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8 Surprising Vizsla Facts: Vet-Reviewed Origins & History

Written by: Brooke Bundy

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

hungarian vizsla dog playing in a muddy puddle in a field

8 Surprising Vizsla Facts: Vet-Reviewed Origins & History


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Sleek and red, this athletic dog sports a unique appearance to match their name. The Vizsla was a relatively obscure breed in the United States until recently, but their popularity continues to rise. Here are a few things you might not know about this surprising breed.

The 8 Vizsla Facts

1. The Vizsla hails from Hungary.

Descended from Magyar warrior dogs, the Vizsla was bred for speed. This ancient dog was even used as a falconer. Hungarian hunters prized the Vizsla and refined the breed over centuries. They’re sometimes called the “Hungarian Pointer.”

2. Only the Greyhound and the Saluki are faster than the Vizsla.

At 40 miles per hour, the Vizsla can run faster than many members of the animal kingdom. The only dog breeds that are considered faster are the Greyhound, which can run up to 45 miles per hour, and the Saluki, which can run up to 43 miles per hour.

Magyar Vizsla male is running towards the camera
Image By: Bianca Pinkernell, Shutterstock

3. They almost went extinct—twice.

During the 1800s, the English and Shorthair Pointers surpassed the Vizsla’s popularity. At one point near the end of the 19th century, there were only a dozen Vizslas remaining in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire. The breed briefly resurged, but their numbers sank again following the devastation of the two world wars. Today, the breeding stock is stable again.

4. The first Vizsla to enter the United States was a refugee from Communist Hungary.

In 1950, Sari became the first Vizsla to step paw on American soil. Like her human family, Sari was a Hungarian refugee who was smuggled into the country with the help of a U.S. State Department employee. Sari became one of many Vizslas who escaped the Communist regime and formed the breeding stock in their new home.   

magyar vizsla dog standing on grass
Image By: Lena_Sokolova, Shutterstock

5. In 1960, the Vizsla joined the American Kennel Club.

Within a decade of their arrival to the United States, the Vizsla was admitted into the American Kennel Club. They are classified as part of the sporting group, which are breeds that were developed to aid with hunting and retrieving game. This group also included Spaniels, Pointers, Retrievers, and Setters.

6. “Golden Rust” is the only color in the AKC standard.

Their signature red-blonde color is the only coat included in the breed standard. Minimal white markings are allowed, as long as Golden Rust is the primary color. Vizslas can also be found in Golden, Red, Red Golden, and Sandy Yellow, but only Golden Rust is acceptable by the breed standard.

hungarian vizsla standing on grass
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock

7. The Vizsla is great at agility and shows.

Bred to be hunters, the Vizsla is categorized as a sporting dog. They’re considered agility champions around the world. In 1980, a Vizsla named Kai became the first AKC triple champion by winning in show, field, and obedience.

8. The Vizsla ranked #32 for the top dog breed in the US in 2021.

Although they were nearly lost to obscurity twice, the Vizsla now directly competes with the Pug and the Border Collie for the #32 spot of the most popular dog breeds.

Vizsla dog at the beach
Image By: martine552, Pixabay

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Is a Vizsla Right for You?

The Hungarian Pointer truly is a unique dog, from their color to their personality and history. Vizslas are known as “Velcro dogs” who don’t do well for long times apart from their owners. As one of the world’s fastest dogs, the Vizsla has intense exercise needs. They require at least 1 to 2 hours of exercise every single day. People who work from home and like to go for a run make the best fit with this active dog. On the contrary, commuters or someone looking for a sofa buddy probably wouldn’t get along very well with the highly energetic Vizsla.


From their earliest history as the descendants of Magyar warrior dogs to their modern comeback as one of America’s most popular breeds, the Vizsla never fails to surprise us. People who work from home and like the outdoors pair best with this active breed. The rest of us can enjoy this beautiful dog from the comfort of our couch as they win agility competitions around the world.

Featured Image Credit: Liudmila Bohush, Shutterstock

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