History of the breed
It was 895 A.D. and the planes of Hungary shook as barbarian hordes thundered down from the east upon this central European protectorate.
The Magyars, a nomadic people who had slowly and methodically migrated over time from the western confines of China to the fringes of eastern Europe, swiftly conquered Hungary and went on to invade other countries on the European continent. Riding small, swift ponies and employing rapid strike tactics, the Magyars were fierce warriors, striking fear into the hearts of the European community at the mere mention of their name. Following a reign of terror that lasted more than 50 years, they were finally defeated in 955 by the German armies united under Otto the Great. Returning to Hungary, the Magyar threat to Europe eventually dissipated as the former warriors embraced Christianity and became civilized, forming an alliance through royal marriage with the German states.
The Vizsla first makes its appearance in Magyar tribal art and etchings dating back to the tenth century. Apparently, these dogs were favored companions of the Magyar hunters and falconers. The breed’s popularity continued to grow as Hungarian nationality slowly blossomed in the centuries fallowing the subjugation of the Magyars. The Vizsla gained mention in the Illustrated Vienna Chronicle, published in 1375 under the direction of the Hungarian king Louis the Great. Excellent at hunting the game birds and large hare that inhabited the vast planes and fertile fields of Hungary, Vizslas were soon viewed as the prized possessions by the Hungarian aristocracy, who took it upon themselves to make certain that the breed purity and refinement unadulterated generation after generation.
In 1825 the Magyar Vizsla Stud Book was officially established to maintain records of pedigrees and to preserve breed standards – description of the ideal Vizsla. It was also about this time that the Vizsla was officially awarded the honor Official Pointing Dog of Hungary. There is certainly no question that this lovable and functional dog had won the heart and respect of the Hungarian people. The Hungarians always remained protective of their national treasure, and the export of the Vizsla to other countries was routinely discouraged until the end of the nineteenth century.
The breed nearly became extinct during World War I; however, its numbers grew back steadily after the war, and many went to distant shores with Hungarian immigrants. The Vizsla population in Hungary continued to rise during the 1940s, even as another world war ripped through Europe.