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Hungarian Greyhound Temperament: Meet this Sturdy Yet Elegant Breed

If you’re looking for a lovable family dog, consider the Hungarian Greyhound temperament.

This breed, also called the Magyar Agár, is a sighthound known for its long-distance running speed. He is also a delightful family dog who enjoys children and is loyal to his people.

He does need a lot of exercise, though, so he really needs to be with an active family.

What's the Hungarian Greyhound Temperament and Personality (11 Traits)?

1. Intelligent

This is a smart breed that’s easy to train.

2. Social

The Hungarian Greyhound temperament is quite people-oriented. They need a lot of human interaction.

3. Affectionate

He is loving and openly affectionate with his human family.

4. Gentle

The Hungarian Greyhound temperament is docile and calm. They are usually good with children, but they can be nervous around very young ones.

5. Relaxed

In spite of his high need for exercise, he has no trouble relaxing. He is content to snuggle on the couch for hours.

6. Faithful

The Hungarian Greyhound is known for being loyal to his family members. He forms strong bonds with them.

7. Playful

As a rule, the Magyar Agár loves playing with children. As above, though, some can be nervous around small ones.

8. Calm

The Hungarian Greyhound temperament is fairly quiet and reserved, especially to strangers. He is not shy, though.

9. Energetic

This is one of the hallmarks of the Hungarian Greyhound temperament. This dog has great stamina and can run tirelessly for miles.

10. Vigilant

The Hungarian Greyhound temperament is well suited to watchdog duties. He is alert to what’s going on in his environment. He will bark to announce strangers, but he is not an aggressive dog.

11. Prey Drive

This dog is a sighthound, so he will always want to chase movement. Many can be socialized to not bother the family cat. But they may not be trustworthy around other household pets.

Other Hungarian Greyhound Breed Names

Whenever you hear or see any of the names below they are referring to the Hungarian Greyhound:

  • Magyar Agár.
  • Magyar Greyhound.
  • Magyarorszag.
  • Levrier Hongrois (French).
  • Lebrel hungaro (Spanish).
  • Ungarischer Windhund (German).

Hungarian Greyhound History

This breed has a long history that dates back to the early Middle Ages when the Magyar people invaded what is now Hungary.

Historians believe that these dogs were considered family pets as well as hunting partners. A fossil record suggests that the Magyar Agár traveled with this nomad population.

No one seems to know what breeds were used to develop the Magyar Agár. There is no written record of the breed before the 1800s.

At that time, breeders began crossing sighthound breeds. They were trying to create a dog with greater stamina. They needed dogs that could run 20 or 30 miles at a time to keep up with their masters on horseback. The prey was usually deer and hare.

Interestingly, the Hungarian Greyhound was unlike most hunting breeds of that time. Hunting was considered a sport of the nobility in most of Europe. But commoners also owned and hunted with the Magyar Agár.

These dogs were smaller than those the nobility used and were called “Hare Catchers” or “Farm Agars.” This smaller variety is now extinct.

These days, the Hungarian Greyhound excels at long-distance racing but is still used as a sighthound as well.

The Magyar Agár is highly valued in its native land. It is not well known anywhere else in the world.

There are some in North America, though. The Hungarian Greyhound was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 2006.

Local Anecdote

According to the North American Magyar Agár Association (NAMAA) web site, a Hungarian woman has a childhood memory of Magyar Agárs roaming freely in her neighborhood.

Hungary was a socialist country in those times, and these dogs didn’t belong to anyone. They were free for the borrowing by any citizen who needed to hunt for his family’s dinner.

The same woman also remembers Magyar Agárs in the village watching over groups of children.

How to Train a Hungarian Greyhound?

The Hungarian Greyhound is intelligent and easy to train. He loves to learn and responds well to gentle positive reinforcement.

He is a great candidate for dog sports such as lure coursing.

This dog does need good socializing to strangers so he doesn’t become shy and fearful of them. He also needs to be supervised with very small children.

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Hungarian Greyhound Appearance

General Appearance

The Magyar Agár is a large, slender sighthound with a well-muscled, sturdy body and an elegant shape. The length of his body is a little longer than his height.

His coat is short, dense, and smooth. He sheds seasonally. Hungarian Greyhound color can be brindle, fawn, red, or black. In the winter, he grows a dense undercoat.

His head is wedge-shaped with a broad forehead. He has large rose-shaped ears that he carries back when he is resting. His eyes are medium-sized and dark with an intelligent expression.

He has a fairly long nose. His muzzle is somewhat elongated but not pointed. He has powerful jaws and a scissor bite.

His neck is moderately long and elegant. He has a deep, rounded chest. His back is straight and well-muscled. His legs are long and elegant—straight front legs and angulated hind legs.

The tail is strong and thick and tapers just a bit. It’s medium-set and slightly bent. It hangs down when the dog is at rest. He raises it when he’s running.

Hungarian Greyhound Size

Average Hungarian Greyhound weight is 49 to 69 pounds.

Hungarian Greyhound height averages 25 to 27 inches for males and 24 to 26 inches for females.

Hungarian Greyhound Health Issues

This dog is typically very healthy. There are occasional diagnoses of the following conditions in the breed:

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Hungarian Greyhound Lifespan

The life expectancy of this breed is about 12 to 14 years.

Caring for the Hungarian Greyhound

Hungarian Greyhound Grooming

This dog has a short coat that does not require a lot of maintenance. He does need to be brushed once a week, then wiped down to remove debris and distribute the oils in his coat.

They shed their undercoat twice a year, so they need to be brushed more often during that time. They don’t need bathing often, maybe two or three times a year. Be sure to use a mild shampoo made for dogs.

You should check their ears regularly and keep them clean. They also need their feet checked regularly for cracking or dryness.

As with all dogs, they need their nails trimmed and teeth brushed regularly.

Go here to find 10 easy step by step tips to groom your dog.

Hungarian Greyhound Diet

This dog should do well on any high-quality dry food. If he is very active, you may want to feed him a working-dog formula, which has more protein and fat.

If you go this route, you will want to watch his weight carefully to be sure he is not eating too much.

Hungarian Greyhound Exercise

Not surprisingly, this breed needs a lot of exercise, at least an hour a day. He would especially enjoy long hikes or running beside a bike or a jogger. He needs to be part of an active family.

This is also an intelligent breed that needs mental stimulation. Interactive toys and food puzzle toys are great.

He is a great candidate for an organized sport like lure course training. This would meet both his physical and mental stimulation needs.

If he doesn’t get the exercise he needs, you may have to deal with some destructive Hungarian Greyhound behaviors.

Finding a Hungarian Greyhound

Buying a Hungarian Greyhound from a Breeder

If you are interested in a Hungarian Greyhound for sale, the North American Magyar Agar Association (NAMAA) would be a good place to start. They have a list of good breeders on their web site.

There are also Facebook groups online for both names, Hungarian Greyhound and Magyar Agár. Some announce upcoming litters and Hungarian Greyhound puppies for sale. A Google search should produce several possibilities.

There are also videos on YouTube featuring this dog. Many posters list contact information. It is possible to make a connection with someone who could help you find a Hungarian Greyhound breeder.

This breed is still considered rare outside of Hungary. If all else fails, importing a Hungarian Greyhound puppy from Europe is an option to consider. NAMAA lists breeders in Europe as well as the US.

You could also try eurobreeder.com. They may be able to help you find a Hungarian Greyhound breeder in Europe.

Expect Hungarian Greyhound puppy cost to be anywhere from $1000 to $4000.

Vetting a Hungarian Greyhound Breeder

If you do choose to buy a pup from a breeder, you will want to be very careful. Get trustworthy recommendations from one or more of the sources mentioned above. You don’t want to buy a dog from a puppy mill.

If you do, you are less likely to get what you’re paying for. Most people buy purebred dogs because of predictability. They research and choose a breed based on typical traits and temperament for that breed.

When you buy from a puppy mill, there is less likelihood that the puppy will have the Hungarian Greyhound traits you’re expecting. These people breed their dogs with no concern for health, genetic soundness, or “trueness to type.”

They don’t use care in deciding which parents to breed. They are simply not concerned with bettering the breed. These breeders often inbreed their dogs as well, which can cause all sorts of problems in the puppies they produce.

Worst of all, they often raise these dogs in horrible conditions. These are the people that break your heart when you see them on television.

By purchasing puppies from breeders like these, you would also be perpetuating a cruel practice.

Hungarian Greyhound Rescue/Adoption

If you would prefer to find a Hungarian Greyhound for adoption, NAMAA may be able to help.

Their contracts require that dogs bought from them be returned to them if owners ever need to surrender them. They then find placements for these dogs.

Because they are a rare breed, dogs don’t come up for adoption in North America very often. If you would rather not wait, you could always try sites like adoptapet.com or petfinder.com.

One advantage to adopting rather than buying is cost. Adopting from a shelter or rescue would probably cost between $75 and $300.

Hungarian Greyhound vs English Greyhound

Despite the fact that they have similar looks, the two breeds have different origins. On close examination, it’s clear that they have different features as well.

The origin of the English Greyhound is thought to be ancient Egypt. It is sleeker and slenderer with a finer bone structure than the Magyar Agár. It is also a little larger, with a weight of 60 to 70 pounds and height of 28 to 30 inches.

The Magyar Agár has thicker skin and a longer coat, making it more tolerant of cold weather. It also has a larger head than the Greyhound. Its body is a bit longer in proportion to his legs.

The Greyhound has a faster sprinting speed at 45 mph, but the Magyar Agár is the clear winner in a marathon.

The two breeds were cross-bred in the 19th and early 20th centuries. As a result, today there is less difference between the two breeds than there was originally.

Alternative to Hungarian Greyhound.

Again, the Hungarian Greyhound is rare in North America. If you are seriously considering adoption but having trouble finding one, you might consider an English Greyhound instead.

They are easy to find in North America because of Greyhound race tracks. When Greyhounds are retired from racing, most of them go to rescue groups for placement. They are generally 3 to 5 years old when they retire.

The Greyhound is very similar to the Magyar Agár in temperament. They are both gentle, loving, and affectionate companions. They are both good with children.

The Greyhound is less active than the Magyar Agár and doesn’t need as much exercise. This could be a better option for some families.

Final Thoughts: Is the Hungarian Greyhound Temperament Right for You?

The Hungarian Greyhound makes a great family pet. He is a good choice for a first-time dog owner. He needs supervision with very small children, but otherwise, he is lovable and dependable.

If you can commit to giving this dog the exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization he needs, the affectionate and faithful Hungarian Greyhound temperament may be the perfect one for your family.