History of the Vizsla


The following information is from the Vizsla Club of America website, http://vcaweb.org/theVCA/history.htm

The Hungarian or Magyar Vizsla represents one of the best in sporting dogs and loyal companions and has a strong claim to being one of the smallest of the all-round pointer-retriever breeds. His size is one of the Vizsla’s most attractive characteristics and through the centuries he has held a unique position for a sporting dog — that of household companion and family dog. The Vizsla is not content to be “put in the kennel with the dogs” after the hunt and only reaches his fullest capacity when he is a member of the family he serves.

The Vizsla is mentioned in the very early times in Hungarian history while his exact origin is lost in the midst of ancient European history. It is known that 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 Eighth Century. Primitive stone etchings over a thousand years old show the Magyar hunter with his falcon and his Vizsla.

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 the hunting ability of these “yellow-pointers” – the golden-rust coloration from tip to tail. Records of letters and writings show the high esteem in which the Vizsla has always been held through the centuries.

The Vizsla survived the Turkish occupation (1526-1696), the Hungarian Civil War (1848-49), World War I, World War II and the Russian Occupation. However, the breed suffered a decline in the late 19th Century, and the true Vizsla was close to being extinct. A careful search of Hungary and a poll of Hungarian sportsmen revealed only about a dozen Vizsla 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. The Austria-Hungary Empire extended its influence over a large area for many years, but with frequent border changes Hungary was reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. As a result, owners of vizslas suddenly found themselves living in Czechoslovakia, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Germany, Poland or Russia.

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 in order to gain AKC recognition. As a result of registering foundation stock with the AKC, Vizsla owners were able to obtain official recognition in 1960, and the Vizsla became the 115th breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.