Transylvanian Hound (Erdelyi Kopó): Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Transylvanian Hound (Erdelyi Kopó)
The Transylvanian Hound is known as the Erdelyi Kopó in Hungary and Romania.

Getty Images / mirceax

The Transylvanian hound is a medium-sized black-and-tan hunting dog that originated in Transylvania, which was formally part of Hungary (today, it is part of Romania). The Transylvanian hound, which is known as the Erdelyi Kopó in its native country, is extremely rare, both in its homeland and in the United States. If you're lucky enough to find this breed and bring it into your home, you will be rewarded with a playful, friendly, and loyal companion.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Hound

HEIGHT: About 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder

WEIGHT: At least 55 pounds

COAT: Short, straight, dense, flat double coat

COAT COLOR: Black with tan markings

LIFE SPAN: 10 to 14 years

TEMPERAMENT: Courageous, good-natured, determined, loyal, protective


ORIGIN: Transylvania (formerly Hungary, now part of Romania)

Characteristics of the Transylvanian Hound

Transylvanian hounds are good-natured and quiet, yet also lively. Although they are friendly, the breed may be standoffish with strangers until they get to know them. With their own people, Transylvanian hounds are loving and affectionate, and are great playmates for children in a family. They bond very closely with their owners.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Transylvanian Hound

A popular hunting dog for Hungarian aristocrats during the Middle Ages, this ancient breed is thought to date as far back as 500 AD. The Transylvanian hound is possibly related to a more common Hungarian hunting dog, the viszla. Over the years, the Transylvanian hound’s numbers dwindled and, by the turn of the 20th century, the breed was in danger of becoming lost forever. A group of breed fanciers brought the Transylvanian hound back from the brink of extinction in the late 1960s. Originally there were two varieties: long-legged and short-legged. Only the long-legged Transylvanian hound remains.

In 2015, the Transylvanian hound was recorded in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Foundation Stock Service (FSS), a step toward eventual full recognition. The breed will be assigned to the Hound Group when it achieves full recognition with the AKC. In 2006, the breed was fully recognized by the United Kennel Club. Internationally, the breed is recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).  

Transylvanian Hound (Erdelyi Kopó)
Active and athletic, the Transylvanian Hound needs a lot of exercise.

Getty Images / Fenne

Transylvanian Hound (Erdelyi Kopó)
Female Transylvanian Hounds are slightly smaller than males.

Getty Images / mirceax

Transylvanian Hound (Erdelyi Kopó)
Transylvanian Hounds have enough stamina to hunt all day, covering up to 100 miles.

Getty Images / Fenne

Transylvanian Hound Care

Transylvanian hounds are highly intelligent and less stubborn than some other hound breeds. They are also known to be highly active and energetic so you'll want to build an adequate exercise and mental stimulation routine into your dog's day. Happily, the breed has an easy-care short double coat that sheds very little and requires basic grooming.


Transylvanian hounds have plenty of stamina—they are reported to cover as many as 100 miles when out hunting. Two vigorous walks a day, each between 30 to 60 minutes, should suffice. Providing ample daily exercise and mental stimulation will mellow out your Transylvanian hound and help it relax for the remainder of the day. In addition to walks, they enjoy unstructured activities like hiking, jogging, and swimming, as well as training for competitive dog sports like agility, tracking, or obedience. 


This dog's black-and-tan coat has a shiny appearance and is somewhat coarse to the touch. Brush the coat a few times a week with a soft bristle brush and bathe when dirty. Trim the nails every other week (less often if the dog wears them down naturally when running around outside). Check inside your Transylvanian hound’s ears every week, and clean them with a pet-safe ear cleaner if they look dirty. If you see a sign of redness, inflammation, or foul odor coming from the ears, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. 


They learn quickly when you use positive, reward-based training techniques and the right motivation (extra tasty treats work best). Keep training sessions short and always end on a high note when your dog gets something right. Transylvanian hounds can be wary of strangers, but lots of early socialization during puppyhood can keep this from becoming a problem.

Common Health Problems

While the Transylvanian hound is generally healthy and hardy, hip and elbow dysplasia is sometimes seen in the breed. Responsible breeders perform health screenings on their adult dogs before breeding them to ensure they do not pass on any hereditary issues to their puppies. 

Diet and Nutrition

This energetic and athletic breed should do well on a high-quality, calorie-dense diet, but less-active Transylvanian hounds may require diets with fewer calories to avoid weight gain. Excess weight can worsen joint disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia, and can lead to other health conditions like diabetes. If you don’t know what diet is best or how much to feed your Transylvanian hound, consult with your breeder or veterinarian. Always feed measured meals twice a day rather than free feeding (leaving food out all day).

Where to Adopt or Buy a Transylvanian Hound

If you have your heart set on a Transylvanian hound puppy, you might have to wait a while. There are few Transylvanian hound breeders in the U.S. Though rarely, an adult Transylvanian hound might find its way into rescue.

Visit the Transylvanian Hound Club on Facebook or the Erdélyi Kopó Club of Hungary to connect with those who love and support the revitalization of this breed. Since the breed is not fully AKC-accepted as of yet, the cost of a puppy averages between $600 to $800, which is quite low, even for a rare dog.

Transylvanian Hound Overview

  • Good family dogs

  • Friendly and adventurous

  • Good with dogs and other pets

  • Very rare and hard to find

  • Requires lots of exercise

  • Standoffish with strangers 

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Transylvanian hounds can be amazing dogs, but tough to find. If you like this dog, you might also like these breeds: 

Otherwise, check out all of our other dog breed articles to help you find the perfect dog for you and your family.

  • Are Transylvanian hounds a good fit in a multi-pet household?

    Most dogs in this breed get along great with other canines because they are accustomed to hunting with other Transylvanian hounds in small packs of two or three. They usually also live peacefully with other family pets, including cats when raised together.

  • What were Transylvanian hounds bred for?

    The Transylvanian hound is classified as a scent hound, which means it was bred to use its excellent sense of smell to track and trail large game like bear, bison, deer, lynx, and wild boar, as well as small game like fox and rabbits. Though they have the instinct to track and chase, they never kill anything, but they can retrieve downed game. Known as driving hounds, Transylvanian hounds point and flush game (scare it from its hiding place), then drive it toward the hunter with high-pitched, ringing barks and other vocalizations.

  • Why are Transylvanian hounds so rare?

    The breed began to become endangered in the mid-1900s because its original purpose—hunting big game—had greatly decreased in Europe's aristocratic circles. However, the breed continues to hunt wild boar to this day in Transylvania. Though the breed’s numbers still remain low, dedicated breeders here and abroad continue to work to preserve this ancient treasure.