Dog racing has long been a popular pastime in Eastern Europe, with Hungary boasting some of the continent’s most impressive tracks. Alsonémedi Greyhound Park, Isaszeg greyhound track, and Rábapatona race track are three of the finest, offering the Hungarian people access to a historic sport.
A trip to the races is hugely popular in Hungary, with an obsession for dog racing stemming from the love of the nation’s most famous dog, the Magyar agár.
There are several premium facilities across Hungary that provide the perfect day out for dog racing fans. Kincsem Park is the jewel in Hungary’s racing crown and even rivals some of the best venues in Europe, including England’s famous Towcester.
For the past two years, Towcester has hosted some of the fastest dogs in the sport at the English Greyhound Derby, with famed hounds such as Fromposttopillar (15.00), Hopes Paddington (17.00) and Romeo Command (17.00) leading the latest greyhound betting odds for this year’s event.
The 400m Hungarian Greyhound Derby is the most iconic race held at Kincsem, with thousands of greyhound enthusiasts flocking to Budapest in July to watch the annual action unfold. The venue has even hosted festival days such as the 2022 International Horse and Greyhound competition, where attendees enjoyed European Derby racing, live music, and food from different cultures.
Kincsem Park is best known as a horse racing venue but opened its sparkling new greyhound track in 2015, thus diversifying its offering. As well as the Hungarian Derby, Kincsem hosts several events throughout the year with races taking place over 250 and 400 meters.
Although the Hungarian agár is no longer a racing dog, visitors to Kincsem Park can witness some incredibly prestigious events featuring some of the fastest competitors in the sport.
Greyhound racing continues to thrive in many countries – particularly Hungary – and plenty of high-profile facilities remain across Europe. Kincsem Park has shown that by integrating a dog racing track into a multi-use facility, new fans can be attracted to ensure the future of greyhound racing remains bright.
Also known as the Hungarian greyhound, the agár closely resembles a typical greyhound. Roughly 1,000 years ago, this dog could be found in abundance across the country, with exclusive agár racing enjoyed amongst the Hungarian elite.
Following the turn of the 20th century, the Hungarian greyhound vanished. It wasn’t until the mid-1900s that anything was done to protect the country’s famed sighthound. However, after much effort, a number of agárs were located and a breeding program left them thriving.
The Magyar agár is now considered a national treasure and the dog was honored recently when the Hungarian mint released a coin dedicated to the country’s sighthound. The coin was the third to be released in a series celebrating Eastern European dogs, with the vizsla and komondor coins printed in 2019 and 2020.
The sighthound has become synonymous with Hungarian culture, and although its days of racing are over, the thriving Magyar agár are kept as companions across the country and sometimes feature in conformation shows thanks to their beauty.