Depending on to whom you talk and what you read, you will get variations on how the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla came into being. It is commonly agreed however that serious efforts were made in the 1930s to further develop the heavier coated animals in the existing Vizsla populations to produce an animal with a thicker, more weather-resistant coat; a hunting man’s dog that could go into rougher, thicker cover and, importantly, water without detriment to the animal. It is thought that various other breeds including the Hertha and Pudel Pointers and possibly Irish Setter have been used in the making of the Wirehair, but the German Wirehaired Pointer has had a large part to play. It isn’t possible to know exactly what has gone into the pot as there was a period of time without registrations.
We still get many coat variations and probably will for a great many years; these include very, very soft and hairy, smooth, tight wire, long coated and everything in between ! All of these could occur in one litter but fortunately don’t normally.
The occurrence of the long coat is recognised on the continent and looks like a smaller, more delicate Irish Setter, perhaps giving credence to those who say that the Irish setter was used at some time in the past, however they also occur in smooth Vizsla to smooth Vizsla!
Either way, they are not recognised by any of the kennel clubs as a separate breed. We see the other coat variations in the GWP but very rarely, as the GWP is far more homogeneous and has a far longer pedigree.
History in the UK
The first HWV in the UK arrived in the late 1970s. This was a bitch called Aranyos Tuszu Dudas(Zloty) who went to David and Mic Layton. Zloty was worked and shown and was later mated to Borostyanko Gulyas Of Carrigtemple who was imported in the early 80s. Despite their many efforts, Zloty never whelped a litter and the dog returned to the continent with the Appletons. Zloty was held with great affection by the Laytons and died a grand old lady of 15.
Interestingly for me, there is a Borostyanko Gulyas in my Mahjong’s pedigree. I have asked Lies Van Essen in Holland who has extensive breed records if it could be the same dog. Lies feels that it could be but because I haven’t a Hungarian registration number for him she can’t be certain.
Having had a long interest in the HWV in 1990 Anna Coombe and Sheila Gray imported Amor and Abafia Maya from Hungary (pictured below right). Sadly, Amor died shortly after siring his first and only litter but Sheila and Anna then imported a bitch from France, Hestia du Domaine Saint Hubert in 1992. A further dog was imported in 1994. Hestia was never bred from but Vezer sired Maya’s second litter and went on to be an influential sire covering two of Maya’s daughters from her first litter. Maya, Amor and Vezer can be found behind most HWV in the country although we have now had at least seventeen more imports, many related in some way either closely or within five generations to one line.
There are now HWV participating in almost all fields. They are showing their abilities as working dogs in falconry, at agility and obedience, working trialling and of course in the show ring. On the field trailing front, well earned awards have been won by a number of people but many more chose to rough shoot their dogs rather than compete. On the show front I feel we are now being looked at instead of glanced at.
The HWV – A truly versatile dog.