About the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla
Hunter, Pointer, Retriever
The Wirehaired Vizsla is the poor man's hunting dog. They do it all- find the birds, point, then retrieve fallen game. They are mostly used on upland birds (pheasant, quail, chukar, etc), but are also competent hunters and blood trackers for rabbit, fox, and deer. Their wire coat was developed to help them tolerate cooler weather and retrieve in icy waters. Developed out of the smooth Vizsla, the German Wirehaired Pointer, Pudelpointer, and possibly a few other breeds, the Wirehaired Vizsla is its own breed and cannot be crossed with the smooth Vizsla.
Described as a medium sized hunting dog, the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla is a loyal, trainable, active companion. Balanced and robust, the HWV differs from its smooth-coated cousin in both heavier bone substance and the characteristic dense wire coat. This weather resistant coat must feature facial furnishings, especially the beard and eyebrows. The breed standard does not specify weight limits for the HWV, but there are specifications for height. Males must be between 23-25 inches at the shoulder, while females are 21.5-23 inches. Generally speaking, males average 55-65 lbs and females average 45-55 lbs, though it is not unusual to find examples over or under these sizes. The full AKC standard can be found here.
Wirehaired Vizslas are always up for an adventure. Active and full of stamina, the HWV needs daily exercise to be content and healthy. 30-60 minutes of daily off leash running is typical. If these needs are met, they are calm and pleasant home companions. HWVs are not kennel dogs. They crave connection with their people and happily spend every evening cuddled up on the couch with us. Loyal to their family, they can be cautious with strangers. They are not a noisy breed, but they will bark an alert when something is amiss. Biddable and extremely intelligent, the HWV learns quickly and aims to please. They are a sensitive breed that does not respond well to harsh training.
When choosing a dog, it is important to be aware of health concerns within your breed of choice. For the Wirehaired Vizsla, there a few to be aware of as well as some that can be tested for prior to breeding. HUU (Hyperuricosuria) causes the dog to form painful bladder stones. This is a genetically linked disease and can be easily screened out of a breeding program. We also must watch for hip and elbow dysplasia and eye disease. While these things cannot be prevented through genetics alone (environment does play a role), it is wise to test all dogs for soundness before breeding. Additionally, the HWV can have trouble with epilepsy and some types of cancer. Both of these are being investigated through various health trusts and it is hoped we may someday find a way to prevent these things from affecting all dogs.
The Wirehaired Vizsla should have a rough, wire top coat with a waterproof undercoat. Ideally, it is no more than 2 inches in length and will not mat. It is best kept up with regular brushing, occasional baths, and many HWVs benefit from stripping of the dead coat either by hand or using a stripping knife. This allows old, dead coat to come out and coarser hair to grow back. Coats can vary dramatically within the breed. Sometimes an HWV is born with almost no wire coat, appearing smooth. Sometimes a very wooly coat type appears that can require different grooming as this soft coat does not strip out. Coat type is something breeders are trying to develop more consistency in as they breed. One way we are doing that is by DNA testing for coat genes. Currently, we are able to test for the recessive Longhair gene (soft like a Setter) as well as the dominant Furnishings gene which produces beards and eye brows.