge.
How often should Hungarian Vizslas be bathed?
Vizslas are generally clean dogs that don’t have a strong dog smell. Wash your dog every four to six weeks unless they’ve rolled in something dirty or stinky.
Only use a dog-friendly shampoo at the right pH for their skin — human shampoo is too acidic. Oatmeal dog shampoo is hypoallergenic with anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and protect the skin from irritation.
How to trim a Hungarian Vizsla’s nails
Vizslas do have quick-growing nails that need trimming on a regular basis to prevent discomfort.
Hold your dog’s paw up to the light so you can see the darker section inside the nail. This is the quick containing nerves and blood vessels that shouldn’t be cut.
Dog nail clippers often have a safety guard to prevent you from cutting the quick accidentally, but remember, it’s better to trim too little, than too much. A pet nail grinder, which is like an electronic nail file, is a good alternative.
Introduce your puppy to the process and tools of nail trimming so they become used to the routine. If they find the experience unpleasant, distract them with a chew or a toy and remember to give them a high-value reward at the end. But if they’re showing signs of distress, take a break from the process.
Why does my Hungarian Vizsla smell?
Clean and healthy Vizslas have very little odour, if any. If you’ve noticed a strong smell, it could be one of the following:
Ear infections. Ear mites can leave a malodorous dark brown, waxy discharge in your dog’s ear. Make an appointment with your vet for treatment.
Oral health. If your dog has smelly breath, they may have a dental issue that requires further investigation by your vet. Remember, all dogs should have their teeth brushed regularly.
Skin infections or allergies. Vizslas only have a single coat of short hair which means they can be prone to skin issues and allergies that trigger hives. When these are scratched, they’re vulnerable to infection that can smell if left untreated.
Digestive issues. A diet that’s high in wheat, corn, or legumes such as beans, peas and chickpeas can affect your pup’s digestive system, leading to unpleasant gas or anal gland issues. Feed them a fresh, wholefood diet, like Lyka, which is more digestible and less gassy!
How to brush a Hungarian Vizsla
Use a rubber brush to remove loose hair and debris from their dry coat. It’s also a chance to check your dog for parasites, grass seeds, scratches or hot spots which are easy to spot because of their short coats.
Exercise requirements for a Hungarian Vizsla
Vizslas are high-energy dogs that need regular exercise and enrichment activities. If they’ve been socialised appropriately from an early age, they love to play with other dogs and are often drawn to other Vizslas and pointers.
They’re most suited to homes with garden space to explore but some can live in apartments if they’re given plenty of exercise throughout the day.
How much exercise does a Hungarian Vizsla need?
At least 1-2 hours of exercise per day should keep your Vizsla fit and healthy. Split this into two sessions and include a variety of activities like long walks, off-leash play, or brain games like hide and seek with treats.
If they’re not given adequate opportunity to deplete their energy or engage their mind, they can become bored and look for other ways to entertain themselves, including destructive behaviour.
How far can a Hungarian Vizsla walk?
Vizslas were bred to be hunting dogs and have a lot of stamina. The only real limitation is what you can manage!
How fast can Hungarian Vizslas run?
Vizslas are one of the fastest breeds in the world. They can travel at speeds up to 64kph, just shy of a Greyhound’s max speed of 72kph! Of course, this depends on their age and health.
Can Hungarian Vizslas swim?
Vizslas have webbed feet which makes them capable swimmers. They don’t have a second insulating coat and can feel the cold more quickly than other dogs, but they dry quickly with a towel.
Introduce your Vizsla puppy to water gradually so they develop a positive association with it and become confident swimmers.
Feeding your high-energy Hungarian Vizsla
A nutritious diet made from real food will nourish their active body and mind and moderate their energy levels.
Free feeding is an easy way for your Vizsla to gain weight, and a ‘one size fits all’ approach to feeding can affect their health. Portion control is important, as is the quality of the food they eat.
Dog food containing high-GI carbohydrates like rice, wheat and potatoes, can increase their blood-glucose levels causing hyperactivity, followed by a heavy sugar crash — not ideal for any dog, especially energetic Vizslas with a low-boredom threshold.
Lyka’s vet-formulated recipes are made from real food ingredients including high-quality protein, fresh vegetables and fruit for complete nourishment and consistent energy. Our food is delivered to your door in personalised portions based on your Vizsla’s age, life stage and health.
What to feed a fussy Vizsla
Establish a meal schedule to help your Vizsla develop good habits and feed them in a safe spot away from distractions. Avoid over-feeding treats so they have a healthy appetite at mealtimes.
Hungarian Vizsla nutrition FAQs
Why is my Hungarian Vizsla not eating?
If your Vizsla isn’t usually a fussy eater, there might be another reason for their loss of appetite.
Vizslas are sensitive creatures. If their routine or environment changes, they can develop anxiety which can affect their appetite.
If you’ve changed their food recently, this might be causing their inappetence. A gradual transition period is recommended, especially if you’ve switched from dry food to fresh food, as it can take some time for your pup to adjust to new tastes, textures and ingredients.
If their routine and food haven’t changed, your dog may have an underlying oral health or gastrointestinal problem that might be causing pain or discomfort. If you think your dog has a health issue, make an appointment with your vet.
Why is my Hungarian Vizsla eating grass?
It’s common for dogs to eat grass occasionally. Theories suggest that it adds dietary fibre to promote digestion, supplements nutrients, or simply an act of boredom, but no one knows exactly why.
Check that your Vizsla’s diet contains the right amount of fibre and nutrients, and make sure they’re getting enough mental and physical activity.
If you’re still concerned, we recommend speaking with your vet.
Common health issues for Hungarian Vizslas
Hungarian Vizslas from reputable breeders are generally known to be healthy. They’ll consider the health, temperament and genetic history of their sires and dams before planning a litter. All due care can be taken by the breeder, but puppies can still inherit health conditions.
Hungarian Vizslas can be prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy and skin allergies.
Kibble often contains pro-inflammatory ingredients like wheat, corn, and soy that can affect their health. You can support supple joints, boost skin health and help to reduce hormonal imbalances by feeding your Vizsla a fresh, human-grade diet that’s rich in Omega-3 anti-inflammatory agents.
Health issue #1 — Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is usually caused by a shallow and flattened hip socket that causes the hip ball to slip out of place. These joints often develop arthritis as they try to compensate for the unstable movement.
There is a genetic link to hip dysplasia which means it cannot be avoided. It can also be caused too much calcium and protein in a puppy’s diet, accelerating growth beyond a normal rate.
To keep their joints healthy, feed your Vizsla anti-inflammatory foods with the right ratio of omega essential fatty acids (EFAs).
AAFCO recommend an Omega-6 to Omega-3 limit of 30:1 — a high ratio that can trigger inflammation. Lyka meals contain an optimal lower ratio of between 3:1 and 3.6:1 to maximise the EFA benefits and minimise the risk of inflammation.
Our in-house Integrative Veterinarian, Dr. Matthew Muir and our Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionists have formulated this range based on clinical insights and up-to-date scientific evidence.
We use fish oil and sardines that are full of omega EFAs to minimise joint problems in Vizslas. Our recipes also contain a variety of vegetables and plant superfoods rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals to decrease cellular damage caused by free radicals.
We’ve selected these powerful real food ingredients for our recipes too:
Coconut: full of potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to support supple joints.
Fennel Seeds: an anti-inflammatory superfood for swollen joints and arthritis
Turmeric: contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to fight chronic inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.
Lyka's customised portions reduce the additional stress on joints by helping to maintain a healthy weight. Our meals are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to reduce inflammation and support joint health.
— Louise Hawkins, Qualified Vet Nurse at Lyka
Health issue #2 — Hypothyroidism
Like humans, dogs have a thyroid gland that produces hormones responsible for moderating their metabolism.
Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland leading to a slow metabolism. Common signs of this endocrine disease in dogs include weight gain, lethargy, and often a deterioration in skin and coat health.
The cause of hypothyroidism is usually either inflammation or degeneration of the thyroid gland. In these instances, treatment includes oral synthetic hormone replacement to manage the disease.
Reducing inflammation in your Vizsla’s body can help them to maintain optimal health and minimise the risk of diseases like these.
Our meals contain superfoods that are naturally full of anti-inflammatory properties:
Spirulina: a nutrient-dense, potent anti-inflammatory ingredient that also contains magnesium for energy production.
Shiitake mushroom powder: contains bioactive agents to reduce inflammation and vitamin B5 to support metabolic function.
Health issue #3 — Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder where there are recurring periods of unusual and involuntary bursts of electrical brain activity. We normally associate it with humans, but dogs can experience epilepsy too.
Epilepsy can be triggered by a problem inside the brain (intracranial) or outside the brain (extracranial), or they can be idiopathic (of no known cause).
It can be very scary to see your dog have a seizure and it’s important to get veterinary help straight away. Treatment options will depend on the diagnosed root cause.
There is growing scientific interest in the relationship between nutrition and epilepsy with some research identifying the benefit of including fresh vegetables, MCT oil and reducing carbohydrates in the diet.
Lyka meals contain high quality animal protein, fresh vegetables and fruits, that can support dogs with epilepsy:
Low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates: Lyka meals are free from high-GI carbs like wheat and rice that can cause glycemic fluctuations which may be a trigger for seizures.
Turmeric: containing curcumin, an anti-anxiety agent to keep stress below seizure levels.
Fresh fish: high in Omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy brain function.
Health issue #4 — Skin Allergies
Signs of a skin allergy include ear infections, itchy red skin, hives and pustules that can lead to secondary infections requiring further veterinary treatment.
Promote a healthy and resilient skin barrier and a strong immune response with fresh food that nourishes the skin from within:
Fish oil: a rich source of skin-loving, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to boost skin health.
Flaxseed oil: high in omega-3 fatty acids for supple skin and improved coat condition.
Kangaroo: a limited, novel protein to nourish dogs with food sensitivities.
Hungarian Vizsla FAQs
Still have unanswered questions? Check out our FAQs below:
Are Hungarian Vizslas hypoallergenic?
Vizslas are low to moderate-shedding dogs, but they’re not hypoallergenic.
Do Hungarian Vizslas get along with cats and other pets?
Vizslas can get on well with feline friends and other pets, but every dog is different. They have a strong hunting instinct which should be taken into consideration.
Introduce pets to each other slowly and always supervise early interactions. Vizslas form strong bonds with their human pack, so be mindful of any signs of jealousy.
Is a Hungarian Vizsla a good family dog?
Hungarian Vizslas are playful and affectionate pups that are devoted to their pack. They make excellent family dogs but may be more suited to older children.
When should I desex my Hungarian Vizsla?
Most Vizslas are desexed once they stop growing. Consult your veterinarian about the best time to desex your dog, as they’ll consider your pup’s age, size and overall health before providing personalised advice.
For how long is a Hungarian Vizsla pregnant?
A Hungarian Vizsla can be pregnant for around 63 days or nine weeks from conception.
An x-ray at 8-9 weeks can confirm the litter size and indicate whether a natural birth is possible.
Where should my Hungarian Vizsla sleep?
Vizslas are companion pets, so they aren’t suited to living in kennels outside. Before you get your dog, decide where you want them to sleep so that you can be consistent in your training. Provide a comfortable bed that can be situated in a warm spot away from cold drafts or intense heat.
You might find your dog wants to sleep with you, which is your choice. If you allow them to do so, it’s harder to train them out of this practice at a later stage. Whatever you decide, be consistent.
Are Hungarian Vizslas high maintenance?
Vizslas are vivacious dogs with sharp minds, so they do need canine enrichment activities to keep them stimulated.
The breed is sensitive, and they can develop separation anxiety. Establishing a good routine from the outset can minimise the chance of developing this notoriously challenging condition.
They have low-maintenance grooming needs but benefit from regular nail clipping.
Why is my Hungarian Vizsla scared of everything?
If your pup is skittish or seems to be afraid of everything, there might be a few reasons why:
They weren’t properly socialised as a puppy. When dogs are young, it’s important to introduce them gradually to other dogs, people, vehicles, sounds and scenarios so that they develop confidence in dealing with different situations and sudden noises.
They experienced some form of trauma in their younger years or have developed a heightened awareness following a negative interaction.
They’re in pain and shy away from interactions. If your pup is normally confident but has developed a reluctance to engage with exercise, other dogs or people, they might be experiencing pain in their body.
Speak to your vet for a health check or advice on how to help your pup overcome their fears.
Do Hungarian Vizslas like to cuddle?
Hungarian Vizslas are loving dogs that can develop strong connections with their parent or family. They thrive in the company of others and don’t do well when left alone for long periods.
They can be very affectionate and tend to shadow their loved ones with little understanding of personal space. Many Vizslas love body contact and cuddles, but every dog responds differently. Some dogs don’t like a full embrace as it limits their free movement.
Are Hungarian Vizslas good emotional support dogs?
Vizslas are a popular breed for emotional support because of their spirited demeanour, trainability, and empathetic connection with their parent.
Parenting a Hungarian Vizsla comes with many decisions. Lyka exists to make mealtimes easy, with tailored meal plans delivered to your door. We’re proud to be fuelling Vizslas across Australia — from energetic pups, all the way through to sugar-faced dogs in their golden years. Join our pack of proud Vizsla parents today.