(First published on We Love Budapest, 20 January 2015)
The Hungarian Vizsla breed is thought to be one of the oldest hunting dogs in the world. The Vizsla’s eye, nail and nose colour blend in with its coat, which is a golden-rust colour. They are lively, gentle and have a protective instinct. Often great companions, this is a warm and friendly dog that will stick by your side no matter what! Vizslas are thought to have been the preferred and trusted hunting dogs ofearly Magyar tribes and images can be found of them in ancient art. It's thoughtVizslas came to the Carpathian Basin as far back as the 8th century. Today they are a popular dog breed – not just in Hungary – in the United States there is even then Vizsla Club of America, while there are also Vizsla Clubs in the United Kingdomand in Australia too. Instagram is absolutely flooded with pictures these elegant dogs. A search of #vizsla #hungarianvizsla #vizslagram #vizslasofinstagram #vizslalove #vizslasarethebest or #vizslapuppy results in literally hundreds of thousands of photos, and you can tell Vizslas are much loved members of modern families.
Pulis are an iconic Hungarian sheepdog often with black, white or grey dreadlocks or cords. Pulis are intelligent and loyal, and they make good security dogs. They can snap if they feel threatened, although they are generally playful and friendly. Thesesmallish shepherd dogs were introduced to the Hungarian region more than 1000 years ago as a livestock guard and herder. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a Puli called Beast, which has its own Facebook page. Beast’s “public figure” page says: “I am a Puli, which is a type of Hungarian Sheepdog. I live in Palo Alto with Mark and Cilla. I like cuddling and herding things.” Among its personal interests it lists: “Herding Things, Cuddling, Loving and Eating.” You can also see the Hungarian Puli staring as the "Mop Dog" in this 2015 Dr Pepper commercial:
The Komondor is considered one of Hungary’s national treasures. It’s a big, white dog with a long wire coat resembling dreadlocks or a mop head. It’s often confused with white Pulis but Pulis are herders and guarders where Komondors are largely only used as guard dogs. But for this purpose Komondors are perfect with this guard dog able to guard livestock and the home well. It’s breeding means that it’s usually calm but when under threat it’s fearless and can act independently. Typically, it rests during the day but at night is busy patrolling. The Komondor and Puli were often used together with the Komondor guarding the livestock by night and the Puli herding by day. The thick coat of both breeds means they are less prone to bites, with predators like wolves unable to bite through their thick cords. By far our favourite Instagram hashtag is #komondorable.
The Kuvasz has a dense white fur coat. It was typically a guard dog and suited to wetter climates. In the 15th century it was highly prized dog and many could be found in the court of King Matthias Corvinus. After World War II it is believed the breed was near extinction with just a few dozen remaining. It is thought that, like the Kuvasz, many of these dogs were killed by German and Soviet soldiers because they were such fierce guard dogs that it was necessary to kill them before taking land or home. Similarly to Komondors, the Kuvasz is fiercely protective of the people and territory in their “flock.” It’s said that although someone new might be allowed onto the property, Komondor and Kuvasz dogs will not let them leave without their master's approval.
The mostly grey-coloured Pumi was developed in Hungary in the 17th and 18th century when Puli dogs bred with dog breeds from Germany and France. Its coat is curly and thick, but quite short. They have very cute ears that are always alert and playful and sometimes the hair is longer on the ears than on the rest of the body.Pumis are typically a herding dog but can be trained for other purposes such as search-and-rescue. They are very cute!
Closely related to the Puli and the Pumi, the Mudi is a rare breed of herding dog, that was not created but developed spontaneously. Its colour ranges from black, brown and yellow, as well as other mixtures of these. It’s a breed that is uncommon, even in Hungary, and without breeding programs it could face extinction. Save the Mudi!
This is a Hungarian breed of “sighthound” - a type of hound that hunts by sight as opposed to smell. As a result they have great speed and agility and they’re light and lean to this end. It’s thought the Hungarian Agár came with the Magyars to the areas of the Carpathian Basin and Transylvania in about the 8th Century – making it as old a breed as the Vizsla. This dog breed is also known as the Hungarian Sighthound and Magyar Agár.
The Transylvanian Hound or the Erdélyi kopó is a hunting dog that was originally used to hunt bear, wolves and game. It sure is a versatile little dog! It was used to hunt in the Carpathian Mountains, with all its various terrains from forest to rivers. It was brought to Hungarian region by Magyar tribes in the 9th century, who crossed them with local breeds. They are very loyal dogs and like to stay nice and close to their owners.
Wirehaired Vizslas – known in Hungarian as "Drótszőrű magyar vizsla” – are a gentle and sensitive dog, which can be easily trained, and like the Vizsla they have a protective instinct. This rare wire-coated hunting dog has pronounced eyebrows and a strong beard too. The Wirehaired Vizsla was created in the 1930s with the aim of making a breed of the Vizsla’s colour but with a heavier coat and frame, that would be better suited for winter, able to work in snow and icy water. It’s incredible to know that the entire breed began when two Vizslas called Zsuzsi and Csibi were bred with the liver-coloured German Wirehaired Pointer called Astor von Potat.