All about Hungary: Some very magyar animals

Some very magyar animals

Posted on Mar 25, 2010| | | No comments:
There are some species which we consider as Hungarian and which can not be found only in Hungary.

Grey cattle

Hungarian Grey Cattle or Hungarian Steppe Cattle (in Hungarian: Magyar szürke szarvasmarha) are an old beef cattle breed from Hungary.
The breed belongs to the group of Podolic cattle and is very well adapted to extensive pasture systems. It originates from the Hungarian lowlands.

Hungarian Grey cattle are slender and tall. The bulls reach a height of 145 to 155 cm and a weight of 800 to 900 kg, the cows 135 to 140 cm and 500 to 600 kg.
The colour ranges from silvery-white to cinereous. Calves are born with reddish-yellow fur. The Hungarian Greys are robust, unpretentious, easy-calving and long-lived. Their horns are directed upward and are long and curved.

The breed probably arrived with the 9th century Hungarian immigration from the east to the Hungarian lowlands. In the Middle Ages and early modern times the breed was used as a draught animal but from 1861 has been bred for early maturity and its beef quality, being herded live to the markets of Europe. Nowadays Hungarian Grey cattle are kept mainly as tourist attractions in the Hortobágy National Park and other Hungarian national parks. Small herds may be found in a few other places, e.g. Bocfölde,Western Hungary. These herds serve as gene banks, due to their reported resistance to cattle diseases which affect more highly bred cattle types. By 1975 there were only 300 cows left in two herds, but numbers have since increased.

Great Bustard

The Great Bustard, túzok in Hungarian, is a national bird of Hungary and a subject of several proverbs.

The Great Bustard, Otis tarda, is in the bustard family, the only member of the genus Otis. It breeds in southern and central Europe, where it is the largest species of bird, and across temperate Asia. European populations are mainly resident, but Asian birds move further south in winter. Sizeable populations exist in Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Russia, Spain and Kurdistan, as well as a very small population in Romania, but the species is declining due to habitat loss throughout its range.

The male of this huge bird is possibly the heaviest living flying animal, alongside the similarly sized Kori Bustard. An adult male typically is 90–110 cm (3.0–3.6 ft) long with a 2.1–2.5 m (6.9–8.2 ft) wingspan and usually weighs from 10 to 16 kg (22 to 35 lb).[1] The heaviest known bird was about 21 kg (46 lb), although larger specimens have been reported but not verified. An adult male is brown above and white below, with a long grey neck and head. The breast and lower neck sides are chestnut. In the breeding season, the male has long white neck bristles. In flight, the long wings show large areas of white.
The female is 30% smaller (typically 80 cm in length and 1.8 m across the wings) and one-third the weight of the male, averaging 3.5–5 kg (7.7–11 lb).[1] Perhaps because of this, there is a skewed sex ratio of about 1.5:1 female to male. The breast and neck of the female are buff. Both sexes are usually silent. Immature birds resemble the female.
Before mating, the males moult into their breeding plumage around January. Like other bustards, the male Great Bustard has a flamboyant display showing much white, mainly from the undertail, and withdrawing the head. The Great Bustard breeds in March, and a single male may mate with up to 5 females. All breeding Great Bustards also moult again from June to September.

2-3 olive or tan coloured, glossy eggs are laid in a small ground scrape. The female incubates the eggs alone for around 4 weeks. The chicks almost immediately leave the nest after they hatch, although they do not move very far from their mother until they are at least 1 year old. Males usually start to mate from about 5 years old. Great Bustards typically live for around 10 years, but some have been known to live up to 15 years or more.

This bird's habitat is open grassland, although it can be found on undisturbed cultivation. It has a stately slow walk, and tends to run when disturbed rather than fly. It is gregarious, especially in winter. This species is omnivorous, taking seeds, insects and other small creatures, including frogs and beetles.
Two very rare albino Great Bustards from the same nest were killed by electricity cables in Hungary in 2000 and 2003. The bustards, despite their large size, are able to fly at a high velocity (60 kilometre/hour) and are often mutilated or killed by the cables which are placed in Hungary just at their flying heights. The electricity companies affected will bury only part of the dangerous cables, therefore the authorities are experimenting with fixing fluorescent "Firefly" devices on the most dangerous cables to provide the birds with warning lights. (The funds available are not sufficient for a full treatment of the problem.)


Populations vary from region to region with 1,400 Great Bustard individuals residing in Portugal, another large population of around 6,000-7,000 birds resident near Saratov in Russia and 23,000 individuals in Spain. Sizeable populations still exist in Hungary, where the Eastern European steppe zone ends, near Dévaványa town and also in the Hortobágy, Nagykunság and Nagy-Sárrét regions. There were 1,350 birds in February 2006, down from a population of 10,000-12,000 before the Second World War. The Hungarian authorities are seeking to preserve the long-term future of the population by active protection measures: the area affected by the special ecological treatment had grown to 15 square kilometres by the summer of 2006.
The Great Bustard was formerly found in the south of the British Isles (a bustard forms part of the design of the Wiltshire Coat of Arms) but was hunted out of existence by the 1840s. In 2004 a reintroduction to Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire using eggs taken from Saratov in Russia was undertaken by The Great Bustard Group, a U.K. Registered Charity that aims to establish a self-sustaining population of Great Bustards in the UK. This reintroduction project continues to see successful hatchings.

Mangalica (Mangalitsa)

Mangalitsa is a breed of pig grown especially in Hungary and the Balkans known also as a curly-hair hog. It belongs to European unimproved lard-type breeds (as well as Iberian Black and Alentejana pigs) that are descended directly from wild boar populations.
Serbian language reformer Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, gave the breed its name Mangalica, which describes it as a 'hog with a lot of lard'.

The breed was developed from older hardy types of Hungarian pig (Bakonyi and Szalontai) crossed with the Šumadija breed of Serbian origin (1833) (and later others like Alföldi or Croatian Šiška and Syrmien). The development took place in Hungary in the early 19th century.[3] The new quickly-growing "fat-type" hog did not require any special care, so it became very popular in Hungary. For the improvement of the breed The National Society of Fat-Type Hog Breeders (Mangalicatenyésztők Országos Egyesülete) was established in 1927. Mangalitsa was the most prominent swine breed in the region until 1950 (the number of the hogs in Hungary in 1943 was 30 thousand). Since the 1950s the popularity as well as population of Mangalitsa have been decreasing within the context of greater food dissemination and inventions such as the refrigerator. In the present time, hobby keeping of Mangalica has become popular. The current number of Mangalitsa hogs in Hungary is slightly over 4500, property most of them of Monte Nevado

In March 2006 17 Mangalitza (this is how the name is spelt in British English) were imported from Austria into the UK. These are registered with the BPA (British Pig Association) and the pedigrees are being maintained on the BPA Mangalitza Herd Book.
In August 2007, Wooly Pigs, an American company, imported a herd from Austria.

The Mangalitsa pig breed (also spelled Maнгулица (Serbian cyrillic), Mangulica, Mangalica or Mangaliza, in Hungarian Mangalica, in Romanian Mangaliţa, in German Mangalitza or Wollschwein) is distinguished by its rich and curly coat, which can be blond, black (with swallow bellied variation), and rarely red. Blond (szőke) Mangalitsa is the most common and popular. The skeleton is fine but very strong. The skin under the fur is greyish-black; the visible parts are black as well as teats and hooves. The number of teats on the female is 10–12. On the lower edge of the ear one can find a bright spot (an inch in diameter), the so-called "Wellmann fleck". The breed is admirably hardy and adaptable to mountain feeding and low temperatures. It is also extremely disease and stress resistant.

The Mangalitsa produces too little lean meat so it has been gradually replaced by modern domestic breeds. It is usually fed with a mix of wild pasture, supplemented with potatoes and pumpkins produced on the farm.
The primary product made from this pig is sausage, usually packed in the pig's duodenum. The minced meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, sweet paprika, and other spices. It is then eaten in slices with pickled vegetables. The pork is also served braised with sauerkraut, potatoes, and stuffed peppers as a side dish. Farmers also produce smoked hams. The fresh meat tastes strong and juicy; the suckling pigs are much preferred for their good fresh meat qualities.
In the UK the breed is kept free range, fed on standard Sow and Weaner Pellets. The better quality and protein levels of this food is resulting in a slightly larger stockier pig.
Mangaltzas will happily rear their young (who are born stripy like wild boar) in outside arks all year round without the need for additional heat and light.
Killing weight (for meat production) is generally achieved beyond 12 months of age, much longer and the additional fat gained becomes too excessive for the UK market.


The Racka is a breed of sheep known for its unusual spiral-shaped horns. These unique appendages are unlike any other domestic sheep horns, and may grow up to 2.0 ft (0.61 m) long. The smallest standard length is 20 in (51 cm) for rams and 12–15 in (30–38 cm) for ewes.
Originating in Hungary, the Racka has existed since at least the 1800, when the first registry was established. It is a hardy, multi-purpose breed used for milking, wool and meat. Their wool is long and coarse, and appears in two general types: a cream wool with light brown faces and legs, and a black variation. Ewes weigh around 88 lb (40 kg), and rams 132 lb (60 kg).
The breeds unique appearance and quiet disposition would make it a desirable animal for hobby situations.

This breed is unique with both sexes possessing long spiral shaped horns. The cork-screw horns protrude almost straight upward from the top of the head.
There are two major color patterns with the Racka. A most common color is brown wool covering the heads and legs with the fiber varying in color from dark brown to light brown and white. Individuals can also be solid black. The wool tips on the black colored sheep fades to a reddish black with exposure to sunlight and they get oloder the points of the fiber turns gray. The fiber diameter varies within this breed and generally is found to be 12 to 40 microns with a yield of 38% to 65%. Staple length is approximately 30 cm (12 in). Fleece weight must be at least 3 kg (6.6 lb) for rams. The softness and crimp of the wool would indicate its interest with handspinners.
The minimum acceptable mature body weight for ewes is 40 kg (88 lb) and for rams 60 kg (130 lb). The rams average 72 cm (28 in) in height.


The Vizsla (English pronunciation: /ˈviːʃlə/ VEESH-lə, Hungarian: [ˈviʒlɒ]; English plural: Vizslas Hungarian plural: vizslák) is a dog breed originating in Hungary. The Hungarian or Magyar Vizsla are elite sporting dogs and loyal companions, in addition to being the smallest of the all-round pointer-retriever breeds. The Vizsla's medium size is one of the breed's most appealing characteristics as a hunter of fowl and upland game, and through the centuries the Vizsla has held a unique position for a sporting dog – that of household companion and family dog.
The Vizsla is a natural hunter endowed with an excellent nose and an outstanding trainability. Although they are lively, gentle mannered, demonstrably affectionate and sensitive, they are also fearless and possessed of a well-developed protective instinct.


The Vizsla is a medium-sized short-coated hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, they are lean dogs, have defined muscles, and are observed to share similar physical characteristics with the Weimaraner, the grey-blue dogs, and are similar in size.
Various breeds are often mistaken for Vizslas, and Vizslas are often mistaken for other breeds. Redbone Coonhounds, Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are some of the most commonly confused breeds. The body structure of a Vizsla is very similar in appearance to a Weimaranar and Redbone Coonhound, though the Vizsla is typically leaner with more defined musculature. Weimaranars and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are larger than Vizslas. The nose of the Vizsla will always have a reddish color that blends with the coat color. Black, brown, light pink, or another color nose is an indication of another breed - or at least not a pure Vizsla. Eyes and nails should also blend with coat color.

Colour and coats

The standard coat is a solid golden-rust color in different shadings, but some breeding programs have resulted in a solid rust coat. The coat could also be described as a copper/brown color, russet gold and dark sandy gold. Solid dark mahogany red and pale yellow are faulty. Small areas of white on the fore-chest and on the toes are permissible but not preferred. Some variations in the Vizsla coat color along their back (saddle-type marks) is typical.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard for the Vizsla states that the coat should be short, smooth, dense and close-lying, without woolly undercoat. The Vizsla is totally unsuited to being kept outside, since unlike most other breeds, it does not have an undercoat. This lack of undercoat makes the Vizsla susceptible to the cold so it must not be kept in a kennel or left outside for extended periods of time. They are self-cleaning dogs and only need to be bathed infrequently, and are somewhat unique in that they have little noticeable "dog smell" detectable by humans. After several forays into lakes and streams they will develop an aroma that is a weaker version of the 'wet dog' smell. A quick bath and this odor will vanish.


The breed standard calls for the tail to be docked to two-thirds of its original length. Although the remainder of the tail is strong, the third docked is thin and whip-like and is open to damage in the field. The Vizsla holds its tail horizontal to the ground and wags it vigorously while charging through rough scrub and undergrowth. Without docking, the unprotected tip can suffer splitting and bleeding. Once damaged, the tail is extremely difficult to heal, sometimes requiring amputation later in life when the dog must be placed under general anaesthetic causing undue stress and pain.
The docked tail of the Vizsla is significantly longer than that of other dogs with traditionally docked tails such as the Weimaraner, Doberman, Boxer, and Australian Shepherd. Since the tail is docked when the puppy is less than three days old, this longer dock can result in some variation in tail length among Vizsla dogs from different breeding programs.
With the practice of docking banned in some localities, Vizsla clubs and advocacy groups routinely maintain information on tail injuries to dogs that were not docked.


The Vizsla is a medium-sized dog, and fanciers feel that large dogs are undesirable. The average height and weight:
  • Males

  • Females

    • Height: 21–24 in (53–61 cm)
    • Weight: 40–55 lb (18–25 kg)


Vizslas are very high energy, gentle-mannered, loyal, caring, and highly affectionate. They quickly form close bonds with their owners, including children. Often they are referred to as "velcro" dogs because of their loyalty and affection. They are quiet dogs, only barking if necessary or provoked. Sometimes when these dogs feel neglected or want something, they will cry.
They are natural hunters with an excellent ability to take training. Not only are they great pointers, but they are excellent retrievers as well. They will retrieve on land and in the water, making the most of their natural instincts. However, they must be trained gently and without harsh commands or strong physical correction, as they have sensitive temperaments and can be easily damaged if trained too harshly. Vizslas are excellent swimmers and often swim in pools if one is available. Like all gun dogs, Vizslas require a good deal of exercise to remain healthy and happy.
The Vizsla thrives on attention, exercise, and interaction. It is highly intelligent, and enjoys being challenged and stimulated, both mentally and physically. Vizslas that do not get enough attention and exercise can easily become destructive or hyperactive. Under-stimulated Vizslas may also become depressed or engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviours such as persistent licking. Vizslas are very gentle dogs that are great around children. The Vizsla wants to be close to its owner as much of the time as possible. Many Vizslas will sleep in bed with their owners if allowed, burrowing under the covers.


The life expectancy of the Vizsla is 12–15 years. The Vizsla is considered to be a robust dog, but some localized breeding programs using a small number of dogs have led to heritable illnesses in some offspring, including:
  • Hip dysplasia is very rare but remotely possible.
  • Canine Epilepsy
Responsible breeders do not select dogs for breeding if they have such inherent problems.
Vizslas can also be prone to skin and food allergies.


The Vizsla was already known in early Hungarian history. The ancestors of the present Vizsla were the trusted and favorite hunting dogs of the Magyar tribes who lived in the Carpathian Basin in the 10th century. Primitive stone etchings over a thousand years old show the Magyar hunter with his falcon and his Vizsla.
The first written reference to Vizsla dog breed has been recorded in the Illustrated Vienna Chronicle prepared on order of King Lajos the Great (Louis the Great) by the Carmelite Friars in 1357.
Companion dogs of the early warlords and barons, Vizsla blood was preserved pure for centuries by the land-owning aristocracy who guarded them jealously and continued to develop the hunting ability of these "yellow-pointers". Records of letters and writings show the high esteem in which the Vizsla was held.
The Vizsla survived the Turkish occupation (1526-1696), the Hungarian Revolution (1848-49), World War I, World War II and the Russian Occupation. However, Vizslas faced and survived several near-extinctions in their history, including being overrun by English Pointers and German Shorthair Pointers in the 1800s (Boggs, 2000:19) and again to near-extinction after World War II. A careful search of Hungary and a poll of Hungarian sportsmen revealed only about a dozen Vizslas of the true type still alive in the country. From that minimum stock, the breed rose to prominence once again. The various "strains" of the Vizsla have become somewhat distinctive as individuals bred stock that suited their hunting style. The Austria-Hungary Empire extended its influence over a large area for many years, but following its collapse in 1918, owners of vizslas found themselves living in Czech Rep., Slovak Rep., Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Germany, Poland or Ukraine.
The Vizsla started arriving in the United States at the close of World War II. As interest in and devotion to the breed began to increase, owners formed the Vizsla Club of America in order to gain AKC recognition. As a result of registering foundation stock with the AKC, Vizsla owners were able to obtain official recognition on November 25, 1960, as the Vizsla became the 115th breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Vizsla was used in development of other breeds, most notably the Weimaraner, Wire-haired Vizsla and German Shorthair Pointer breeds. There is much conjecture about those same breeds, along with other pointer breeds, being used to reestablish the Vizsla breed at the end of 19th century. In either case the striking resemblance among the three breeds is indisputable.


The Pumi is a medium-small terrier-type breed of dog. It is a sheep dog from Hungary.
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The Puli is a medium-small breed of Hungarian herding and livestock guarding dog known for its long, corded coat. The tight curls of the coat, similar to dreadlocks, make it virtually waterproof. A similar looking, but much larger Hungarian dog breed is called Komondor. Read more about it :


The Komondor (Hungarian plural komondorok) is a large white colored Hungarian breed of livestock guardian dog with a long, corded coat. The Komondor is an old-established powerful dog breed which has a natural guardian instinct to guard livestock and other property. The Komondor was mentioned for the first time in 1544 in a Hungarian codex. The Komondor has been introduced by the Cumans who brought this dog to Hungary in the 13th century. The Komondor breed has been declared one of Hungary’s national treasures, to be preserved and protected from modification.
The Puli is another Hungarian sheep dog about half the size of the Komondor, and usually black in color. Read more about it :


The Kuvasz (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkʊvɒs]) is a dog breed of ancient Hungarian origin. Mention of the breed can be found in old Hungarian texts. It has historically been used to guard livestock, but has been increasingly found in homes as a pet over the last seventy years.
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The Mudi is a rare herding breed of dog from Hungary

Magyar Agàr (Hungarian Sighthound)

Magyar Agár (MA) is a dog breed. It is also called a Hungarian Greyhound, although this is somewhat of a misnomer. The Magyar Agár 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 is a type of sighthound originating in Hungary and Transylvania. It is used for hunting and coursing, and is also kept as a companion.
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Erdélyi Kopó (Transylvanian Bloodhound)

The Hungarian Hound (aka. Erdélyi Kopó, Transylvanian Bloodhound) is a breed of dog originating in Hungary. It was originally kept by Hungarian kings and princes for hunting various game (i.e. foxes, boar, etc).
The dog is very sleek in appearance. They carry themselves in a very erect and upright manner which lends itself to their regal heritage. Generally, the coat is black and tan (sometimes with white patches). The chest area underside is tan and/ or white, and the feet are tan or black. The hair is short (about 2 inches) and very course. The eyes are a dark brown with patches of tan above, and the ears are similar to those of a beagle (wide at mid-point, and then taper to a rounded-v shape). Sizes: Large: 70-75 lb on average. Small: 50-55 lb average weight.
The dog is extremely loyal and friendly. They are very good natured and well mannered with both people and other dogs. They form strong attachments to their owners and are very protective of family members. It is very protective of its immediate territory (i.e. owners' house and yard), and will appear very ferocious with an intimidating bark and growl towards strangers; however, it will immediately accept anyone who is invited into the area by its owners. They enjoy constant companionship and tend to remain in the presence of their owners.
The Hungarian Hound is an extremely intelligent breed, and is easily trained. They are good at problem solving.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the breed was nearly extinct and new efforts in 1968 began to save it. The only area outside of Hungary where it exists is in Transylvania.
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The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word "thoroughbred" is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered a "hot-blooded" horse, known for their agility, speed and spirit.
The Thoroughbred as it is known today was first developed in 17th and 18th century England, when native mares were crossbred with imported Arabian stallions. All modern Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions originally imported into England in the 1600s and 1700s, and to 74 foundation mares of English and Oriental (Arabian, Turkoman or Barb) blood. During the 1700s and 1800s, the Thoroughbred breed spread throughout the world; they were imported into North America starting in 1730 and into Australia, Europe, Japan and South America during the 1800s. Millions of Thoroughbreds exist worldwide today, with over 118,000 foals registered each year worldwide.
Thoroughbreds are used mainly for racing, but are also bred for other riding disciplines, such as show jumping, combined training, dressage, polo, and fox hunting. They are also commonly cross-bred with other breeds to create new breeds or to improve existing ones, and have been influential in the creation of many important breeds, such as the Quarter Horse, the Standardbred, the Anglo-Arabian, and various Warmblood breeds.
Thoroughbred racehorses perform with maximum exertion, which has resulted in high rates of accidents and other health problems. Racing has been proven to have a higher fatality rate than all other legal human and animal sports. Also, Thoroughbreds are prone to other health complications, including bleeding from the lungs, low fertility, abnormally small hearts and a small hoof to body mass ratio. There are several theories for the reasons behind the prevalence of accidents and health problems in the Thoroughbred breed, and research continues into how to reduce the accident rate and treat those animals that are injured.
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