About the Pointing breeds

“Before you consider adding one of the Pointing breeds to your family, please do your research on what these breeds require in terms of exercise, training, mental stimulation and living arrangements.

While they are beautiful dogs with personalities to go with their looks, they are not for everyone. Although they are fantastic family companions, there is nothing worst than an untrained, out of control, high energy and extremely intelligent dog. They will be frustrated to a point (no pun intended) where they will drive you up the wall and will make your life miserable if their physical, mental and training demands are not met.

People think they can get a Pointing dog and take it hunting, but they do not realise that there are hours and hours of training that needs to be done before turning a dog loose in the field. Although the instinct to hunt is there, the dog will have to be trained and you need to be in control, else the whole experience of owning a Pointing dog can be a huge disappointment and will leave you disillusioned. Remember, what you put into them is what you will get out.” – Rolien Prinsloo

Reference for all other information: http://www.petwave.com

The German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer, also known as the Deutsher Kurzhaariger Vorstehhund, the Deutsch Kurzhaar, and the GSP, is an energetic, intelligent breed that enjoys having a job to do, but also thrives as a human companion with a strong desire to please. Potential owners of this breed should be aware of its high energy and intelligence, traits which contribute to its need for vigorous daily exercise and regular mental stimulation to alleviate boredom. The GSP also has a strong hunting instinct and must be trained to learn that cats, birds and other small animals are not acceptable prey.

Their short, thick double coat is easy to care for and must be liver or liver-and-white, often with speckling, under the American Kennel Club standard, although solid black and black-and-white with or without ticking are permitted in some registries. The German Shorthaired Pointer’s tail is traditionally docked shortly after birth in countries where this is still legal. Its soft, floppy ears should be cleaned on a regular basis and checked frequently for signs of infection or foreign material.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is:

  • extremely active
  • highly intelligent
  • very affectionate
  • devoted and loyal to their people
  • eager to please
  • good with children, although boisterous around very young ones
  • sociable and love company

They do not do well in isolation or as a garden ornament. They are family dogs who will work the field the entire day, but come nightfall, they want to curl up next to the person they love the most.

Some GSPs will be happy to live with cats, while others may not like them very much.  Most of them, if socialised properly, will get along well with other dogs.

They need an environment that will provide them with:

  • lots of daily exercise
  • mental stimulation
  • positive and strong leadership
  • considerable attention and training
  • a sense of belonging to the family
  • companionship

Failure to fulfil in their needs will leave you with a frustrated, unhappy and destructive dog. They will find creative ways in which to channel their energy and to keep busy and you will not always agree with their idea of landscaping or interior design.

Some GSPs will be happy to live with cats, while others may not like them very much.  Most of them, if socialised properly, will get along well with other dogs.


Little documentation about the origin of the German Shorthaired Pointer existed before the Klub Kurzhaar Stud Book was formed in the 1870s, although certainly German hunters spent many years before then breeding for a versatile, obedient, all-around dog. The early Shorthairs descended from the German Bird Dog, the old Spanish Pointer and local German scent-hounds, track and trail dogs, gun dogs and water dogs that varied widely in appearance. These early pointers were rather heavy-bodied and slow. Starting in the late 1880s and continuing throughout the 1900s, German breeders successfully refined the GSP to stamp in a keen intelligence and an elegant, more refined dog with improved stance, style and scenting skills. Through selective breeding that included crosses with the English Pointer, itself a mixture of the Spanish Pointer and Foxhound, they also were able to rid the breed of its aversion to water and lack of aggressiveness towards predators and prey.

It is indeed rare to find wrapped up in one package a staunchly pointing bird dog; a keen-nosed night trailer; a proven duck dog; a natural retriever on land and water, with pleasing conformation and markings and great powers of endurance; and an intelligent family watchdog and companion. Today, German Shorthaired Pointers are used to flush and hunt pheasant, quail, grouse, partridge, jacksnipe, woodcock, duck, rabbits, raccoons and possums. They also are used to trail and hold at bay deer and other larger game. Their naturally water-repellant coat and webbed feet enable them to work well in rough terrain and icy water. Their versatility is summed by a hunters’ saying: “If you can’t find anything with a Shorthair, there’s nothing there.” The German Shorthaired Pointer boasts one of the most dual championships (field trial and show) of any breed in the United States.


The German Shorthaired Pointer is a lean, well-balanced hunting dog with a long muzzle, expressive, almond-shaped eyes, a large nose, and broad, floppy ears. They are slightly smaller than a standard Pointer and do not have as pronounced an occipital bone. Shorthaired Pointers have a short, dense, sleek coat liver-colored coat that comes in either solid, or the GSP distinctive patterns of patched, ticked, or roan. Their skin is tight over their lean muscle, and their tails are docked by 60%. Dewclaws should be removed. The German Shorthaired Pointer sports webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers. The standard states, “The overall picture which is created in the observer’s eye is that of an aristocratic, well balanced, symmetrical animal with conformation indicating power, endurance and agility and a look of intelligence and animation”.

Coat and Colour

German Shorthaired Pointers have short, thick, water-resistant coats that are a bit longer on the underside of the tail and the haunches. They have short, soft hair on their heads. They come in either solid liver, liver and white, solid black or black and white. The coat may be a ticked pattern, patched, or roan. Other colours or tri-colour are not permissible by breed standards.

Grooming Needs

Low-maintenance describes the grooming needs of the German Shorthaired Pointer. They are mild shedders who only need to be brushed once a week with a firm bristle brush to keep the coat healthy and keep loose, dead hair under control. Bathe only as needed – over-bathing can cause the natural, water-repellent oils in the hair to break down. Many owners rub their Shorthaired Pointer with a chamois to make the coat gleam.

Active dogs will wear down their toenails naturally, but if they make a clicking sound on hard floors, it is time for a trim. Check ears weekly for signs of irritation, infection, or wax buildup. Cleanse with a veterinarian-approved solution and a cotton ball, never with a cotton swab. Brushing teeth weekly will keep dog breath at bay and prevent tartar buildup.


The average life expectancy for the GSP is between 12 and 14 years. Breed health concerns may include bloat, central diabetes insipidus, cleft palate, cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCL or ACL), epilepsy, eye problems, hereditary lupoid dermatosis, oropharyngeal neoplasia and nasal cavity tumors, von Willebrand disease and XX sex reversal.


Bred to be versatile hunting dogs, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a much a loving family companion as he is a focused field assistant. GSP’s love to be with people and are happiest when outdoors among friends. This breed is excellent with kids, though toddlers may get knocked over by a well meaning dog, so play should always be supervised. They are excellent watchdogs, and can be counted on to bark when there is a person approaching the home. Their bark is not aggressive, however, it’s simply an alert. For an active, outdoorsy family, the German Shorthaired Pointer is an ideal choice.

Activity Requirements

One to two hours of vigorous outdoor exercise is a minimum for this energetic breed. They experience an extended puppyhood and adult GSP’s are just as bouncy and rowdy as puppies, so burning off excess energy is a must. Couch potatoes and apartment dwellers are not an appropriate match for a Shorthaired Pointer, as confinement quickly leads to anxiety and destructiveness.

Hunting is their favorite activity and they can spend an entire day in the field acting as trackers, pointers and retrievers. Hunters value them for their independent nature, and their instincts are inborn, so they require very little training in the field.

Their webbed feet makes them efficient water retrievers, and these dogs love to swim. Hikes around lakes or rivers are the German Shorthaired Pointer’s idea of heaven and will retrieve sticks from the water as long as someone is willing to toss them. They can keep up on jogs and bike rides and are excellent at catching frisbees.

When outdoors, it is important that the Pointer be kept on a leash or in a fenced in yard. They are chasers and will take off like a shot after birds, cats or other small animals. Fences should be at least six feet high and be well rooted below the ground. Pointers can leap higher than you might think, and if leaping doesn’t work, they’ll resort to digging in order to get out and search for adventure.


German Shorthaired Pointers can be difficult to train. They pick up hunting commands quickly, but basic household obedience is a completely different story. They are distracted by every sight, sound and smell and if they catch something interesting it can be nearly impossible to get them re-focused on the task at hand. Training should be conducted early and sessions should be kept short. Positive reinforcement and a gentle but always consistent hand are the keys to training a GSP.

Behavioral Traits

Separation Anxiety is common among this people-oriented breed. They attach themselves deeply to their family and become easily depressed when left alone. They express this through chewing, digging and excessive barking. Providing German Shorthaired Pointers with enough physical activity to tire them out can stave off anxiousness, but they are generally best suited for families with a stay at home parent or for those who don’t work long hours.

While Shorthaired Pointers are generally easy going creatures, they should not be trusted around cats or small dogs. Their desire to chase will overcome them at some point, even if they are raised alongside these smaller animals. Males can sometimes exhibit aggression toward other male dogs, so if you have a male GSP, any other dogs brought into the home should be female.

KUSA Breed Standard

Click here to view the KUSA breed standard for the GSP

The German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer, also known as the German Rough-haired Pointer, the Deutsh Stilchelhaar Vorstehhund, the Wirehair and the GWP, is a sound, reliable and versatile hunting dog developed to both point and retrieve under any weather, temperature or terrain conditions. This breed is distinguished from other pointers by its wiry coat. It can be aloof but not unfriendly and is a quick learner.

The dense double coat of the Wirehair is among its most distinctive characteristics: it is straight, harsh, wiry, flat-lying, weather-resistant and one to two inches in length. The coat, along with bushy eyebrows and a wiry beard, act as armor to protect the Wirehair’s body and face from brush, brambles, weather and water. It should be brushed occasionally and hand-stripped when necessary. The coat, which must be liver or liver-and-white, is shed seasonally, and in the summer months it is almost invisible.


The Wirehaired Pointer was developed in Germany in the mid 1800s as an all-around hunting dog. Before then, hunting for sport was reserved to the nobility and large landowners. In around 1850, hunting became popular regardless of class distinction – especially the hunting of game birds. Over time, the number of hunting enthusiasts, and hence the number of specialized hunting dogs, steadily grew. Some lines became particularly adept at pointing out birds in forests and fields, while others became better at retrieving from land and/or from water. Many European sportsmen wanted an all-purpose gun dog that would hunt more than one type of game and also flush, point and retrieve. More versatile sporting dogs became increasingly popular.

In Germany, the Deutsch-Drahthaar, which means German Wirehair, was one of those breeds. The early wirehaired pointers typically came from crosses of Griffon, Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer and German Shorthair. The Pudelpointer derived from a cross between a Poodle dog and an English Pointer bitch. The Griffon and Stichelhaar descended from crosses of Pointer, Foxhound, Pudelpointer and Polish water dog. The focus of developing this new breed was create an all-purpose, extra hardy retrieving and pointing gun-dog, with a weather- and water-resistant protective coat, that could and would work on any kind of game and hunt in conditions and on terrains of all types. With selective inbreeding and out-crossing, German hunters refined the German Wirehaired Pointer, which flushed, pointed and retrieved equally well on land and in water, was keen-nosed and constitutionally tough, and had the coat and courage to work under any conditions.

The Drahthaar was admitted into the German Kartell (Kennel Club) in 1928. The official parent club and registry in Germany is the Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar. Wirehairs came to the United States in the 1920s, and in 1953 the German Drahthaar Club of America was founded. The German Wirehaired Pointer was admitted into the American Kennel Club’s Stud Book in 1959, and the parent club’s name was officially changed to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.

Appearance and Grooming

The German Wirehaired Pointer sports a coarse weather-resistant coat that also protects from burrs and brambles. The distinctive beard, whiskers and eyebrows give him a unique expression and also protect the face from harsh brush. They come in liver and white, spotted, roan or ticked patterns. Wirehairs have dark brown noses and floppy, brown ears that flop beside the head. The tail is set high and is customarily docked to 2/5 its length in countries where this is still allowed.

Coat and Colour

The German Wirehaired Pointer sports a double coat that protects him from wet, cold weather conditions, as well as harsh brush he may encounter in the hunting field. The top coat is coarse and wiry, lies flat against the body and measures about two inches in length. The undercoat is virtually nonexistent in the summer, but grows in full and dense in colder months. Even the eyebrows serve a function for this breed – they protect the eyes from scratches. When they are born, the coat may be soft, silky or even wooly. As the dog matures, the coat will take on the proper wiry texture. This puppy coat, however, takes time to care for, unlike the no-fuss adult coat.

Wirehairs come in many patterns of liver and white. They may be spotted, roan, spotted with roaning and ticking, or solid liver. Some dogs are adorned with white blazes on the head. German Wirehairs are never black in color.

Grooming Needs

Adult German Wirehaired Pointers require little in the way of grooming. They are light, year-round shedders, and weekly brushing will not only remove loose hair, but will also help keep the coat clean. Bathe the dog only as-needed. As puppies, some are born with soft, silky or even wooly coats. These coats may require a bit more attention to keep neat, but as the dog matures, the coat will become coarse in texture and brushing need only occur once per week. The undercoat will shed in the spring, requiring more frequent brushing, two to three times per week.

Check the dog’s ears on a regular basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax buildup. Clanse with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved solution. Never use a cotton swab on a dog’s ear canal. Trim nails once per month if the dog does not wear down the nail naturally. If the toenails make a clicking sound on hard floors, they are too long. Brush teeth on a weekly basis to keep dog breath at bay and prevent tarter build up.


The average life expectancy of the Wirehair is between 12 and 14 years. Breed health concerns include cataracts, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasiaear infections and skin cancer.


The German Wirehaired Pointer is a people-oriented dog who loves human companionship and will want to be a part of every aspect of family life. They are attention-seekers and will clown around or even make a little mischief in order to maintain his “star” status. Wirehaired Pointers are hunting dogs, who are at their happiest when out in the field, working alongside people. After a long day in the brush, he’ll want to come home and be pampered with praise, treats, and lots of belly rubs. While they aren’t the best choice for families with small children, they get along great with older children, especially if the older kids are willing to play outdoors. They are protective of their property and family and make excellent watchdogs.

Activity Requirements

German Wirehaired Pointers have their roots in the hunting field. They can run all day, and still come back for more. When they catch a scent, they become focused, efficient trackers and they are versatile enough to hunt on land or retrieve out of water. They are best suited in homes where they will be utilized in the field, or where families are already committed to an active, outdoor lifestyle. Two hours a day of vigorous activity is required for healthy development of a Wirehaired Pointer, and if they don’t get enough exercise, they will become high strung, anxious, and destructive.

Pointers don’t really are what they are doing outside, as long as it involves the company of the people they love. Simply opening the back door and hoping the dog will entertain himself won’t cut it. Pointers make excellent jogging companions, love to take long hikes, especially if there is a river or lake nearby where he can take a swim. In the back yard, “hide and seek” style games where he can search out toys and treats are a good choice.


German Wirehaired Pointers are strong willed and stubborn. Training them in basic obedience is can be challenging for first time dog owners, as it requires calm-assertive leadership and absolute consistency. Bend the rules once, and you have to start the process over from scratch. Training should be done in short spurts, to keep them interested and conducted with an abundance of treats. Once leadership is established and basic obedience mastered, Pointers should be graduated into advanced obedience and if possible, agility training. This breed needs to keep their minds active in order to be happy, and though they can be stubborn, they enjoy the physical and mental stimulation of the agility track. In recent years, search and rescue teams have come to use the German Wirehaired Pointer, as their hunting instincts are strong, and they thrive on the reward of finding missing people.

Housebreaking a Wirehaired Pointer can take as long as six months. Some may pick it up faster than others, but crating is the best way to get through this drawn out process.

Behavioral Traits

Separation Anxiety is common among this breed. They require a lot of physical and mental stimulation in order to maintain an even temperament, and if their requirements are not met, anxiety sets in and that means destructive chewing and excessive barking. Couple their need for activity with their strong need for human companionship, and things get much worse. People who work long hours should consider another breed, as the Wirehaired Pointer does best in homes with a stay at home parent, or among people with flexible work schedules.

Their tendency for jealousy and possessiveness makes this breed less than ideal for families with small children. Wirehaired Pointers don’t want to share the attention of their people with smaller animals or people, and their possessive nature can get out of hand. Their tendency to jump and bounce also makes them a hazard for toddlers.

Cats and other small household pets are in peril around Pointers. Their chasing instinct is strong and can’t be trained out of them, even if raised alongside a cat from puppyhood.

Neat Freaks be warned: Wirehaired Pointers are notoriously messy. Their beards hang in their water dishes and they will trail water around the house.

KUSA Breed Standard

Click here to view the KUSA breed standard for the GWP.

The English Pointer

The English Pointer, also known as the Pointer, is a breed of dog in the Gundog Group. Unlike many sport dogs, this breed of dog is happy to just hang out with members of the family and as such they make excellent house pets.

Their short coat is very easy to care for, but their floppy ears should be cleaned on a regular basis and frequently checked for any signs of infection.


The Pointer’s history is quite an old one, traceable through writings and artwork back to the middle of the 17th century. While the Pointer was refined in England, many canine historians credit Spain as the breed’s actual country of origin. The Pointer’s ancestors probably include Spanish pointers and a number of other breeds, such as the Foxhound and Bloodhound for their scenting instincts, the Greyhound for its tremendous speed and the Bull Terrier for its “bull-headed-ness” and tenacity. Spanish setters were almost certainly part of the mix. Spanish pointers were much heavier and more course than the Pointers we know today. These dogs appeared in Britain in 1713, at the end of the War of Spanish Succession, when British army officers brought them home. Italian pointers were also brought to England around the same time and were crossed with Spanish pointers, contributing to the Pointer as we know it today.

Early on in their development in England, Pointers were used to hunt and point to hares in the field, so that coursing Greyhounds could locate them and chase them down. The Pointer’s type, temperament and hunting ability were fairly well-standardized by the end of the 1700s and actually have changed very little since then. Pointers in America can be traced to the Civil War period, when they were brought to this country by their English owners.

The Westminster Kennel Club was organized in the early 1870s, primarily for the development and improvement of the Pointer in the United States. Some of the very first officials of the Westminster Kennel Club imported an English Pointer named “Sensation” and used him to help build the breed in this country. An engraving of that dog is still displayed on the Westminster Kennel Club’s logo.

Today, Pointers are regarded as among the finest bird-hunting dogs found anywhere in the world. The American Kennel Club recognized the Pointer for full registration in 1884, as a member of its Sporting Group. The United Kennel Club recognized the English Pointer shortly thereafter, in the early 1900s, as a member of its Gun Dog Group.

Appearance and Grooming

This breed gives the immediate impression of compact power and agile grace; the head noble, proudly carried; the expression intelligent and alert; the muscular body bespeaking both staying power and dash. Known for their skilled work alongside hunters, the Pointer is a graceful dog with an elegant carriage. Their expression always shows their alertness and their bodies are muscular and athletic. The nose of the Pointer sits high atop the dog’s muzzle and they have a defined stop. The Pointer’s ears are pendant in shape and have are slightly pointed. They have long, elegant necks and straight, tapering tails. Their short and sleek coat is either white or white with liver, lemon, black or orange.

Coat and Colour

The Pointer sports a short, smooth, easy to maintain coat that comes in liver, black, orange or lemon and some have a white background. Many have speckles called ticking on the white portion of the coat. Tricolour Pointers are uncommon but do exist and they have a white base with two other colors for markings. The nose colour will be different according to the shading of the dog. Light Pointers (Lemons) have a flesh coloured nose, medium coloured (orange) dogs will have a brown nose, and darker coloured Pointers will have black noses.

Grooming Needs

Grooming a Pointer is a breeze. Their short, smooth coat is shiny and sheds lightly throughout the year. Once per week should be enough brushing to keep loose hair under control. Rubbing a Pointer with a chamois will cause his coat to almost sparkle. Pointers only need bathed three or four times per year, unless the dog has a knack for rolling in the muck.

Check the dog’s ears weekly for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them out with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser. Brushing the Pointer’s teeth on a weekly basis will keep tartar from building up and promote gum health.


The average life expectancy of the English Pointer is between 12 and 17 years. The increased health risks associated with the breed include cherry eyeepilepsyhip dysplasia, and skin allergies. Health concerns include cataracts, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasiaear infections and skin cancer.

English Pointers are a true sporting dog who should not be confined indoors for a long period of time. They are athletic and energetic, and are happiest when they are running. They are sweet, gentle animals who are polite and welcoming to strangers and shouldn’t be relied upon to be watchful guard dogs. They are best suited for active families, preferably those who enjoy hunting.

Activity Requirements

English Pointers are rowdy and rambunctious and need a lot of exercise; and just when you think they’ve had enough, they’ll probably want more. This breed was not designed to be a household pet, but rather to be a sturdy, reliable hunting companion in the field, and the modern Pointer has not lost this desire. For owners who do not hunt, a commitment should be made to enroll their pointer in tracking or agility activities in order to satisfy their need to run and think. If a Pointer does not get enough exercise, they will resort to barking and chewing which may develop severe anxiety.


Training a Pointer in basic obedience can be difficult, but is an absolute necessity. They suffer from sporting dog ADD – they will be distracted by sights, sound and smells and will want to abandon training to chase after something more interesting. For this reason training should involve a lot food and should be conducted in short spurts. The two most valuable commands you can teach a rowdy pointer is “down” and “stay.”

House training a Pointer is a long process and many breeders and trainers recommend crating a Pointer until he gets the hang of it, which can unfortunately be several months.

Behavioral Traits

Chasing is the Pointer’s biggest problem. Unless they are hunting in the field, they should be kept in a fenced-in yard or on a leash at all times. They will chase after anything that moves, and once they give chase, they are completely deaf to your calls to return home.

Rowdiness and hyperactivity are common in Pointers, even those who are properly exercised. They are always brimming with energy and love to greet everyone they meet, which usually involves a lot of jumping. Teaching a Pointer “down” and “stay” can save you from alienating your friends and neighbors.

KUSA Breed Standard

Click here to view the KUSA breed standard for the EP.

The Hungarian Vizsla

The Vizsla, also known as the Hungarian Pointer, the Hungarian Vizsla, the Magyar Vizsla, the Yellow Pointer, the Smooth-Coated Vizsla, the Short-Haired Hungarian Vizsla and the Vizsla Korhaar, is an ancient breed. It descended from dogs traveling with the Magyar people across Central Europe more than a thousand years ago, finally settling in what is now Hungary. The Vizsla is a medium-sized, elegant pointer in form, but it combines the best traits of pointers and retrievers in function. This is an all-purpose hunting dog that can track, point and retrieve feather or fur in water or on land. The breed name is thought to mean “alert and responsive,” although another interpretation is that it was named after a 12th century settlement called “Vizsla.” The Vizsla is known for its superior nose and stamina even in hot weather.

The Vizsla’s short, smooth coat should be a solid golden russet in color. Dark mahogany red and pale yellowish gold are faulty, and white patches are undesirable. Tails are typically docked.


The Vizsla originally was used by nomadic Magyar hunters who used it to flush game birds as an aid for falconry, as well as to track and drive birds and other game into nets. Vizslas were favored by warlords and barons as both hunters and companions. Once firearms were common, the type of dog that hunters needed changed to one that was faster but still stealthy enough not to rouse the quarry unnecessarily, with a keen nose for tracking, good eyesight and a willingness and capability to retrieve. Most canine historians believe that the Vizsla’s ancestors probably include the Transylvanian Hound and the Turkish Yellow Dog, which is now extinct, with subsequent additions of pointer blood. Authorities generally accept that the Hungarian Vizsla predates its German counterpart, the Weimaraner, although some argue that the Vizsla comes from crosses between Weimaraners and assorted pointer breeds.

The Vizsla almost disappeared in the late 1800s. A Hungarian survey of hunting establishments concluded that only about twelve Vizslas were left in the entire country by that time. This led to a concerted effort by breed enthusiasts to save the breed. The people who support the theory that today’s Vizsla derives from the Weimaraner crossed with other pointer breeds suggest that these crosses occurred during this period of rebuilding the breed. Hungarian dog authorities reject this view.

As with many other breeds, the Vizsla suffered a steep decline in numbers during the world wars and was practically exterminated in its homeland. A few staunch breed devotees refused to let it disappear, scattering to neighboring countries such as Austria, Italy and Germany before the Russian occupation in 1945, taking their dogs with them. Other Vizslas survived in Turkey, Czechoslovakia and southern Russia.

The first Vizslas came to North America in the 1950s. An American breed club was organized in 1954. The Vizsla was recognized by the American Kennel Club and admitted to its Stud Book in 1960, as a member of the Sporting Group. The first AKC Triple Champion was a Vizsla, with titles in field, obedience and conformation. The first AKC quintuple champion was also a Vizsla, this time titled in obedience, agility, field, amateur field, master hunter and conformation.

Today’s Vizsla is highly competitive in all disciplines, including conformation, hunt tests, obedience, agility, field trials and tracking. Vizslas have served on archaeological excavations and participated in search-and-rescue efforts at Ground Zero after the Septbember 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York. They are highly trainable and have been used as therapy dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, drug and explosive detection dogs and search-and-rescue dogs. This is an active breed with a gentle, sensitive nature, and it thrives on attention from the people it adores.

Appearance and Grooming

The Vizsla is a muscular, sleek hunting dog with an attractive short, rust-colored coat. The head of the Vizsla is chiseled and often described as aristocratic, with only a moderate stop. The square muzzle ends in a brown nose and the teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The eyes of the Vizsla are alert and expressive, and should compliment the color of the coat. The ears are pendant with round tips and are long, thin and silky to the touch. The tail is customarily docked to 2/3 length.

Coat and Colour

Vizslas wear a short, smooth coat that comes in various shades of rust. Some breeders sell dogs with wooly coats in colors such as red or pale yellow, that stray from breed standards. This is the result of indiscriminate breeding and potential owners should be cautioned that responsible breeders stick as closely to standards as possible.

Grooming Needs

Vizslas are very easy to groom. They do not emit a dog odor, which means baths are only required when absolutely necessary. Weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and shiny, and many owners take this opportunity to use a dry shampoo or to rub the dog down with a damp cloth, to make baths almost unnecessary.

Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally.


The average life span of the Vizsla is 11 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include allergiesectropionentropion, epilepsy, hip dysplasiahypothyroidism, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, cataractsprogressive retinal atrophy, sebaceous adenitis and von Willebrand disease.

Vizslas are lovingly referred to as “velcro dogs” because they want to be with the people they love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This attachment goes back to the Vizsla’s roots as a hunting dog. In the field, he never strayed too far from the hunter, which created a strong bonding experience. Vizslas are the perfect family dog for those who are already committed to an active lifestyle. Hunters can still use them to track and point in the field, and at home Vizslas make superb hiking, biking and jogging companions. They are fairly easy to train, and make a fine addition to active, outdoorsy families.


Vizslas are fairly easy to train, but some can be mighty stubborn. Start your Vizsla early for best results and be prepared to show calm-assertive leadership at all times. They are not dominant dogs, but Vizslas have a tendency to test boundaries, especially if they are not getting proper exercise. Sessions should be conducted with praise and treats, though it is ok to be firm (but never harsh) with a Vizsla if he does not listen to you.

When your Vizsla has mastered basic obedience, he can move on to advanced activities. Proper socialization should also be part of his training regimen, as Vizslas can be over protective of their families. If your Vizsla is easy-going, he will make an excellent therapy dog.

Behavioral Traits

Separation anxiety is very common among Vizslas. These velcro dogs need to be with people at all times or they become anxious and depressed, which they express through destructive chewing and excessive howling or barking. Before you leave the house for a long period of time, make sure to vigorously exercise your Vizsla which can help stave off anxiousness. It is best, however, that Vizslas live in a home where someone is always around, whether it is a farm or in a family with one stay at home parent.

Vizslas are verbal dogs. They bark, howl, grunt, whine, moan and make “talking” noises throughout the day. If you are looking for a silent dog, the Vizsla is not for you. They are also prone to barking excessively so teach your Vizsla early on to obey commands to quiet down.

KUSA Breed Standard

Click here to view the KUSA breed standard for the Hungarian Vizsla.

Click here to view the KUSA breed standard for the Wirehaired Hungarian Vizsla.