What Is A Mudi?

Canis Ovilis Fényesi

The Mudi (pronounced “moody”) is a medium-sized herding dog from Hungary which has been in existence since the 19th century. It is said the Mudi evolved naturally from crosses of the Puli, Pumi and German Spitz breeds. Today, the Mudi, though very rare, is seen as an active, intelligent, biddable working breed.

It is estimated there are no more than a few thousand Mudi worldwide – and currently only about 300 live in the United States. Mudis excel at sports, including agility, obedience, disc, and dock diving. They are a true working breed, excel in herding both cattle and sheep, and has found fame as a search and rescue dog in both Finland and the U.S. (Adapted from AKC.) Mudi are currently AKC Foundation Stock Service recognized and UKC Herding Group recognized.

Mudi come in both a tailed and naturally bobbed variety. Tails should never be docked. They are prick-eared – drop or tipped ears are also unacceptable.

FCI Standard AKC Standard UKC Standard

Size: 15-17″ at the withers, 17-28 pounds

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Coat: the coat should not be long, but thick and wavy-to-curly in texture. The level of curl varies between dogs and lines, but a Mudi can range from soft waves to tight, kinky curls. They do not have a Pumi or poodle type curl. The coat should be thick and no part of the dog should be hairless or sparsely-furred.

Temperament: I like to describe Mudi as 70% herding dog, 20% terrier, and 10% spitz. Their herding side is surely dominant, but the cheekiness and attitude of the terrier will rear its head from time to time, and occasionally – when it suits her – the Mudi’s spitz side will come out just long enough to give her handler the middle finger and keep doing what she wants.

It is important to keep in mind that the role of the Mudi historically was to be an all-around farm helper and guardian. Mudi are inquisitive and observant, highly sensitive to changes in their environment. They are alert barkers and always will be – but they should happily accept a stranger when given the “A-OK.” Mudi are brave, and will not hesitate to charge into a situation if they feel their assistance is needed.

Mudi can be fearful and reactive if not properly socialized at a very young age. Additionally, some lines can be more fearful than others. These dogs can struggle to accept strangers in their environment, and display fearful aggression with other dogs. Thanagar Mudi prioritizes temperament above all else because of these potential concerns.

Exercise requirements: Mudi need regular, intense exercise – but they should have an “off switch” indoors and settle easily with training. Mudi are energy-efficient and do not tire easily, and they recharge quickly. This breed is highly regarded for its speed, agility, and intelligence – all qualities that will quickly turn your home into a parkour course if proper outlets are not provided.

Training requirements: Training early and often are absolute necessities with Mudi. If left to their own devices, Mudi can easily slide into their classic niche: the high-alert farm dog, ready to charge into battle at a moment’s notice. Careful socialization, training neutral responses, and desensitization to the environment are critical for young Mudi to become appropriately social dogs.

Mudi are brilliant thinkers and love a challenge, but can grow bored with repetition. Trainers must keep sessions short and lively, with high rates of reinforcement. They love movement and are excellent problem-solvers. Many Mudi will work for food and toys, though one would be unlikely to find the toy drive of a Border Collie or Malinois when working with a Mudi.

Grooming requirements: The Mudi is your typical “wash & wear” herding dog. Some Mudi are light, seasonal shedders while others may shed more heavily – in the case of a heavy shedder, more regular brushing may be necessary. They have a hardy, dirt repelling coat that typically does not mat or cord. At most, the Mudi should receive monthly bathing and be air-dried, never blown, then combed sparingly if tangles are present.