Breed History

Kihivas Vizsla

ph_vizslaHistorians’ opinions differ as to the development of the Hungarian pointer that goes by the name of Vizsla. Some claim to be able to trace the breed’s origins to 1,000 B.C. based on stone etchings from the period depicting a hunter, his falcon and a dog resembling the modern Vizsla. The dog is even mentioned in a 14th century treatise on falconry. Supporters of the breed’s long ancestry assert that the ancient dogs described in these documents were crossed with the Turkish yellow dog in the 18th century and that the breed was eventually standardized a few hundred years later. Others maintain that the Vizsla is strictly a product of the 20th century and that it was created in Hungary as a result of crossbreeding of different hunting dogs, in the same manner as the versatile German hunting dogs were in the 19th century. It is believed that the short-haired Hungarian pointer is the result of a cross between the Weimaraner and various types of pointer.

In its native land, the Vizsla gained rapid popularity as a versatile hunting dog and its numbers skyrocketed. However, the two world wars had a devastating effect on the breed and it was thought that the Vizsla would disappear entirely. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated breeders, the yellow pointer was reborn to become Hungary’s national dog.

At the end of World War II, refugees brought their hunting dogs with them and the Vizsla quickly became known throughout Europe. Then, with the growing popularity of the Weimaraner in North America in the 1940s, many hunters began considering the import of other versatile hunting breeds, particularly the short-haired Hungarian pointer. The first dogs arrived in the 1950s and, by 1960, the breed had become sufficiently popular to be recognized by the American Kennel Club, followed shortly after by the Canadian Kennel Club.