The wirehaired vizsla is a medium-size sporting dog breed from Hungary that has a short, wiry coat with a longer beard and eyebrows. It is a close relative of the smooth-coat vizsla but is a bit hardier—largely thanks to its thick, protective coat. These dogs are generally lively but gentle, and they are strong athletes. They are comfortable on land and in water.
HEIGHT: 21.5 to 23 inches (female), 23 to 25 inches (male)
WEIGHT: 45 to 55 pounds (female), 55 to 65 pounds (male)
COAT: Short, wiry, thick
COAT COLOR: Golden rust
LIFE SPAN: 12 to 14 years
TEMPERAMENT: Loyal, affectionate, gentle
Characteristics of the Wirehaired Vizsla
Wirehaired vizslas typically have a very affectionate personality. They can even be good with kids and strangers. Their temperament also is marked by their high energy and intelligence. They like a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation.
|Tendency to Bark||Medium|
|Amount of Shedding||Medium|
History of the Wirehaired Vizsla
The traditional smooth-coat vizsla can trace its history all the way back to the 800s. People in what’s now Hungary bred their dogs to be quick, agile, and powerful. They also bred for loyal temperaments that made their hunting dogs trainable and eager to please.
Wirehaired vizslas didn’t arrive on the scene until the 1930s. Hunters in Hungary wanted a dog like the vizsla that could better withstand cold weather, icy waters, and rugged terrain. Breeders crossed vizslas with German wirehaired pointers, among other dogs. The eventual result was a sturdy dog with a dense coat.
Wirehaired vizslas made their way to North America in the 1970s. But the American Kennel Club didn’t recognize the breed until 2014. It still remains rare around the world.
Wirehaired Vizsla Care
Wirehaired vizslas need lots of exercise and mental stimulation every day, but they have minimal grooming needs. They also require training and socialization from a young age.
These high-energy dogs should receive at least one to two hours per day of exercise. And rather than just letting them loose in a fenced area, they would prefer to be active with their humans. They love long walks, running, hiking, cycling, and swimming. Dog sports, such as agility and dock diving, also are ideal to challenge them mentally and physically.
Make sure always to keep your dog on a leash or in a securely fenced area when you're out and about. This breed has a high prey drive and can quickly take off to follow perceived prey if it’s not contained.
The wiry coat of a wirehaired vizsla doesn’t tend to get dirty easily, and it doesn’t shed much. Plan on a monthly bath, depending on how dirty your dog gets. You can use a damp cloth in between baths to freshen up the coat. Also, run a grooming mitt or brush over the coat every week or so to remove loose fur. And once or twice a year plan to strip the coat to remove dead fur.
Check your dog’s nails roughly once a month to see whether they’re due for a trim. And aim to brush its teeth daily. Also, look in its ears at least weekly—and especially after swimming—for any wax buildup, debris, and other abnormalities. Be sure to dry the ears well after swimming, too.
Wirehaired vizslas are generally eager to please and take well to training. But they also are sensitive dogs. So you must use positive training methods; harsh corrections can cause them to shut down and not learn. Start training from as young of an age as possible, keeping sessions short and fun.
Also, socialize your dog from a young age by exposing it to different people, other dogs, and various situations. You also might have to work on making your dog comfortable with being left alone for stretches. Wirehaired vizslas typically always want to be by your side and thus are prone to separation anxiety. They do best in a home where someone is with them for most of the day.
Common Health Problems
The wirehaired vizsla is overall a healthy dog breed. But it’s still prone to some genetic health issues, including:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Hyperuricosuria (predisposition to kidney and bladder stones)
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Subaortic stenosis
Diet and Nutrition
Always make sure your dog has access to fresh water. And feed a quality, nutritionally balanced canine diet. It’s common to feed two measured meals per day. But discuss both the type of diet and the amount with your vet. High-energy dogs like the wirehaired vizsla often require a more nutrient-dense diet. But you still need to be mindful of treats and other extra food to prevent overeating.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Wirehaired Vizsla
While this breed isn’t common in the United States, it’s still worth checking local animal shelters and rescue groups for a wirehaired vizsla in need of a home. If you’re looking for a reputable breeder puppy, expect to pay around $1,000 to $4,000, though this can vary widely. You also might have to wait a while for a puppy, as there aren’t many breeders.
For further information to help connect you with a wirehaired vizsla, check out:
Wirehaired Vizsla Overview
Affectionate and loyal
Intelligent and eager to please
Needs lots of exercise and enrichment
Can be prone to separation anxiety
Can have a high prey drive
More Dog Breeds and Further Research
Do diligent research before bringing a wirehaired vizsla home to make sure it’s right for your lifestyle. Talk to veterinarians, breed owners, rescue groups, and reputable breeders. And try to spend time around some wirehaired vizslas if possible.
If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:
There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!
What’s the difference between vizslas and wirehaired vizslas?
The main difference between vizslas and wirehaired vizslas is their coat. Vizslas have short, sleek fur while wirehaired vizslas have a thick, wiry coat. Wirehaired vizslas are also slightly larger than the smooth-coat breed.
Are wirehaired vizslas good family dogs?
Well trained and socialized wirehaired vizslas can be excellent family dogs. They generally bond closely with their family and tend to be patient around kids. However, young children should always be supervised around dogs.
Are wirehaired vizslas rare?
Wirehaired vizslas are a rare dog breed around the world, even in their native Hungary. The American Kennel Club didn't recognize the breed until 2014.