A Theory to the Origin of the Vizsla

As indicated before, the word "vizsla" in Hungarian implies a type of hunting dog: Magyar vizsla (Hungarian vizsla), Ne'met [aka Német, vizsla.hu] vizsla (GSP), Angol vizsla (EP). I have only heard vizsla applied to a type of hunting dog, similar to the pointers. The word pointer does not translate to vizsla in Hungarian unless you are specifying a type of dog. I hope I'm not adding additional confusion to the topic.

Regarding the origin of the vizsla, from the remnants of the old records we could only speculate at best but I will give you my theory.

There were 2 major migrations of people of Hungarian origin in to Central Europe (modern day Hungary and Transylvania), the first was the Huns in 400AD and then the Magyars in 900AD. After Attila's (king of the Huns) death the Huns disbanded a small segment (est 40,000) remained in what is the northern part of modern day Hungary, and the majority returned to Eurasia.

About 800AD the Magyars were forced out from Eurasia (Area between the Caspian and Black seas) by the Kazars and the Turks when these two nations formed an allegiance that proved too strong for the Magyars and they had to move in order to ensure their existence. They migrated north through Ukraine and made a temporary stop and built a city now called Kiev, and in 900AD moved in through the Carpathian mountains steeled in what is now Hungary and Transylvania. This was a strategic move to regroup and put up some natural barriers between their old enemies.

The Magyars were the ones that brought the origin of the vizsla with them as hunting was a very serious part of their survival through the migration and they were experts at animal husbandry. Their survival depended on it from live stock and horses for battle and war. They would have equally placed such importance on their dogs. Falconry among the Magyars was also a common practice for food and not just for the nobility as was in the rest of Europe at that time. The vizsla was well developed for this type of activity.

About 1000AD the Magyar king (Istva'n kiraly) at that time swore allegiances to the pope and accepted Christianity. He was crowned by the pope and the Magyars joined western Europe. This brought on the nobility class system that did not sit well with many of the independent Magyar tribes and they rejected the king's rule and many were forced out or killed. Many fled to Transylvania where the King's influence was not as great, here they continued to practice the old ways and this meant hunting and keeping their vizslas.

The next turbulent time came with the Mongol invasion and then the Ottoman Turks, this essentially split the country in 3 parcels. Transylvania received autonomy and was self governed for the most part. After the Turks were driven back, the Magyars were under the Austrian influence and would remain until the end of WWI.

It would make sense that the vizsla was better preserved in its original form in Transylvania than in Hungary until WWI. After that, Transylvania was given to Romania and again after WWII. All things represemting Hungarian heritage and nobility were despised and exterminated including the vizsla. Under the Communists, hunting was almost non existent except for the high party officials. A few dogs did remain but they were used mostly for deer and boar and hare. These were the larger heavy boned body type vizslas.

This was posted on the VizslaHunt list in May, 2004 by Barna Lukacs. Barna has generously allowed us to add this to the vizsla Home Page.

The history of the Magyar peoples and the Huns is accurate and well documented. The part about the dogs has no data to back it up but makes for an interesting theory.