Though commonly mistaken for a Rottweiler due to their similar coloring, the Transylvanian Hound is slightly smaller, less muscular, and originated in Hungary and Romania. They are also known as the Hungarian Hound or Erdélyi Kopó. They were favorites among the Hungarian aristocracy as hunting companions. Some people believe that Transylvanian Hounds have been around since the 9th century and originated from Magyar Tribes as a cross between Asian and Celtic scent hounds.
22 – 56 inches
55 – 80 pounds
10 – 14 years
Red and white, black and tan, black, white, and tan
Active families, homes with a yard, obedience and agility, families with older children
Loyal, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets, sociable, quiet, lively, adaptable
These days, their calmness, courage, and intelligence make this breed a good companion and guard dog. They also excel at obedience, agility, and rally competitions, all of which can help control their boundless energy reserves.
Considered a rare breed in the U.S.A., they’re not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), though they are part of their Foundation Stock Service. If you’ve never heard of this breed before, this guide will tell you everything that you need to know about Transylvanian Hounds.
Transylvanian Hound Characteristics
Transylvanian Hound Puppies
Since Transylvanian Hounds are just starting to regain their popularity, they are among the most affordable breeds available. They’re not recognized by the AKC, so depending on the breeder, you can find pedigree puppies for reasonable prices. This price will cover the breeder’s expenses, such as veterinary care and pedigree documentation. You might also be able to find a Transylvanian Hound at rescues and shelters. You can ask your local dog rescue or shelter before going to a breeder and you might end up saving a pup’s life.
Transylvanian Hounds are great for people with active lifestyles. They require lots of physical and mental stimulation to avoid boredom. They are also very intelligent, loyal, and easy to train, making them amazing pets!
Temperament & Intelligence of the Transylvanian Hound
Highly intelligent, the Transylvanian Hound is more than a typical hunting dog. Properly trained, their agility and obedience make them forces to be reckoned with, and they can also be trained as retrieval dogs.
With a limited prey drive, they won’t chase smaller animals, but their powerful noses make them keen to track scents, often for miles. Their interest in following scents does mean walking off-leash isn’t recommended because Transylvanian Hounds often get distracted.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Energetic and protective, Transylvanian Hounds match well with active families. Their high exercise requirements suit houses with large yards rather than apartments. The breed is adaptable enough to manage in small homes, though, provided that their exercise requirements are met through walks and frequent trips to dog-friendly parks.
Unlike many other dog breeds, Transylvanian Hound has an independent personality that gives them a desire to be social but to also have their own space. This makes them a good choice for families who are away from home for long periods, whether at work or school.
The breed also gets along with children. As medium-sized dogs with boundless energy, they’re recommended as companions for families with older children who are less likely to be intimidated or bowled over by their exuberant four-legged friend.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
Despite Transylvanian Hounds’ original purpose as hunting dogs, their prey drive is incredibly low. This makes them a great companion for both smaller animals and larger dogs. Their friendliness and sociability make them ideal additions to multi-pet homes.
That said, it’s always a good idea to properly socialize your puppy when you introduce them to your family. Experience with a range of pets will help you control your dog and know what to expect when you meet other animals out on walks.
Things to Know When Owning a Transylvanian Hound
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
High-quality commercial dog food filled with protein is recommended for the Transylvanian Hound. You can also make homemade dog food if you follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for diet requirements and ensure that the breed’s nutritional needs are met.
As a medium breed, 2–3 cups a day spread over several meals is ample. The amount that you feed your hound depends on their activity level, whether you mix wet and dry food, and the number of treats that you use during training.
Filled with energy, Transylvanian Hounds need plenty of exercise to curtail any destructive habits that might arise from boredom. Lengthy games of fetch in a large yard and daily walks of at least an hour will help control your dog’s energy levels.
Obedience, agility, and rally competitions are also recommended activities. They’re energetic and interesting enough to keep your Transylvanian Hound entertained and busy.
Intelligent and adaptable, the Transylvanian Hound is one of the smartest dogs around. But their independent streak and stubborn determination to follow scents are often why new dog owners fail to properly train their puppies.
Persistence, consistency, and plenty of patience, along with a positive mindset and short sessions, are essential to make the most of your training. Rewards, whether treat-based or play, will keep your Transylvanian Hound’s attention and help them reach their full potential.
Along with obedience training, it’s also a good idea to socialize this breed with other pets and people. They’re friendly and sociable by nature, but introducing them to various situations will help them adapt to a wide range of circumstances.
Bearing a short double-coat, this breed has simple grooming requirements. Transylvanian Hounds aren’t hypoallergenic and do shed — although not as much as some other dog breeds — especially during certain parts of the year. You can help control their shedding by removing dead and loose fur once a week. Use a stiff bristle brush or a grooming glove.
Their nails grow quickly and should be kept clipped, while their ears and teeth should be checked regularly and cleaned often. Bathing is recommended only when necessary, to avoid stripping their fur of the natural oils.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Considering the rarity of Transylvanian Hounds, it’s easy to believe that they have many health issues. On the contrary, their endangerment is due to their fluctuating popularity rather than any health problems. In fact, this breed is remarkably sturdy and robust, with only two major health issues being the most common:
Male vs. Female
Generally bigger and heavier than females — although not by much, in the case of the Transylvanian Hound — male dogs tend to be more energetic and goofy. They mature slower and are often more challenging to train due to their excitability.
That said, female dogs are often easier to train early on but are more stubborn than their male counterparts. They’re more likely to challenge your authority and disregard owners who don’t maintain a firm leadership position.
The choice between male and female is widely debated and often comes down to the owner’s preferences. Spaying and neutering can alleviate common behavioral issues between the sexes. When all is said and done, remember that all dogs are individuals, and your female Transylvanian Hound can be just as adoring as your male dog can.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Transylvanian Hound
Despite the breed having roots in ancient Hungary, the Transylvanian Hound is as mysterious as they are rare. Here are a few little-known facts.
1. The Transylvanian Hound is endangered
Although they were originally favored among the nobility in Hungary, when the country’s interest turned from hunting to agriculture, the Transylvanian Hound diminished in popularity. By the start of the 12th century, they were almost extinct.
The early 1900s saw another rise in numbers as they were brought back into the hunting industry before mass extermination efforts threatened to destroy the species. Fortunately, the breed survived, and the Transylvanian Hound gained recognition in 1963.
While they’re still considered endangered, dedicated conservation efforts mean they’re slowly but surely increasing in popularity as family pets.
2. They could have short or long legs
At the peak of their popularity a few hundred years ago, there were two types of Transylvanian Hounds. Both were identical except for the length of their legs and their intended hunting purpose.
Short-legged hounds were reserved for smaller prey and uneven terrain. When the breed was almost wiped out, the majority of the short-legged variety went with them. Now the long-legged Transylvanian Hounds that were kept for hunting bigger game — bear, bison, and boars — are the only variety widely available.
3. The breed is over 1,000 years old
Their origin story might have gotten a little lost over time and might not be as filled with success as many other dog breeds, but the Transylvanian Hound has their share of age-old stories. One is their original ancestors.
The Transylvanian Hound is believed to have been introduced through crossbreeding Asian and Celtic scent hounds in the 9th century. They’re also believed to be closely related to the Magyar Agár.
Originally bred in ancient Hungary, the Transylvanian Hound has a past filled with mystery and intrigue. Loyal and intelligent, this breed best suits active lifestyles, families with older children, and multi-pet households. They’re easy to train, excel in obedience and agility, and don’t mind being left alone for extended periods.
Despite their endangered status, Transylvanian Hounds are among the healthiest dog breeds around and are bred to be fearless enough to hunt all kinds of big game. Their courage and loyalty also make them good guardians for your home.
Conservation efforts are slowly bringing this breed back to popularity, and they’re sure to join the AKC-recognized pedigrees in no time at all.
Featured Image Credit: Mircea Costina, Shutterstock