In the early years of the official FCI Mudi breed founding in Hungary (1963), there was a need to have an open studbook to bring in not pedigreed Mudis to the registered Mudi fold for further registered Mudi breeding, this is how every purebred breed was started.
In the Mudi, those dogs with less than 3 full generation pedigrees had a B in their registration number, for example 1/B/65, the registration number of the very first Mudi, Rigó (pictured above). When the pedigree contained 3 full generations, the B was removed from the registration number. In late 2006, the B was changed to an R, which also remains in the registration number until the pedigree contains 3 full generations.
What determines closure of a breed’s studbook can be based on various things such as number of registered dogs, length of time, lack of interest, and other reasons. The decision to close the studbook can belong to the founding members of the breed, the current breed parent club or the purebred dog registry (FCI, AKC, etc.). It is likely different for every breed how and when it happens.
In the last century and the very early part of this one, it was highly recommended that these empty pedigree Mudis only be bred with 3 full generation Mudi partners. That advice was not always followed and in the most recent decades it is not uncommon for two empty pedigree Mudis to be bred together. There is no existing rule how the empty pedigree Mudi can be used in breeding.
In 2003 the Hungarian Parliament declared that the Hungarian dog breeds are now considered national treasures. And in 2017, the Hungarikum Committee classified all 9 Hungarian dog breeds, as Hungarikum. The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the management of these 9 breeds. From time to time there have been developments made to help the Hungarian breeds. For instance, a DNA parentage verification process for pups of these 9 breeds, born and registered in Hungary, was introduced several years ago, and from January 2021, free pedigrees are provided to the 9 breeds puppies.
As of July 2021, the MEOESZ studbook for the Mudi is still open, even though it is highly unlikely there are any Mudis living in secluded gene pools in the rural areas of Hungary. Mudi breeders in the last 20 years have scoured the countryside taking all they wanted from those remote stockpiles, either in the form of a puppy or adult, or convincing the owner to get a B pedigree so they could breed with it. For some Mudi breeders it was a side hobby to find new Mudis for breeding. Hungary is not a huge country, nor heavily sprinkled with isolated villages anymore, as it was 50-100 years ago. There are simply no more untapped Mudi stashes, or at least not enough to support keeping the Mudi stud book open.
Additionally, the incidence of professional shepherds in Hungary that use Mudis for herding has dropped considerably over the last 20 years, not that is was very large to begin with. Furthermore, the past and present Mudi breeders helped themselves to the genes of those shepherd owned Mudis as well, especially since many of those professional shepherds used pedigreed Mudis.
Returning to the Fold
To get an R (Registry) pedigree, the owner of dog which resembles a Mudi, takes it to an official breeding exam in Hungary, once the dog is one or more years old. A hip check with a score of A, B or C, is also required before the pedigree will be issued. At the breeding exam, the presented dog must meet the Mudi breed standard characteristics to be given the R pedigree, they can give whatever date of birth seems to be appropriate at the exam. Upon breeding exam approval, this dog will be given a Mudi R pedigree that has no parents’ names listed (examples provided below). Of course, it does involve paying a fee which is not cheap, but it is affordable. Where this ‘Mudi’ came from is not important for registration. To get breeding approval once the R pedigree is issued, this new Mudi must go to another breeding exam with a different judge than the first one that examined the dog. A DNA sample may also be taken at this time, but it may only come later when the new Mudi is bred. Upon approval at the second exam, the R Mudi can now be used in breeding.
What is the benefit of accepting dogs into a breed that do not have a pedigree as members of that breed? In animals, a restricted breeding group, over long periods of time, can suffer from lack of vigor and fitness, therefore the supplementation of different genes not present in the current gene pool, via the addition of new group members, is useful for improving an existing closed gene pools vitality and health, but only in those cases where these are truly different genes and not more of the same genes already widely spread in the current breeding population.
Why would someone want to pedigree their dog as a Mudi? In the cities, towns and villages of Hungary, there are Mudi-like puppies often created that do not have pedigrees. Sometimes one or both parents of these pups will have a pedigree and other times neither will, however the creator of these ‘Mudi pups without pedigrees’ usually provides a detailed Mudi parentage history which encourages the purchase of the pups. For some people it is not important if their new puppy or dog has a pedigree when they take it home. Many times owners of these pups decide to do dog sports and the pup and owner team turn out to be quite talented, which catches the attention of pedigree Mudi breeders and they convince the owner to get the dog an R pedigree so they can breed with it. A pedigree in some cases will also enable the owner to compete in a wider range of sporting events, so if your adult dog looks like a Mudi, you go to a breeding exam and the world of pedigree dog sports is now open to you and your Mudi as well as the world of Mudi breeding. Also there are puppies born here and there in Hungary from once pedigreed Mudi parents and grandparents that a breeder finds and wants to bring into their breeding program, many times they are fully aware of the pedigreed Mudis behind these pups or adults and some breeders even openly share their heritage. In either case, these are not newly discovered Mudi bloodlines, but Mudis that fell out of the registered gene pool for one or more generations, from once pedigreed parents. These are in effect recycled Mudis, they are not new blood.
While the Mudis in the above cases are rather innocently brought back to the registered Mudi fold by their owners, there are also planned ways to bring in R Mudis.
What are the rewards of an R Mudi in breeding? The advantage of an R Mudi is through the empty pedigree which offers certain benefits for breeding and puppy sales. It is easy to keep a puppy or two born in a litter out of the pedigree system. With an empty pedigree you can breed the R Mudi to its’ parent, sibling or offspring without anyone questioning the high inbreeding levels, as breeding with an empty pedigree R Mudi gives a 0.00% COI (Coefficient of Inbreeding). If the kennel, parents, or close relatives of the pup have known connections to any disease, temperament issue or other undesirable problem, the R Mudi will not have that association. You can claim at the breeding exam that the Mudi is older or younger, which can also have benefits. Possible breeding interest from other kennels is also a consideration. Another incentive to make an R Mudi is the desire of some foreign Mudi owners and breeders for Mudis with low COI levels they can use in their breeding programs, as there is evidence that animals with low levels of inbreeding are healthier. There are also foreign kennel clubs which emphasize low inbreeding levels should be maintained in purebred dog breeds as well. Unfortunately, in the case of these R Mudis, the low COI level benefit is artificial.
The purpose of the R Mudi registry is not to recycle previously registered Mudi stock. The R registry has run its course and it should be closed as the benefits no longer outweigh the risks of improper usage.
Muddying the Gene Pool
Where a new Mudi comes from might not be important at the breeding exam, however it is highly important in terms of the gene package that Mudi is now bringing to the Mudi breed gene pool.
While DNA testing is available and affordable today, it still cannot detect the genes we want to avoid most in the creation of Mudi puppies, such as those that produce the many orthopedic issues present in the Mudi as well as epilepsy, hypothyroidism, several eye diseases and albinism. There is quite a long list of health disorders that are appearing sporadically in the Mudi now and it is unlikely they will disappear.
The Mudi with an empty pedigree will not have any known connections to anything. Which means breeding with or buying a puppy from one of these R Mudis is playing Russian Roulette when it comes to health issues they can produce.
Health issues are the most important concern for any dog breed, because without good health, a dog is not able to have an active role in breeding, task performance or sports, and in many cases, the companionship of health troubled dogs is seriously compromised not only due to their physical inability, but from the financial and emotional costs as well. Therefore, health must have first priority in any breeding program.
Recent B/R Contributions to the Mudi Gene Pool
B/R Mudis that were not bred do not cause irreversible negative effects on the breed. Some B/R Mudis simply wanted to be able to do sports where a pedigree was required.
B/R Mudis that were bred many times however, have the potential to create a very large negative impact through the health issues carried in the genes of their puppies. I don’t think it was the intention for each B/R Mudi to be bred more than a few times, however that is not the case for many of them.
Some of the B/R Mudis used for breeding in the last 15 years which have created a serious negative impact on health issues in the Mudi breed are as follows. Please keep in mind that the number of litters and puppies I list can be much higher as I am not aware of every Mudi born and registered. Also there can be more health issues associated with these R Mudis that I am not aware of as well.
The following health issues have occurred in B/R Mudis puppies or grandpuppies born in the last 15 years:
R Male, born in 2010: 11 litters/35 pups/149 grandpups; some were affected with Hip Dysplasia (HD), Patella Luxation (PL), Spinal Anomalies (SA), Elbow Dysplasia (ED), Cataracts (Cat) or Epilepsy (Epi).
R Female, born in 2008: 10 litters/41 puppies/193 grandpups; some were affected with HD, PL, ED, Cat, Persistent Pupillary Membrane (PPM) or Epi.
B Female, born in 2005: 3 litters/10 puppies/72 grandpups; some were affected with PL, Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA), Auto-Immune Uveitis (AIU) or Epi.
R Female, born in 2008: 3 litters/6 puppies/29 grandpups; at least one was affected with Epi.
B Female, born in 2004: 5 litters/10 puppies/51 grandpups; some were affected with HD, PPM or Epi.
R Female, born in 2010: 2 litters/6 puppies/24 grandpups; some were affected with HD, SA, Distichiasis (Dist) or Epi.
R Female, born in 2008: 5 litters/16 puppies/107 grandpups; some are affected with Hypothyroidism (THY), SA, Missing Teeth, Retained Testicles or Early Age Blindness (EAB).
Other B/R Mudis bred in the last 15 years have also been the parent or grandparent of Mudis affected with the above health issues, as well as: Allergies, Extra Teeth, Deafness and more.
Many other R Mudis are just starting to be bred and it will be a few years before their negative contribution to the gene pool will be seen.
Of course Mudis with full pedigrees produce health issues too, but they were not taken into the breed with the intention that their contribution would be of benefit to the Mudi, as is the belief and reason behind allowing these R dogs into the breed – the R Mudis are supposed to bring good things to the breed, but that is obviously not the case.
Also the empty pedigree of a B/R Mudi does not allow cross referencing of health issues to other members of the pedigree which helps to avoid crossing of affected lines, which is known to reduce the occurrence of any health issue.
Of course not all B/R Mudis have created a health issue, mostly because they were only bred once or twice, thereby limiting their influence to a smaller portion of the future population, this is how they were meant to be used, instead the B/R privilege has been abused.
Push the Powers
All 9 Hungarian dog breed owners and breeders need to put pressure on the agencies that can correct these issues and others, that affect not only the Mudi, but the other 8 Hungarian breeds as well. These agencies are: the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture which manages the 9 Hungarian Dog Breed Treasures, the MEOESZ (Hungarian Kennel Klub), the Hungarian dog breed clubs and the MKOE (Hungarian Small Animal Orthopedic Association). These agencies need to promptly accomplish the following tasks for the immediate benefit of these 9 treasures:
MKOE: you need to have an official website listing the orthopedic test results for the 9 Hungarian breeds so breeders and puppy buyers can support those breeders that do health testing, as well as have confidence in the health test results being official (and not digitally altered). Ideally all test results should be made public, but if that is not possible, then the results the Hungarian breed clubs agree on as publishable, should be made available on an internet accessible list on the MKOE website.
Ideally MKOE orthopedic screening should be mandatory for breeding dogs, with breeding ability not connected to test results, which means dogs with any test result can be bred as long as the test result is made public. This would significantly increase the testing being done on the 9 Hungarian breeds and quite possibly improve their orthopedic health. This practice is successfully installed in many other FCI countries.
Any owner or breeder that brings a dog to an MKOE veterinarian for health screening must allow the x-rays to be sent to MKOE for evaluation, they cannot withhold possible poor scoring films from being sent in to MKOE for grading. This rule is also applied in other FCI countries, so it can be applied in Hungary as well. This way the MKOE will have a clear picture of the level of orthopedic issues occurring in these 9 Hungarian breeds.
Orthopedic screening and research should be done with the 9 Hungarian breeds to determine their status and make recommendations to the breed clubs for improving the orthopedic health. For example, determining which orthopedic screenings need to be evaluated for each breed’s specific areas of concern. There should be national grants available for such research.
Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture: all puppies/adults of the 9 Hungarian breeds cannot be advertised as being a Mudi/Puli/Pumi/etc., unless they have a pedigree. A pedigree is a birth and identity certificate. Without a pedigree one dog is not different from another, but with a pedigree it becomes an official member of that breed and should have the benefit of being considered a national treasure in Hungary most of all, as the official decrees made in 2003 and 2017 intended.
Currently anyone can advertise in any public media outlet in Hungary that they have Mudi puppies for sale that do not have a pedigree and will not ever have a pedigree. This practice needs to be forbidden. Only Mudi puppies with pedigrees or have pedigrees applied for, should be actively sold on any public media source as Mudi puppies.
If you can only name a sparkling wine that was grown in a particular region of France, from particular grapes, Champagne, then only puppies with a pedigree can be called Mudi (Puli, Pumi, etc.). You cannot call any cheese Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan), Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (Mozzarella), Roquefort or Stilton, that was not made in those areas either. You cannot call any sweet wine Tokaji. So why should any puppy/dog that does not have a pedigree be called Mudi (or Pumi, Puli, Kuvasz, Komondor, Vizsla, Drótszőrű magyar vizsla, Magyar agár, Erdélyi kopó)?
If the government wants to preserve and protect these 9 Hungarian breeds, then they need to start by legally declaring only pedigreed individuals have the right to use these 9 Hungarian breed names in Hungary in any way, shape or form. The selling of unpedigreed 'Mudi' puppies on internet sales websites, and all other public media sources, as Mudi puppies or adults, when they do not have a pedigree, needs to end now.
Stopping the advertised sales of unpedigreed Mudis as Mudis, will also have the effect of creating more pedigreed Mudi puppies, which is what the gift of free pedigrees for the 9 Hungarian breeds was also meant to support.
Additionally, provide grant funding for MKOE research and other beneficial research for the 9 Hungarian breeds, such as DNA genetic disease identification that specifically affects the 9 treasured breeds. For example, CDA (Color Dilution Alopecia) in the Mudi.
MEOESZ: you need to close the studbook for the Mudi as of December 31, 2021. The R registry no longer serves the purpose it was intended for. At this point it does more harm than good for the Mudi breed as shown above.
You need to make sure the pedigrees for the 9 Hungarian breeds are processed fast and correct so puppies may be advertised as their treasured breed name and the pedigree is ready to go home with the puppy. The pedigree application process should be given priority for the 9 Hungarian breeds to enable this.
Closing the studbook will also stop the sales of unpedigreed Mudis that are often promoted to have the ability to become an official Mudi by procurement of an R pedigree later on. When this R pedigree loophole is closed, unpedigreed Mudi puppies will become less popular and therefore less likely to be produced. Pedigreed Mudi puppies will become the only Mudi puppies available, as it should be.
Hungarian Breed Clubs: You need to make sure your responsibility in the pedigree process is handled quickly and efficiently and the pedigrees are checked for obvious errors before they are handed to the breeder. If the pedigrees are incorrect, as does happen, you need to make sure they are reprocessed rapidly.
You need to list the litter applications in process on the club website so the breeders can advertise their litters for sale with properly identified pedigree processing underway, so buyers wanting pedigreed pups know which puppies are available that will have a pedigree.
These are just a few things that these agencies can do to assure that the 9 Hungarian Dog Breed Treasures have the bright future they deserve and the Mudi is no longer the neglected treasure. Apart from the needed research grants, these things are not expensive to enact and would likely provide additional revenue for these organizations.
Mudi R Pedigree Examples