The Weimaraner and Vizsla are ancient hunters of aristocratic origin who share many similarities and differences. Have you ever gotten Weims mixed up with Vizslas? Make getting muddled a thing of the past and read our guide of the similarities and difference between these two friendly, family-oriented, high energy breeds.
Vizsla vs Weimaraner in history
Both dogs have ancient, noble roots; you might often hear the the Vizsla described as “distinguished” and the Weimaraner as “aristocratic”. If that doesn’t raise the expectations for s- let’s take a look at how these dog breeds
The Hungarian Vizsla’s origins date back to 890 A.D. when Hungarian tribes migrated from Asia to the Carpathian Basin and brought the ancient Vizsla with them to hunt birds by scent. Later, the ancestral Vizsla was used to hunt quail, partridge and pheasant by the first King of Hungary. In the 1880s, the dogs were bred with English and German Pointers, but continued breeding suffered during the Second World War (1939-1945) and almost became extinct. An American breeder, Frank Tallman imported the Vizsla in the 1950s and by 1960, the breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club.
The Weimaraner is a descendant of the now extinct St. Hubertus Brachen, the oldest hunting breed dating back to 650 A.D. The dogs were imported to Germany by Henry VIII in 1530 and the breed gets its name from the court of Weimar. Weimar nobles were avid sportsman and the dogs were originally used to help hunt big game like deer, bears and wolves. The dogs were first known as Weimar Pointers and a mix of Bloodhounds, English Pointers, the German Shorthair Pointer and blue Great Dane were used to create the modern day Weimaraner.
The dogs were imported to the US from Germany for breeding prior to the start of WWII by Howard Knight and were recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1942, with the first breed clubs being founded in the UK in 1968. Weimaraners are sometimes known as Weims, Silver Ghosts or Grey Ghosts due to their short, silver grey coat.
Vizsla vs Weimaraner appearance
Vizsla vs Weimaraner in size and colouring
Both dogs are medium in size and have short coats. The Vizsla is smaller than the Weimaraner and is 56-61 cm tall, whilst the Weimaraner’s average height is 64-69 cm. The Vizsla is slightly smaller boned to the Weimaraner but they tend to be a bit longer in the body. Male Weimaraners can weigh between 30–40 kg and females 25–35 kg. Male Vizslas weigh in at 20–29 kg and females at 18–25 kg.
What colour coats do Weimaraners and Vizslas have?
The Weimaraner’s coat is short and solid-colored, ranging from mouse-gray to silver-gray, usually with lighter shades on their head and ears. The Weimaraners coat is usually short but some longhaired Weims can be found in Europe.
A Vizsla’s coat is also solid in colour and comes in various golden rust shades.
Snout and eyes
A Weimaraner has a dark grey nose and either light amber, blue-grey or grey eyes. Interesting fact – if a Weim gets excited, their eyes can dilate and appear black. By contrast, a Vizsla has brown eyes and nose.
Both breeds have rather long ears that sit close to their cheeks. Vizsla’s ears are set fairly low on the head whilst Weims are set high on the head.
Caring for a Weimaraner or Vizsla
Weimaraner vs Vizsla grooming
The Weimaraner is one of the easiest breeds to groom. Even if they are muddy the dirt just seems to fall off them. That’s great news, as this dog is known to roll around in anything stinky. Weims will shed but their short coat means they require only weekly brushing.
The Vizsla is also very easy to groom. Their coat doesn’t get too stinky and a weekly brush will suit this breed well.
Both breeds will benefit from starting their grooming early on in life to help them develop good habits and behaviour. Handle their paws frequently as they can be touchy about their feet and frequently examine their mouth and ears. This will make trips to the vet or groomer that much easier as they grow.
Vizsla vs Weimaraner in health
The Vizsla has a lifespan of 10 to 14 years whilst a Weim can live from 11 to 13 years.
Like all breeds, some are more prone to health conditions than others. Weims can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s disease, an inherited blood disorder, whilst Vizsla’s can suffer from epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism too.
Vizsla vs Weimaraner in personality
Vizslas are sometimes known as the “Velcro Vizsla” as they can become very attached to their human companions. They’re affectionate and gentle dogs with a strong desire to be around people. Their willingness to please paired with their high intelligence make them great furry companions.
Vizslas are classified as Gun Dogs by the UK Kennel Club, are athletic breeds and can have a lot of energy. They are clever dogs but can be bored, shy and destructive if left alone so these dogs benefit greatly from a lot of attention, early socialisation and training.
A Vizsla likes a lot of exercise, at least two half-hour sessions of walking, running or games of fetch a day. They need a lot of space like a good sized garden so small city dwellings aren’t suitable for this breed. Vizsla’s are very people-oriented and work well in canine sports or therapy work. When training a Vizsla, positive reinforcement like treats, play or praise work best.
The Weimaraner is a typically friendly, alert and obedient dog and can make an excellent companion or watchdog. Aggression and shyness are prevalent with this breed so it’s important that Weimaraners have early socialisation and training. Left to their own devices, this breed can be naughty and mischievous and have been known to chew, bark or chase cats. Their temperament is affected by a lot of factors like historical breeding and training so a Weimaraner will benefit from dog day care and socialisation with other animals, people and different environments throughout their life.
Like a Vizsla, a Weimaraner is a house dog and not meant for backyard life or small dwellings. Weims are classified as sports dogs too, and need a couple of hours of exercise a day. They like playing fetch, and will be the perfect companion for long jogs or hikes. A lot of exercise and supervision is key with Weims at an early age. They’re known to be good at opening doors, digging holes in the garden and jumping over fences. A sense of humour will not hurt with this intelligent dog breed. They’re independent thinkers so consistent training is key.
Both breeds have a habit of chewing. This can be avoided with a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Give Vizslas proper chew toys to avoid them eating at your shoes. Weims have loose lips and can be sloppy when they drink water so keep towels nearby to clean up any spillage and consider training them to eat and drink somewhere that isn’t your expensive carpet or rug!
Are Weimaraners and Vizslas good family dogs?
Weimaraners make great companions for older children who are familiar with dogs. They can be too energetic and boisterous for toddlers and may chase small children who are just up on their feet and learning to run. Weimaraners aren’t always great with cats or small dogs so they’re not well-suited for a multi-pet household.
Similarly, a Vizsla may be better with older children than young toddlers. This breed also has a lot of energy and that may prove too much for children younger than six.
The Vizsla is suited for multi-pet households and can be friendly with other dogs and cats, particularly if they’re raised with them.
A quick word of warning; both breeds are instinctive hunters and that’s hard to break – it’s in their blood, after all! Furry creatures like birds, rabbits and gerbils are more likely to become prey than family. So consider whether your household is the most suitable environment for one of these dogs – if you already have a small and furry they might not be the best dog for you.
Do you prefer a Vizsla or a Weim? Share your favourite breed with us on Twitter or Facebook, or in the comments section below.