Wirehaired Vizslas (WHVs) are medium-sized sporting dogs that resemble a blending of their Vizsla and German Wirehaired Pointer ancestors. Physically, the Wirehaired Vizsla is a tad taller and more heavily-boned than its smooth coated cousin, although they share the same uniform coloration of coat, nose, lips, eyelids and eyes. The Wirehaired Vizsla’s muzzle is more squared-off than that of its counterpart. This breed’s most distinguishing features are its course, wiry, weather-resistant double coat and its unique facial furnishings. Its shaggy beard and bushy eyebrows give it an inquisitive, almost amused expression, which some call comical and others call distinguished. The WHV has a slightly domed skull and a fair amount of space between its ears, which hang close to the head. Like many other hunting breeds, Wirehaired Vizslas have a noticeable dent or depression in the center of their forehead. These are strong, well-muscled animals with moderate bone and balance. Their tail is often docked in countries where docking is allowed. Their dewclaws are almost always removed shortly after birth.
Because a natural appearance is considered to be essential to this breed’s “type,” Wirehaired Vizslas are shown with minimal stripping of their coats and with no body trimming. They are not penalized in the show ring for having scars or other visible skin or coat irregularities caused by their hunting work. This includes small white markings from wound healing or aging. Unlike many breeds, this one is permitted to be presented in its actual working condition.
Size and Weight
According to the American Kennel Club standard, male Wirehaired Vizslas should stand between 23 and 25 inches measured at the highest point of their shoulder, and females ideally should be between 23 1/2 and 23 inches in height. Overall symmetry and balance are more important in this breed than actual size. However, any dog that measures more than 1 inch outside of these ranges will be disqualified from the AKC conformation ring. While there are no specified weight ranges in the breed standard, males typically weigh between 55 and 65 pounds, and females tend to weigh between 45 and 55 pounds.
Coat and Color
The dense double coat of the Wirehaired Vizsla protects it from the elements and shields it from superficial injuries that it otherwise might sustain out in the field. Its outercoat should be 1 to 2 inches in length and lie close to the body. Its undercoat is equally dense and highly water-repellant. Coats that are too short, smooth, silky, soft, wooly, shaggy, thin or long are undesirable. In no case should the dog’s coat hide the strong outline of its body. The lower legs and underside of the Wirehaired Vizsla’s chest and belly should be covered with shorter, softer, thinner hair. The hair on the backs of the front legs and sides of the neck should form “brushes,” the absence of which is considered to be a fault.
Wirehaired Vizlas come in several colors, ranging from shades of golden sand to russet. The AKC considers red, deep brown and pale yellow coats to be faulty. The dog’s ears may be slightly darker than its body; otherwise, coat color should be uniform. The Wirehaired Vizsla is considered a self-colored breed, which means that the color of its eyes, eyelids, lips, nose, toenails and coat should blend almost seamlessly. Small white patches on the chest or throat (no more than 2 inches in diameter), and a bit of white on the toes, is acceptable. White markings anywhere else will disqualify the dog from show competition.
When it comes to grooming, the Wirehaired Vizsla requires little maintenance. Its harsh coat can be kept in good shape by an occasional once-over with a firm-bristled brush. Its prominent eyebrows and beard can be combed to keep them tidy and tangle-free. Dry shampooing is fine for routine maintenance, but a bit more effort is required to clean a Wirehaired Vizsla after a day in the field. When a bath is necessary, such as after a hunting trip or other swampy adventure, mild soap or shampoo products should be used. Bath time provides an excellent opportunity for owners to check for nicks, scratches, thorns, ticks, fleas or other conditions that may need attention. Wirehaired Vizslas are not heavy shedders. Loose hairs usually are easily removed by plucking, stripping or simply running a damp cloth over the dog’s coat. A nearly natural state is required in the show ring for this breed. Its coat cannot be clipped or trimmed, other than minor tidying-up of stray hair between the toes. Toenails can be trimmed as necessary.