The Wirehaired Vizsla is a gentle and affectionate breed known for their athleticism and hunting abilities. They are distinguished from Vizslas by their longer and denser coat, which allows them to work comfortably in cold and wet weather. The breed originated in Hungary and was bred to be a swift and versatile hunting dog, easy to train and able to carry out a variety of tasks.
The modern Wirehaired Vizsla is still used as a hunting dog as well as a devoted companion dog and competitor in canine competitions. The Wirehaired Vizsla ranks number 167 out of 193 in the AKC’s most popular breeds ranking.
Characteristics of the Wirehaired Vizsla
Here we will go into more detail about the appearance and temperament of the Wirehaired Vizsla.
The Wirehaired Vizsla is an AKC certified medium-sized dog breed. Males are 23-25 inches in height and weigh 55-65 pounds. Females are 21.5-23 inches in height and weigh 45-55 pounds. They are a long-lived breed with a lifespan of 12-14 years.
The breed’s namesake coat has a wiry, harsh texture. Their shaggy beard, distinct eyebrows and piercing eyes give them a wise and lively expression. Their coat is rust red in color with some lighter markings around their face and body. They shed moderately, mainly during a shedding season. They require minimal grooming, with occasional baths and brushing all that is needed to keep their coat looking its best. Check out our recommendations for dog brushes and dog vacuums to keep your furniture clean.
The Wirehaired Vizsla is a lively, sensitive and athletic breed. They form strong bonds with their owners and love to snuggle up with their family members. They are generally polite with everyone, and get along fine with other dogs and cats sharing their household. Their high level of sociability makes them prone to separation anxiety, which often develops into destructive behavior, especially chewing. They are not as quick to bark relative to other breeds, but may develop a barking habit if not properly trained and socialized. Their love for vigorous play and jumping, especially as young, can make them a hazard to delicate household items and young children. However, they will do fine with older children able to keep up with their energy. Wirehaired Vizslas can make great travel companions for longer car trips and enjoy exploring outside on long walks and hikes.
Caring for a Wirehaired Vizsla
To ensure you are providing your Wirehaired Vizsla with everything it needs to live a long and happy life, it is essential to understand the quirks of the breed and what works best for them. Following are preliminary tips on health and training your Wirehaired Vizsla so you know what to expect. However, remember that each dog is unique, even within a specific breed.
The Wirehaired Vizsla should be fed a diet of high-quality dog food. Dog food can be purchased from a store or prepared at home. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before choosing a recipe or dog food brand. It is important to purchase a dog food that is meant for the dog’s age and activity level to fulfil all their nutritional needs. A high-calorie diet is especially important when they are working. Feeding them table scraps or excessive treats should be avoided, as it can lead to weight gain and related health problems. Even small increases in caloric intake can lead to weight gain over time, so consistency is key. Wirehaired Vizslas are highly food-oriented and athletic enough to surf food off counters and tables, so careful monitoring is necessary to make sure food does not go missing.
The Wirehaired Vizsla has high exercise needs, requiring plentiful daily activity to maintain physical health and a happy temperament. These energetic athletes are well suited for active, outdoorsy people. They enjoy swimming, running and hiking with their owners among other athletic activities. They also love running freely in an enclosed area such as a fenced backyard or park. They will happily play with dog toys and games like chase and fetch with their owners or a canine friend. Wirehaired Vizslas should always be kept on a leash in unsecured areas to avoid wandering after interesting scents and sites. Investing in a high-quality leash and harness to minimize strain on both dog and human is recommended.
Wirehaired Vizslas are a moderately difficult breed to train. They are eager to please their owners and capable of learning quite a lot. However, their high level of intelligence causes them to be easily bored, so short, fun training sessions are most effective. Wirehaired Vizslas respond best to reward-based training and positive reinforcement. They will become fearful and nervous in response to aggressive or harsh commands, and any sort of negative-reinforcement is best avoided. Early socialization is recommended to avoid shyness around strangers later on in life. Wirehaired Vizslas can be trained to be skilled competitors in hunting, agility and tracking competitions.
The Wirehaired Vizsla is a typically healthy dog, though several genetic diseases are known to occur in the breed. Epileptic seizures, hip and eye disorders, kidney and bladder stones, bleeding disorders and skin diseases are some of the most common afflictions seen in the breed. The National Breed Club recommends certain tests for Wirehaired Vizslas, including a hip evaluation and ophthalmologist evaluation.
The Wirehaired Vizsla’s nails should be clipped monthly if not worn down naturally. Their ears should be checked weekly and any excess dirt or wax should be removed. Teeth should be brushed often with a dog-specific toothpaste.
Be sure to choose a dog from a responsible, certified breeder, preferably one who is a member of the Wirehaired Vizsla Club of America. This club has a detailed code of ethics in breeding and will be able to provide owners with helpful information on heath and care for the breed. Careful selection of a puppy or adult dog will give you the highest chance of having a long-lived and healthy Wirehaired Vizsla.