Hungarian Greyhound (Magyar Agar) - General Features, Temperament, Health problems

Magyar Agar dog breed photo

FCI # 240, Origin: Hungary, Group 10.3 Short-haired Sighthounds.

Height: 25-27 in, Weight: 49-68 pounds

Grooming: Low, Shedding: Medium, Coat: short and dense.

Color: any color (with or without white markings).

Ease of training: Medium, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 12-14 years.

Breed: Hungarian Greyhound (Magyar Agar ) is a rare breed of Sighthounds, although in the FCI the standard of this breed has been approved much earlier than, for example, for the Polish Hound. There are several opinions on the origin of this dog. And to find out, where the Hungarian Greyhound came from, we should take look at the history.

Modern Hungarians occupied the territory of present Hungary in the IX century. And before that the Magyar tribes roamed the foothills of the Southern Urals and the Caspian Sea together with the Turkic tribes. Therefore, there is a theory that the ancestors of the Hungarians back in those days already had some Sighthounds with them, close to the type of Sloughi and other eastern Sighthounds. Perhaps the name of the breed - Agar - was preserved from those times. It is believed, that the Magyars were calling their noble Sighthounds exactly by this name, in contrast to the simple yard and shepherd dogs. And here is clearly seen the analogy with the same attitude towards the Sighthounds, as in the Arabian countries. All this gives a reason for many cynologists to assume that Hungarian Greyhound existed already from the VIII century. While usually when determining the time of the Agar emergence, the Hungarian dog breeders refer to the remains of the Sighthound looking dog, found by archeologists in the territory of Hungary. Those remains dated back to the IX century.

Was it really like this - that the nomadic Magyars brought the Sighthounds with them - is a secret, hidden from us. Until now it is only a speculations. Similarly, it is difficult to determine whether there were already the Sighthounds on the territory of the present Hungary before the arrival of the Magyars or no. Quite possibly, there were by that time some descendants of the Celtic Sighthounds.

In addition, it is known that in the Middle Ages, hunting with the Sighthounds was fairly widespread in Europe. Naturally, these dogs could be brought into Hungary from the neighboring countries in the later period. We can also recall that in the XIII century, the Magyars have been invaded by the Mongols, who could also bring their Sighthounds with them.

There is no doubt that during the Turkish domination, which lasted about one and a half centuries (XVI-XVII centuries), the Hungarians got a lot of eastern Sighthounds. Mingling with the descendants of the Western dogs, they gave a peculiar shape to the local breed of Sighthounds, called Agar. Until now in the exterior of Agar the oriental shape is quite visible: by the standard, he has a wedge-shaped head with a fairly broad skull, the transition to a muzzle is clearly defined, his ears are fairly heavy, slightly stretched along the neck.

Magyar Agar dog breeds

In the more recent times, as it was also in Russia and Poland, there was a frequent import of the British Sighthounds to Hungary.

One thing is absolutely obvious: the Sighthounds came to the Hungarians in different ways and at different times. The famous Russian historian Sabaneyev is writing: "In Hungary, despite the favorable conditions for baiting, hunting with the Sighthounds has never flourished, and, apparently, became popular only after the conquest of the Balkan Peninsula by the Turks - through the Moldovans and Vlachs, who borrowed the idea of this kind of hunting from the Turks and Crimean Tatars."

By the end of the XIX century hunting with the Sighthounds in Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary), as in other European countries, has become impossible, and here arose the interest of using this dogs in the racing competition in the English style. And in order to improve agility and nobility of the Magyar Agar, the Hungarian breeders started crosses with the English Greyhounds. Unfortunately, as a result of this interbreeding, the inherent features of the old Agar have been largely lost, and he became very similar to the British Greyhounds.

During the years of wars and revolutions of the XX century the Magyar Agar almost disappeared. But by the 1960s, the Hungarians became interested in their national breed, and steps were taken to it's revival. Despite the fact that for many decades hunting with the Sighthounds was banned in Hungary, Agar, miraculously preserved, was found in the remote rural areas. But to restore the breed, without a doubt, Hungarian breeders had to use the English Greyhound again. As a result of the active work with this breed in 1966 under the title "Hungarian Greyhound" or "Magyar Agar" it was officially recognized by the FCI. And a little later, by 1972, in the stud book of Hungary there were written already 340 Hungarian Geryhounds.

Over the past years, this wonderful breed became well established. Although still the presence of an English Greyhound's blood in the exterior of Agar is very noticeable.

General Features: Magyar Agar is a slim and elegant dog that resembles very much the English Greyhound. Agar is proportionally built, his skeleton is well developed.
The head of Hungarian Greyhound from the top and side view resembles strongly elongated triangle. The skull is relatively wide. The transition from forehead to the muzzle is well defined. The jaws are strong. Jaw muscles are well developed. Eyes of the Hungarian Greyhound are of medium size. Preferably hazel color. Ears are set very high, of medium size, triangular in shape, not too thin.

Body of Magyar Agar is long, muscular. The neck is not too long, well muscled. Chest is deep and fairly broad. The back is straight and strong. Loin slightly arched. The croup is broad, somewhat beveled. Belly is tucked up. The limbs are muscular with the strong bones. Long, with clearly defined angels, strong.

The tail of Magyar Agar is long, not too thin, slightly curved at the end, always kept below the back line. Coat is short, lying close to the body, not too thin. In winter, more dense. For the Hungarian Greyhound any color is permitted - solid or brindle (with or without white markings).

Temperament: The Hungarian Greyhound (or Magyar Agar) is a slim and elegant dog, looking pretty much like an English Greyhound. This Sighthound successfully makes both: an excellent hunting dog and a great companion dog.

A strong, active, persistent and courageous Hungarian Hound is not running the same swiftly, like a Greyhound, but he is more hardy and did not loose his hunting instincts (although some hunters clime, that the sense of smell is not very well developed in Agar). The head and muzzle of Agar are a little too wide for a Sighthound, but this feature helps the dog to catch the game. A short rough coat protects the Hungarian Greyhound from the bad weather.

Agar lives in Hungary for over a thousand years, and since then this dog has not changed. The Hungarian Greyhound is perfectly adapted to the climate and conditions of his country.

In Hungary, the simplicity and endurance of Magyar Agar are very much prized. Hungarian Greyhound does not get tired while running a long distances, he has no problem with his paws on a hard, uneven terrain.

Magyar Agar could be a good alternative for those who like large smooth-haired Sighthounds in the English style. His endurance and resistance to injury frees the owner from a variety of problems. But since most of the Sighthound owners appreciate such a quality as a high speed, which is inherent in the Hungarian Greyhound at the less extend than in the English Greyhound, the range of the Magyar Agar fanciers outside of Hungary is still quite narrow.

Magyar Agar breed photo

The main purpose of the Hungarian Greyhound, which remains at the present time as well, is hunting rabbits and foxes.

Usually for hunting there is used a pack of 2-3 Hungarian Greyhounds, the hunter is following his dogs on horseback. When the hunter sees the game, he is letting his dogs off-leash, so they could chase the prey. When the baiting of animals has been banned, the Hungarian Greyhounds were used in racing of Sighthounds.

Hungarian Greyhound is an obedient and very intelligent dog, reckless and fast on the hunt, but in the same time calm and quiet in the house. Well suited for keeping even in the city apartment.

This dog is gentle with his owner's family, and makes a wonderful companion dog.

But the proud disposition of Magyar Agar requires sensitivity in his upbringing. The Hungarian Greyhound - with all his intelligence - is not a German Shepherd, so you should not expect an absolute obedience from him. He requires persistent training.

Walking your Agar in the woods or parks always involve a certain risk, since his innate instinct may call him to hunt any animal. Agar is not exactly the right breed for beginners, his owner must have some experience in dealing with the Greyhounds.

Agar can be attributed to the vigilant Sighthounds, that are able to selflessly defend their home. The Hungarian Greyhound is very much attached to "his" people; in the house he is calm, restrained with strangers, showing pretty much of a self-esteem. This dog is not so fragile as it seems.

Hungarian Agar differs with his strong built and power.

He is almost insensitive to the change in the weather, and because of his resilience is less susceptible to the diseases. His short coat is coarser than that of the other smooth-haired Sighthounds and it almost does not need any care. If necessary, you can clean the dog with a special brush, also Agar's coat can be wiped with a damp cloth.

This dog can live happily in an urban environment, but his power and his great need of movement must necessarily find it's way to be satisfied - for example you can take your Hungarian Greyhound to the races or coursing competitions.

Health problems: The Hungarian Greyhound is a very healthy and hardy breed.

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