There are quite a few breeds native to Hungary, some of which are well known throughout the world whereas others as rarer and lesser known other than in their native homeland. One breed in particular is the Mudi which is prized in Hungary for their herding skills as well as their intelligence, courage and loyalty.
At one time the Mudi was considered to be the same breed as the Puli and Pumi, but thanks to Dr Dezso Fenyesi, these lovely dogs were given a status of their own. The breed has only been around for one hundred years or so and even today back in their native Hungary, the Mudi is still a very rare dog. It's thought the Mudi is not a result of careful breeding, but rather spontaneous natural selection which makes them extra special.
Many people believe these dogs are so rare because they took a back seat to the the more well known Hungarian breeds namely the Puli and the Komondor. These two breeds are known the world over and have been around for a lot longer than the Mudi. Over time, the Mudi proved themselves to be extremely good at the jobs they were bred to do which is to guard and herd flocks of farm animals which includes both sheep and cattle.
However, the Mudi is also an extremely good ratter and hunter as well as a being a good choice for anyone looking to share their homes with an alert and attentive canine companion. The reason these dogs are so highly prized in their native Hungary, is that they are more than capable of thinking for themselves and therefore, they can be left to guard flocks on their own without the assistance of a shepherd. Interestingly, in Finland, the Mudi is often used as a mountain rescue dog because of their strong sense of smell and dedication to the job they are asked to do.
It is thanks to the pure dedication of certain people that the breed did not disappear off the face of the earth altogether and it's because of these people and through careful breeding that the Mudi we see today still exists, although they are still extremely rare.
There's no doubt that Mudis are very attractive dogs that come in a variety of colours including a gorgeous blue merle which is extremely rare and therefore highly prized. Because, the breed is so rare, those people lucky enough to own one these dogs knows just how intelligent and talented the Mudi actually is. Their skills together with their loyal and charming personalities just add to their overall appeal. Male dogs stand at anyting from 14 to 20 inches at the shoulder and can weigh in at between 18 to 29 lbs whereas their female counterparts are slightly smaller and lighter.
The Mudi is a highly intelligent dog and they learn things extremely quickly much like the Border Collie. However, because they are so smart, they can pick up bad habits as easily as they can learn new things they are being taught which is why they need to be handled and trained with a firm yet gentle hand. Although these dogs are loyal to the people they know, they can be quite wary of strangers even when they've been well socialised from a young age. It's in their nature to form a strong bond with one person in a household which is another trait that's particular to the breed like a few others.
When it comes to defending their territory and owners, the Mudi is a courageous character which makes them excellent guard dogs, a job they were bred to do and which they excel at. These dogs are not however, known to be aggressive even if they are wary of strangers who approach them or their territory.
These dogs need to be well socialised from a young age and their training needs to start early too. Positive reinforcement training is best because they are quite sensitive by nature and don't respond well to any harsh methods. Because they are so intelligent, the Mudi learns things fast which makes training them a very enjoyable experience as long as you know what you are doing. With this said, they are not the best choice of pets for first-time dog owners because their training needs to be consistent at all times or they might start to think they are the alpha dog in a household and this invariable leads to behavioural issues that can be extremely hard to correct.
They do like the sound of their own voices which means barking can be a problem, but if caught early enough a Mudi can be taught that barking for no reason is not acceptable. Being high energy dogs, they need to be given lots of physical exercise and they benefit from loads of mental stimulation or they get easily bored which could lead to a dog developing some unwanted behaviours which includes being destructive around the home.
Mudis, much like Border Collies love to take part in agility and other canine sports which includes things like Flyball and chasing after a Frisbee. Young dogs really benefit from being taken along to "puppy classes" so they learn how to behave around other dogs and people.
The Mudi is generally good around children although they need to be supervised at all times, especially around toddlers. They are also good around other dogs and pets as long as they were introduced to them when still young. With this said, if a new pet is introduced into the home, this needs to be done carefully to make sure things go well bearing mind that a Mudi is rather territorial.
The Mudi is known to be a healthy and robust dog although there have been reports of them occasionally suffering from hip dysplasia. With this said, because the breed is so rare, not enough information is available about health issues and more research would need to be done to establish whether the breed suffers from any hereditarty or congenital health issues. When well cared for and fed an appropriated nutritious diet to suit their needs at the different stages of their live, a Mudi can live for anything from 13 to 14+ years.
When it comes to keeping their coats looking smart and in good condition, much like Border Collies, the Mudi needs to be groomed at least once a week to prevent their coats from becoming tangled or matted. Their coats are very distinctive being slightly curly and quite dense too. If left for too long, their coat becomes matted which makes it that much harder for any loose hair to fall out and this makes it that much harder to brush through the hair right down to the skin.
The Mudi is one of the lesser known breeds native to Hungary, but over recent times more breeders are producing these lovely, lively dogs in other parts of the world, including here in the UK. They are known to be very loyal and courageous dogs that form a strong bond with one person in the household. However, they are not the best choice for first-time owners simply because the Mudi is a highly intelligent dog and one that needs to be socialised and trained correctly for them to be truly happy, well-balanced dogs.