Origin of the Vizsla
The origins of the Hungarian Vizsla
Ancestors of our vizslas today likely arrived in the Carpathian Basin with our Hungarian conquering forefathers. The word 'vizsla' has been found in ancient manuscripts dating back to the 14th century, with accompanying illustrations of a vizsla-like dog. There is record of vizsla breeding in the 1500's. In those days, hunting was the prerogative of the nobility, and therefore, these were the vizsla breeders of old.
The best known of these were the Batthyany, Nadasdy and Zay families. In the 18th century, with the increase of gun ownership, the hunting of small game and birds became popular and the functional significance of the vizsla grew in proportionate numbers.
Throughout Europe, in the latter-half of the 19th century, the 'sport' of purposeful dog breeding became more popular. It was at this time that English Pointers and German Short-Haired Pointers proliferated in Hungary - to the detriment of the ancestral vizsla.
The first hunting trials were in the 1880's modelled on German and Moravian trials. Initially, only English and German Short-Haired Pointers were competing, although some 'unpedigreed yellow vizslas' were also entered. 1917 was an important date in the history of the vizsla. Bela Kerpely, Dr. Kalman Polgar and Karoly Baba began the movement to save the ancient Hungarian Yellow Vizsla. They began their work with great skill and resolve.
They surveyed various individuals throughout Hungary, but only considered those for breeding which the experts of the Vizsla Club of Hungary agreed met the criteria for conformation as well as inherent hunting abilities. It was on this basis that, under the auspices of the Hungarian Kennel Club (MEOE), the breed standard was written, and was accepted by FCI (Federation Cynologique Intenationale) as the 57th recognized breed in 1936 - a relatively early recognition on a world scale. The specific working/hunting characteristics and requirements were determined by the Hunting test rules.
Its natural abilities were described as "...of all the vizsla breeds, the most easily trained...it forms strong attachments...there is hardly a Hungarian Vizsla that has to be taught to retrieve...in tracking, it is a veritable master" (Gyula Csizmadia).
The first established kennels were the Vegvari, Kaposi, and Hevizi. Unfortunately, by the end of World War II, the vizsla population was seriously decimated, with only a few survivors ending up in Western Europe and the United States.
The original official studbook registry was burned, and thus, even among the surviving dogs, some had unknown lineage.
The VC of H set about re-establishing the stud book registry and the restoration of the breed. In this undertaking the national breeding colony, established in 1947 in Godollo, was of great assistance. Individuals without pedigrees, but meeting the conformation and hunting characteristic requirements were bred with those of known pedigrees. With economic improvement and political change, the dog sport enjoyed a new and continued awakening.
There were also major changes in the Hungarian Vizsla breeding program. At the 1971 World Hunting Expo, an International Vizsla Hunting Trial was also held, which further promoted the sport for vizslas.
As a result, interest was now focused on the vizsla, and more and more people began to hunt with the vizsla as a versatile hunting dog.
This had a positive influence on breeding as well.
To further demonstrate the excellent hunting capabilities of the Hungarian Vizsla, in 1981, the Hungarian Vizsla Specialty Competition (HPR Competition) was established, which continues, to date, as one of the most important activities of the breed club.
The major aim of the specialty competition was to provide the opportunity for the breed to demonstrate those specific abilities which distinguish the vizsla from other pointing breeds, and makes it truly Hungarian. These aptitudes - such as superior intelligence, willingness to work in a group, memory skills, and its particular talent for forming close attachments - are the ones which make the breed ideal for today's constantly changing hunting conditions, big city living, the Hungarian climate and for Hungarian people in particular.
copied by permission of Z fuzesine of pitypang kennels Hungary