Vizslas are considered to be a generally healthy and robust breed. These natural hunters were bred to have good eyesight, a keen nose for tracking, and the enthusiasm and capability to retrieve. Their average lifespan ranges from 11 to 15 years.
History & Physical Attributes
Vizslas were originally used in the 10th century by nomadic Magyar hunters for tracking birds and other game. Although their ancestry is unclear, they are thought to have been bred from Transylvanian Hounds and Turkish Yellow Dogs, the latter of which is now extinct. In addition to being great hunters, Vizslas were historically favored as companion dogs.
The breed is medium in size with a lean, muscular body. Vizslas’ solid coats are smooth, short, and have a distinct golden-rust color. They do not have an undercoat and their tails are usually docked at two-thirds of their original length.
Lifespan & Health
Overall, Vizslas are vigorous and long-living animals. Although Vizslas are considered to be a healthy breed with a relatively long life expectancy, localized breeding programs have led to some inheritable health conditions.
Vizslas are prone to a list of health conditions including:
- Eye disorders
- Canine epilepsy
- Canine hip dysplasia
- Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
- Sebaceous adenitis
- Canine Von Willebrand disease
Preventing Vizsla Health Problems
Hereditary health problems common to the Vizsla breed can be prevented or avoided by working with a breeder. For example, if both parents of a Vizsla have certificates showing that they were tested and cleared of certain eye diseases, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism, he will have a reduced risk of developing those health conditions later on in life.
Since a number of potential health problems are not detectable in a growing puppy, it can be difficult to predict whether a Vizsla will be free from certain ailments. This is why it’s important to adopt from a reputable breeder that is committed to breeding healthy dogs. Breeders should be able to produce certifications showing that the parents and grandparents of a puppy have been screened for various genetic conditions.
How to Improve the Lifespan of Your Vizsla
In addition to adopting from a reputable breeder, you can prevent health problems and improve your Vizsla’s lifespan by providing them with adequate physical activity, proper nutrition, and regular grooming.
Since Vizslas were bred to hunt, they thrive on purposeful exercise and require a lot of physical activity. They should be taken for walks, runs, or hikes on a daily basis and love to be challenged. Providing them with challenging activities will stimulate a Vizsla’s brain and contribute to their mental and physical development.
Since the Vizsla is such an active breed, it’s important to make sure your pet eats high-quality food with plenty of nutrients.
Vizslas respond well to a raw diet or a breed-specific dog food that lists meat as the first ingredient. Additionally, fresh water should be available at all times to prevent dehydration.
Grooming a Vizsla is relatively easy. Their short coat should be brushed regularly with a rubber or bristle brush. This will help to distribute the naturally-occurring oils in their skin and keep their coat shiny.
Since they are self-cleaning and have such a short coat, Vizslas don’t need to be bathed very frequently. Once every three months or as needed will suffice. It’s also important to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry and trim their nails every week or two. Additionally, you’ll want to brush your Vizsla’s teeth on a regular basis to prevent gum disease and keep their breath smelling fresh.
By adopting from a reputable breeder and making sure your Vizsla gets proper nourishment, exercise, and grooming, you’ll help him live his longest, healthiest life.