Weimaraner vs Vizsla

Weimaraner vs Vizsla | The Similarities & Differences

The Weimaraner and Vizsla are two beautiful dog breeds in the sporting group. With common characteristics valued in both breeding lines, these dogs have more in common than differences. This guide will give you a good look at both breeds, and help you decide which is right for you.


Vizsla Verses Weimaraner: Differences and Similarities

Weimaraner Vs Vizsla: Similarities

  • Graceful and Powerful Athletes: Both of these breeds share excellent athleticism that is characterized by both agility and endurance. Having origins as hunting dogs, and sharing a lean but muscular build, they can run for hours without tiring. As a result, they both have very high exercises needs.
  • High Prey Drive: Prized for their prey drive, these hunters can attack small animals, including other pets such as cats or rabbits. They are generally not well suited for mixed pet homes unless they are raised with other pets from a small puppy. In addition, both use scent to hunt prey and can easily wander off if not exercised in securely fenced areas. Strong recall and heel training is a must for off leash romps to be safe.
  • Loyal and Affectionate: Both breeds have a strong reputation for being loyal and affectionate with their family and somewhat guarded or aloof with strangers. They are both considered to be good with children, however, they should always be supervised as they are quite strong dogs. Neither does well with long periods being left alone as a result of their strong affection for their family members. They are both prone to developing destructive separation anxiety when left along too often or are under stimulated.  
  • Highly Alert and Sensitive: The Weimaraner and the Vizsla are both high strung dog breeds, particularly if not mentally and physically stimulated regularly. Their sensitivity requires early and often socialization in a variety of environments, or they are likely to be quite nervous in new surroundings for the rest of their lives.
  • Extremely Intelligent: These are both very smart dogs which is great news for experienced handlers looking for a dog who is responsive to consistent training. However, with independent minds, they can both also be willful and are not recommended for first time dog owners.

Vizsla Vs Weimaraner: Differences

  • Size: Although similar in size, the Weimaraner breed standard indicates an additional 2-4” inches of height over the Vizsla at the shoulders, giving them a somewhat even more graceful appearance.
  • Color and Coat: Both breed standards specify a solid color over short fur. However, the Weimaraner, also known as the Grey Ghost, has a silvery grey coat while the Viz is known for a rich rusty red coat.

Vizsla Weimaraner Mix

Sometimes called the Vizmaraner, a Weim Vizsla mix is going to be fairly predictable in terms of temperament and build, given the deep similarities of the breeds. However, coat and eye color can take on any number of hues in between, as well as some novel chocolate colors that seem to be unique to the mix. Because of the light blue or amber colored eyes of the Weimaraner, sometimes they have quite striking faces with piercing eyes that many people find extremely attractive.

Temperament wise, expect a loyal and affectionate puppy with high needs for exercise and consistent positive training. This is not a good mix for apartment dwellers in most cases, unless you are looking for someone to jog with for 3+ miles a day!

Vizsla Weimaraner Mix

Vizsla: Complete Breed Profile

Vizsla: Complete Breed Profile

History:

The Vizsla, also known as the Hungarian Pointer, has a long ancestry, much of which is shrouded in some degree of mystery. It is likely that they have ancestors as far back as the 9th century that likely included some mixing from Turkish Greyhounds, Turkish Yellow Hounds, and Buffons. In fact, the early ancestors of the breed are depicted in tribal art as far back as the 10th century. These early hunting dogs we indispensable for flushing game including boar, deer, hare, and birds. It was later the choice of Hungarian nobles, and fiercely protected and prized.

However, the breed as it is known today is much more recent. The Hungarian Pointer as a breed was almost entirely lost at least twice in history, with a resurgence in the early 1900’s and during the WWII period. Interbreeding with English Pointers and German Shorthair Pointers in these periods seems likely as well.

Near the end of WWII, Vizslas came to the United States, receiving acceptance into the AKC Sporting Group in 1960. They continue to be prized for their performance in the field as excellent small game hunters and pointers.

The Wirehaired Vizsla is actually a separate breed which was developed in the 1930’s by crossing the Vizsla with the German Wirehaired Pointer. It has a heavier coat and build and is a better dog for hunting in colder climates.

Fun Fact: Hungarians are so proud of the Vizsla breed that it has become a national symbol.


Temperament:

The Viz is a popular family dog because of a friendly, affectionate, and adventurous spirit. They are good with children and have a nickname among lovers of the breed as “The Velcro Dog.” However, it is critical to understand that these athletic and intelligent dogs are high needs dogs. In order to thrive as a family pet, they need a great deal of vigorous exercise, mental stimulation, and plenty of attention.

Left alone for long periods of time, or if their exercise and mental needs are not met, these dogs become unhappy, unbalanced, neurotic, and in many cases destructive.


Size:

The breed standard for the AKC specifies a height of 21-24”, with males slightly larger than females. They have a light and graceful build but are surprisingly powerful.


Coat and Appearance:

The coat of the Viz is short, sleek, and comes in a variety of shades of a deep and rich rusty red. They have low grooming needs as a result. They are quite prized for their incredibly good looks with a well framed muscular face, full ears, and intense and expressive eyes.

Vizsla in snow

Health and Life Expectancy:

The average lifespan for this breed is 12-15 years. Cancer is one of the biggest concerns for the breed and they also seem to be prone to seasonal allergies and skin disorders. Epilepsy is another concern, and responsible breeders also screen for hip dysplasia and eye disorders (including melanosis or entropion).


Weimaraner: Complete Breed Profile

weimaraner sniffing

History:

Named after their origins in the Weimar region in Germany, the “Grey Ghost” is a relatively recent breed going back to the early 1800’s. They were bred by German nobles for their strong scenting, courage, stamina, and intelligence in the field. While they were originally bred to hunt large game, they were later used primarily for smaller game such as birds, foxes, and hares.

Many soldiers brought these dogs to America after WWII and they were fast favorites among American breeders. The AKC acknowledged the breed in 1943.

Fun Fact: President Eisenhower and Grace Kelly are two famous people who proudly owned this noble breed.


Temperament:

Weimaraners and Vizslas have a similar temperament. Like the Viz, Weims are alert, active, yet affectionate and deeply bonded to their family members. They are considered to be good with children, however, tons of exercise and quality time spent with family are both critical for a well balanced and mentally stable dog.

weimaraner sniffing

Size:

With a height of 23-27”, and weighing 55-90 pounds, they are slightly taller than the Viz. They also have a slightly deeper chest and somewhat lighter build, giving them a truly graceful and regal appearance.


Coat and Appearance:

Of course, the “Grey Ghost” is known for her silvery grey coat which can take on many hues from that of more of an amber, to a solid grey, to an almost pink or blue tone. Their eyes are usually lighter than their fur, making their face particularly captivating. Eyes range in color from light blue to a deep amber color.

weimaraner in snow

Health and Life Expectancy:

A slightly lower life expectancy, the Weim lives an average of 10-13 years. Hip dysplasia is a common problem for dogs of this size. Eye problems and thyroid problems are concerns that a strong breeding program will screen for. In addition, because of their extra deep chest, the condition of bloat or gastric torsion is a life threatening condition that is more common in this breed. Owners should be aware of the signs of this condition as it is acute and requires immediate veterinary attention. 


Is a Weimaraner or Vizsla the Right Breed for You?

Honestly, these breeds are so similar in terms of needs and temperament that the ideal breed for you may really come down to a preference for the different looks of the breed. Here are a few tips to help you decide if either of these breeds is a good fit for your lifestyle:

The Vizsla or Weimaraner may be the best breed for you if:

  • You are a regular jogger, runner, or bicyclist looking for a companion who can be your exercise partner.
  • You have a very active family who is able to keep these dogs active, engaged, and involved.
  • Your lifestyle includes working from home or a stay at home parent who is able to provide regular attention and affection to these needy breeds.
  • You are a game hunter looking for an all-around flushing, retrieving, and/or pointing dog who is responsive to training in the field.
  • You are an outdoors person in a warm climate who regularly hits the trails for long hikes.
  • You have access to a large, securely fenced field or play area for vigorous off leash exercise such as fetch and frisbee games…on a more or less daily basis.
  • You have experience with positive reinforcement based training methods and can provide consistent leadership and mental stimulation for this incredibly intelligent breed.
  • You plan to be active in dog sports such as agility, flyball, or field trials.

Neither breed is a good fit for you if:

  • You are looking for a dog who will happily nap during your 8 hour work day.
  • You live in an apartment or urban environment where regular off leash exercise will be difficult.
  • You are new to dog ownership and are not well acquainted with positive training techniques.
  • You are looking for a dog with low exercise needs and a laid back personality.
  • You have small animals as other pets, such as birds, cats, ferrets, or rabbits.

Weimaraner and Vizsla: Finding a Puppy

If you are interested in finding a puppy or dog of either of these breeds, we encourage you to check with breed rescue organizations first. Unfortunately, many people get these dog breeds because of their good looks, but find they are “too much dog” to fit with their lifestyle. Breed rescue organizations exist for both of these beloved breeds and are the first place to go when you are ready to adopt.

If you decide to go to a breeder for a puppy, be sure to verify that they are responsible. They should encourage a visit to their kennel, should be involved in the preservation of the breed by participating in showing their dogs in the field or in the ring, and should provide references to other owners of their puppies. In addition, good breeders take a lifelong responsibility of their puppies, and often require that if you need to rehome your Vizsla or Weimaraner dog, you will contact them first. They may even require a home visit at your home before allowing you to purchase their dog.

Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer

Sharon is a writer and received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech and has worked as a professional dog trainer for over 10 years.

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