Mudi

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
 
Photo of adult Mudi

The Mudi hails from Hungary and is a rare breed, with less than 1,000 dogs estimated in existence. The Mudi has been a distinct breed for around 100 years, and is thought to have developed naturally rather than been the result of a deliberate breeding plan.

The closest dogs in the Mudi family tree are the Puli, Pumi, and German Spitz type dogs. His ancestors were working breeds and this is reflected in the Mudi’s love of activity and natural flair for herding. But perhaps the feature most worthy of mention in the medium-sized dog is his devotion to his owner. Indeed, if on a walk you can’t see your Mudi, look down, because the chances are he’s glued to your heel.

About & History

No one is quite sure how the Mudi came into existence, but a little over a century ago he was evident in his native Hungary as a distinct breed. The breed developed as a rural working dog, with strong skills in shepherding and herding.

His closest relatives include the Puli, Pumi, and Spitz type breeds, which are also working breeds. All Hungarian herding dogs were lumped together in one Kennel Club group until around 1930, when the Mudi was recognised and given his own classification.

However this bred first developed, the Mudi is a wonderful well-kept secret. He adores his owner and is unfailingly loyal. When properly socialised and trained, he makes for a gentle and devoted family dog, who loves activity. However, for some reason, he remains under many people’s radar and low numbers of dogs meant that for a while, the breed was in danger of dying out. Fortunately, the efforts of dedicated breeders brought him back from the brink.

Appearance

Mudi Large Photo

This small to medium sized breed gives the impression of an athletic dog with a sturdy physique, distinct waistline, and long legs. Think of the silhouette of a Border Collie and you won’t be far off target.

He has a medium-length muzzle and an almost foxy face with prick ears and an alert expression. The Mudi may be born naturally docked or he may have a straight, medium length tail.

The Mudi has a coarse, waxy, medium-length coat and is a low shedder. His fur can be any of a variety of colours with the most common including:

  • Black
  • White
  • Yellow
  • Brown
  • Merle

Character & Temperament

Imagine a dog whose main wish in life is to be his master’s shadow. Such a dog is the Mudi. Quite simply, he’s a dog that loves people and especially adores his master. He’s the sort of dog that wants to tag alongside you, because you’re the best thing in the whole of his world.

On the plus side, the Mudi is wonderful for the pet parent who wants a loyal devoted dog, but on the minus side, it could become a tad annoying if you don’t want a canine shadow at all times. He can, however, dote so much on his two-legged family that he becomes suspicious of strangers or those outside his immediate pack.

The other side of the Mudi’s character is his love of being busy. His ancestors were working dogs used for herding and shepherding, and this shows through in a need to be actively engaged in activity. However, pair this yearning to be busy with a love of people and you get a dog that will excel at agility or obedience training.

Trainability

A combination of intelligence and an eagerness to please makes the Mudi a pleasure to train. This responsive dog will thrive when reward-based training methods are used, and will quickly become top of the training class.

Old-fashioned training methods based on domination are totally inappropriate where the Mudi is concerned. Not only is there no need for harsh discipline, but it will make the sensitive Mudi anxious or fearful, and impair the bond with his owner rather than strengthen it.

With a reputation for being a people-dog, it might be tempting to overlook properly socialising the Mudi. However, early socialisation of the pup remains just as important for this people-friendly breed as it does for others. Be sure to source a pup from a breeder who has her pups experience a variety of other people, sights, and sounds, then be sure to carry on this good start when you get the puppy home.

Health

It’s perhaps a function of the numbers of Mudi dogs being so low, that the breed has a reputation for being healthy. After all, if there aren’t many dogs out there, it’s difficult to be sure what problems are most common.

The Mudi should receive regular preventative health care in order to keep him fit and well. This includes annual vaccinations, deworming treatments, and parasite control.

Hip Dysplasia

Of the genetic health problems the Mudi may suffer from, the best recognised is hip dysplasia. This is when the hip joint anatomy is imperfect, causing the bones to knock against each other rather than move smoothly. This sets up inflammation within the joint, leading to pain and lameness.

Mild hip dysplasia can be controlled using anti-inflammatory medications, but the risk of developing early arthritis cannot be removed. For those dogs more seriously affected, then radical surgery, such as a total hip replacement, may be necessary.

Better than treatment is prevention. Given the prevalence of hip dysplasia in other, very popular breeds, there are screening programs in place to prevent unhealthy parents being used for breeding. However, whether these schemes will be adopted by Mudi breeders remains to be seen.

Exercise and Activity Levels

It’s no surprise, given his herding roots that the Mudi is an active dog. What he loves best is an activity he can do with his pet parent, which makes him the ideal companion for active families or seniors. He loves long walks or games of chase and will quickly master activities, such as “Fetch” or Frisbee catching. He’ll even love keeping his master or mistress company when they go out for a jog.

Be aware the Mudi is the dog equivalent of a kangaroo and loves to jump. Even though his is relatively small, on a good day, he can jump a six-foot fence. The wise owner therefore channels this athleticism in agility or another similar physical activity, at which the breed excels and therefore gives his jumping talent an appropriate outlet.

Grooming

The Mudi’s coarse curly coat is easy to care for and doesn’t require any professional grooming. It’s a good idea to brush him over, at least once a week, in order to spread naturally occurring conditioning oils over his coat. However, he doesn’t need to be bathed regularly other than for a seasonal spruce up or if he gets exceptionally dirty.

As with any dog, check him over after every walk for debris in his coat, ticks, or grass awns in the ears. It’s much easier to untangle a knot when you spot it early, than remove a full-blown mat.

The Mudi will benefit from daily tooth brushing in order to keep remove plaque and prevent tartar formation. By getting into a routine of good dental care, you can protect your Mudi’s teeth and reduce the need for dental attention under anaesthesia in later life.

Famous Mudis

The Mudi has been somewhat overshadowed by his more numerous and popular relative the Hungarian Puli. He is, therefore, an unsung hero, who is a star only but in the hearts of his many devoted owners. They know what a delightful and devoted companion he is, and don’t need celebrity owner endorsements to know what a great dog they own.

Cross-Breeds

With the numbers of Mudi’s being so low, at less than 1,000, the emphasis is very much on preserving the breed and preventing it from dying out. Thus, breeders tend to guard their breeding dogs closely and only use them for purebred mating.

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