We consider the propagation of breathers along a quantized superfluid vortex. Using the correspondence between the local induction approximation (LIA) and the nonlinear Schrödinger equation, we identify a set of initial conditions corresponding to breather solutions of vortex motion governed by the LIA. These initial conditions, which give rise to a long-wavelength modulational instability, result in the emergence of large amplitude perturbations that are localized in both space and time. The emergent structures on the vortex filament are analogous to loop solitons but arise from the dual action of bending and twisting of the vortex. Although the breather solutions we study are exact solutions of the LIA equations, we demonstrate through full numerical simulations that their key emergent attributes carry over to vortex dynamics governed by the Biot-Savart law and to quantized vortices described by the Gross-Pitaevskii equation. The breather excitations can lead to self-reconnections, a mechanism that can play an important role within the crossover range of scales in superfluid turbulence. Moreover, the observation of breather solutions on vortices in a field model suggests that these solutions are expected to arise in a wide range of other physical contexts from classical vortices to cosmological strings.