History of the Wirehaired Vizsla
The Wirehaired Vizsla is a most unique and exciting new breed. The Wirehaired Vizsla is a completely separate breed from its more commonly seen smooth-coated cousin, the Vizsla. The Wirehaired Vizsla, or Uplander, as they were originally known as in the US when introduced in 1970. They were developed in the 1930s, initially by Vasas Jozsef, owner of the Csabai vizsla kennel along with Gresznarik Laszlo, who owned the de Selle German Wirehaired Pointer kennel. Their aim was to produce a dog that combined the color of the Vizsla with a heavier coat, and a more substantial frame, better suited for working in cold weather and retrieving from icy water.
Two Vizsla females (Zsuzsi and Csibi), both of whom combined excellent pedigrees with good working ability, were selected to breed with a totally liver colored German Wirehaired Pointer sire (Astor von Potat). Zsuzsi’s sire was known to have offspring with longer coats. The best of Zsuzsi’s and Csibi’s offspring were selected and bred together and Dia de Selle, the first WHV to be exhibited, was born. She had the same body as the shorthaired vizsla, but her head was the shape of the German Wirehaired Pointer. While her coat was not rough and thick enough, she was the promising beginning of the creation of the new breed.
Anecdotal history suggests the added infusion of Pudelpointer, Bloodhound and Irish Setter blood during the period of the WWII when many other Hungarian kennels became involved in the development of the breed. It has also previously, but incorrectly been suggested that the breed was created by backbreeding of smooth Vizsla’s most heavily coated offspring (Gottlieb,idem).
The Wirehaired Vizsla was recognized in Europe by the FCI under the Hungarian standard in 1986. It is also recognized by the KC (UK). Introduced to North America in the 1970s, the WHV was first recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1977 and North American Hunting Dog Association in 1986. The breed was recognized by the UKC (United Kennel Club) in 2006. They are also recognized in North America by the ARBA (American Rare Breed Association), as well as American Field (Field Dog Stud Book) registries. The breed was admitted into AKC’s Foundation Stock Service (FSS) in 2008. Effective Jan. 1, 2009, the Wirehaired Vizsla became eligible to compete in AKC Companion and Performance Events. As of January 1, 2011, the Wirehaired Vizsla was allowed to begin showing in conformation, in the AKC Miscellaneous Class. The bred was formally recognized by the AKC in July, 2014. There were approximately 400-450 Wirehaired Vizslas in the US in 2011 and between 2500 and 3000 worldwide. It was recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council in 2007. Those numbers have grown substantially since.Please note that the WV is a separate breed from the smooth Vizsla, and the the offspring of the two breeds, if bred together, cannot be registered with any registry or kennel club in the world. Be sure that when inquiring about a WV from any kennel, that their dogs are registered with the American Kennel Club – FSS.
The Wirehaired Vizsla is an intelligent dog, which gets along well with children as long as they are socialized well, and enjoys being indoors or outdoors so they are ideally suited to the country dwelling family or the city life – IF properly exercised. They do have an inbuilt desire to protect their family with which they are very affectionate and loyal. They should be socialized from an early age with a variety of people, animals, environments and objects. In general, the Wirehaired Vizsla breed likes to stay with the family and is not known for wandering off too far from the home. They will happily be both a family and working dog in one. Wirehaired Vizslas are an accomplished gun dog, excelling in upland game birds, and waterfowl. They are a no-nonsense field dog, while loving the family life. A true couch potato, WV’s are usually a bit softer in temperament than their smooth cousins. Close ranging in the field and in the neighborhood, they are easily worked from a distance, and easily trained. The coat of a WV is a wiry topcoat with a water repellant undercoat. The wire coat of a correct length does not matt, but looks it’s best when at least brushed, but especially when stripped, either by hand or by a stripping knife. When stripped, the coat will be encouraged to grow back with a wirey texture, thicker and more dense. Occasionally there is what looks like a smooth coated puppy born in a wire bred litter. These make wonderful maintenance free hunting dogs or companions!
Like the Vizsla, Wirehaired Vizslas are high energy, gentle-mannered, loyal, caring, and affectionate. They quickly form close bonds with their owners, including children. They are typically quiet dogs, only barking if necessary or if they are provoked.
They are natural hunters with an excellent ability to take training. Not only are they great pointers, but they are excellent retrievers, as well. They will retrieve on land and in the water, making the most of their natural instincts. However, they must be trained gently and without harsh or strong physical correction, as they have sensitive temperaments and can be easily damaged if trained too harshly (Gottlieb, 1992). Vizslas are excellent swimmers and often swim in pools if one is available. Like all gun dogs, Wirehairs require a good deal of exercise to remain healthy and happy. Thirty minutes to an hour of exercise daily in a large off-leash area is optimal (Coffman 1992).
The Wirehaired Vizsla thrives on attention, exercise, and interaction. It is highly intelligent, and enjoys being challenged and stimulated, both mentally and physically. Wires that do not get enough attention and exercise can easily become destructive or hyperactive. Under-stimulated Wires may also become depressed or engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as persistent licking (Coffman 1992). The Wirehaired Vizsla wants to be close to its owner as often as possible. Many Wires willingly sleep in bed with their owners if allowed, burrowing under the covers.