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Originating in Hungary as a pointer and retriever, the Vizsla dog breed has an aristocratic appearance. But all they really want is to be loved.
Sometimes known as the Hungarian Pointer, the Vizsla probably derives from hunting dogs used by the Magyars, who settled in Hungary over a thousand years ago. The dogs were undoubtedly used by noblemen and warlords to hunt wild birds and hares. Eventually, the dogs were developed to both aim and retrieve.
Images of the Vizsla's past can be found in ancient art. A 10th century etching shows a short-haired dog accompanying a Magyar hunter. A chapter on falconry in a 14th century manuscript shows a dog in the shape of a Vizsla.
In the 19th and early 20th century, the Vizsla was a separate breed with an excellent sense of smell that worked closely with its handler. During the First World War, the talented hunting dog was used to deliver messages.
However, the aftermath of the First World War, followed by the devastation of the Second World War, almost meant the end of the breed. Fortunately, the Vizsla managed to survive.
In those days, the breed looked much different than today: they had longer muzzles and a more boned upper skull. Some had a hound-like appearance, with long ears, and others varied in colour from chocolate brown to almost bleached.
The Vizsla is described as lively, gentle and affectionate, with an above-average ability to learn and a strong desire to be with people. It is known to be bossy, but there are always exceptions - some Vizslas can be stubborn, irritable or shy.