Transylvanian Hound

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Transylvanian Hound

Having existed for more than 1,000 years, it is impossible for us to know the exact origins of the Transylvanian Hound. Developed within Hungary, it is likely that the Magyar Agár is one if its ancestors. Bred to hunt, this medium-sized, tri-colour dog has a powerful body and is agile on its feet. Its most prized athletic features are its versatility and its independent nature.

Naturally defensive and alert, many owners appreciate the Transylvanian Hound’s ability to bravely guard their property from any potential threat. Despite their wariness of people, the Transylvanian Hound can make a good family pet and is calm and good-mannered with those it knows and trusts. This dog would not be suited to a sedentary lifestyle or to urban life in an apartment with no outdoor access as it needs plenty of land on which to roam.

About & History

A truly ancient breed whose history is foggy at best, the Transylvanian Hound has existed for many centuries, and possibly dates back as far as the 9th century. Many believe that the Transylvanian Hound descends from the Hungarian Magyar Agár, though this is difficult to prove. What is known, is that during the middle ages, this breed was popular amongst nobility, who used the Transylvanian Hound as a hunting companion. Over the years, this dog dealt well with the uneven terrain and harsh Hungarian weather, developing into an adaptable and sought-after hunter.

Developed within Hungary, and sometimes referred to as the Hungarian Hound, nowadays, this dog is relatively common in both Hungary and Romania, though is not well-known in other parts of the world. There were previously two types of the breed: a long-legged and short-legged version. It is believed that the two variants were developed to allow for a more varied hunt with the taller dogs pursuing game, such as wild boar, and the shorter dogs tracking smaller quarry, such as rabbits and foxes. Sadly, the short-legged version is now extinct.

In 2006, the UKC recognised the Transylvanian Hound within their scent hound group, and they have also recently been accepted into the Foundation Stock Service of the AKC.


Transylvanian Hound Large Photo
Lnko2323 /

The Transylvanian Hound is a medium sized dog with the body of an athlete and a noble appearance. Their dome-shaped skull and rectangular-shaped muzzle are of the same length. They have a black nose with wide nostrils to allow for good scenting ability, and almond-shaped dark brown eyes that give the dog an alert though relaxed expression. Their ears are not overly long and hang close to the face, ending in curved tips. There is a moderate amount of skin folding at their neck and a small dewlap of skin is allowable. They have a wide chest and straight back with a croup that slants moderately. Their long, straight legs are well-muscled and lean. Their feet are large and compact, allowing for good agility and a long stride. Their slender tail is not overly long and may be carried with a curve.

The double-coat of the Transylvanian Hound fits closely to its body. Its fur is coarse and straight. Only a tri-colour coat is acceptable: black, white and tan. The base colour must be black, while they will have tan markings on their face and limbs. Only a small number of white patches are allowed. Breed members stand between 55cm and 65cm and weigh between 25kg and 35kg.

Character & Temperament

The Transylvanian Hound is a well-balanced dog with a sensible temperament. They are good-natured with their family, forming strong bonds with them from a young age. Playful and kind, they make a good companion for older children. They are, however, primarily a working dog and have a strong hunting instinct. Courageous when working, they show little to no fear when confronted with intimidating prey. Their stamina is superior and they have the ability to hunt alone at long distances from their trainer. They are also content to hunt in packs, generally getting along well with other dogs.

With a territorial tendency, the Transylvanian Hound often makes both a good watch dog and guard dog for the family home. They are always observant and will make their family aware of a new arrival by letting out loud and persistent barks.

An intelligent dog, the Transylvanian Hound relishes any opportunity to use its brain and problem solve. While well-suited to tracking and retrieving, they can also be easily taught to perform other activities, such as agility and obedience.


Exposing a young Transylvanian Hound to a wide mix of other animals and humans can help ensure they develop into well-rounded adult dogs. Due to their strength, as well as their tendency towards being territorial, strict training is essential from day one. They respond best to consistency and trainers should be aware that their independent nature can pose a challenge at times.

Trying to train the hunting instincts out of the Transylvanian Hound would be a fruitless task. They are hard-wired to track and find prey and will not be able to resist the urge to chase any small animal. It would thus be unfair to home them with household pets, such as rabbits or cats, and expect them to co-exist harmoniously.


While there is practically no published data on the health of the Transylvanian Hound and anecdotal reports are hard to come by, it is widely accepted that this is a breed that will live to about 10-12 years old and will usually enjoy good health. The following two orthopaedic conditions may be seen in individual breed members:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia can be one of the most debilitating conditions a dog can inherit. Their hip joint will not form properly, meaning that the socket of the pelvis and the head of the femur (long leg bone) do not sit together as they should. A lifetime of two bones hitting off each other leads to localised inflammation and osteoarthritis. This wear and tear that occurs over time is painful and limits the dog’s ability to move freely. The severity of the condition differs from dog to dog, with some hardly showing any symptoms at all, and others not being able to stand or walk in the end stages of the disease.

Early symptoms may include a hesitance to play, bunny-hopping or limping. Most vets will perform an orthopeadic exam followed by X-rays or a CT scan to diagnose the condition. Treatment may involve surgery, medication and lifestyle changes. Dogs should also be kept as lean as possible throughout their life as obesity will make the condition harder to manage.

Elbow Dysplasia

While Elbow Dysplasia is caused by a number of factors, genetics is known to play a significant role. Elbow dysplasia is itself made up of a number of orthopaedic conditions that affect the elbow joint, including: Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process, Osteochondritis Dissecans lesions and an Ununited Anconeal Process.

Importantly, many animals who have this condition do not show obvious signs and will continue to pass on their poor genes to their offspring. This is why screening tests are so vital. By removing affected animals from the breeding pool, we can ensure that future generations have healthier joints.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A very energetic dog with an active mind, the exercise requirements of the Transylvanian Hound should not be under-estimated. This is a dog who will readily accept any opportunity to be outdoors and will never say no to a walk. They benefit from having space within the home, though can adapt well to relatively small living quarters. Any garden provided has to be securely fenced to avoid any break-outs. Best-suited to a rural environment, the Transylvanian Hound should be provided with a long hike or jog every day.

Giving the Transylvanian Hound the opportunity to hunt will go a great way towards meeting its exercise needs, though is not always possible. Alternative activities, such as scent-work, can provide a good alternative.


The short double-coat of the Transylvanian Hound requires little in the way of grooming, though benefits from a weekly brush to help spread the natural oils. Bathing their fur is not advised as to do so can remove the natural shine and inhibit its weather-proofing ability. Their pendulous ears must be kept clean and dry to avoid infection setting in.

Famous Transylvanian Hounds

While a popular hunting dog in their homeland, there are no celebrity Transylvanian Hounds.


There are no well-established mixes of the Transylvanian Hound to date.

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