Transylvanian Hound: A Hungarian Aristocrat

Transylvanian Hound standing
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Are you looking for a breed full of history? Do you want your dog to have an interesting story about who they are? Well, the Transylvanian Hound is definitely a breed that has an interesting origin.

The Transylvanian Hound is an ancient breed from Hungary, with its origins dating back as far as the ninth century. Though they’re old in history, they’re young in spirit as the Transylvanian Hound is full of life and love.

The Transylvanian Hound is an energetic breed. If you can handle walking them daily, then you’ll love every aspect of them as they’re extremely well-natured and warm dogs. Originally a hunting breed, the Transylvanian Hound has become a favorite for families due to their warm and friendly energy.

In this article, we’re going to talk about every aspect of the Transylvanian Hound. We’re going to discuss everything from their personality to breed history; you’re going to learn everything there is to know about the Transylvanian Hound. Then, you’ll be able to decide if the Transylvanian Hound is the breed for you.

Breed Characteristics

Transylvanian Hound puppies

  • Adaptability: Good; but they need space they can run around and exercise in

  • Trainability: Good; very intelligent and loyal

  • Health and Grooming: Good; they don’t need any special care and this is a hardy breed

  • All Around Friendliness: Good; but not good with small animals due to their high prey drive

  • Exercise Needs: High Maintenance; they need to be exercised both physically and mentally lest they become bored and destructive

Dog Breed GroupHunting Dogs
Height22 - 26 inches
Weight55 - 77 pounds
Lifespan10 - 14 years

The Transylvanian Hound was formerly a hunting dog that was used by aristocrats in Hungary. It’s believed that they were a descendant of a dog that was brought to Hungary by the Magyar invasion back in the ninth century.

They’re a medium-sized breed that is known to be courageous, determined, and good-natured. They come with black coats with tan markings typically on their legs, muzzle, and above the eyebrows.

They’re athletically built, yet very agile and elegant. Though, their athletic build also means that they’re high in energy.

Since this breed is athletic in both spirit and build, they require daily exercise. Since they were used as hunting dogs, they do have a tendency to follow scents, which means it’s best to keep your dog leashed unless in a fenced area. These well-natured and loyal dogs are ideal for any family that is looking for an active companion.

Main Highlights

Transylvanian Hound's head

  • The Transylvanian Hound has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 2015.

  • They’re assigned to the Hound Group designation.

  • It’s believed that they were brought into Hungary by the Magyar tribes back in the ninth century.

  • The Transylvanian Hound is also known as the Hungarian Hound or the Transylvanian Scenthound.

  • The FCI officially recognized the Transylvanian Hound internationally, illustrating it as the ninth Hungarian dog breed in 1968.

  • There are two varieties of the Transylvanian Hound: long-legged and short-legged.

  • The short-legged Transylvanian Hound is now extinct. However, the long-legged Transylvanian Hound is flourishing in numbers.

  • They were used for hunting by Hungarian aristocrats.

  • They were almost declared entirely extinct by the 20th century. However, careful breeding revived the Transylvanian Hound.

Breed History

Transylvanian Hounds in atumn

The Transylvanian Hound is quite an old Hungarian breed. It’s believed that the breed descended from dogs which were brought to Hungary during the invasion of the Magyar tribes back in the ninth century.

The breed was most popular during the Middle Ages, as it was a preferred hunting breed for aristocrats. Though originally it was bred for hunting, the breed was pushed further into the rugged Carpathian mountains due to the development of forestry and agriculture.

What happened after that was that the environment of the Carpathian mountains formed two types of the Transylvanian Hound. One with long legs and the other with short legs. These two types of Transylvanian Hounds were kept together.

The long-legged Transylvanian Hound was particularly adept at taking down big game such as buffalo, bears, and wild boars. Short-legged Transylvanian Hounds were used to hunt small game such as foxes and hares in rockier areas.

The Transylvanian Hound was about to become extinct at the start of the 20th century. However, in 1968, breeding continued, and the Transylvanian Hound is now back in significant numbers with long-legged Transylvanian Hound existing in Hungary and Romanian. However, the short-legged Transylvanian Hound is no longer in existence.


The Transylvanian Hound is medium-sized in build with an athletic body. They’re quite lean and muscular as well. However, they’re highly balanced and agile.

They’re between 22 to 26 inches in height depending on the sex. They also weigh between 55 to 77 pounds, so, they’re not too big in size. Naturally, for both height and weight, a male Transylvanian Hound is larger than the female.

Personality and Character

Transylvanian Hound playing

The Transylvanian Hound was originally used as a hunting dog. However, they also make great companions as well. They’re extremely friendly and are known to be highly loyal and loving towards their family members.

They’re curious dogs, and since they’re bred for hunting, they enjoy following scents. Thus, you should make sure that they’re either highly well trained or leashed at all times. If you do decide to take your Transylvanian Hound off-leash, then make sure it’s in a fenced area.

See Also: How to Train a Puppy to Walk on a Leash

The Transylvanian Hound does love to feel independent as this is a part of their hunting characteristics, however, at the same time, they love being around their family.

If you will be keeping a Transylvanian Hound as a companion dog, make sure you keep them exercised regularly. Due to their hunting dog background, they need adequate physical and mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored and destructive.

Health and Potential Problems

Transylvanian Hound puppy standing on a bench

The Transylvanian Hound is no different than other breeds and species on earth. Naturally, regardless of what species you are, there are health problems that can occur.

Of course, you can limit the health problems in your Transylvanian Hound by making sure their parents are declared healthy. This means, if you’re going through a breeder, they should be able to provide you with certification proving that the parents are in fact healthy and free from diseases such as hip dysplasia.

However, just because the parents are healthy, it doesn’t mean your Transylvanian Hound is completely out of the woods from contracting or developing a health condition. Though, in general, the Transylvanian Hound is an extremely healthy breed, they can develop some minor health issues such as:

#1: Hip Dysplasia

This is a common abnormality that is found in the hip socket. Typically, the hip joint sits in the socket; however, if your dog has hip dysplasia, the socket will not properly cover the ball.

This abnormality causes the joint to dislocate. This abnormality cannot really be fixed; however, if it is highly severe, the dog can undergo surgery.

You will be able to screen you Transylvanian Hound for hip dysplasia. In addition, since it’s hereditary, make sure the parents have a certificate proving that they’re not carriers of hip dysplasia.

#2: Elbow Dysplasia

This is a condition which is based on abnormalities in the elbow-joint in your dog. This usually has something to do with the structure of the cartilage around the elbow.

There aren’t any specific causes of the diseases. However, diet, trauma, and genetics may be contributing factors.

#3: Obesity

This is caused by an accumulation of body fat. Naturally, this is when the body fat is excessive on the dog. Excessive body weight and body fat go hand-in-hand when it comes to obesity. If the dog has 20% more than their ideal body weight, this is considered to be obesity.

See Also: Overweight Dog: Signs and Solutions

Care Features

Transylvanian Hounds lying on ground

The Transylvanian Hound is an active breed which means they need a fair amount of exercise. It’s crucial that you make the time to walk your dog on a daily basis. You’ll need to invest a minimum of an hour-long walk or run every day.

Though walks are great, they exert more energy through playing games and socializing with other dogs. If you can take your Transylvanian Hound off-leash in a fenced area, they’ll be able to run around with other dogs freely.

In addition, since they’re highly intelligent, they do well with agility, rally, and obedience training.

See Also: Agility Training for Dogs

Feeding Schedule

Transylvanian Hound outside

The Transylvanian Hound, like all other breeds, need to be fed a high-quality diet as they’re active in nature. Make sure that the food you’re going to be feeding your dog, whether it’s commercial or home-prepared, contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to maintain good health.

Naturally, it’s best if you speak to the vet as they’ll be able to suggest the type of food your Transylvanian Hound needs to eat.

It is important to remember that during training, you’re going to rely heavily on treats for positive reinforcement. Obesity can become an issue, so try to cut the treats in half rather than giving them a full treat.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Transylvanian Hound in winter

The Transylvanian Hound has a short and smooth coat with dense hair. Their coat is typically black with tan or brown markings on their muzzle, legs, and above the eyebrows.

They do have a double coat which means they will shed during the late spring and early fall. However, their coat does not require any special grooming. You should brush you Transylvanian Hound at least once a week to remove dead cells, giving them a shiny coat.

If your Transylvanian Hound has dead hair stuck in their coat, use a rubber glove in order to remove them.

Bathing depends highly on how active your Transylvanian Hound is. You may need to bathe them more frequently if they’re outside on a regular basis. However, you should bathe them based on how they smell.

When it comes to their nails, they do grow quickly, so, trimming them on a regular basis is necessary to avoid splitting and cracking. In addition, always make sure you check around their eyes and in their ears, removing any debris or wax as a build-up of such can lead to an infection.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The Transylvanian Hound does well around children. Naturally, you want to introduce your children to your Transylvanian Hound and teach them how to play with them properly. If you have small children, you should supervise their interactions until they’re more comfortable around each other.

Regarding other pets, they get along well with other dogs and cats just as long as you introduce them to the other pets during puppyhood. If you have small animals such as rodents, they won’t do well around them as they’re hunting dogs.

See Also: How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat

Wrap Up

Transylvanian Hound

Choosing the right dog isn’t an easy task. As you’re probably experiencing, you have to consider so many factors before selecting your breed. But, it’s not that hard once you know what you’re looking for.

After reading about the Transylvanian Hound, think about your lifestyle and whether or not they’ll easily fit into it. That way, you choose a dog that truly fits your home and family.

The Transylvanian Hound is an active, medium-sized breed that is well-natured and courageous. They love being active, yet, also enjoy hanging out with their family.

This isn’t a breed that will become a couch potato. Thus, you need to make sure that you’re going to be able to provide the dog with the exercise they need. If you can do that, then the Transylvanian Hound is a great addition to your home.

Do you think the Transylvanian Hound would fit right into your home? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think about this breed! Check out our list of hunting dog names if you need naming inspiration for your Transylvanian Hound.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.