|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Transylvanian Hound (Hungarian: erdélyi kopó, also known as the Transylvanian Scent Hound or Hungarian Hound) is an ancient dog breed of Hungary, historically primarily used for hunting. It is a strong, medium-sized scent hound, characterized by a black body, with tan and sometimes white markings on the muzzle, chest and extremities, and distinctive tan eyebrow spots. It has a high-pitched bark for a dog of its size. The breed was rescued from extinction by focused breeding efforts in the late 20th century. There were formerly two varieties, the tall and the short, developed for different kinds of hunting in the Middle Ages. Only the tall variety survives today.
The ancestors of the Transylvanian Hound came with the invading Hungarian tribes in the ninth century, who brought in hounds and crossed them with local varieties and with Polish hounds.
The dog was the favourite of the Hungarian aristocracy during the breed's peak in the Middle Ages, for hunting various game animals Two height varieties developed to hunt different game in different types of terrain, and both varieties were kept together. The tall variety was used for hunting woodland and grassland big game, such as European bison, bear, boar, and lynx. The short variety was used for hunting fox, hare, and chamois in overgrown or rocky terrain.
The breed declined, and was marginalised to the Carpathian woodlands, shrinking with the growth of agriculture and forestry. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the breed was nearly extinct, and not recognised and standardised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) until 1963. In 1968, efforts began to save it. Today, a substantial number of the tall variety of the dogs may be found in both Hungary and neighboring Romania. However, only the tall variety remains today.
The Transylvanian Hound is, naturally, recognised by the national dog breeding and fancier group, the Hungarian Kennel Club (using the FCI breed standard). The breed was recognised with a breed standard by one US-based group, the United Kennel Club (UKC), in 2006. The more prominent American Kennel Club publishes no standard for it, though the organisation at least provisionally recognises its existence, announcing its acceptance in 2015 into the AKC Foundation Stock Service Program, for breeders hoping to establish it in the United States.
The breed is classified by the FCI as a medium-sized hound, with the general characteristics of the Mid-European type, in that breed registry's classification system. The UKC classifies the breed in that registry's Scenthound group. The Translvanian Hound is hardy, and able to tolerate rough weather conditions.
Appearance and weight
Transylvanian Hounds appear similar in coloring to Rottweilers, due to their black and tan fur. The FCI publishes a detailed breed standard for the Transylvanian Hound, summarised below. The UKC standard is mostly a summary of that of the FCI; where UKC contradicts or adds to FCI specification, this has been noted.
|Transylvanian Hound features|
|Body:||The body is slightly longer than it is tall (about an 11:10 ratio), with a straight topline, pronounced withers, and a straight, muscular back, ending in a slightly sloping croup. The chest does not have a protruding sternum, while the brisket area is oval in cross-section, nearly rounded "to ensure easy breathing", broad, long and "not too deep". The loin may be slightly longer in females than males. The belly is "only slightly tucked up". The FCI states that the body has "the shape of a prone rectangle",. The UKC describes the body more generally, as medium-sized and athletic, "neither coarse nor fine".|
|Weight:||The FCI minimum is 25 kg (55 lb), with no maximum specified, and the UKC concurs.|
|Height:||The "ideal" FCI specification is 55 to 65 cm (22 to 26 in) at the withers. The UKC standard is slightly smaller, at 21.5 to 25.5 in (550 to 650 mm).|
|Colour:||Primarily black, with tan markings on the muzzle and legs, and "always" a tan point on each eyebrow, according to the FCI (the UKC standard is less strident on this point). The tan areas are clearly distinct from the black. White markings "may" appear on the nose, forehead, neck, chest, lower limbs, and tail tip, according to the FCI standard, which considers it "undesirable" for more than one fifth of the coat to be white. The UKC standard requires that the coat be tricolour, featuring both the tan and white markings on black, and is less specific about what constitutes an excessive amount of white. Both standards declare a brown or bluish base colour to be a fault.|
|Coat:||The dense coat, although coarse, is shiny, and features both a topcoat of guard hairs and an undercoat of down hairs. The hairs are straight, and generally lie flat, although the coat may feature "cowlicks" and ridges. The entire body is covered in fur, including the belly. The coat is longer on certain parts of the body, particularly the neck, withers, back of the upper thigh, and underside of the tail. Both FCI and UKC standards consider divergent coats (whether wavy, wiry, soft, or sparse) to be faults.|
|Skin:||According to the FCI standard, the skin is medium-thick, and darkly pigmented, appearing black where there are bare areas. The UKC standard has no skin requirements.|
|Head:||Hound-style, and longish but not pointed. The skull is slightly domed, with slightly developed superciliary ridges, and an occiput and a stop that are not pronounced. The head features an approximate 1:1 ratio of length of skull to length of muzzle. The head has close-fitting, unwrinkled skin.|
|Nose:||Black, with a straight bridge and wide nostrils. A short muzzle is a fault in both FIC and UKC standards.|
|Mouth:||The jaws are strong, with rounded and only slightly developed cheeks, while the lips are tight-fitting and dry. Mucous membranes are black. The teeth are well-developed and strong, with a scissor bite. The UKC standard is somewhat less specific about mouth details.|
|Ears:||Round-tipped, and set medium-high, the ears hang unfolded, and close to the cheeks. They widen from the base, then taper. If pulled forward by a handler, they just cover the eyes. Like the FCI, the UKC standard considers ears divergent from this form to be a fault, though the two registries define ear faults in different detailed terms.|
|Eyes:||Dark brown, medium-sized, slightly oblique, and almond-shaped. The lids are close-fitting to the eyeballs.|
|Neck:||Very muscular, and of medium length, with loose skin on the throat. A slight dewlap is acceptable but not desirable. The FCI standard contradicts itself, saying both that "the skin forms slight folds on the throat", and yet that the skin in the throat region "is a little loose but never folded". The UKC standard notes "slight folds of skin under the throat".|
|Tail:||Strong, and set on the croup at medium height. When raised, it is curved but not curled over the back. At rest, it curves upward slightly in its final third. For FCI-sanctioned showing, the tail must not be docked.|
|Forequarters:||Parallel when viewed from the front and "adequately" far apart, "as a result of the broad chest". The forelegs have symmetric, straight forearms, and elbows close-fitting to the ribs. The shoulders are well-muscled, long and moderately sloping. The forepaws are large, with arched toes.|
|Hindquarters:||Hind legs are muscular and slightly "overstretched" beyond the croup. The upper thigh is long, and the hock low-set. The metatarsals are straight, and parallel when viewed from the rear.|
|Paws, generally:||Fore and hind paws feature large, firm, well-cushioned pads, and have "well-knit", strong toes. The claws are strong, and should be "as black as possible". The FCI recommends having the dew claws surgically removed. The UKC standard does not mention the claws.|
|Gait:||The stride is long and ground-covering when walking or trotting; it is never "mincing". When running, the "gallop is extremely enduring", according to the FCI.|
Behavior and temperament
The breed is described by the FCI standard as "good-natured, courageous, enduring", with a basic character that is "quick, even, but also determined and lively", and the UKC standard uses similar terms.
Properly trained, the dogs can hunt comparatively independently, and at a considerable distance from handlers, singly or in groups. Hunting behaviors exhibited by the breed include tracking (by scent), pointing, and driving game.
- "FCI-Standard N° 241: Hungarian Hound – Transylvanian Scent Hound" (PDF). Thuin, Belgium: Fédération Cynologique Internationale. 6 April 2000.
- "Erdélyi Kopó (241)". FCI.be. Fédération Cynologique Internationale. 2015. "FCI Breeds Nomenclature" section. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "Erdélyi Kopó". KennelClub.hu. Budapest: Magyar Ebtenyésztők Országos Egyesülete [Hungarian Kennel Club]. 2013. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "Transylvanian Hound: Official UKC Breed Standard". UKCDogs.com. Kalamazoo, Missouri, US: United Kennel Club. 2006. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "AKC Recognized Dog Breeds". AKC.org. Raleigh, North Carolina: American Kennel Club. 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "From the February 2015 Board Meeting". AKC.org. American Kennel Club. 25 February 2015. "Foundation Stock Service News" section. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.