Vizsla German Shepherd Mix: A Perfect Blend of Beauty and Brains

Categorized as German Shepherd Types and Mixes
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The Vizsla German Shepherd Mix is a unique cross between two purebreds – the Hungarian Vizsla and the German Shepherd. This hybrid combines the best traits from both parent breeds, resulting in an intelligent, energetic, and affectionate canine companion.

Here is a helpful table summarizing some of the key information about the Vizsla German Shepherd Mix:

TraitDetails
Size21-26 inches tall; 44-90 lbs
CoatShort & smooth or medium to long in various colors
TemperamentEnergetic, loyal, intelligent, trainable, loving, protective
Exercise60+ minutes daily; high needs
TrainingRespond extremely well; positive reinforcement
HealthProne to cancers, eye issues, dysplasia, bloat
Lifespan10-14 years
GroomingShort coat: Minimal. Long coat: Daily brushing.
Good forActive singles, families; houses with yards
May not be ideal forSedentary owners; small apartments
Finding a puppyCheck rescues, shelters, ethical breeders
Price$500-$1500; adoptions $50-$400

Origin and History

As a relatively new mixed breed, the origin of the Vizsla German Shepherd mix is unknown. However, we can look to the histories of both parent breeds to understand this hybrid’s background.

The History of the Vizsla

The Vizsla breed dates back centuries in Hungary, where they were developed as all-around hunting dogs. Their name comes from the Hungarian word “vizsla” meaning “pointer.”

References to Vizsla-type dogs appear in Hungarian writings as early as the 800s AD when the nomadic Magyar tribes occupied the Carpathian Basin. Dogs resembling the Vizsla were often shown accompanying warlords and barons who used them for falconry and hunting.

In the Middle Ages, land-owning nobles continued to breed pointer dogs of the Vizsla type. They were selectively bred to have an excellent sense of smell, point instinct, and ability to retrieve on both land and water. These dogs became associated with aristocracy and luxury.

By the 1800s, the need for specialized hunting dogs like the Vizsla rose. Breeding efforts became more standardized, and the excellent qualities of the Vizsla made it a top hunting companion. They were especially adept at locating and pointing game in the thick brush of Hungarian forests.

Vizslas came close to extinction after World War I and World War II due to the devastation of war, declines in aristocratic land owners, and the takeover of European countries by the Soviet Union. Some Vizsla lovers smuggled dogs out of the country in fear of the breed vanishing forever.

The Vizsla found renewed popularity in the 1950s after the Communist takeover of Hungary, when refugees brought their dogs to North America and other areas. The lively, rust-colored breed gained admirers for its energy, affection, and hunting skills.

The Vizsla was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1960 and quickly rose to become one of the top sporting breeds in the U.S. Today’s Vizsla remains true to its heritage with its natural hunting instincts, loyalty, and desire to be close to its owner.

The History of the German Shepherd

In contrast to the ancient Vizsla, the German Shepherd is a much newer breed, developed in Germany in the late 1800s.

Up until the late 1800s, shepherding dogs in Germany varied greatly from district to district. Dogs were bred more for function than for a set standard look or characteristics.

In 1891, Captain Max von Stephanitz attended a dog show and was impressed with a dog named Hektor Linksrhein, purchased and renamed Horand von Grafrath. Von Stephanitz admired Horand’s strength, intelligence, and working ability, and decided he wanted to create the perfect herding dog breed from Horand’s lineage.

Von Stephanitz founded the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, or the Society for the German Shepherd Dog. He implemented a detailed breeding program, keeping meticulous pedigree records. Horand became the centerpoint of the breeding program and is considered the foundation sire of the breed.

The German Shepherd proved immediately useful as a herding dog, leading to rapid expansion of the breed in Germany. Their intelligence, trainability and loyalty also led them to become valuable as police, military, guide, and search and rescue dogs over the next decades.

German Shepherds grew in popularity worldwide after World War I. However, anti-German sentiment caused by World War II led to a decline in the breed’s reputation for several decades. Regardless, the German Shepherd remains one of the most widely recognized and used working dog breeds today.

By mixing the Vizsla and German Shepherd, breeders were able to blend the versatility, energy, and friendliness of the Vizsla with the trainability, loyalty, and protective nature of the German Shepherd. The result is an intelligent companion ready to work all day long.

The Appearance of the Vizsla German Shepherd Mix

The Vizsla German Shepherd Mix can vary in appearance, but generally they are:

  • Size: Medium to large, 21-26 inches tall at the shoulder, 44-90 lbs
  • Coat: Short golden rust to tan like the Vizsla, or medium to long in black and tan or sable colors like the German Shepherd
  • Ears: Moderate to long, hanging close to the head
  • Head: A blend of both breeds, moderately broad topskull and medium length muzzle

Their body is athletic and muscular, with a deep chest, straight back, and proportions that fall somewhere between the two parent breeds. Their facial features often resemble more of a Vizsla, while their ears and coat frequently favor the German Shepherd parent.

Coat and Color Possibilities:

Since one parent has a short smooth coat, and the other has a medium or long double-coat, the Vizlsa German Shepherd Mix can inherit a variety of coat lengths and layers.

Common coat colors include:

  • Golden rust, red, or tan like a Vizsla
  • Black and tan saddling like a German Shepherd
  • Black and cream
  • Sable coat with black tipped hairs
  • Occasionally solid black

A short single coat sheds only moderately and is low maintenance. Longer double coats shed heavily during seasonal changes and require more frequent brushing and bathing.

Eye Color:

Eye color possibilities are brown, light golden or amber. Some dogs may have one eye that is blue, which is a common trait in Vizslas.

Temperament and Behavior

The Vizsla German Shepherd Mix blends the energetic, “velcro” natures of both parent breeds. They bond very closely with their owners and aim to please.

Some key aspects of their temperament include:

  • Energetic, playful, and curious
  • Intelligent and highly trainable
  • Affectionate, loyal, and loving
  • Protective of family members
  • May be reserved and aloof with strangers
  • Eager to please owners
  • Excellent watch dogs who may bark frequently
  • Prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods
  • Some may have strong prey drive due to Vizsla hunting background

This mix tends to be more serious than purebred Vizslas, but not as intense as some German Shepherds. Early socialization and obedience training is recommended to nurture their best qualities. With proper care, Vizsla German Shepherd mixes make wonderful family companions.

With Children

In general, Vizsla German Shepherd mixes do very well with children. Especially if socialized young, these dogs are playful, patient, and loving.

However, their high energy may be difficult for very young children to handle. As with any breed, supervise all interactions between dogs and children. Also teach children how to properly touch and play with dogs.

With Other Dogs

Their sociability with other pets and dogs can vary. Vizslas tend to get along well with everyone, whereas German Shepherds can be more selective.

Early socialization helps this mix accept other pets. Some males may not get along with other male dogs. As always, slowly introduce any new pets.

With Cats

How this crossbreed interacts with cats often depends on the individual dog’s prey drive. With proper introductions and training, they can coexist peacefully. But high prey drive may cause inappropriate chasing.

Exercise and Activity Needs

As a mix of two active working breeds, Vizsla German Shepherd Mixes are extremely energetic dogs with needs for vigorous daily exercise and plenty of interaction and playtime.

At least 60-90 minutes of activity per day is ideal for this hybrid. They especially thrive when given jobs or tasks involving both physical and mental stimulation.

Ideal Activities:

  • Long walks or runs
  • Hiking and swimming
  • Playing interactive games like fetch or frisbee
  • Advanced obedience training
  • Agility, rally, or other dog sports
  • Tracking exercises
  • Herding drills
  • Flyball
  • Dock diving

Mental stimulation through training sessions, food puzzles, obedience work, and interactive toys is just as important as physical exercise. Without adequate outlets for their energy and intelligence, these dogs are prone to developing anxious, destructive or noisy behaviors. Be sure to meet their needs each day.

Living Accommodations

Vizsla German Shepherd crosses are very adaptable when their exercise needs are met. They can thrive in homes or apartments of any size. However, a fenced yard is ideal so they can play and run safely off leash.

If kept primarily in an apartment or condo, make arrangements for at least two long walks per day. This breed should not be left alone in a yard for extended periods, as they crave closeness and interaction with their people.

Cold or Hot Weather

A short coat offers less insulation from cold temperatures. Dogs with longer double coats stay warmer in cold climates.

In warmer weather, provide shade and water. Their shorter muzzles make them prone to overheating. Avoid strenuous exercise in high heat and humidity.

Grooming Needs

Grooming requirements for the Vizsla German Shepherd Mix depend on whether they inherit the smooth Vizsla coat or the dense German Shepherd coat:

Smooth Vizsla Coat

  • Brush weekly using a rubber grooming mitt or hound glove
  • Minimal shedding
  • Bathe only when needed, every 6-8 weeks

Long German Shepherd Coat

  • Daily brushing required, especially during shedding seasons
  • Use an undercoat rake 1-2 times per week
  • Heavier shedding during seasonal changes
  • Bathe every 4-6 weeks

All Coat Types

  • Trim nails monthly
  • Brush teeth regularly
  • Check and clean ears weekly

A diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Regular grooming provides an opportunity to inspect for any lumps, injuries, or signs of illness.

Training Tips for Vizsla German Shepherd Mixes

Intelligent and eager to please, Vizsla German Shepherd mixes respond extremely well to training. They are fast learners when taught with positive reinforcement techniques.

Some training tips:

  • Start training early and socialize extensively as a puppy
  • Use reward-based methods like food treats and praise
  • Keep training sessions short, fun, and engaging for this energetic breed
  • Practice basic cues like sit, stay, come, down consistently
  • Socialize carefully with many types of people, pets, places
  • Curb any tendency to jump up or mouth hands during play
  • Consider advanced training in agility, flyball, obedience or other dog sports
  • Teach a reliable recall command using a long lead line until mastered
  • Avoid harsh corrections or punishment which may cause fear or anxiety

Well-trained Vizsla German Shepherd mixes make delightful companions. An untrained dog with this mix’s energy and power can become very difficult to handle. Make socialization and obedience training a priority starting from puppyhood.

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Health and Lifespan

Hybrid vigor tends to make mixed breed dogs healthier overall than their purebred parents. However, the Vizsla German Shepherd Mix can still be prone to some of the same health issues seen in Vizslas and German Shepherds:

Vizsla Health Issues

  • Cancers (hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma)
  • Eye disorders like progressive retinal atrophy or glaucoma
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Liver shunts
  • Elbow and hip dysplasia

German Shepherd Health Issues

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Allergies and skin problems
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatic enzyme insufficiency

With proper nutrition, exercise, routine vet care, and genetic health screening, Vizsla German Shepherd Mixes can live 10-14 years, typical for medium to large dog breeds.

Finding a Vizsla German Shepherd Mix Puppy

Since Vizsla German Shepherd Mixes are not extremely common, finding puppies may require some effort:

  • Check local Vizsla, German Shepherd, and breed-specific rescues for adoption
  • Be patient and persistent checking animal shelters for this mix
  • Research breeders carefully and ask if they have any planned Vizsla/GSD litters
  • Avoid pet stores or online sellers that cannot provide health clearances

Expect to pay $500-1500+ USD for a Vizsla German Shepherd Mix puppy from a quality breeder. Adoption fees are lower, averaging $50-400.

Be very selective when choosing a breeder. Look for OFA or PennHIP health tested parents. Visit the breeder’s facility in person and ask to see where puppies are raised. A good breeder will welcome questions and allow visitors.

Raising Your Vizsla German Shepherd Mix Puppy

Once you bring home your Vizsla German Shepherd Mix puppy, be prepared for a high-energy companion! Here are some tips for raising them successfully:

  • Enroll in puppy kindergarten and socialization classes
  • Crate train using positive methods to prevent separation anxiety
  • Start leash training early and teach himeling
  • Gradually introduce new people, pets, places, sounds, and experiences
  • Set a schedule for feeding, potty breaks, training, play time and sleep
  • Provide plenty of safe chew toys to ease teething discomfort
  • Offer interactive toys and puzzles for mental stimulation
  • Invite friends with vaccinated dogs for social play dates
  • Child-proof your home and teach kids safe pet interactions
  • Keep vaccinations, deworming, flea/tick prevention up to date
  • Get veterinary pet insurance to offset costs for future injuries or illnesses
  • Enjoy this loyal hybrid’s companionship for many years to come!

Is the Vizsla German Shepherd Mix Right for You?

Before deciding to get a Vizsla German Shepherd Mix, consider if you can provide for their needs:

  • Lots of daily exercise and playtime
  • Securely fenced yard for off-leash activity
  • Obedience training and mental stimulation
  • Socialization starting early in puppyhood
  • Grooming suited to their coat type
  • Time for plenty of interaction and companionship
  • Household with active owners or families

This high-energy mix thrives when adopted by active owners who enjoy training and spending time outdoors. If you can keep them well-exercised, the loyal Vizsla German Shepherd Mix will be a fun-loving and protective addition to your home for years to come!

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.