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Magyar Agar Description

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Appearance

The Magyar Agár is a sighthound of elegant yet rugged stature. While they bear some resemblance to Greyhounds, there are a number of significant differences in conformation between the two breeds. Magyar Agárs are longer in body than they are tall, and have a heavier bone structure than Greyhounds. Their heads are more wedge-shaped, with substantial jaw muscles and shorter snouts, giving them a less refined appearance than most Greyhounds. They also have much thicker skin with a short, dense and smooth coat that is slightly longer during winter months. As such, they are very hardy dogs and can tolerate lower temperatures better than some of the other short-coated sighthounds. They have rose-shaped ears that are raised about half way and oval-shaped eyes with a bright and gentle looking expression. They weigh between 49 pounds (22 kg) and 68 pounds (31 kg) with a height between 25 inches (64 cm) and 27 inches (69 cm) at the shoulders. They come in a variety of colors.[1] The amount of “greyhoundness” in the MA is the point of controversy among European breeders and enthusiasts. This issue revolves around the fact that greyhounds were bred with MAs in the 1800s and early 1900s. Some prefer an “old fashioned” variation of the MA with its robust frame and musculature, while some prefer a more "Greyhound-like" dog with a lighter frame and more speed[2]. The sturdy frame of the Magyar Agar makes it ideal for coursing game over a rugged terrain. Given their conformation, Magyar Agar are not as fast as Greyhounds on short sprints, but possess greater endurance and stamina, making them much more suited to running longer distances for longer periods of time. In the old days, these dogs would have been expected to trail alongside their masters on horseback.


History

These dogs accompanied the Magyars to present-day Hungary and Romania in the 900s. They are not well known outside of Hungary and Romania. Tradition tells us that the Magyar Agár first arrived in northeastern Hungary and the Great Alföld (Hungarian Plain) a little over a thousand years ago. Although they have lived throughout the Great Alföld, they have had a strong hunting history in the three counties of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Hajdű-Bihar1 and Somogy.[2] There are oral histories that indicate that the Magyar Agárs were with the Hungarians (i.e., Magyars) much earlier when this nomadic tribe lived in the Ural Mountain Range of Eurasia. But there is no empirical evidence to help prove this hypothesis. The earliest archeological evidence for the Magyar Agárs has been found in the Carpathian Mountain Range located along the northern and eastern Hungarian border.[2] The dogs that accompanied the Magyars were a variety of oriental breeds that became part of the Magyar horde as it traveled from the Eurasian steppes and into Central Europe. Did the Magyar Agárs exist before the Magyars reached the Carpathians? Currently this remains open to debate. With time the horse evolved into the Hungarian Horse and the Magyars became the premier cavalrymen of Europe known as the Hussars. The agárs conformation from the Medieval to the Modern Age has remained the same until the introduction of the greyhound in the 1800s. To the Hungarians the Hungarian Horse, Hussars, and Magyar Agárs are interconnected through their rich history.[2] The Magyar Agár is a long distance racing hound. He was bred to be a dispatcher of game shot by horseback riders on an open plain or open stand of hardwood timber. Hungarians claim that the MA was expected to accompany the hunters for distances of usually 30 kilometres (19 mi) and up to a maximum of 50 kilometres (31 mi) in a day. The game in most cases was hare and deer. Through most of Hungarian history the Magyar Agár was not solely owned by the nobility. Every Hungarian, if he so wished, could own and hunt with an MA. Although the MA was not limited to some cultural or aristocratic status, the MAs found with the nobility were much bigger than those of the landed peasants. Magyar Agárs owned by the peasants were known as Farm Agárs or simply as Hare Catchers. These smaller versions of the MA are now extinct. Today the MA is popular with European racing and show ring enthusiasts who are untiring in their support for this rare breed. Modern Uses In addition to making fine companion animals, the Magyar Agars' elegant appearance and wash-and-wear coats make them very suitable for conformation showing. Although rare outside of Europe, Magyar Agar owners in the United States and Canada do have opportunities to show their dogs in United Kennel Club, North American Kennel Club/Rarities, American Rare Breed Association and International All Breed Canine Association conformation events.


Temperament

This breed is affectionate and docile. They are unlikely to bite or be snippy with people, although they have a much stronger guarding instinct than some other sighthound breeds. They are usually well behaved around children and also with other dogs. They are somewhat reserved but should not be overly shy. They are intelligent, easy to train and faithful. As with all dogs, early socialization is a must. Magyar Agars are very adaptable and can live comfortably in apartments as well as outdoor kennels as long as they are provided with adequate exercise and human interaction. If kept inside, they are very easy to housebreak and make wonderful house pets. During the day they will spend a good portion of their time sleeping, but they are by no means "couch potatoes" and do require daily exercise to stay fit and happy. Long walks, free running and trotting next to a bicycle are the best ways to exercise Magyars since they are not usually too keen on ball-chasing as are other breeds. Although they can live peacefully with cats and other small animals inside the home, it is important to remember their coursing heritage. They are an excellent coursing dog, and are still employed for such purposes in Hungary. As such, they will tend to want to chase down anything that resembles prey. However, with proper introduction and supervision, they can coexist very well with cats and small dogs.



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