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Transylvanian Hound

Nicole Cosgrove

The Transylvanian Hound is a medium to large breed from Hungary bred to hunt by scent and because of its markings is often mistaken for being a slimmed down Rottweiler! It is an ancient breed being around since at least the middle ages and was once one of two types, a long legged type and a short legged type. However the short legged type became extinct leaving only the long legged Transylvanian Hound remaining. It is also known as the Transylvanian Scent Hound, the Romanian Hound, Hungarian Hound or the erdélyi kopó in Hungarian. It has a life span of 10 to 12 years and as well as being a great hunting dog it can be a good companion in the right hands.
The Transylvanian Hound at a Glance
Name Transylvanian Hound
Other names Transylvanian Scent Hound, Hungarian Hound, Romanian Hound, erdélyi kopó
Nicknames TH
Origin Hungary
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 55 to 77 pounds
Average height 18 to 26 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Short, smooth, shiny, dense
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black and tan with white markings
Popularity Not a member of the AKC but member of its FSS
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Very good
Tolerance to cold Very good to excellent
Shedding Average – will be some hair around the home to clean up
Drooling Moderate
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is exercised
Grooming/brushing Moderate – brush once or twice a week
Barking Occasional – has a high pitched ringing bark
Exercise needs High – needs active owners
Trainability Easy to moderate – experience helps
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Yes but experience helps
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good with socialization due to prey drive
Good with strangers Good with socialization but wary
Good apartment dog Low – needs space and a yard
Handles alone time well Moderate
Health issues Fairly healthy but a few issues include Elbow/Hip dysplasia, ear infections and bloat
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and insurance or savings
Food expenses $260 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $260 a year for basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1005 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,000
Rescue organizations Transylvanian Hound Club, California Transylvanian Hounds, also check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Transylvanian Hound’s Beginnings

The Transylvanian Hound has been around in Hungary for hundreds of years, it is believed its origins go back to the Asian Hounds that came with Hungarian Magyar Tribes who arrived in the 800s in Transylvania. These dogs were crossed with a variety of local breeds including the Celtic Hounds. The result is thought to be the Transylvanian Hound, a dog that became especially popular in the Middle Ages with nobility and the wealthy to be used to hunt with in forest areas around the Carpathian Mountains.

There were for a time two types of these hounds, long legged and short legged. The former were the Transylvanian Hound and was developed to hunt larger game like the European bison, lynx, bear and boar. The latter with its short legs was developed to hunt game like the fox, hare and other game that went to ground. Both were bred to be hardy, able to deal with the hard weather. However when land was cleared for agricultural needs both types have their numbers drop and the short legged type disappeared. By the 1900s the numbers of the long legged Transylvanian Hound were also seeing it head towards extinction.

New Lease on Life

In 1963 the FCI recognized the breed and this helped to save the breed. It brought attention to it from dog fanciers and 5 years later work began to save the breed and improve its numbers. It is also recognized by the Hungarian Kennel Club and the UKC did too in 2006 but not the AKC, though it is a part of the AKC Foundation Stock Service as of 2015.

The Dog You See Today

The Transylvanian Hound is a medium to large breed weighing 55 to 77 pounds and standing 18 to 26 inches tall. Its looks like a slimmer Rottweiler thanks to its coloring, it is strong, athletic and the body is a little longer than it is tall. It has a straight topline, muscular back and broad chest with a slight tuck up at the belly. Its neck is medium length and strong and there can be a slight dewlap. The coat is double and is most commonly black and tan with some white markings. It has a dense undercoat and a straight coarse, short, smooth and shiny top coat. There is longer hair around the neck, backs of the thighs, the neck and under the tail.

This dog has a long head with a skull that is a little domed and is covered in close fitting skin. The nose is black with wide nostrils and the muzzle should be long not short. Its jaws are strong and it has tight fitting lips. Its ears are set medium high and hang down close to its cheeks with rounded tips. The eyes are almond shaped, medium in size and dark brown in color.

The Inner Transylvanian Hound


This dog was bred first to be a successful and intelligent hunter but it is also a friendly, affectionate and loyal companion at home with its family. It is a brave and hard working dog, and is also quite curious being a scent hound it is especially quick to investigate different smells it catches. It should be kept on a leash when out with it or it will run after something it smells. It does have an independent side to it which means it can be stubborn so needs firm and confident owners. It can be a first dog but is best with experienced owners.

The Transylvanian Hound is alert and will bark to let you know if someone is breaking in, with a bark that is surprisingly high pitched for a dog of its size! It is territorial and protective so may also act in yours and the home’s defense if it is needed. It loves to hang out with its family and while it can handle short periods alone it prefers your companionship. It is wary of strangers so socialization is important but once it gets used to them and gets to know them it will be happy to accept them as a new friend.

Living with a Transylvanian Hound

What will training look like?

It is intelligent and learns quite quickly with the right approach so training can be anywhere from easy to moderate depending on your experience and training methods. It is used to having some independence when it is hunting so that means it is strong willed and does have a stubborn side. But in general it does try to please you so with positive reinforcement, encouragement, praise and treats you can get the best out of it. Be firm though and be consistent. Start both its training and its socialization from a young age, introduce it to different people, places, animals, sounds, situations and so on. Make sure its training does include leash training.

How active is the Transylvanian Hound?

The Transylvanian Hound is an active breed and would not be happy if it was not getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. It can join its owners for jogs, hikes, and should at least get two long walks a day with play but even better would be being kept as a hunting dog, a role it thrives on. It is a lively and determined dog and needs to live somewhere with space and a large yard. It is not an apartment dog and is best suited to rural living. When hunting it uses scent to track, point at and drive its game. It has a lot of endurance and stamina and can handle most difficult weather conditions. It should be kept on a leash when out walking and would enjoy opportunities at dog parks for safe off leash time and socializing.

Caring for the Transylvanian Hound

Grooming needs

This dog has a double coat that does shed a moderate amount and regular brushing once or twice a week is needed to keep up with the loose hair. It will also help remove burs and such. Use a soft bristled brush and check it over after you take it out to hunt with or for a long hike. Only give it a bath when it is needed as too often or using the wrong product can cause skin problems because it damages the natural oils it has and needs.

Then there are other things to take care of like its nails, which should be trimmed when they get too long. Be careful how far down the nail you clip so you do not hurt it by cutting into the blood vessels and nerves. Its teeth should be brushed two to three times a week with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste and that will help keep them healthy and its gums too. The ears will need some care as well cleaning on a weekly basis by wiping what you can reach and never inserting anything into them. At the same time do an inspection checking for signs of infection like a bad smell, redness or discharge, a lot of wax building up or irritation.

Feeding Time

The Transylvanian Hound will likely eat around 3 to 5 cups a day and should be fed a good quality dry dog food that is made specifically for an active dog. The amount varies as factors like its size, health, metabolism, age and activity level have an impact on it. Make sure there is water for it that it can access all the time and that it is kept as fresh as possible.

How is the Transylvanian Hound with other animals and children?

The TH can be loving, playful, affectionate and protective of children making then a good family dog but socialization is a big part of that, being raised together helps and it is best with older children. If younger ones are around give them supervision and teach them how to play and touch dogs in a kind and safe manner. It gets on well with other dogs too, enjoys socializing with them, though if a strange dog enters its territory it will become defensive. It has a high prey drive so with small strange animals it will chase them, but can learn to get along with pets with socialization in most cases.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

It is a hardy breed with a life span of 10 to 12 years. There are no serious health issues known apart from joint dysplasia but watch out too for things like ear infections and bloat.

Biting Statistics

When looking at over 3 decades of reports about bodily harm caused by dog attacks against people in Canada and the US, the Transylvanian Hound is not a dog named as being involved. This is not a dog you see much though in those areas which means there are lower odds on finding one on such a list. It is true too that any breed could have a bad day and while there are things you can do to limit those off days, you can never guarantee a dog would not react aggressively given certain situations. Be sure you supervise your dog, that it gets enough physical and mental stimulation, attention and that it is trained and socialized.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Transylvanian Hound puppy is likely to cost from a good breeder somewhere around $1000 for a dog that is pet quality dog. For a dog you want to show, or for a top breeder with a lot of experience and demand that price is going to go up even more. There are a lot of breeders to avoid though either because they are just ignorant or inexperienced or because of poor or even cruel treatment towards their dogs. Avoid places like backyard breeds, puppy mills or pet stores. Alternatively you can look for breed specific rescues or at local rescues and shelters and offer a mixed dog a new home for around $50 to $400.

In some cases some of its initial medical needs may be dealt with by the breeder or shelter but when it comes home you should still take it to a vet for a physical exam, and then for things like deworming, micro chipping, vaccinations, neutering or spaying and blood tests. These will cost around $290. Then it will need some things at home like a bed, crate, carrier, leash and collar and bowls and these will cost about $220.

Annual costs for the Transylvanian Hound start at about $1005. This should pay for its good quality dry dog food and treats for around $260 a year, its basic health care needs and pet insurance for another $485 a year and miscellaneous costs like training, toys, license and items needed for about $260 a year.


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The Transylvanian Hound has a lot to offer especially if you want a dog to hunt with as well as for companionship. If you are not hunting with it be sure you can give it the kind of attention, mental challenge and physical exercise it needs each and every day. It does not shed a great amount and is easy to look after when it comes to grooming but it does need socialization and at least basic obedience training. It can be loving, loyal, fun and protective when it is in the right home with the right family.

Featured Image Credit: Mircea Costina, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.