Transylvanian Hound Dog: Breed Characteristics and Care Guide

The Transylvanian Hound, also known as Erdelyi Kopó, is a rare and unique dog breed that originated in Transylvania, now part of Romania but previously part of Hungary. This medium-sized, black-and-tan hunting dog is known for its courageous, intelligent, and friendly temperament, making it a perfect companion for those with an active lifestyle.

Transylvanian Hound

Historically used for hunting large game like bear, lynx, and wolves, the Transylvanian Hound has a distinctive appearance, with short but dense coats and tan markings across its snout, chest, neck, and feet. As a breed, they require consistent exercise and have a lifespan of around 10-12 years. They’re an excellent fit for families, active individuals, and hunters looking for a loyal and fearless companion by their side.

Key Takeaways

  • Transylvanian Hound is a medium-sized, rare hunting dog breed with a courageous and friendly temperament.
  • They’re known for their black-and-tan coats, short dense fur, and tan markings on their snout, chest, neck, and feet.
  • This breed requires consistent exercise, is well-suited for families and active individuals, and has a lifespan of 10-12 years.

History and Origin

The Transylvanian Hound is a medium-sized black-and-tan hunting dog that originated in Transylvania, a region that was once part of Hungary and is now part of Romania. Dating back to the 9th century, it is believed that the breed’s lineage traces to Asian Hounds that accompanied migrating tribes to Transylvania. These Asian Hounds were then bred with local dogs, resulting in the foundation stock for the Transylvanian Hound.

During the Middle Ages, the breed gained popularity among the Hungarian aristocracy for its excellent hunting abilities and distinctive high-pitched, ringing bark. The Transylvanian Hound was primarily used to hunt in dense forests, demonstrating a keen sense of scent and agility to navigate challenging terrain.

The breed’s development was further influenced by the Magyars, who crossed the Carpathian Mountains in the ninth century. They brought their own hounds and bred them with the existing Transylvanian Hounds in the area, adding to the breed’s versatility and strength.

Today, the Transylvanian Hound, known as the Erdelyi Kopó in its native region, remains a rare breed both in Hungary, Romania, and the United States. Despite its rarity, the breed carries a rich history and remains valued for its tenacity and loyalty in hunting and companionship.

Breed Characteristics

The Transylvanian Hound is a medium-sized dog breed that originated in Transylvania (formerly Hungary, now part of Romania). Often mistaken for a Rottweiler due to their similar coloring, these dogs are slightly smaller and less muscular. They were favorite hunting companions among the Hungarian aristocracy and are also known as the Hungarian Hound or Erdélyi Kopó.

This dog breed stands at a height range of 18 to 21 inches and weighs anywhere from 66 to 77 pounds. The Transylvanian Hound has a short but dense coat, with a black base color and distinctive tan markings along the snout, chest, neck, and feet. It is known for its unique tan eyebrow spots which add to its character.

Some key characteristics of the Transylvanian Hound include:

  • Temperament: Courageous, good-natured, determined, loyal, and protective
  • Life Expectancy: 10-14 years
  • High-pitched bark for a dog of its size

In terms of personality and temperament, Transylvanian Hounds are good-natured, quiet, and lively. They possess a strong protective instinct, making them suitable family dogs and effective guardians of the home. As scent hounds, they have a keen sense of smell and are highly skilled in tracking and hunting game.

Despite their hunting background, Transylvanian Hounds are known to be affectionate with their family and can get along well with children. However, they also have an independent streak that may require patient and consistent training to manage. Overall, the Transylvanian Hound is a versatile and adaptable breed that can be an excellent companion for those who appreciate their unique history and characteristics.


The Transylvanian Hound comes in two distinct varieties: the Short-Legged and the Long-Legged. These size variants are essential for understanding this breed’s unique characteristics and physical traits.

The Short-Legged Variety typically stands between 46 and 51 cm (18 and 20 inches) in height. These hounds are well-proportioned and compact, making them agile and versatile companions. Their smaller stature often makes them well-suited for living in both urban and rural environments.

On the other hand, the Long-Legged Variety is noticeably taller, with a height range of 56 to 66 cm (22 to 26 inches). This particular variety is better suited for hunting and other outdoor activities, thanks to their increased athleticism and endurance. They make excellent working dogs and can cover large distances with ease.

It is important to note that the FCI breed standard only officially recognizes the long-legged variety, which may influence some breeders and enthusiasts’ preferences. However, both varieties showcase the breed’s friendly and good-natured temperament, as well as their loyalty to their families.

Temperament and Personality

The Transylvanian Hound is known for its friendly and intelligent nature, making it a popular choice for families and experienced dog owners alike. These dogs exhibit a good balance between being calm and energetic, allowing them to adapt well to various environments and activities.

These hounds possess a noble character and are known to be loyal and courageous. They are determined animals when it comes to tracking prey or participating in dog sports, showcasing their natural instincts and abilities. Despite their hunting background, Transylvanian Hounds are quite quiet when not engaged in such activities, making them good companions in both urban and rural settings.

In terms of independence, the Transylvanian Hound is relatively independent, but still enjoys the company of its family members. They are known to form strong bonds with their owners and can be protective when necessary. However, they can also be reserved around strangers and may require proper socialization to ensure they feel comfortable in different situations.

When it comes to playfulness, the Transylvanian Hound is undoubtedly a playful breed. They enjoy engaging in various activities with their owners, such as running, chasing, and playing fetch. This energetic nature contributes to their overall good-natured personality, making them a delightful addition to any household.

The Transylvanian Hound’s personality is a blend of toughness and adaptability, which stems from their hunting history and the diverse terrains they were bred to navigate. This combination of traits makes them excellent companions for those who lead active lifestyles and appreciate a dog that can handle a variety of situations with confidence and ease.

Exercise and Training

The Transylvanian Hound is an active and energetic dog breed that requires regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Due to their hunting background, they possess a high prey drive and agility, making them excel in outdoor activities. Providing your Transylvanian Hound with daily walks and occasional hikes or runs will not only help them bond with you but also keep their energy levels balanced.

Training a Transylvanian Hound should start from an early age, as young as 8 weeks old. They are known for being intelligent and relatively easy to train, thanks to their determination and good-natured temperament. When teaching obedience commands, it is essential to use firm but positive reinforcement to build trust and develop a strong bond with your dog. Correct any bad behavior in a non-threatening manner, ensuring that your dog understands the desired behavior without fearing you.

Transylvanian Hounds are quick learners, so consistency and patience are crucial during the training process. Since they originated in Romania as hunting dogs, their hunting instincts and high energy levels can sometimes create challenges during training sessions. Incorporating interactive games that challenge their agility and prey drive will help channel their energy and make the training experience more engaging and enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Big Game and Hunting

The Transylvanian Hound, also known as Erdélyi Kopó, is a breed of dog originating from Hungary and Transylvania. It is known for its excellent hunting abilities and strong loyalty to its master. This breed was traditionally used to hunt big game, such as bears, wild boars, and buffaloes.

Over time, the Transylvanian Hound was bred into two distinct varieties: the long-legged and short-legged. The long-legged hounds were primarily employed for hunting large game, while the short-legged hounds focused on smaller game like foxes and hares, as they were suited to navigate rocky terrain.

Wild boar hunting was a popular activity with the Transylvanian Hound, thanks to its exceptional sense of smell, tenacity, and courage. Due to their relentless pursuit and strong stamina, these dogs became highly sought after for hunting big game.

Transylvanian Hounds also hunted other elusive game, such as the lynx. Their exceptional tracking skills were utilized to seek out and chase down their quarry, making them invaluable companions in their native regions.

Bear hunting, another challenging task that requires endurance and bravery, also involved the use of long-legged Transylvanian Hounds. Their ability to confront and corner such formidable prey is a testament to their fearlessness and strength.

Grooming and Health

The Transylvanian Hound has a relatively low-maintenance coat. Shedding in this breed is average, and occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush should be sufficient to keep their coat healthy. It’s essential to focus on their ears during grooming sessions, checking for any signs of infection or accumulation of debris. Trim their nails regularly to prevent overgrowth and ensure their comfort.

When it comes to their diet, it is crucial to provide a well-balanced diet that meets their energy requirements, especially when they have an active lifestyle. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best type of nutrition for your Transylvanian Hound to maintain optimal health.

The Transylvanian Hound is considered a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. However, they can be prone to specific health problems. One common ailment to watch for is elbow dysplasia, a developmental issue in their elbow joints that can lead to arthritis or lameness if not attended. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help monitor and address elbow dysplasia and other potential health concerns early on.

Family and Social Life

The Transylvanian Hound is a versatile breed, making them great family pets. As a lively and energetic dog, they are well-suited to active households. They thrive in social environments, enjoying the company of both humans and other dogs.

When it comes to children, the Transylvanian Hound is generally gentle and good-natured. However, due to their energetic nature, early socialization and supervision is important in order to ensure positive interactions, especially with younger children.

In terms of other pets, the Transylvanian Hound’s hunting instincts can be a factor to consider. As a scent-hound breed, they might have a tendency to chase smaller animals, such as cats or rabbits. To minimize this issue, it’s crucial to introduce them to other pets at a young age and ensure they receive consistent training in this regard.

With their roots in agriculture, the Transylvanian Hound is well-suited for various jobs and tasks in rural settings. Their high energy levels and strong work ethic make them excellent partners for tasks that require physical stamina, such as herding or helping with farm work.

Providing sufficient mental stimulation is essential for this breed’s well-being. Due to their intelligence, they enjoy activities that challenge their minds, such as puzzle toys or training exercises. Engaging them in these activities will not only keep them entertained but also help to strengthen the bond between the dog and their family.

Availability and Adoption

The Transylvanian Hound, also known as the Hungarian Hound or Transylvanian Scent Hound, is a rare breed with ancient origins dating back to as early as the 9th century. They were primarily used as hunting dogs in their native regions of Hungary and Transylvania. These scent hounds are recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and have been part of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Foundation Stock Service since 2015.

Although the breed is not extinct, it came close to being exterminated after a 1947 Communist edict, resulting in a significant decline in their population. Today, there are less than 1,000 Transylvanian Hounds remaining, mostly found in Transylvania and Hungary.

Transylvanian Hounds are known for their trainability, making them suitable for families as loving and affectionate pets. They are brave dogs that can adapt well to cold climates. However, keep in mind that they are a rare breed, which may affect their availability and adoption options.

Those interested in adopting a Transylvanian Hound should consider reaching out to rescue organizations that specialize in the breed. A few adoption options could be available in the USA, though it’s essential to check each organization’s requirements and availability to find a suitable match.

For potential buyers seeking Transylvanian Hound puppies, reaching out to reputable breeders is advisable. Be aware that due to the rarity of the breed, the cost may be higher than other, more common breeds like the Rottweiler.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Transylvanian Hounds good family pets?

Yes, Transylvanian Hounds make good family pets. They are known to be even-tempered and fearless. These dogs form strong bonds with their families, and they get along well with children. Socialization from an early age will ensure they adapt well to living with other pets in the house.

What is the price range for a Transylvanian Hound?

Transylvanian Hounds are rare outside of their native region, making them hard to find and potentially expensive. Prices may range from $800 to over $2,000, depending on factors like pedigree, breeder reputation, and location. It is important to research the breeder and their practices before making a purchase.

What is the average size of a Transylvanian Hound?

The average height of a Transylvanian Hound ranges from 22 to 26 inches, and they typically weigh a minimum of 55 pounds. These medium-sized dogs have short, dense coats that come in black with tan markings.

What prey are Transylvanian Hounds known to hunt?

Historically, Transylvanian Hounds were bred for hunting in the rugged terrain of Transylvania. They are known to excel at tracking and hunting game such as boar, bear, wolf, and lynx. Their exceptional scenting ability and fearless nature make them well-suited for pursuing game in tough conditions.

How much exercise does a Transylvanian Hound need?

Transylvanian Hounds are an active and energetic breed. They require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. A combination of physical exercise like long walks, running, or hiking, along with mental stimulation through training or interactive puzzle toys, will help to keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom.

Are there specific health concerns for Transylvanian Hounds?

Transylvanian Hounds are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 10-14 years. As with any breed, they may be prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, ear infections, and eye problems. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and exercise can help to maintain their overall health and well-being.

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