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Vizsla vs. Weimaraner: Breed Differences and Similarities

Emma Braby

Last Updated: March 31, 2020 | 12 min read

Vizsla vs Weimaraner Comparison

The Vizsla and the Weimaraner look very similar to one another, with the Vizsla often being mistaken as the younger sibling of the two, however they are distinctly separate breeds. When comparing the Vizsla vs. the Weimaraner, you’ll find that the Vizsla is an ancient dog breed, and the Weimaraner is relatively new by canine standards.  Eespite their appearance and temperament being so similar, they are not directly related to one another.

They were both bred to be hunting dogs and as such they both have a high prey drive and a lot of energy, so they need to be placed into an active home. The Weimaraner, however, has a much more dominant personality compared to the Vizsla, and as such he is better placed into a family who have previous dog experience, whereas the Vizsla is suited to first-time dog owners and families.

Ultimately, they both need a lot of exercise, and as long as you are seeking a Velcro dog who is very loyal and eager to please you, you won’t be disappointed with how much canine love both these guys have to offer. So, before you make a decision about which breed you prefer, let’s take a closer look at their similarities and differences in closer detail.

Breed Comparison Chart

 
Vizsla
Weimaraner
Height
22 – 24 inches (M)
21 – 23 inches (F)
25 - 27 inches (M)
23 – 25 inches (F)
Weight
Up to 55 – 60 pounds (M)
Up to 44 - 55 pounds (F)
70 – 90 pounds (M)
55 – 75 pounds (F)
Temperament
Affectionate, Gentle, Energetic
Friendly, Fearless, Obedient
Energy
Intense Activity
Intense Activity
Health
Average
Average
Grooming
Weekly
Weekly
Lifespan
12-14 years
10-13 years
Price
$1,200+
$1,200+

Breed Histories

The Vizsla and the Weimaraner have similar histories, in that were refined by local nobleman in the search for the perfect hunting dog, but they originate from different European countries. Before you can decide which breed is better, you’ll want to learn about each breed’s specific background and history.

Vizsla

Hungarian Vizsla
The Vizsla is an old breed with a long history.

The Vizsla is an ancient breed whose ancestors originate from Russia and lived with the famous Magyar Tribe, and accompanied them on their murderous rampage across Europe. The tribe eventually settled in Hungary, and this was where the Vizsla that we know and love today was developed. He was refined to be a swift and an all-purpose hunting dog who would point and retrieve, and he would do just about anything to please his master, and still does to this day.

In the World Wars he was used to deliver secret messages, and his breed became a closely guarded Hungarian secret. After being snuck out of the country, the Vizsla first arrived in America in the 1950s and became particularly famous when he became the first dog to win championships in 5 different sports, thus becoming the AKC’s first quintuple champion. In 2019, the Vizsla is ranked as the 31st most popular dog breed in America by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Vizsla is also commonly referred to as the Hungarian Pointer. They are commonly confused for Labradors with red coats and compared to Rhodesian Ridgebacks due to their looks.

Weimaraner

Weimaraner in Grass
The Weimaraner is a popular breed and is often mistaken for a Labrador Retriever.

The Weimaraner’s history dates back to the 19th Century, from a small town called Weimar in Germany. The noblemen and aristocracy in the town were avid sportsmen, and they sought the perfect hunting dog, and in their attempt to create one they mixed the Bloodhound, German Shorthaired Pointer, English Pointer, the blue Great Dane and potentially a few other breeds, and this was how the Weimaraner was born. They were originally used to hunt wild boars, bears and wolves, but when the population of these larger beasts declined, they took to hunting game and other smaller animals.

The Weimaraner was also a closely guarded German secret, but he first arrived in America in the early 1920s, and soon became famous thanks to the portraits of William Wegman, who dressed his Weimaraner’s in human costumes. The Weimaraner is not far behind the Vizsla in the AKC popularity contest, finding himself just 5 places behind as the 36th most popular dog breed in America in 2019. Commonly referred to as silver ghosts, these affectionate dogs are now more commonly found in the family home as cuddly companions.  They are often confused for Silver Labradors.

Appearance

Vizsla vs Weimaraner Appearance Comparison
The Vizsla and Weimaraner have similar appearances.

Did someone say twins?! Quite possibly with these guys, because they look very similar indeed. The only real difference is their size and coloring, with the Vizsla being the smaller of the two pooches. The Vizsla measures between 21 and 24 inches, and the Weimaraner measures taller between 23 and 27 inches. The Vizsla weighs between 44 and 60 pounds and weighs a lot less than the Weimaraner, who finds himself between 55 and 90 pounds. Despite both being muscular and well built, the Vizsla is leaner and tends to be longer in the body compared to the Weimaraner.

The Vizsla sports the red and rusty coat colors, whereas the Weimaraner sports the silver and blue coat colors, and because of their coat colorings, the Vizsla often has brown eyes and a brown nose and the Weimaraner has blue eyes and a grey nose.

They share the similar shaped ears, in that they are both large dropped down triangles, often grazing just below their jawline, but the Weimaraner’s ears sit much higher up on their skull compared to the Vizsla. They both have long and narrow muzzles, albeit the Vizsla has a slightly shorter muzzle, and they both have a square and fleshy nose. Naturally they both have docked tails due to their hunting nature and they both opt for the double coat, but with short and smooth hair. Sometimes they will both find a smaller white patch on their chest and toes, but to find white anywhere else on their body is frowned upon.

For further information about their appearance you can find the Vizsla’s full breed standards here and the Weimaraner’s full breed standards here.

Temperament

Vizsla vs Weimaraner Temperament
Both the Vizsla and Weimaraner are great family dogs.

Both of these breeds are described as Velcro dogs, in that they stick to you whenever you are around, so if you are seeking a second shadow, then look no further than these guys! Both breeds adore their humans and would both do anything to please their master and the whole family, and they are both very friendly and sociable with outsiders too. However, they are both known to suffer with separation anxiety a lot more than the average canine, so they both need to be placed with families whereby someone can spend most of the day with them, otherwise they become very anxious and unsettled.

They are both very intelligent canines who are also very energetic, and this causes them to be restless if not mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day. Because they stick to you like glue they can both be very intense canines and this is not suited to everyone, or every family. If you love intensely clingy canines, then both of these breeds could be your perfect match.

The Weimaraner is known to be much more assertive and dominant compared to the Vizsla, so for this reason he is not suited to the novice dog owner, and this is one of the main deciding factors for those choosing between these two breeds. If not socialized properly, or left to his own devices, the Weimaraner can become quite obnoxious and unruly, and quite intimidating, so he needs a strong handler who is going to set rules and boundaries for him to follow. The Vizsla, however, is much more submissive, and happy to follow orders, so he is much better suited to first time dog owners.

Because of their high prey drive they are not suited to homes with cats or other smaller animals. They are suited to multi-canine homes just as long as they are socialized well as puppies, and they are known to be very gentle and tolerant of younger children, so they make a great family pet!

Exercise

Vizsla vs Weimaraner Exercise
Both breeds are high energy and need lots of exercise.

The Vizsla and the Weimaraner are quite similar when it comes to their exercise needs, simply because they both need lots of it! They both need at least an hour of intense exercise everyday, in the form of jogging, being allowed to run free and play with other dogs or fetch, to name just a few favorite pastimes. Do not think a couple of 30 minutes walks will suffice, because they will destroy your furniture and dig up your garden in less than an hours work, so do not underestimate their exercise needs. This is one of the main reasons why they find themselves in rescue shelters, simply because their owners underestimate exactly how much exercise they need.

Because of their high prey drive, you should never let these guys off leash unless in a secure area, no matter how good their recall is! They are also very strong, and ideally their owner needs to be stronger, and you always need to be prepared for that darting squirrel.

It goes without saying that if they are not exercised adequately then not only will they destroy your house, but they will also get cabin fever, and behavioral problems will soon arise, so if you cannot commit to at least 1 hour of intense exercise everyday then you should steer clear of both breeds.

Training

They both need to be socialized from a young age with both humans and other dogs alike, however many owners suggest that it rarely ends well if you try to socialize them with cats or other smaller creatures. Because they are both very much Velcro dogs, if they are not socialized adequately you risk that they might become too overprotective and jealous. This is particularly important for the Weimaraner, who is known to be much more dominant than the Vizsla, as extreme aggression and shyness can be found in an untrained Weimaraner.

Positive reward training is the key to training both of these breeds successfully, and their eagerness to please their master means that they will almost always be driven by praise, rather than food or objects. When you combine this with their intelligence, they are known to be very obedient and trainable dogs.

The Weimaraner’s training should be a lifelong commitment to ensure that he does not attempt to assert himself as the pack leader, and if he smells any form of hesitation or weakness from his master he will challenge him as he sees fit. For this reason, he needs to be placed into a home that has both experience in training dogs and a family that will be consistently assertive. Do not let this put you off him though, because if you crack his training you will be unmeasurably rewarded. 

Health

Vizsla vs Weimaraner Health Comparison
Both the Vizsla and the Weimaraner are generally healthy pups.

The Vizsla, on average, enjoys one more year than the Weimaraner, but both of these breeds are generally healthy dogs, but like any pooch, they suffer with select health problems. Both the Vizsla and the Weimaraner are required, by their respective national breed clubs, to be tested for the following health concerns:

Hip Dysplasia –  this is characterized by the abnormal formation of the hip joint, which eventually causes the joint socket to wear down and can be quite painful and arthritic in later life.

Eye Conditions – common concerns are Progressive Retinal Atrophy and entropion to name a few, but left unchecked they can lead to severe discomfort and blindness.

Thyroid Concerns – autoimmune thyroiditis typically manifests itself between the ages of 2 to 5, and it is a hormonal imbalance which causes a variety of symptoms such as lethargy, mental dullness, exercise and cold intolerance and unexplained weight gain.

Other health concerns that can affect them both are epilepsy, cardiac concerns and lymphoma, so just be sure to keep up with his regularly Veterinarian health checks.

Nutrition

The Vizsla will eat around 3 cups of food every day, and the Weimaraner, being slightly bigger, will eat around 3 ½ cups of food a day. Of course, this will be entirely dependent on his size and energy. Be sure to feed them a high quality kibble that provides them with their nutritional needs, and because they are muscular and energetic dogs they will require a kibble that provides them with at least a 25% protein content.

Both breeds are known to suffer from bloat, so feed them at least 2 separate meals and do not feed them too close to exercise, and be sure to learn about bloat and the symptoms to look out for, because it is a serious condition that requires immediate Veterinarian attention.

Grooming

Vizsla vs Weimaraner Grooming Comparison
The Vizsla and the Weimaraner have similar grooming requirements.

Thankfully both the Vizsla and the Weimaraner have relatively simple grooming needs, as they both only require a good brush once a week and a bath every 6 to 8 weeks, which is great news considering most of your time will be spent exercising them!  You won’t need to spend too much time deshedding them because their coats are relatively short.

Because of their large ears it is important to thoroughly check these at least once a week, and their common eye concerns also command weekly eye checks. But as long as their ears and eyes are clean and you cannot see any visible changes, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Price

The Vizsla and the Weimaraner also share the same price tag, with a puppy from a reputable breeder starting from $1,200. If you are seeking a pup from a particular hunting bloodline or an award-winning lineage, then you can expect to pay much more towards the $2,000 price tag. As with any pooch, it is important to work with a reputable breeder who not only breeds healthy parents, but one who can provide you with health certificates.

Alternatively, if you would like to consider adopting either of these pooches, then take a look at the Vizsla Club of America website, where they list regional rescue contact details, and the Weimaraner Rescue Club of America who list all of the dedicated rescue homes state by state.

Final Thoughts

The Vizsla and the Weimaraner are more similar than they are different, which is why many families struggle to choose between the two breeds. When comparing the Vizsla vs. the Weimaraner, you should now have a better idea which breed would be better suited to you and your lifestyle.  Both equally loving, loyal and sweet pooches, who just want as many walkies and cuddles as possible.

As long as you can guarantee them both a lot of frequent and intense exercise, and you choose the breed that is better suited to your doggy experience, you will find your perfect Velcro buddy!

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