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Hungarian Greyhound – General Description
The Hungarian Greyhound (Magyar agár) is a dog breed in the sighthound family. Being called a Hungarian greyhound is somewhat of a misnomer. The Hungarian Greyhound is not descended from the greyhound and is not known as a “greyhound” in its country of origin. A more proper alternative name would be Hungarian gazehound or Hungarian sighthound. It originated in Hungary and Transylvania. It is used for hunting and coursing, and is also kept as a companion.
Classification and Standards
- FCI Group 10, Section 3, #240
- UKC Sighthounds & Pariahs
Character & Temperament
The Hungarian Greyhound is affectionate and docile. They are unlikely to bite or be snippy with people, although they have a much stronger guarding instinct than some other sighthound breeds. They are usually well behaved around children and also with other dogs. They are somewhat reserved but should not be overly shy. They are intelligent, easy to train and faithful. As with all dogs, early socialization is a must.
Hungarian Greyhounds are very adaptable and can live comfortably in apartments as well as outdoor kennels as long as they are provided with adequate exercise and human interaction. If kept inside, they are very easy to housebreak and make wonderful house pets. During the day they will spend a good portion of their time sleeping, but they are by no means “couch potatoes” and do require daily exercise to stay fit and happy. Long walks, free running and trotting next to a bicycle are the best ways to exercise Magyars since they are not usually too keen on ball-chasing as are other breeds.
Although they can live peacefully with cats and other small animals inside the home, it is important to remember their coursing heritage. They are an excellent coursing dog, and are still employed for such purposes in Hungary. As such, they will tend to want to chase down anything that resembles prey. However, with proper introduction and supervision, they can coexist very well with cats and small dogs.
These dogs probably accompanied the Magyars to the Carpathian Basin and Transylvania in the 10th century. Tradition tells us that the Hungarian Greyhound first arrived in northeastern Hungary and the Great Alföld (Hungarian Plain) a little over a thousand years ago. The earliest archeological evidence for the Hungarian Greyhounds has been found in the Carpathian Mountains along the northern and eastern border of Hungary. Currently it is not known whether the Hungarian Greyhound existed before the Magyars reached the Carpathian basin.
Although they have lived throughout the Great Alföld, they have had a strong hunting history in the three counties of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Hajdú-Bihar and Somogy. The conformation of the Magyar agár has remained the same from the Medieval to the Modern Age until the introduction of the greyhound in the 19th century.
The Hungarian Greyhound was bred for long distance racing: dispatching hare or deer shot by horseback riders in an open field or open stand of forest. Hungarians claim that the MA was expected to run along the hunters for distances of 19 miles (30 kilometers) to 31 miles (50 kilometers) per day. Through most of Hungarian history the Hungarian Greyhound was not restricted to the nobility, although the MA owned by the nobility were much bigger than the others. “Hungarian Greyhounds owned by the peasants were known as Farm Agárs or simply as Hare Catchers. These smaller versions of the MA are now extinct.
In addition to making fine companion animals, the elegant appearance and wash-and-wear coat of the Hungarian Greyhound make it very suitable for conformation showing. Although rare outside of Europe, a small number of Hungarian Greyhounds do reside in the United States. North American Hungarian Greyhound owners do have opportunities to show their dogs in United Kennel Club, North American Kennel Club/Rarities, American Rare Breed Association and International All Breed Canine Association conformation events. In addition, the Hungarian Greyhound is eligible to compete in LGRA and NOTRA amateur racing events and ASFA lure coursing events.
Size & Appearance
The Hungarian Greyhound is a sighthound of elegant yet rugged stature. While they bear some resemblance to Greyhounds, there are a number of significant differences in conformation between the two breeds. Hungarian Greyhounds are longer in body than they are tall, and have a heavier bone structure than Greyhounds. Their heads are more wedge-shaped, with substantial jaw muscles and shorter snouts, giving them a less refined appearance than most Greyhounds. They also have much thicker skin with a short, dense and smooth coat that is slightly longer during winter months. As such, they are very hardy dogs and can tolerate lower temperatures better than some of the other short-coated sighthounds. They have rose-shaped ears that are raised about half way and oval-shaped eyes with a bright and gentle looking expression. They weigh between 49 pounds (22 kg) and 68 pounds (31 kg) with a height between 25 inches (64 cm) and 27 inches (69 cm) at the shoulders. They come in a variety of colors. The amount of “greyhoundness” in the MA is the point of controversy among European breeders and enthusiasts. This issue revolves around the fact that greyhounds were bred with MAs in the 19th century and early 20th century. Some prefer an “old fashioned” variation of the MA with its robust frame and musculature, while some prefer a more “greyhound-like” dog with a lighter frame and more speed.
The sturdy frame of the Hungarian Greyhound makes it ideal for coursing game over a rugged terrain. Given their conformation, Hungarian Greyhound are not as fast as Greyhounds on short sprints, but possess greater endurance and stamina, making them much more suited to running longer distances for longer periods of time. In the old days, these dogs would have been expected to trail alongside their masters on horseback.
Health & Maintenance
The Hungarian Greyhound has an average life span of 12–14 years.
- Magyar Agár Database Breed Standard – http://www.sighthound-trophy.com/madb/standard.php
- NAMAA Breed History – http://www.magyaragar.org/standard.php
- Kacer (vitalap) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Pleple2000 at the Polish language Wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons
Hungarian Greyhound (Magyar Agar)
FCI-Standard N° 240 / 13.09.2000 / GB
TRANSLATION: Brought up to date by Dr. Paschoud and Mrs Elke Peper.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD: 06.04.2000.
Hunting and coursing dog which hunts the game by sight. His nose is nevertheless noteworthy. He is especially skilled in coursing and race tracks, yielding good results particularly in longer distances. He is a very good companion and a loyal watch dog.
F.C.I. CLASSIFICATION :
- Group 10 Sighthounds.
- Section 3 Short-haired Sighthounds
Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY:
The Magyar Agar is an original hunting breed. His origin goes back to the times when the Magyars conquered the country. This is proved by archeological findings of skull bones. To increase the dog’s speed the breed was crossed with different sighthound breeds in the 19th century.
Gives the impression of strength; bone structure and musculature very strongly developed. Elegant.
- The length of the body sligthly exceeds the height at the withers.
- The length of the muzzle is approximately half of the length of the head.
Untiring, full of stamina, fast, tough and robust. Excellent on the race-course; he is on some distances faster than the Greyhound.
Somewhat reserved by nature, but not shy, sensible, intelligent and faithful. He is watchful; his instinct to protect people and their houses and property is developed, yet he is not aggressive or vicious.
Wedge shaped with a rather broad base, seen from above and in profile.
Skull: Moderately strong, broad; the forehead fairly wide.
Nose: Relatively large, well pigmented; with large, wide open nostrils.
Muzzle: Strong, elongated, not too pointed.
Lips: Close-fitting, tight, well pigmented.
Jaws/Teeth: Jaws powerful, strong; well developed, strong and complete scissor bite, according to the dentition formula.
Cheeks: Strong, muscular.
Eyes: Of medium size, dark. Neither deep-set nor protruding. The expression is keen and intelligent.
Ears: Rather large; their texture is distinctly thick; set on at medium height, well carried rose ears clinging to the neck. When the dog is alert, they are raised up. The heavier ears are more desirable than the light ears. Permanently pricked ears are faulty.
Medium long, yet elegant, dry, muscular. Without folds.
Withers: Well developed, muscular, long.
Back: Broad, straight, firm, very well muscled.
Loin: Very broad, straight, strongly muscled.
Croup: Broad, slightly sloping, strongly muscled.
Chest: Brisket deep and distinctly rounded for providing adequate room for the heart and the big lungs. Ribs well arched, extending far back.
Belly: Moderately tucked up.
Strong, thick, set on at medium height, tapering only moderately, slightly bent, reaching to the hocks. The underside is covered with wiry hair. In repose carried hanging down; in action it may be raised up to the level of the topline.
Forelegs strong and sinewy; seen from the front and the side, they are straight and parallel.
Shoulders: Shoulder blade moderately oblique, mobile, muscular, long.
Upper arm: Long, slightly slanting, muscular.
Elbows: Fitting flexibly to the chest, mobile, neither turned in nor out.
Forearm: Long, straight, of strong bone structure and with lean muscles.
Pastern joint: Broad and strong.
Pastern: Short and vertical.
Forefeet: Relatively big, elongated; strong pads; strong nails kept short.
Hind legs well angulated, though not excessively so; strongly muscled, with plenty of bone. Seen from behind, standing parallel.
Upper thigh: Powerfully muscled, with muscles rather longish in shape.
Stifle : Moderately angulated, strong, neither turned in nor out.
Lower thigh: Long, with lean muscles.
Hock joint: Strong, well let down.
Metatarsus: Viewed from behind parallel, when standing and moving.
Hind feet: Relatively large, slightly elongated, with strong pads and nails.
Ground covering, elastic trot; viewed from front and behind the limbs move in parallel planes.
Relatively thick, fitting well all over, without folds or dewlap.
Short, dense, coarse, smooth. In winter time a considerable amount of dense undercoat may develop.
All colors and combinations known in sighthounds are admitted, except the colors or color-combinations mentioned as “Eliminating faults”.
Ideal height at withers for males: 65 to 70 cm.
Ideal height at withers for females : 62 to 67 cm.
The size measured in centimeters at the withers is less important than the overall balance of the dog.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
- Aggresive or overly shy.
- Atypical head.
- Undershot or overshot mouth, wry mouth.
- One or more missing incisors or canines or premolars 2-4 or molars 1-2. More than two PM1 missing. The M3 are disregarded.
- Entropion, Ectropion.
- Colors: blue, blue-white, brown, wolf-grey, black and tan; tricolor.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B.: Male animals must have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum
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