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Nicole Cosgrove

June 9, 2021

mudi dog

The Mudi is a small to medium sized breed from Hungary bred to be a herding dog. It is closely related to the Pumi and Puli and was actually considered the same breed until fairly recently in the 1930s. It is kept as a working dog still but is also successful in dog shows and sporting events, and a very good companion. Dog sports it excels in includes Flyball and Frisbee. Its life span is 12 to 14 years and it is also called the Hungarian Mudi and Canis Ovilis Fenyesi. The plural form of Mudi in Hungarian is Mudik and Mudi is pronounced ‘Moody’.

The Mudi at a Glance
Name Mudi (plural is Mudik)
Other names Hungarian Mudi, Canis Ovilis Fenyesi
Nicknames None
Origin Hungary
Average size Small to medium
Average weight 18 to 29 pounds
Average height 14 to 20 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Medium wavy or curly, with short hair on the face and legs
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black, white, yellow, brown, gray and merle
Popularity Not yet recognized by the AKC
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Good
Tolerance to cold Good to very good
Shedding Average – will be some hair around the home
Drooling Moderate – not especially prone
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Moderate to average – brush about twice a week
Barking Frequent – training to stop on command may be a good idea
Exercise needs Fairly high – best with active owners
Trainability Easy to train
Friendliness Good to very good
Good first dog Very good
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with early socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with early socialization
Good with other pets Very good with early socialization
Good with strangers Good with socialization but initially wary
Good apartment dog Moderate to good – is small but needs space and a yard and its barking would be an issue
Handles alone time well Low – does not like to be alone for long periods
Health issues Fairly healthy but some issues can include Hip dysplasia, eye problems and epilepsy
Medical expenses $460 a year for pet insurance and basic health care
Food expenses $140 a year for treats and a good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $220 a year for license, training (basic), miscellaneous items and toys
Average annual expenses $820 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,500
Rescue organizations Hungarian Mudi Dogg Puppy Rescue Canada, Rescue Mudi Club of America, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Mudi’s Beginnings

The Mudi comes from rural Hungary and it is thought in its natural development are crosses with the Puli, Pumi and some German Spitz type dogs. This led to a herding dog that is small but effective at herding sheep and cattle as well as being a good companion and a good watchdog for farms. It was also a good hunter able to deal with wild animals as well as a good vermin hunter of things like weasel and mice. The exact time of its development is not something that everyone agrees upon, some say it was in the last century and some say its beginnings are a lot earlier.

For a long time Hungarian herding dogs were all put together as one breed just identified differently by sizes but that change in the 1930s. In 1936 Dr Dezso Fenyes separated the breed from the Pumi and Puli and identified it as its own specific breed and it then became known as the driver dog. Standards were written for it but it has suffered several problems that have caused numbers to be affected. First of all not long after its recognition many were lost in World War II when breeders and dogs suffered extreme difficulty. Then older and more well known breeds like the Komondor and Puli were and still are more popular and were being chosen over the Mudi.

New Lease on Life

The Mudi today is not a common breed, even in its home country it is a rare breed and possibly the least known breed from Hungary. The FCI gave it official recognition in 1966 and the UKC recognized it 40 years later in 2006. It is still used as a herding dog in Hungary, sometimes with flocks as large as 500, and it has also been used in mountain rescues. But there are only a few thousand in total now and it could be facing extinction if it were not for the focus of some committed breeders.

The Dog You See Today

The Mudi is a small to medium sized dog weighing 18 to 29 pounds and standing 14 to 20 inches tall. The height and weight can vary a little though in this dog as the focus is more on its working and herding ability rather then sticking to strict standard rules. The dog has a long and straight back, wide set hing legs that give it better balance and can have a variety of tail lengths. Some puppies are born without one, but those that are longer the tail is held up and curls.

The head is wedge shaped and it has strong jaws and a pointed snout. Its eyes are oval shaped and dark brown in color and it has erect ears that are V shaped upside down. There is short hair on the front of the legs and the muzzle and that becomes more bristle like as it gets closer to the ears. The coat elsewhere though is wavy to curly and dense and the hair is about 2 inches long, shiny and common colors are grey, red, brown, black, white, fawn and a rarer color of blue merle (though any color is possible).

The Inner Mudi


This dog is a working dog and a companion. As a worker it is hardworking, competent, bold, fearless and has a lot of stamina. But it also has a lot going for it in terms of personality and companionship. It is not just a good watch dog and guard dog, though it is those too, it will bark to alert you to intruders or strangers approaching for example. It is also a loving dog, gentle and forms very close bonds with its owners, sometimes more so one person than the rest, but still affectionate with everyone.

It should be even tempered as long as it is well raised and well exercised. With strangers it tends to be aloof at first, it needs proper introductions and then will judge whether this person is someone that can be trusted. With its family though it is not reserved, it is playful, happy, friendly and loyal. It does not like to be left for long periods alone. It is a frequent barker though and it should be trained to stop on command. It should also be trained to stop nipping and herding the family as those herding instincts can be strong.

Living with a Mudi

What will training look like?

Unlike its close relatives the Mudi is easy to train when you take the right approach. Be positive as scolding and physical punishments will make it more reluctant and will not motivate it to do better. It responds well to treats as an incentive in its training sessions and owners need to be confident, firm, patient and consistent. It is intelligent and athletic so it can also do well training in a variety of show events or sporting ones. Keep the sessions interesting and do them more often. Also make sure you start the socialization early, really as soon as you have it home with you. Let it get used to different people, sounds, places, animals and situations. Keep in mind that sometimes housebreaking can be a bit harder. It is key to set a schedule that has it going outside for bathroom breaks very regularly and stick to that.

How active is the Mudi?

Mudik are active dogs and needs a lot of physical exercise each day but their mental stimulation should also be done daily too. It needs to be with active owners, and preferably kept as a working dog as that is what it loves to do. Without that it should have something else fill that gap like training in a doggy sport. Though it is on the small side it is best in rural areas in homes with a yard that is secure rather than an apartment. Its barking could also be a problem in close living situations. Take it for two long walks a day, play with it daily, give it opportunities to be safely off leash on a regular basis. If a Mudi does not get enough activity it can become difficult to live with, destructive and get into a lot of trouble. Be prepared that it does love to dig so a place where it is fine for it to do so in the yard is a good idea.

Caring for the Mudi

Grooming needs

This dog has a much easier coat to handle than some of the other Hungarian herders. It is short and and easy to groom and sheds dirt and such. Brushing once or twice a week should be sufficient and it is rare for it to need any kind of professional grooming. It does shed an average amount and in spring will shed a heavier amount so that will need cleaning up. Only give it a bath when it is especially needing one, too much bathing can affect its natural oils and lead to skin problems. A canine shampoo is really the only product you should use for the same reasons.

There are other grooming needs such as looking after its teeth and gums, its ears and its nails. Its ears need to be checked weekly for infection signs like redness, bad odor or wax build up and then cleaned using a damp cloth or ear cleanser. Its nails need to be clipped when too long, making sure you know where to cut. Canine nails have nerves and blood vessels in the lower half which if cut will bleed and hurt. Its teeth need to be brushed using a dog toothpaste and brush at least two to three times a week.

Feeding Time

This dog will need around 1 to 2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. How much can vary between dogs depending on its level of activity, size, health, metabolism and age. Make sure it always has access to water and that it is fresh as possible.

How is the Mudi with other animals and children?

The Mudi can be good with children with good socialization and when raised with them but it does tend to try and herd them will will need to be curbed. Supervise young children and make sure they are taught how to play and touch dogs nicely. They get on well with other dogs usually with socialization and with non-canine pets, again with socialization but can be aggressive with other animals that it does not know.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Mudi will live between 12 to 14 years and it is a fairly healthy dog. A few issues that can come up include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, epilepsy and patellar luxation.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks against people causing bodily harm over more than 3 decades in North America there is no mention of the Mudi. It is not a dog likely to attack people but all dog breeds no matter size or breed have that potential, there is no dog breed that is 100% safe. You can help though by making sure you give it training and socialization and make sure it is well fed, exercised and given the attention it needs.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

From a decent breeder a Mudi puppy will cost about $1500 for a pet quality dog. If you want something from a more well known or respected top Mudi breeder you will pay even more. Mudi are not easy to find even in their home country, so expect finding one to take time and more money and potentially being placed on a waiting list. Avoid using untrustworthy places like puppy mill places, pets stores or backyard breeders. There is also the great option of looking at local rescues or shelters for your new pet. These are fees if around $50 to $400 and have initial medical needs dealt with already.

Once you have your dog or puppy you need to have some things for it like a crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and such. These initial items will cost about $210. There are also some initial medical procedures and tests needed once you have it. It needs things like its shots, blood tests, a physical examination, spaying or neutering, deworming and a micro chip. These will be around $270.

There are also continuous costs when you have a pet. Basic health care like updating shots, vet check ups and flea and tick prevention along with canine insurance will cost about $460 annually. $140 a year will cover the cost of its good quality dry dog food and treats. Other annual costs like miscellaneous items, license, toys and basic training will be another $220. This leads to a total starting figure cost of $820 a year.


Looking for a Mudi Name? Let select one from our list!

The Mudi is a hard working, athletic and active dog that also brings with it devotion, loyalty, affection and playfulness. It needs active owners and be prepared for those herding instincts. If it is not herding for you it will try to herd something else anyway! Make sure it is well socialized so it interacts well with children and other animals and that should also ensure it is not overly suspicious of strangers.

Featured Image Credit: PxHere

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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