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While the most popular dog breeds are not from Hungary, this country has great specimens that are exclusively hunting and working dogs. While at the Carpathian Basin, the Hungarians needed dogs that they could live with and work with, without issues.
Hungarian dog breeds are very intelligent with great adaptability and limitless persistence.
These nine Hungarian dog breeds fall into three major categories: sheepherding dogs, hunting dogs, and guard dogs. The Agar, Komondor, Transylvanian Hound, Kuvasz, Wirehaired Vizsla, and Vizsla are the larger dog breeds, while the smaller Mudi, Puni, and Puli breeds round out the Hungarian canines.
There are significant differences in size, coat, purpose, and body coat; for example, the athletic and sleek Vizsla has a contrasting appearance compared to the Puli and the Komondor’s mop-like looks.
However, it’s great to note that the Hungarian dog breeds are generally known to have an even-tempered but courageous disposition. That’s perhaps the reason breed enthusiasts and dog lovers keep seeking each of these dog breeds, despite their relative scarcity outside of their native region.
1. Hungarian Greyhound
The Hungarian Greyhound (also referred to as an Agar) has a robust body. Their name, agar (Hungarian language), means a Windhound or gazehound. Their story is tied up in the story of the people of Myagar who lived in Hungary in the late 1800s.
Hungarian Greyhounds have a thick skin and large bone structure with shorter muzzle well suited for the Hungarian hilly terrain. Early hunters used these dogs to pursue game, primarily deers and hares.
The Hungarian Greyhound isn’t recognized by the AKC and isn’t currently well-known. However, it’s recognized by the FCI, the American Rare Breed Association, and the United Kennel Club.
- Weight: 50 – 70 pounds
- Height: 24.5 – 27.5 inches
- Physical Features: Robust body with a deep chest, tucked abdomen, long legs, wedge-shaped head, and thicker bones with a short muzzle; straight, smooth coat in several colors, including brindle, red, fawn, black, and more
While Vizsla dogs may be one of the most popular dog breeds in Hungary, the Komondor is surely the most striking. The Komondor has abundant corded fur (mostly likened to dreadlocks) that command attention. The breed’s noble disposition has earned them a title, “the dog of kings, the king of dogs.”
While in their Hungarian homeland, the Komondor’s main occupation was to protect flocks of sheep. Their resemblance to these fleecy animals made them the ideal undercover guard dog.
Their job required a sedate, calm presence combined with preparedness for an immediate response at the hint of danger to the sheep. This breed retains its personality and makes a gentle pet yet a fierce guardian when it detects a threat.
- Weight: At least 80 pounds
- Height: 26 – 28 inches
- Physical Features: Muscular body; large head; white corded coat and deep chest
Kuvasz, also referred to as Kuvs, is a working dog breed. Their earliest origins may have been in Siberia or even Tibet, but the breed became popular in the Middle Ages. The breed’s well known for its large size coupled with a steady nature and makes a great watchdog for property and livestock as well as an excellent farm dog.
In 2003, about seventy years after their first importation into the US, the breed gained AKC recognition. Today, the Kuvasz is very popular in Hungary but is still rare in the US.
- Weight: 70 – 90 pounds for females and 100 – 115 pounds for males
- Height: 26 – 28 for females and 28 – 30 for males
- Physical Features: Large breed with folded ears and square head; their thick double coat is slightly wavy or straight but remains solid white
Among the three major Hungarian sheepdogs, the Puli is the oldest. Although the Puli breed isn’t as large as the Komondor, it shares a coat (corded), coupled with an excellent guarding disposition and a family-friendly personality. Note that the plural of the breed is Pulik, just in case you own more than one.
Like several other dog breeds in Hungary, the people of Magyar are believed to have introduced this dog breed to Hungary hundreds of years ago. After they fell in love with the Puli, they derived a slightly smaller breed, the Pumi.
In the 1930s, the Puli breed gained AKC recognition and has since become a beloved (though rare) companion.
- Weight: 25 – 35 pounds
- Height: 16 – 17 inches
- Physical Features: Naturally corded coat with a wide range of colors, including white, silver, and black.
The Pumi is among the 3 Hungarian sheepdog breeds and is thought to have been derived from the Puli breed. The Pumi dog’s most unique characteristic is its upright but folded ears. They make the dog look happy and characteristically alert, which is typical of the breed’s bright disposition.
This dog breed is the most recently recognized Hungarian dog breed by the AKC — they were fully recognized in 2016. The Pumi stands about 20 inches high and weigh less than thirty pounds, but they make excellent herders and can easily command a flock of sheep.
- Weight: 22 – 29 pounds
- Height: 15 – 18.5 inches
- Physical Features: Compact body with a tail curling over their back; semi-erect ears; curly, wavy coat in white, gray, fawn, or black
A combination of a Pumi and a Puli on a rainy day will result in a Mudi! However, it’s not that simple. But the fact remains that cross-breeding between two small Hungarian sheepdogs, perhaps with the influence of a German spitz-type, produced this Hungarian breed called the Mudi.
While this dog breed isn’t as popular as the Pumi or Puli, it gained FCI recognition in 1966. Furthermore, in 2004, the breed was included in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service.
The Mudi lacks the tight curls or cords of the Puli and Pumi breeds but has an amazing attribute — they have the gene for a merle-colored coat. The Mudi breed comes in solid colors, including grey, brown, white, and black, along with attractive merle patterns.
Interestingly, the Mudi is the only herding breed in the AKC that carry the merle gene yet produces a healthy solid white dog (several other solid white merle-carriers born due to cross-breeding of a double merle are born deaf or blind).
- Weight: 18 – 29 pounds
- Height: 15 – 18.5 inches
- Physical Features: Medium-sized body with pointed muzzle and erect ears; curly to wavy coat (short to medium-length); colors include white, gray, brown, merle, black, and gray-brown.
7. Transylvanian Hound
Like several other Hungarian dog breeds, Transylvanian Hounds have the even temperament and distinctive courage of several dogs from this country. Nevertheless, breed enthusiasts love their lovable and lively nature.
Transylvanian Hounds were popular farm dogs and hunting companions in the Middle Ages. And it’s interesting to know that the breed once had two varieties — a short-legged dog that pursued small prey and a long-legged dog that took on larger game.
But these dogs almost went into extinction, and while they made a resurgence in the late sixties, only long-legged hounds exist today. In 1968, the Transylvanian Hound was officially recognized by the FCI as a Hungarian breed, and it was recently included in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service.
- Weight: At least 55 pounds
- Height: 22 – 26 inches
- Physical Features: Medium-sized with typical hound-shaped head and well-proportioned legs with hanging ears and semi-pointed muzzle; their coat is black and coarse with tan points
Vizsla is one of the most popular Hungarian dog breeds. You can recognize them without knowing they are from Hungary. They were initially bred to be companions for hunters due to their instinctive tendency to point and retrieve as well as their athletic build.
Their history dates back centuries; the breed’s development is credited to the early Magyar clan in Hungary.
Vizsla dogs have high energy and will perform best in an active home. They make an excellent running partner and best suited for several different kinds of canine competition.
- Weight: 45 – 50 pounds
- Height: 22 – 23 inches
- Physical Features: Well-proportioned and muscular with a rust-colored or copper smooth, short, dense coat
9. Wirehaired Vizsla
Wirehaired Vizsla (WHV) dogs are the most recently developed dog breeds in Hungary and have a similar temperament and stature with the typical Vizsla, though with a heavier bone stature and wiry coat. The dog breed is a product of selective cross-breeding between the German Wirehaired Pointer and the Vizsla in the 1930s.
The Wirehaired Vizsla’s more robust build and wiry coat offered hunters a retriever well suited for combating bramble, pursuing quarry, and trudging up the Hungarian hills. Today, the WHV dog’s expressive eyebrows and bushy head distinguish it from it’s cousin, the smooth-coated Vizsla.
- Weight: Males are about 55 – 65 pounds; females are 45 – 55 pounds.
- Height: 22-25 inches for males, 21-22 inches for females
- Physical Features: Medium to large body size with an athletic build; close-lying, wiry coat with pronounced beard and eyebrows; expressive eyes and folded ears.