Mudi: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

mudi dog sitting in grass

 

UroshPetrovic / Getty Images

A Hungarian herding breed, the Mudi is an intelligent and agile breed that serves as both a versatile farm dog and a loyal protector of his or her family. These alert, powerful dogs are courageous enough to herd the most stubborn livestock while standing guard over their homes without the need for an overly aggressive nature. They're multi-talented, hard-working dogs that still make gentle, loyal family pets.

Breed Overview

Group: Herding

Weight: 18 to 29 pounds

Height: 15 to 18.5 inches

Coat: Short and straight on face and front of legs, wavy to curly throughout body

Coat Colors: Black, brown, gray, gray-brown, white, merle

Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

Characteristics of the Mudi

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Mudi

A medium-sized herding dog hailing from Hungary, the Mudi dog has been around since the 19th century. The original name for Hungarians, the Magyars, began keeping sheepdogs around the end of the ninth century—at that time, the breed were only grouped into two categories, large or small, as pedigree breeding and the classification of dogs didn’t start until the second half of the 19th century.

It’s believed that the breed evolved from crosses of the Puli, Pumi and German Spitz breeds. When breeding, the small dogs were typically divided from the larger ones and interbred. The Mudi shares its early history with both the Pumi and the Puli.

Sometime around 1930, Dr. Deszö Fényesi, who was a director of the museum in Balassagyarmat, was one of the first breeders to began breeding the small Mudi sheepdog separately. He has been credited for naming the breed, which was officially recognized by 1936.

World War II severely impacted several Hungarian breeds—in fact, some almost disappeared, and the Mudi was already a rare breed. In the 1960s, the breed was rehabilitated, and a few years later a new breed standard was written by Dr. Zoltan Balassy when applying for FCI recognition (the main differences between the original standard and the new one were accepted sizes and colors). The new breed standard was approved in 1966, but few remained interested in breeding Mudi dogs—which still remains the case today.

However, the restoration of the breed continued over the next few decades, and another new standard was written yet again in 2000 to include some of the original colors—in 2004, the Mudi appeared on a Hungarian postage stamp to honor the dogs, which are considered national treasures, and they were also recorded in the Foundation Stock Service the same year. The Mudi is currently the only herding breed that includes the merle color and as well as solid white-colored dogs.

Today the Mudi remains very rare—there are no more than a few thousand Mudi worldwide, with the greatest numbers being in Hungary, followed by Finland. The breed is scarce in other parts of the world, including the United States, Europe, and Canada. However, these dogs are still a sought-after working breed, and are happiest when herding both cattle and sheep; the breed still actively herds with Hungarian shepherds and their flocks containing as many as 500 sheep.

The Mudi has also been used as a search and rescue dog in both Finland and the United States. The breed excels at agility, obedience, and flyball, among other dog sports; they’ve been eligible to compete in companion events since 2008, and more recently, they were approved to compete in the Miscellaneous Class effective June 27, 2018, represented by the Mudi Club of America.

Mudi Care

The Mudi is considered an all-purpose, low-maintenance breed that's easy to care for. They only require occasional baths, combing or brushing to remove dead hair, and routine nail care. The Mudi is an average shedder.

However, the Mudi is a very energetic, playful dog, and will require a fenced-in yard and leashed walks (or runs) for daily exercise. They can be a relaxed, affectionate family companion indoors as long as they’ve received sufficient exercise throughout the day; they can be mischievous when they have too much pent-up energy and have a penchant for digging (and jumping). They love to run and excel at games including flyball and Frisbee.

The Mudi is a vocal and alert breed that’s adaptable and eager to please, so they are very trainable (and they will have to be taught not to bark unnecessarily). They are also wary of strangers and therefore can make excellent watchdogs, especially because they’re always enthusiastic about having a job to do. They are generally friendly with other household pets and make a gentle, affectionate companion for children and families as long as they have been trained and socialized properly.

Mudi, young female, color fako, lying
Sabine Schurhagel / Getty Images
grey mudi in agility training
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mudi dog running
 

Common Health Problems

The Mudi is an overall healthy breed, but some of these dogs have been affected by conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia and certain eye conditions.

Diet and Nutrition

The Mudi should perform well with a high-quality commercially or home-prepared (under veterinary supervision) dog food. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. As with all breeds, treats should be given in moderation and their diet should be controlled in order to avoid weight gain or obesity-related issues.

Pros
  • Protective of their inner circle

  • Affectionate and family-friendly

Cons
  • Tendency to bark

  • Can be aggressive if not socialized

Where to Adopt or Buy a Mudi

Be sure to check your local animal shelters and rescue groups for Mudi dogs that are in need of a forever home. Since they are a rare breed, national rescue organizations such as the Mudi Club of America can be a helpful source of information to help you find your new best friend.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Be sure to do your homework when choosing a dog breed. Talk to other Mudi owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more about this particular breed and their care. There's a variety of dog breeds, and with a little research, you can be sure you'll find the right dog to bring home.

If you’re interested in learning more about similar dogs, consider these other breeds: