Sunday, 19 August 2007

List of Dog breeds (Page 12)


The Hamiltonstövare is a breed of dog, bred as a hunting hound. The breed was developed in Sweden by the founder of the Swedish Kennel Club, Count Adolf Hamilton. Its ancestry includes several German hounds as well as English Foxhounds and Harriers.

Hanover Hound

The Hanover Hound is a breed of dog sometimes referred to as a Hanoverian Hound. It is a hunting and tracking dog descended from bloodhounds of medieval times, and is uncommon today.


These short-haired dogs range in colour from light to dark reddish fawn with a brindled appearance. They may also have a mask. Overall, the Hanoverian Hound is sturdily built with a large head, strong jaws and a deep chest. Their weight ranges from 36-45 kg (80-99 lbs). Males range in size from 50-55 cm (19-22 inches) while females are slightly smaller, about 48-53 cm (18-21 inches).


Like any working dog, the Hanover Hound fares best living in an area where he can get lots of exercise and would not be ideal for city living. They are calm and loyal, but described as persistent and single-minded when tracking.

Harrier (dog)

The Harrier is a small dog breed of the hound class, used for hunting rabbits ("hares"). It resembles a foxhound but is smaller.


The Harrier is similar to the English Foxhound, but smaller. They are one of the few truly medium-sized breeds of dogs. Harriers stand between 19 and 21 inches at the shoulder, and adults weigh between 45 and 60 lbs. They have short hair, hanging ears, and come in a variety of color patterns. A humorous, yet fairly accurate short-hand description of a Harrier is that of "a Beagle on steroids." It is a muscular hunting hound with a short, hard coat. It has large bones for stamina and strength. The Harrier is slightly longer than tall, with a level topline. The tail is medium-length, carried high, but is not curled over the back. The skull is broad with a strong square muzzle. The rounded ears are pendant, and the eyes are either brown or hazel. The wide nose is black. The expression is mellow when the dog is relaxed and alert when he is excited. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The feet are tight and cat-like, and the front toes may turn inward.


The Harrier is more playful and outgoing than the Foxhound, but not as much as the Beagle. Cheerful, sweet-tempered, and tolerant, it is excellent with children. This pack dog is good with other dogs, but should be supervised with noncanine pets unless it is raised with them from puppyhood. It prefers life in a pack with people, dogs, or both. This active dog likes to go exploring, sniffing, and trailing, so be sure to keep it on a leash or in a safe enclosed area. Some Harriers like to bay.


This breed's lifespan is generally 10-12 years. Hip displasia is known to occur in this breed.


Sources have widely conflicting stories about the origins of this breed. According to one, the earliest Harrier types were crossed with Bloodhounds, the Talbot Hound, and even the Basset Hound. According to another, the breed was probably developed from crosses of the English Foxhound with Fox Terrier and Greyhound. And yet another, the Harrier is said to be simply a bred-down version of the English Foxhound. The first Harrier pack in England was established by Sir Elias de Midhope in 1260 and spread out as a hunting dog throughout the west of England and into Wales. Although there are many working Harriers in England the breed is still not recognised in that country.

In any case, today's Harrier is between the Beagle and English Foxhound in size and was developed primarily to hunt hare, though the breed has also been used in fox hunting. The name, Harrier, reveals the breed's specialty. The Harrier is still fairly rare in the United States, but has a long history of popularity as a working pack dog in England.


The Havanese is a member of the Bichon family of dogs, which also includes the Bichon Frise, the Bichon Bolognese, Maltese, Coton De Tulear, Tsvetnaya Bolonka, Franzuskaya Bolonka and possibly the Löwchen breeds. These dogs were developed from the now extinct Mediterranean Bichon Tenerife, which was introduced to the Canary Islands by the Spanish and later to other islands and colonies of Spain by sailors. They are very playful dogs and good with older more considerate children.


Black and tan Havanese

Black and tan Havanese

The Havanese, while a toy dog and always a companion, is also a hearty and sturdy dog for such a size, and should never give the appearance of fragility or of being overly delicate. The height range is from 8½ to 11½ inches (216 to 292 mm), with the ideal being between 9 and 10½ inches (229 and 267 mm), measured at the withers, and is slightly less than the length from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, which should give the dog the appearance of being slightly more long than tall. A unique aspect of the breed is the topline, which rises slightly from withers to rump, and the gait, which is flashy but not too reaching, and gives the Havanese a spritely, agile appearance on the move.

The expression of the face, with its almond eyes, is one of mischievousness rather than being cute, like the Bolognese, and the ears, which are medium in length and well feathered, always hang down. The tail should curve over the back at rest, and like the rest of the dog, is covered in long fur.

The key word for the Havanese is 'natural', and the breed standards note that except for slight clipping around the feet to allow for a circular foot appearance, they are to be shown unclipped; any further trimming, back-combing, or other fussing is against type and will cause a dog to be disqualified. That includes undocked tails, uncropped ears, and even a standard that forbids the use of topknots and bows in presentation. The AKC standard notes "his character is essentially playful rather than decorative" and the Havanese, when shown, should reflect that, generally looking like a toy in size only, but more at home with playing with children or doing silly tricks than being pampered and groomed on a silk pillow.


Though there is some argument on whether the original Havanese were all white or of different colors, modern Havanese are acceptable in all coat colors and patterns, with allowances made in every breed standard for their unique colorful nature. The only restrictions is that every Havanese must have a black nose and eyerims, except in chocolate colored dogs, where brown coloration is allowed. Popular colors include fawn, white, and black, and parti-colored Havanese are as well regarded as solids. The color of a Havanese puppy may change as an adult, called "silvering" as the most usual case is a black puppy turning silvery-grey with age. This is not to be confused with "sable", which is a lighter color at the roots with dark, often black tips; in some sables, these tips grow out with age and they eventually appear to be only the lighter color. If you are concerned about the color you may want to ask the breeder for the family history, as silvering or fading has a strong genetic component.


Havanese, like other Bichons and related dogs like Poodles, have a coat that doesn't readily shed. Rather, it catches hair and dander internally, and needs to be regularly brushed out. Many people consider the Havanese to be nonallergenic or hypoallergenic, but they do still release dander, which can aggravate allergies. It's best to be exposed to the Havanese before deciding to choose one as a dog for a house with allergies.

Havanese have three coat types, the smooth, which is similar to the Maltese, the curly, which is not unlike a Bichon Frise coat, and the wavy, which is the preferred coat type and the type most uniquely Havanese. The hair is long, soft, and abundant, and should have no coarseness. A short coat mutation shows up occasionally in otherwise normal litters, but these are not showable Havanese and go so far against standard that even novelty breeding of them is discouraged.

Because of the tropical nature of the Havanese, the thick coat is light and designed to act as a sunshade and cooling agent for the little dog on hot days. This means, though, that the fluffy Havanese needs protection against cold winter days, in spite of the warm wooly look of their fur.

The coat can be shown naturally brushed out, or corded, a technique which turns the long coat into 'cords' of fur, and which is hard to start but easy to care for when completed.


The Havanese has a playful, friendly temperament which is unlike many other toy dog breeds. It is at home with well behaved children and most other pets, and is rarely shy or nervous around new people. Clever and active, they will often solicit attention by performing tricks, such as running back and forth between two rooms as fast as they can.They are very lovable.

The Havanese is a very people oriented dog. They often have a habit of following their humans around the house, even to the bathroom, but do not tend to be overly possessive of their people, and do not usually suffer aggression or jealousy towards other dogs, other pets or other humans.

The Havanese's love of children stems back to the days when it was often the playmate of the small children of the households to which it belonged. Unlike most toy dogs, who are too delicate and sometimes too nervous or aggressive to tolerate the often clumsy play of children, the Havanese, with care, is a cheerful companion to even younger children, and this is no small part of its growing popularity around the world.

The Havanese have been known to eat only when they have company in the same room. If one is eating and their person leaves the room, it is likely the dog will grab a mouthful of food and follow their "person", dropping the food and consuming it one morsel at a time in the room their person goes to.

Havanese are true "dogs", loving to play in an aggressive manner, not wanting to be the "loser" of whatever game they are playing. That being said, they calm down quickly when prompted to do so by their owners.

Havanese have excellent noses and are easily trained to play "find it" where the owner hides a treat and the Havanese sniffs it out, never giving up until the treat is discovered. This is a highly trainable dog.


Though the Havanese may seem to suffer from a large complement of ailments, very few Havanese from reputable breeders will have these problems, and the wide list is more a testament to highly proactive clubs and breeder organizations. Havanese clubs like the Havanese Club of America have worked hard for many years to try and search out and eradicate the health problems these dogs may suffer from. In spite of these uncommon ailments, Havanese are generally considered healthy and sturdy dogs, and live between 12–16 years.

Among these ailments are:

Havanese, even ones not to be bred, should go through several tests, including a one-time BAER hearing test, a CERF eye test annually, and a Patellar Palpation and Hip Evaluation. Soaping has also become a popular way for breeders to test health. It involves soaping up the dog to flatten the coat to its body and reveal the structure of the legs. Crooked, bowed or over short legs are a symptom related to many Havanese health issues, and dogs suffering from them should not be bred.

Because of the small genetic pool from which the Havanese were revived, Havanese organizations around the world are always on the lookout for new health and genetic issues that may come to the fore in this otherwise wonderful and healthy breed.


The Havanese itself developed uniquely in Cuba, either as the result of said Spanish sailors, or as is often believed by native Cubans, as gifts from Italian traders to open the doors of wealthy houses to their goods. The "Little Dog from Havana" even traveled back to Europe where it found brief favor in the late 19th century as a circus and trick dog and a court companion.

As part of the Cuban Revolution, many trappings of aristocracy were culled, including the pretty but useless fluffy family dogs of the wealthy land owners of Cuba. Even though many upper class Cubans fled to the United States, few were able to bring their dogs, nor did they have the inclination to breed them. Indeed, when Americans became interested in this rare and charming dog in the 1970s, the gene pool available in the US was only 11 animals.

With dedicated breeding, as well as the acquisition of some new dogs of type internationally, the Havanese has made a huge comeback, with recognition by many major kennel clubs and one of the fastest growing registration of new dogs in the American Kennel Club (AKC) (+42% in 2004). They have also acquired a certain level of trendiness due to rarity, good temperament, and publicity by such famous owners as Barbara Walters.

Havanese at work

Because of the cheerful and readily trained nature of the Havanese, they are increasingly a dog utilized for a variety of jobs, especially those involving the public. Havanese have been utilized for:

Havanese also compete in a variety of dog sports, such as


Havanese have several specific considerations for their care that a prospective owner should keep in mind.

The Havanese has a profuse coat that requires daily grooming. If one does not intend to show their dog, it can be trimmed shorter so as to require less brushing.

The Havanese, with their drop ears, need to have their ears cleaned to help prevent ear infections.

Though they are not a dog that requires long walks, Havanese are active and require at least a large, well-enclosed yard to run around in a few times a day. They will also use up energy tearing around and getting underfoot.

The Havanese is not a naturally yappy dog, but may alert its owners to approaching people. Usually acknowledging that you have heard their alert is enough to make them cease.


Buyer beware

The Havanese is an expensive and rare dog, and the cost of getting a dog from a breeder who takes the time to put them through the right health tests can drive the price to $2000 or more. Be aware of anyone who is selling a Havanese through a pet store, for they could be fake. There is a lot of time and money invested into a healthy puppy, and a responsible breeder should want to meet you, often a few times, before selling you a puppy.

Many people use the Havanese's rarity to sell them for a fast profit. Increasingly, some people will attempt to pass off a crossbreed as the Havanese. If you must look for an inexpensive dog, try a Havanese rescue group first.

The Havanese's front legs and back legs are different lengths, which creates the spring in their step.

Hortaya Borzaya

The Hortaya Borzaya or simply Hortaya (Хортая Борзая, translation: "shorthaired sight hound") is an old Asian sight hound breed originating in the former USSR. It is a dog of large size, of lean but at the same time robust build, of considerably elongated proportions. In its everyday life the Hortaya is quiet and balanced. It has a piercing sight, capable of seeing a moving object at a very far distance. In spite of its calm temperament the dog has a very active reaction to running game. Hortaya are excellent, enduring hunting dogs endowed with a good, basic obedience and completely lacking aggression towards humans.


The Hortaya is a sight hound of a large to very large size depending on breed type. The breed has five distinct types, with at least as many subtypes to each main type. The result of this is a broad variability, adapting the breed to the large variety of geography, climate and prey found across the huge expanse of its habitat.

The short, dense fur can come in almost any color and color combination: white, black, cream of all shades, red, sable and brindle, solid or piebald (with white markings, or white with coloured markings). A black overlay and black mask, grey or red tan markings are normal. The nose is black, with light colours a brown nose is not a fault. Eyes always have a black or very dark rim.

Atypical colors and markings, like brown or chocolate, a saddle or dapple pattern, and diluted colors (isabella) with blue or light eyes are not allowed.

Hortaya males range from 26 to 30 inches (65 to 75 cm), females from 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 cm). The weight depends largely on type and can range from 18 kilograms (Stavropol type female) up to 35 kilograms (Northern type male). In general the Hortaya is heavier than it looks.

When not hunting the typical gait of the breed is a fluid, limber and effortless trot. When chasing the prey Hortaya gallop in extremely fast leaps of great length.


The Hortaya Borzaya is of a friendly, but distinctly Asian character. It is never aggressive or fierce towards humans, even though occasionally quite vigilant. Due the rigorous selection on hunting in a team with its owner, the Hortaya belongs to the trainable sight hounds, showing a good basic obedience and high intelligence.

It is very close to wolves in its pack behaviour. Thus it is usually no problem to keep even larger groups of Hortaya together in a kennel, Hortaya integrate easily.

As rural people in Eurasia do not at all tolerate dogs which harm their livestock, properly socialized Hortaya do not hunt domestic animals and can easily be taught, which animals are off limits to them.


The Hortaya is an Asian dog breed, which developed over the centuries in the steppes north of the Black Sea, after spreading slowly from the mountains of Afghanistan westwards. Dogs of this type were bred by various peoples of this region, which extends from modern Ukraine and the south of Russia to the westernmost regions of Kazakhstan. Therefore it is not possible to attribute this breed to a specific people or country. In the east and south-east of its geographical spread it connects to the oriental rsp. Central Asian sight hounds, while it is considered the link to the western sight hound breeds close to the Polish frontiers.

In the year 1951 the USSR laid down the first standard for the breed. Nowadays the Russian Kynological Federation (RKF), the national Russian FCI member association, officially maintains the standard. Currently there exist an estimated 2500-3500 Hortaya Borzaya worldwide, with less than a few dozen outside of the boundaries of the CIS.

An international recognition by the FCI does not exist so far, however the breed is nationally recognized by all FCI member countries within the CIS and by many other middle European nations. In some of these states the studbook is maintained directly by the national member organisation of the FCI, in others the Hortaya is registered by specialized hunting dog associations.

The owners of these dogs are mostly local hunters, who live in remote, often isolated villages in the steppe. Few of them have any interest in shows. For them the Hortaya is a valued co-worker who puts food on the table in winter. In the steppe a good hunting Hortaya can be worth as much as a good riding horse.

The Hortaya Borzaya belongs to the extremely rare sight hound breeds, which - up to our modern times - has been selected exclusively on its hunting abilities and qualities.


8-weeks old female Hortaya Borzaya puppy

The breed is late in development, very vigorous and longlived. It is not rare that older dogs, retired from active hunting, start their breeding career at an age of 8 or 9 years in perfect health and without any impairment. Breed specific illnesses or hereditary diseases, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are so far unknown. The life expectancy of the Hortaya Borzaya largely depends on its use. In regions where they are hunted on large prey, especially predators, there may be quite some dogs killed young during the hunt. If you subtract these dangers, 14-15 healthy years as an average is not uncommon.

However, great care has to be taken in not over-feeding the Hortaya pup and juvenile Hortaya. The breed was formed on a meagre, extremely basic and low diet with but rare and small amounts of meat, especially high quality meat.

Most of the year Hortaya get little more than the scraps from the table, a gruel of oats, bread soaked in milk and whatever rodents they can hunt for themselves around the house. Only during the spring slaughter/lambing season and the main hunting season they get more meat: the innards and offals from what they hunt for their masters. As a result this breed has practically no tolerance for high quality, high protein dog foods and supplements, and especially the young, still growing dogs will suffer irreversible and lethal damage to their bone structure and cartilage when faultily fed.

Use and activity

The Hortaya Borzaya is—in its original habitat—still purely a hunting sight hound. It is used on all game living in the steppe, especially for hunting hares, foxes, wolves and Saiga antelopes. It is extremely enduring, capable of working from early morning into late evening. Up to 8–10 runs on game on one day including tracking it down together with the hunter across large distances is a perfectly feasible workload. The Hortaya is no short distance sprinter, like e.g. the Whippet or the Greyhound. Game is usually chased for distances up to 2.5 miles (4000 m) on the open steppe and a Hortaya can repeat these runs after but a short rest. Unlike most sight hounds it is not hunting on sight alone, its sense of smell is also quite well developed and it often will track game gone out of sight nose down.

female Hortaya Borzaya Zluka

Hortaya hunt singly on smaller game, or as pairs and larger groups on wolves, antelopes and deer. Small game will be hunted and killed immediately, larger game cornered and held in place for the hunter. The Hortaya has a "soft mouth" like the Retriever breeds, after the quick kill the game must not be rent as the native hunters also use the furs. In the CIS hunting sight hounds are regularly tested, judged and graded in so-called "hunt trials".

Recently a first few Hortaya have been officially exported with full breeding papers to western European countries, e.g. Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also to Germany (2004), Finland and Switzerland. 2005 the first Hortaya was imported into the USA. Some of these dogs participate in racing and coursing, this partly out of competition due the lack of international FCI recognition. Hortaya owned by Westeuropean owners have shown aptitude for Agility, Breitensport and have proven to be excellent trail companions for horseback riders. 2006 the very first registered Hortaya litters outside of their historical habitat have been born in Europe.


4-weeks old puppies of the first German litter

Contrary to the practice of Western breeding and breeders of other dog breeds, the Hortaya is not regarded as an unfinished breed which still needs any amelioration or even formation.

The shorthaired sightdog of the southern Eurasian steppes, which today trades under the name of Hortaya Borzaya, was bred in this habitat for thousands of years, is a breed as old as the Tazi/Saluki and only marginally younger than the Bakhmul/Afghan. For newcomers it would be unwise to be deceived by the relatively recent standard.

Analogous to the oriental and Asian breeds of thoroughbred horses the original breeders of Hortaya consider it rightfully as firmly consolidated. An improvement into any direction therefore is not part of breeding Hortaya. This is an important and massive difference to the western way of dog breeding and it has far reaching, very positive consequences for the breeding practice.

As no changes are striven for the breeding methods used among other breeds to achieve them, like incest, inbreeding or linebreeding, are practically non-existent. These methods are seriously frowned upon among Hortaya breeders. It is extremely rare that ancestors appear twice among the first 4-6 generations of a pedigree. In fact, Hortaya breeders try hard to achieve the farthest possible outcross. This is one important reason why the breed is so healthy in spite of its relatively small population.

Another consequence is the application of the breed standard. It does not describe any ideal dog which should be bred for, as it is with other dog breeds. Instead the Hortaya standard is a standard of exclusion: it only and very simply describes the boundaries outside of which a dog would not be considered acceptable. Anything else would be pointless, as it is the active endeavour of Hortaya breeders to preserve the large variety of types and sub-types of the breed, which may seem being totally different breeds to the layman.

Additionally, with the Hortaya it is its hunting ability which is the measure of everything, anything else is quite secondary regarding selection.

Looking at all this it also becomes clear, why an international acceptance of this breed by the FCI is not regarded as being very desirable by the majority of Hortaya aficionados. The breed's breeding practice, its consolidated state and its truly extreme phenotypical diversity do not really fit into the actual breeding and judging practices of today's FCI or of any other major kynological federation. Any international FCI acceptance which would not result in immediate harm to the breed needs major, important groundwork and decades of preparation. Currently the direct and immediate consequence would be the undesirable separation into show and work lines, and into western and original Hortaya.


The Hovawart is a German dog breed. The name of the breed means "an estate guard dog," which is the original use for the breed. The breed originated in the Black Forest region and was first described in text and paintings in medieval times.


The Hovawart is a medium large dog. Dogs are 63-70 cm (24 3/4"-27 1/2") and bitches 58-65 cm (22 3/4"-25 1/2") at the withers. The weight is approximately 25-40 kg (55-90 pounds). The correct colour descriptions are Black, Black and Gold, and Blonde. The Black and Gold is the most popular colour.


The Hovawart is an outstanding watch dog and somewhat reserved towards strangers. They make excellent family dogs as they are totally devoted to their family. They are a working dog breed, and require a consistent and loving yet strict training and meaningful activity throughout their lives.


A black Hovawart in the water

A black Hovawart in the water

13th Century

One of the first documented recordings comes from the year 1210 when the German castle Ordensritterburg was besieged by Slavic invaders. The castle fell and its inhabitants including the Lord were slaughtered, however the Lord's infant son was saved by one of the castle's Hovawarts. In spite of being wounded itself, the dog dragged the tiny child to a neighbouring castle and thus saved the boy's life. This young boy, Eike von Repkow, grew up to become a legendary figure in the history of German law. He later published the Sachsenspiegel, the oldest Code of Law to survive from medieval Germany. Not surprisingly, the Hovawart is mentioned with praise. The Schwabenspiegel, a law text published in 1274 and based on Eike von Repkow's Sachsenspiegel, lists the Hovawart among the dogs you have to replace and pay restitution for if they are killed or stolen.

15th Century

By 1473, Heinrich Mynsinger described the Hovawart as one of "The Five Noble Breeds" and among its uses listed that it was useful for tracking the robber and miscreant. This along with references to the Hovawart in German law show that it was a readily identifiable breed and held in similar esteem to that of hunting dogs.

20th Century

Following the medieval period, the popularity of the Hovawart began to decline. Newer breeds such as the German Shepherd slowly replaced the Hovawart as a guard and working dog until it had almost disappeared by the beginning of the 20th century. Around 1915 a group of enthusiasts decided to try and save the breed. Predominant in this group was the zoologist Kurt Friedrich König. They started by looking for dogs in the farms of the Black Forest region. König then started a careful breeding program using these dogs and crossed them with Kuvaszok, Newfoundlands, German Shepherds, Leonbergers, Bernese Mountain Dogs and an African Hunting Dog. After much work the group was rewarded in 1922 when the first Hovawart litter was entered into the German Breeding Registry. The enthusiasts continued their work and in 1937 the German Kennel Club officially recognised the Hovawart. All this work was almost undone with the outbreak of the Second World War. Because of their abilities many Hovawarts were used in the German war effort and perished. By 1945 only a few remained. Enthusiasm for the breed remained and in 1947, Otto Schramm and some fellow enthusiasts in Coburg formed a new club, the "Rassezuchtverein für Hovawart-Hunde Coburg" which is still in existence today. In 1964 the German Kennel Club recognised the Hovawart as the country's seventh working breed and around this time enthusiasm for the breed started to develop in other countries.

An adult fawn-coloured Hovawart

An adult fawn-coloured Hovawart


The Hovawart does exceptionally well in search and rescue, tracking and working dog activities. The females are generally lighter in build and often love agility. In training and especially obedience work the trainer must keep positive reinforcement in mind all the time, as the Hovawart is not as eager to please as many other working dog breeds. It is important to realise that the Hovawart works WITH you and not for you. They do have the ability to think and act independently. Their guarding instinct for example does not require any real training, it is inherent, its what they were bred for. The Hovawart may easily become reluctant if training is built only on punishments.

The owner of a Hovawart should ideally have previous experience in owning and training a dog and as such the Hovawart is not usually suitable as a first dog.

Magyar Agar

Magyar Agár is also called a Hungarian Greyhound. It is a type of sighthound originating in Hungary.


The Magyar Agár is a sighthound of elegant stature, with a short and smooth coat that is slightly longer during winter months. They have button shaped ears that are raised about half way and eyes are oval in shape with a bright and gentle looking expression. They are similar in build to that of the Greyhound. They weigh about 49-68 lbs and are 25-27 inches at the shoulders. They come in a variety of colors.


This breed is affectionate and docile. They are highly unlikely to ever bite or be snippy with people. They are usually well behaved around children and also with other dogs. They are somewhat reserved but should not be overly shy. They are intelligent and faithful. They are an excellent coursing dog, and are still employed for such purposes in Hungary.


These dogs accompanied the Magyars to present-day Hungary and Romania in the 900s. They are not well known outside of Hungary.

Hungarian Vizsla

The Hungarian Vizsla, pronounced VEEZH-la (zh as in vision), is a dog breed originating in Hungary. Vizslas are known as excellent hunting dogs, and also have a level personality making them suited for families. The Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla was created by cross-breeding the Hungarian Shorthaired Vizsla with the German Wirehaired Pointer during the 1930s.


A Wire-haired Vizsla

A Wire-haired Vizsla

Smooth-haired appearance

The Vizsla, as described in the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard, is a medium-sized short-coated hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built; the coat is a golden-rust color. The coat could also be described as a copper/brown color. They are lean dogs, and have defined muscles, and are similar to a Weimaraner. Small areas of white on the fore-chest and on the toes are permissible but undesirable. The tail is normally docked to two-thirds of the original length. The ideal male is 22 inches(0.55 m) to 24 inches (0.61 m). The ideal female is 21inches (0.53 m) to 23 inches (0.58 m). Commonly weighing 40-65 lbs (18.14-29.48 kg). Because the Vizsla is meant to be a medium-sized hunter, any dog measuring more than 1½ inches (3.8 cm) over or under these limits must be disqualified.

Wirehaired appearance

The Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla is a medium-sized, wire-coated hunting dog developed in the 1930s (see History below), with a distinguished appearance and bearing. They have a lean build and are very robust. Coat: Various shades of russet gold and dark sandy gold: wiry, close-lying, strong, and dense. ¾ of an inch to 1¼ inch (2-3 cm) in length with a dense, water-repellent undercoat. The outline of the body is not to be hidden by the longer coat. Pronounced eyebrows along with a strong, harsh beard, ¾ of an inch to 1¼ inch (2-3 cm) long on both sides of the muzzle reinforce the determined expression. The coat should never be long, soft, silky, shaggy, crinkle, woolly, thin, lacking undercoat or lacking brushes on the legs. The tail is docked 1/4 in countries where docking is permitted. Ideal males: 22¾ to 25¼ inches (58 - 64 cm) Ideal females: 21¼ to 23¾ inches (54 - 60 cm)


Vizslas are lively, gentle-mannered, loyal, caring and highly affectionate. They quickly form close bonds with their owners, including children. Often they are referred to as "velcro" dogs because of their loyalty and affection. They are quiet dogs, only barking if necessary or provoked.

They are natural hunters with an excellent ability to take training (American Breed Standard, AKC). Not only are they great pointers, but they are excellent retrievers as well. They will retrieve on land and in the water, making the most of their natural instincts. However, they must be trained gently and without harsh commands or strong physical correction, as they have sensitive temperaments and can be easily damaged if trained too harshly (Gottlieb, 1992). Vizslas are excellent swimmers and often swim in pools if one is available. Like all gun dogs, Vizslas require a good deal of exercise to remain healthy and happy. Thirty minutes to an hour of exercise daily in a large off-leash area is optimal (Coffman 1992).

The Vizsla thrives on attention, exercise, and interaction. It is highly intelligent, and enjoys being challenged and stimulated, both mentally and physically. Vizslas that do not get enough attention and exercise can easily become destructive or hyperactive. Under-stimulated Vizslas may also become depressed or engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviours such as persistent licking (Coffman 1992). Vizslas are very gentle dogs that are great around children.

The Vizsla is totally unsuited to being kept outside, since unlike most other breeds, it does not have an undercoat. This lack of undercoat makes the Vizsla susceptible to the cold so it must not be kept in a kennel or left outside for extended periods of time. The Vizsla wants to be close to its owner as much of the time as possible. Many Vizslas will sleep in bed with their owners if allowed, burrowing under the covers. They are self-cleaning dogs and only need to be bathed five or six times a year, and are somewhat unique in that they have little noticeable "dog smell" detectable by humans. After several forays into lakes and streams they will develop an aroma that is a weaker version of the 'wet dog' smell. A quick bath and this odor will vanish. Lack of undercoat also means Vizslas are hypoallergenic .


Smooth-haired history

Vizslas love to fetch.

Vizslas love to fetch.

The origin of the Vizsla can be traced back to very early times in Hungarian history. Ancestors of today's Vizsla were the hunting dogs used by the Magyar tribes living in the Carpathian Basin from the 9th century on. They were widely used for hunting boar.

The first written reference to Vizsla dog breed has been recorded in the Illustrated Vienna Chronicle prepared on order of King Lajos the Great (Louis the Great) by the Carmelite Friars in 1357 (Boggs, 2000:17).

Vizslas faced and survived several near-extinctions in their history, including being overrun by English Pointers and German Shorthair Pointers in the 1800s (Boggs, 2000:19) and again to near-extinction after World War II (Boggs, 2000:21).

The Vizsla was used in development of other breeds, most notably the Weimaraner and German Shorthair Pointer breeds (Boggs, 2000:18). There is much conjecture about those same breeds, along with other pointer breeds, being used to reestablish the Vizsla breed at the end of 19th century. (Boggs, 2000:19). In either case the striking resemblance between the three breeds is indisputable.

Wirehaired history

The Wirehaired Vizsla is a separate breed from its common smooth coated cousin. The Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla was created in the 1930s by the interbreeding of the Vizsla and the German Wirehaired Pointer to get a dog with a heavier coat, suitable for working in the colder weather. The Wirehaired Vizsla is recognized by the FCI, CKC, UKC, and the KC(UK). Currently there are fewer than 400 Wirehaired Vizslas in the United States.

Common Illnesses

Although the Vizsla is not generally considered as a sickly dog, breeding from a small number of dogs has led to heritable illnesses in some offspring, including:

  • dysphagia-megaoesophagus (difficulty swallowing, drooling and muscle wasting)
  • hip dysplasia
  • hypothyroidism
  • sebaceous adenitis
  • digestive problems (including intolerance to certain foods or food allergies)
  • eye conditions such as:
    • ectropion (loose eyelids which give the look of "droopy eyes")
    • entropion (where the hairy skin around the eye rubs against the eye)
  • idiopathic epilepsy is becoming more common in this breed (Gottlieb 2002)

Responsible breeders do not select dogs for breeding if they have such inherent problems.

Vizsla in the U.K.

Approximately 1,000 Vizsla puppies are registered with the Kennel Club of Great Britain (KC) each year, making the breed one of the top 50 most popular. The number is steadily rising year on year as more people recognise the breed. At least two breed clubs for the Vizsla exist in Britain.

Vizsla in the U.S.

A Wirehaird Vizsla pup

A Wirehaird Vizsla pup

Frank J. Tallman and Emmett A. Scanlan imported Vizsla Sari as the first Vizsla in the United States of America.

Sari and her two pups (Tito and Shasta) were delivered by a TWA cargo plane to Kansas City via New York from Rome on October 7, 1950. (Boggs, 2000:23). Sari was later bred with Vizsla Rex. The male Vizsla Rex del Gelsimino, born 8/1/49, was purchased for $75 in food, clothing, medicine, and other supplies thanks to an Belgrade's US Embassy employee M.M. Yevdjovich who provided the direct connection to the owner in Stapar, Serbia to Tallman's representative Harry R. Stritman. Rex understood German and Hungarian commands and the claim has been made of history dating back to 1730 although never verified through a Serbian dog book in Yugoslavia.

Rex was delivered by a TWA cargo plane to Kansas City via New York via Brussels from Belgrade on June 12, 1951. (Boggs, 2000:26) There is a bit of controversy about Rex's official breeder, verbatim from (Boggs, 2000:26): "The Yugoslavia Kennel Club offered to give temporary registration to Vizslas at a local dog show so as to register future blood lines since many of the dogs in Yugoslavia and behind the Iron Curtain were pure bred, but without registration papers."

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