Rhodesian Ridgeback vs Vizsla: What are the Differences?

regal Vizsla outside in grass
© iStock.com/Anna Pozzi

Written by Jeremiah Wright

Published: April 2, 2022

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If you’re looking for the key differences between the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Vizsla, then you’re in the right place. Even though these dog breeds look almost the same at first glance, we can still point to some things that could help you tell them apart.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large-sized breed with its origins in semi-domesticated hunting dogs from Southern Africa. At the same time, the Vizsla comes from Hungary and is considered a sporting dog and loyal companion.

With these breeds looking almost alike, how do we tell them apart? This article will discuss some key differences between Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Vizslas to help tell them apart.

Comparing Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Vizslas

Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Vizslas differ in appearance, temperament, trainability, and health.
Rhodesian RidgebackVizsla
SizeHeight: 24-27 inches
Weight: 63-90 pounds
Height: 20-25 inches
Weight: 39-66 pounds
ColorsLight to red wheaten; white on the chest and toesYellow, copper-brown, dark sandy gold; white on the fore-chest, neck, or tail
TemperamentIntelligent, sensitive, affectionate but independent, distant towards strangersEnergetic, gentle, needy, sensitive, very affectionate to strangers
TrainabilityRequires consistent training; accepts correction only if it’s fair; needs a strict training routineExtremely trainable through exercise and interaction; may get hurt if the commands are harsh  
Life Expectancy10-12 years12-15 years
Energy LevelsAverage energy levelVery high energy level

4 Key Differences Between Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Vizslas 

The key differences between Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Vizslas are appearance, temperament, trainability, and health.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a bit taller and weighs more than the Vizsla, while the Vizsla has a longer lifespan and a higher energy level. Although they are very smart and easy to train, Rhodesian Ridgebacks need a sensitive and patient owner. The Vizsla, on the other hand, likes to be hugged and will whine if left alone.

In that case, let’s study the key differences to help you understand these dog breeds better.

Rhodesian Ridgeback vs Vizsla: Appearance

isolated vizsla

Vizslas can have yellow, russet gold, dark sandy gold, or copper-brown coats.

©ABO PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock.com

One of the key differences between the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Vizsla is their appearance – their size, weight, and colors. The Rhodesian Ridgeback’s size varies from 24 inches to 27 inches, while the Vizsla’s size varies from 20 inches to 25 inches. Even though the sizes are somewhat similar, the weight is mostly the one that makes the difference because the Rhodesian Ridgeback is much heavier. It can weigh 20-30 pounds more than the Vizsla. If you’re planning to get a dog, this might be a very important factor to consider.

The colors of these two dog breeds may seem alike at first sight, but they are slightly different. The Rhodesian Ridgeback usually has a light to red wheaten coat, and it might be white on the chest and toes. The nose is always black or brown, and the eyes reflect the color of the nose. The hair is short and dense, glossy but not silky. The most distinguishable feature of a Rhodesian Ridgeback is the ridge of hair along its back that runs in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat. Usually, these dogs are extremely muscular. 

The Vizsla, on the other hand, can have yellow, russet gold, dark sandy gold, or copper-brown coat. The nose, eye, and nail color usually blend with the coat color. It might be white on the neck, fore-chest, or tail. Its hair is short, dense, and smooth. The Vizsla should not be kept outside because it doesn’t have an undercoat. While it is muscular too, it is leaner than the Rhodesian Ridgeback, just as the average weight suggests. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback vs Vizsla: Temperament and Energy

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are more independent than Vizslas.

©Osetrik/Shutterstock.com

Both the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Vizsla are trainable dog breeds, even though we can still find some differences in their temperaments and preferred training methods.

These two breeds are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate. While the Vizsla tends to be more caring, sociable, and friendly with strangers, the Rhodesian Ridgeback may be somewhat distant towards strangers. This doesn’t mean that they would attack someone they don’t know. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is considered more independent than the Vizsla, which is much needier. You might want to consider this aspect if you’re choosing between the two. 

Another thing to consider is that both dogs have a high prey drive, which means that the owner will have to take the time to leash train them. 

When it comes to exercising and daily activities, it is worth pointing out that the Vizsla requires more intense practice than the Rhodesian Ridgeback. While the Ridgeback can be happy with 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise, including a long walk, per day, the Vizsla will need a lot of jogging and interactive toys and fetch games that would last a minimum of 60 minutes a day. This is why the Vizsla is considered to be one of the fastest dogs out there. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback vs Vizsla: Trainability

vizsla playing frisbee on the beach

Vizslas are easy to train due to their eager and needy nature.

©Ksenia Raykova/Shutterstock.com

Compared to the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Vizsla is easier to train since the Ridgeback is very sensitive when it comes to correction. Any corrections must be reasonable and justified; otherwise, they will be rejected by the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Moreover, since it is considered very independent, you can’t expect it to train whenever you want it to. The Rhodesian Ridgeback requires a specific, strict, and consistent routine, which would make it a better option for someone who already has experience in training dogs.

The Vizsla, on the other hand, because it’s much more needy and eager to please its master, will readily accept and do what the trainer tells it to do. However, the trainer needs to know that their caring and sensitive temperament won’t accept harsh commands and corrections. This might hurt them. In any case, with lots of treats and enough verbal praise, the Vizsla shouldn’t raise any problems during a training session.

Rhodesian Ridgeback vs Vizsla: Health and Lifespan

Rhodesian ridgeback getting temp checked

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are considered healthy dogs that live up to 10-12 years.

©iStock.com/Zontica

The Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Vizsla are considered healthy dogs that live up to 10-15 years. The Vizsla usually lives up to 3 years longer than the Rhodesian Ridgeback. However, there are certain diseases they need to be tested for. 

Although rare, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is prone to developing:

  • Hip dysplasia;
  • Elbow dysplasia;
  • Dermoid sinus;
  • Degenerative myelopathy;
  • Hypothyroidism.

Although rare, the Vizsla is prone to developing:

  • Hip dysplasia;
  • Eye problems (Progressive Retinal Atrophy and entropion are the most common ones);
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis;
  • Canine epilepsy.

A study about pollen allergies shows that both the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Vizsla have a higher genetic risk to develop an allergy. The symptoms predominantly include atopic dermatitis.  

The diseases mentioned above rarely appear, but the dogs still need to be periodically checked.

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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