Monday, April 25, 2022

Please AKC no more MUDIK!

Thank you MCA for writing to the AKC once again!
Apparently the AKC will stop using Mudik!
Thank you AKC for listening!  

The petition has been closed.

Thank you everyone for signing it and supporting this simple yet important step for the Mudi in America!

We did it, we were the change!  
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

If you are an owner, breeder or fan of the Mudi, living in any country of the world, I would like to ask you to sign my petition to the American Kennel Club requesting them to stop using the Hungarian plural for the Mudi breed, when speaking or writing in English. The correct English plural for Mudi is Mudis.


The parent club for the Mudi in America (Mudi Club of America) has asked the AKC to stop using Mudik, but the AKC refused. How the AKC can refuse to honor the breed parent club request, is as incomprehensible as is their persistence in using Mudik.


There is simply no reason to use Mudik when speaking English. None.


I am not against the usage of foreign words when speaking English, as long as they are words and not names. For example the use of uber (über, German), al dente and alfresco (Italian), en masse (French) and a very long list of others (link below) are used when speaking or writing English. And with the exception of one on this list of 170+ examples, all are words or phrases used for situations, feelings, descriptions, music and food terms, etc. These are words that do not 'belong' to anyone or anything in particular. Unlike the Mudi which is a specific name for a dog breed, that also happens to be officially classified as a Hungarian National Treasure.


If it was a simple Hungarian word or phrase like nincs kecmec, király, or hülyeség, I would not be writing this post.


Over the many years I have been involved with the Mudi, the use of Mudik when using English has caused much confusion, and this is one of the main reasons the practice needs to stop. The photo below is a collection I made of how Mudik has been used incorrectly, along with the other popular questions I often get: 'What's a Mudik?" "Is Mudik some variety of Mudi?"



Thank you for taking the time to sign the petition!


https://www.lexico.com/explore/foreign-words-and-phrases


Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Mythical Mudi



With the rise of Mudi breed fame recently, the myths that circle the Mudi breed enthusiasts are more rampant than ever.

I have been involved with the Mudi for 20 years, I live in Hungary for almost that long. I am married to a native born Hungarian that has been in the Mudi for even longer than I have.

I personally submitted the application to the AKC FSS for the Mudi breed in 2003. The Mudi was accepted to the AKC FSS in 2004. I have the documents to prove it.

I could fill a book about my adventures in the breed, as I am sure many with even more years in the breed could as well. Even with all this time and breed knowledge I have acquired, I still do not consider myself to be a breed expert, even though it has been my main free time concern for these past 20 years. Living in Hungary has certainly provided me with great access to Mudi breed information and Mudi breed experience, that many other Mudi owners have not had an opportunity for, yet it does not seem to deter them from scattering ‘romantic tales’ regarding the breed wherever they go. I understand that most people do it out of love and excitement for their new found breed, but spreading misinformation is not often beneficial. I think we all learned what harm misinformation can do in these last two years.

Retirement is long overdue for some of the more commonly shared 'legends' about the Mudi, so let's get on with putting these myths to rest.

A Pumi, a Mudi and a Pumi-Mudi.  Which is which?

Myth #1: The Mudi was created by crossing Pumi, Puli, Spitz and almost any other breed or breed type together.

Truth: The Mudi was not created, it is a landrace that occurred naturally, from breeding together the local herding dogs used in the area for many hundreds of years, which eventually bred true to a recognizable type by the late 1800’s, at the latest.

Additionally, the majority of dog breeds only started to become recognizable and officially named and entered into stud books in this same time era as the Mudi, meaning the ‘breeds’ claimed to be behind Mudi creation were no more official or widespread than the Mudi was itself. How likely was an official breed of any kind to be found, in the very remote countryside’s of Hungary in the 1800’s?

Furthermore, even in the last 20 years, Puli and Pumi litters have Mudi puppies born into them, rarely, but it has been documented within the Pumi, I even met with one in Hungary and have seen several others in pictures, and I saw a picture of a Mudi born into a Puli litter as well in the UK. Whereas Mudi litters never have Pumi or Puli puppies born into them. Which begs the eternal chicken-egg question, which came first?

Please stop the many versions of Mudi creation stories circling the globe. The Mudi is a landrace and deserves that recognition, not romance novel tales.



Myth #2: The correct plural for Mudi is Mudik.

Truth: The correct plural of Mudi is Mudis or Mudi’s, when speaking English. I wrote to AKC years ago about it, it was even published in the Gazette, but they refuse to do the needful and quit this fad. When I see in the AKC show catalogs the breed name is listed as Mudik, I want to run with scissors. It is not Hungarian Mudi either, it is just Mudi.

If I had a dollar for every person that asked me what is a Mudik? Is it some variety of Mudi? I could buy a new computer.

The Hungarian language does not capitalize proper names as English does which means to use mudik correctly, the m should be lower case. Therefore, using Mudik is incorrect. So ok, then why not just use mudik?

The use of the Hungarian plural - mudik - is only used by Americans. Europeans when speaking English do not use this term ever!

Native English speakers do not use the plural forms of dog breeds originating in any other country, just the Hungarian breeds. Why? Trendy misappropriation. It is simply disrespectful to take terms and items from other cultures for an avantgarde purpose.

It is not understood by Hungarians, why Americans have incorporated only this particular word (mudik) when they speak English. But cannot use the correct spelling of Hungarian names with their proper letters (á, é, í, ó, ö, ü, ű for example). I often wonder if mudik was spelled müdík how many would be so inclined to toss it about.

When speaking Hungarian, you do not pluralize a noun when you indicate a specific number, for example, when speaking Hungarian, you would not say you have 3 mudis, you would say you have 3 mudi. Which means whenever English speakers that use Mudik say they have 3 Mudik, it is painfully obvious they are clueless about the true usage of the hijacked mudik term.

Please stop using mudik and give respect to the nation that gifted this breed to you, by not using their language inappropriately. It is Mudis, or Mudi’s when speaking or writing the English pluralized form of Mudi.


Myth #3: Shepherds that used the Mudi were not concerned with the look of their dogs, it was all about their working ability.

Truth: The shepherds were very interested in how their Mudi looked, and we interviewed several professional Hungarian shepherds and met with many others that all required their Mudis to have certain looks. Some wanted tails and others preferred tailless. Some even had favored colors. All shepherds we met liked bigger sized Mudis, not the ‘szoba Mudi’ - ‘room Mudi’ they called the small show and sport type Mudis being produced in the last 20 years.

The shepherds and the people living on the farms and in villages lived very colorful and decorative lives as seen in the local embroidery styles, ceramics, lacework, wood carving, woolen clothes, household goods, and in the shepherds vests, which were one form of competition they had amongst themselves. They even had ornate crooks and fancy collars for their dogs and more.

While working ability was a main concern, how that Mudi looked like was also very important to them.

Don’t breed the Mudi based on working ability alone, breed the Mudi for its traditional physical characteristics as well, as this is what the shepherds who developed the breed did and still do today.


This is not a Mudi, it is a Sinka.


Myth #4: The Mudi should be small so that it can jump on the backs of the sheep. Especially when it is needed to move them out of the burning barn! <Warning! Gruesome situation description ahead!>

Truth: I almost wanted to leave this one off as it is ridiculous on so many levels.

Are barn fires so common that anyone would specifically and selectively breed for this reason? No.

I am not a shepherd, but I have had to escape a burning building and instinct drove me to get out fast. I would venture a guess that if you open the barn doors, the sheep will come out on their own too, if they are able. Sending in your dog to a burning barn to chase out dead, dying, burning sheep is a pointless waste of a good dog’s life that I doubt most shepherds would be willing to risk.

Is the Mudi required to jump on the backs of the sheep for any reason? No. And even if it were, other larger herding breeds can back sheep, so making a smaller Mudi is not relevant to that task. Actually, a taller Mudi would find it much easier to back a sheep than a small one, especially when caught in the middle of a flock of sheep that are a much larger and heavier than the Mudi.

This is just a rubbish fairy tale, do not take it as any serious reason to make smaller Mudis, especially as the shepherds preferred them larger in reality.




Myth #5: The Mudi was used to herd large flocks of Racka sheep and that is why it is sharp and reactive.

Truth: The Mudi was selected to herd all kinds of sheep, not just Racka. Also the Mudi was used for cattle, pigs, ducks, geese, kids, whatever needing tending. The Mudi is the fence that protects and keeps the flock of whatever, together, and away from danger. A sharp reactive Mudi would be a disaster in this type of fenceless environment.

Racka sheep are not that common today and possibly weren’t in the previous two to three hundred years either. When the merino and other domestic wool sheep breeds came to Hungary several hundred years ago, their benefits outweighed the Racka’s benefits in many ways and quickly the domestic wool sheep became the main sheep breeds in Hungary, as well as much of the world. The Racka, while lovely to look at, is an almost feral type of sheep, and herding with a sharp, reactive dog would cause them to escape by any means possible, even to the point of doing themselves and others harm. Damaged sheep are a big problem, not tolerated by any shepherd. For Racka, you need a very cool, calm, biddable dog. Not all Mudis can herd Racka, they can be very aggressive with a dog they know is weak.

The Mudis kept by professional shepherds that used them on various sheep breeds that I met, were neither sharp, nor reactive. The Mudis used on cows weren’t either.

Sharp and reactive terms often mean different things to different people. However, a Mudi should not be sharp or reactive in any meaning of the words when it comes to livestock herding. Fast, agile, smart, biddable, able to control the flock without inflicting damage, absolutely, this is what is required from a herding Mudi.

Stop making excuses for Mudis with poor temperament from imagined purposes.



Myth #6: Mudis come in all colors and patterns and should be allowed in all colors/patterns as the breed standard originally mentioned them. And to exclude them would hurt the gene pool.

Truth: First let’s make it clear what is color and what is pattern and what is allowed under the original Mudi breed standard and the current FCI breed standard.

Color is the base color of the dog, pattern is the addition of markings that can be white, brown, black, tan or mottle/mix the base color.

Colors allowed by the FCI include: black, white, yellow, brown, ash

Colors not allowed are only one: albino

Pattern allowed includes only one: merle

Patterns not allowed are any other pattern occurring in dogs, but most commonly: black and tan markings, brown and tan markings, ashbrown and tan markings, black and silver markings, merle and tan markings, white markings or patches (except for a very small chest patch, on solids or on merles), saddle, mask, brindle, sable, agouti/wild/wolf, and any mixture of these with or without merle.

What was originally chosen for the Mudi is any solid base color and merle. The current FCI standard, which comes from Hungary, does not allow or disallow ashbrown, it is simply ignored in either the allowed or disallowed sections of the standard. This also applies to brown merle, ash merle, ashbrown merle and white/yellow merles – these are simply left out as they did not exist in the days when the FCI standard was written. In those days merle was extremely rare, not like it is today. And ashbrown dogs were considered to be light brown.

I have the original breed documents and standards and they do not claim the breed is acceptable in all patterns, nor did all patterns have historical acknowledgement. Not to mention the genetics known behind colors was non-existent till more recent times, meaning here, that colors and patterns were often incorrectly described and misunderstood how they occurred. For example, merle was often described as black and white patches mixed. Think about it yourself, how would you explain merle coloration to someone that never saw it, keeping in mind it is different on every dog.

If the breed allows brown and ash, it must allow ashbrown. If the breed allows merle, it must allow merle in all colors. Why? Because breeding together the allowed colors can create other colors +/- merle, you cannot, not produce them by normal breeding of the allowed colors. It is a tough concept to explain, but it is genetically sound.

For example: If you breed a black to a black merle and both carry brown, you can produce brown merles. If you breed a brown to a white/yellow, you can produce white/yellow with brown pigment if the white/yellow parent carries brown. Technically this is a brown dog with white/yellow fur. These colors cannot be avoided as they are made by breeding of the allowed colors.

There is only one color exception and that is albino, which is not allowed due to health reasons. There is no DNA test to help avoid it yet.

The founder of the breed chose all solid colors and merle as the pattern as this is what he found to be most common and probably also preference had a part as his favorite Mudi was a merle. As the discoverer of the breed, he has the rights for deciding what it should look like. The breed is named for him as well. In his writings all other patterns were to be removed from breeding stock. It was not implied they should be killed, just not used for breeding. This is the tradition we must uphold today and for the many generations of Mudis to come.

Every breed has a recognizable physical and behavioral recipe (called the breed standard) that enable its members to be identified as belonging to that breed. Allowing, or choosing, to breed with not allowable colors/patterns changes the recipe for the breed. You cannot change ingredients in traditional food recipes and still call the dish by the traditional name. However breeding dogs is much more serious than cooking a meal.

Who among us has the authority to change the recipe for the Mudi made by the founder?

The occurrence in the Mudi of unrecognized color and pattern is very rare considering the number of Mudi puppies born. While it may appear there are a lot of these Mudis around, appearances can be deceiving. Most of the Mudis in these unrecognized patterns are from very popular owners, that place many pictures to social media, and these are in turn shared by others, it makes these non-recognized patterns appear to be more common than they really are.  Old picture examples also make the rounds from time to time.

No one has said these unrecognized pattern Mudis do not deserve good homes, they do, of course. Owners are welcome to sport with them and make them beloved family members and companions, but do not breed them and do not pressure the other breed owners, breeders and Mudi clubs to change the standard to accept your Mudis unrecognized pattern that you chose to bring into your life. There is no justification for allowing a very small percentage of a breed’s population to call the shots.

There are plenty of recognized color/merle Mudis that can be used for breeding and not allowing breeding of this very small portion of non-recognized patterns will not limit the gene pool as is constantly suggested. In practically every case the unrecognized pattern Mudi has littermates that are of recognized colors that can be used for breeding. If the littermates did not get such a popular owner to show off their greatness, it does not make them less worthy for breeding.

If you want a Mudi for companion purposes, don’t select a puppy mainly based on color. If however you have even for one second entertained the thought of possibly breeding or winning dog shows, then make sure to choose a Mudi in a solid color or typical merle pattern, with no white markings, except for a very small chest patch. Beware that there are breeders out there that will sell you not-recognized patterns for breeding and showing purposes, knowing they are not allowed for that purpose in their own country and maybe even the country of destination.



Myth #7: There are less than 600 Mudis in the USA; less than 3000 worldwide.

Truth: Depending on what these statements are trying to point out specifically, that is, 600/3000 ever? Or currently? 

The worldwide Mudi population is currently about 5000+ Mudis alive today. Since the beginning of the official stud book in Hungary and export and breeding in other countries, there are more than 11,000 Mudis known to have be born. There could be much more than that as not every country has an open database that I can harvest information from and not everyone shares with me their litters, exports, imports, data etc.

In the USA there have been more than 700 Mudis in residence since the breed first started to appear in the 1990’s. The current estimate places more than 600 in the USA alive today. The increase in numbers began in 2004 in the USA, with most being born there or imported, mainly in the last decade.

All of these estimates are on the conservative side.




Other Mudi breed folklore that makes the rounds:

- The Mudi was used as a vermin hunter. Weren’t most farm dogs capable of this? Either as free time entertainment, or a source of food. It can be a value added trait for some shepherds, but I would not count on it being in the true nature of most Mudis as I doubt it was selected for over herding ability, it was just not selected against. Therefore it may or may not be a trait in the Mudi sitting next to you.

- The Mudi was used to hunt wild boar. They did not hunt them, but chased them towards the hunters. A wild boar could easily kill a Mudi, so this was not something many professional shepherds would risk their right hand Mudi for. In any case, there are other breeds more suited to this task and it was probably more of a whim that a Mudi got to go along for the event, than it was actively selected for this task. In any case, running after animals is built in to a herding dog, but running amok in the woods is not something a Mudi would be likely to do as they were selected to stay by the shepherd and flock, not wander around the pastures. This is why most Mudis are very good off leash.

- Mudis bark a lot. Mudis are dogs and dogs bark. If you don’t like barking, don’t get a dog, get fish. Some Mudis bark quite regularly and seemingly at nothing, and others not so much. The amount of barking in the parents does not seem to be related to the barking habits in the puppies, you can guess how I know this. However, dogs in general do seem to feed off of each other’s behavior, so having a barky dog at home of any kind can create a barky Mudi companion you introduce. Other barky dogs in the neighborhood can cause a canine bark fest to break out as well. Luckily, as the Mudi is quite trainable, it is possible to quell some of the barking with training. But if you cannot tolerate any barking, then the Mudi is not a breed for you as they were selected to herd by barking at the flock and to be observant of trespassers of the human and animal kind in their territory and this observance translates to barking to inform the shepherd and their family. This is not something breeders should breed away from as this is part of their purpose.



- The muzzle should be short and the stop on the head angled to prevent cow kick damage. The inventers of this theory obviously know nothing about physics and cows. If your Mudi, or any dog, is kicked in the head, the length of its muzzle or angle of stop is not going to prevent it from being in a world of hurt or dead. What prevents injury and death is a dog that respects the feet of the cow for the weapons they are. Any size muzzle or any angle of stop is going to take on some serious damage from a kick, from even the tamest of cattle or horse. I had horses and my neighbors had cows, dogs that don’t respect them will pay a high price even when they have finely tuned heads. Should we be breeding dogs that can, in theory, take a kick to the head or should we be breeding Mudis with livestock common sense?




The Mudi is not a breed for everybody. There is no dog breed out there that would fit everyone’s wishes or needs. The last thing the Mudi needs is for people in the breed for 5 minutes deciding that the breed should be changed to accommodate the needs and wishes of today's dog owning public. I’m not sorry to say that the Mudi is not for J.Q. Public and it was never meant to be. The Mudi was invented for a purpose, it is a shepherds dog, and if breeders start to mess with that purpose to make it a quieter, stranger friendly, sport star, then very quickly the Mudi will become something no shepherd would want or recognize. Yes there are not so many sheep to herd anymore, but you cannot replace sheep with weave poles, jumps and frisbees. The outside world should not dictate the purpose of the Mudi. The purpose of the Mudi made it what it is today, but I see changes to the Mudi breed being promoted and planned that are not what the founder of the breed would want or be proud of, nor would any shepherds.


  

The Mudi is a very versatile breed, but that versatility is often challenged by the modern world. The breed was selected to work on a very quiet pastureland with one shepherd. There were no guns, no noisy sport halls, no crowds of people. Is it any wonder that some are not tolerant of the modern life we have imposed on them. Humans invented sports and then try to convince their dogs to do them, but as we learn more and more, dogs have preferences too and your choice may not be theirs. A good Mudi will do what you ask, but they may not excel in it. That is not the breeds fault.

Choose a Mudi because your lifestyle fits to the requirements of the breed. Do not try to make the Mudi fit to your needs, it is a recipe for disaster.

Choose a Mudi for a companion because you like how it looks, you like the basic temperament setting, and you are willing to compromise on the activity you want to take part in with your Mudi.

Do not get a Mudi with the hopes it will like your friends, and be accepting of strangers, get a Mudi for you, no one else, then you will not be disappointed as almost every Mudi is strongly attached to their owner.

Do not get a Mudi as a companion for your other dog, it may not work out as you hoped, due to different play styles and the Mudi not being a ‘pack’ selected breed. Shepherds did not have hordes of dogs at home, they had just a few at most. So if the Mudi will be your 2nd or more dog in your home, don’t expect it to be happy with the situation. Mudis are not hounds and I hope that owners and breeders will remember this when adding a Mudi to their home crew.

If you cannot spend a great deal of time with your Mudi, the Mudi is definitely not for you. The Mudi was with the shepherd almost all the time and that is what it was selected for. I realize that in today’s world, the Mudi cannot accompany the owner everywhere and some Mudis will be ok with this while others will let you know this is not acceptable. This is not a fault of the breed, as it was selected to be very owner centric. If you cannot have your Mudi with you for most of the day, get another breed that is more tolerant of owner separation.

Choose a Mudi based on the breeds traditional temperament and behavior, not because someone else says it is like X breed, as it is very difficult to accurately compare breeds, but even more so with the Mudi as it can have quite a range of acceptable behavior and temperament.

Choose a Mudi because you want a unique individual that is not likely to be a clone of others in the breed. The diversity of temperament and behavior is due to many things and it is just not possible for any breeder to make guarantees. If you have very specific needs and wishes, this is not the breed for you.

Choose a Mudi because you want to be a good shepherd to the breed and keep it on the path the Mudi was selected for, not the path you, others or J.Q. Public want it to walk.



Professional Shepherd Competition, Hortobágy, Hungary

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Hey AP News - THIS is a black Mudi

Good Grief, where the heck did they get the photo of a 'black Mudi" for this article?

https://apnews.com/article/dog-breeds-akc-mudi-russian-toy-1599bb329bae09097c8f3c863b701492


https://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Mudi-Try-a-toy-American-Kennel-Club-adds-2-16747761.php?utm_campaign=CMS%20Sharing%20Tools%20(Premium)&utm_source=share-by-email&utm_medium=email&fbclid=IwAR1xtruYXVfSwBd2jge9zWILPB5OY4VKZAFJvvMT8cd4catqfZlNo2fB93s





I tried numerous times and ways to leave a comment to the newstimes article, however their system is less than cooperative, perhaps intentionally if this is the quality of articles they publish.

I realize the Mudi is not a well known breed, however the picture of the 'black Mudi' used for this article (photo above) is firstly not a black Mudi, the color of the dog in the picture is ash/blue/dilute, not black. Second that is anything but a purebred Mudi due to the not pricked ears (adult Mudis have pricked ears and this is clearly not a puppy), furry face (should be short fur on the face) and long fur on leg fronts (should be short fur on leg fronts).

The correct plural for Mudi when speaking English is Mudis or Mudi's, it is not ever mudik as that is the plural when speaking Hungarian, not English. And we capitalize proper nouns in English as well, but that would still not make Mudik correct.

THIS is a black Mudi:





These are MUDIS:





Monday, December 27, 2021

Science Studies and the Mudi: December 2021

 



From time to time, there are science studies published that cover areas of concern or interest to Mudi breed people, I will list them here on Mudi Directions for anyone looking for some science input to topics of discussion occurring within Mudi groups, between friends, or just for your own illumination.

Additionally, when the incidence of a health, temperament or other issue is evident in the Mudi breed, I will give a list of science studies that can be used for further information and support, to owners and breeders of affected Mudis.

 __________________________________


The following two studies involve feeding of dogs and puppies:


#1 Puppyhood diet as a factor in the development of owner-reported allergy/atopy skin signs in adult dogs in Finland (July 2021)

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvim.16211

For a brief summary: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/11/211118203742.htm

 

There is known incidence of allergy/intolerance/sensitivity  in the Mudi breed. The sources range from food (for example chicken, wheat and corn), vaccine allergy, bee sting allergy, drug or chemical allergy (such as top spot flea products) and others.

 

#2 Once-daily feeding is associated with better cognitive function and health in companion dogs: Results from the Dog Aging Project (Nov 2021)  

(This study is a Pre-Print, it has not been peer reviewed, however the peer review process may be underway.)

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.11.08.467616v1.full

For a brief summary:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2298623-feeding-pet-dogs-just-once-a-day-might-keep-them-healthier-as-they-age/


Many Mudis suffer from cognitive decline as they age, some even experience dementia.  I hope this study will go through the peer review process as it could prove to be a very important finding towards the betterment of the golden years for all dogs.

_____________________________________________________


This study investigates the possible stress on companion dogs from everyday noises:

Stress-Related Behaviors in Companion Dogs Exposed to Common Household Noises, and Owners' Interpretations of Their Dogs' Behaviors (Nov 2021)

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2021.760845/full

For a brief summary:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/11/211110104528.htm


______________________________________


Hookworms are developing resistance to treatment:

Multiple drug resistance in hookworms infecting greyhound dogs in the USA (Dec 2021)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211320721000415?via%3Dihub

 

For a brief summary:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210922121842.htm


____________________________________


Behavior studies:

Canine hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention share similar demographic risk factors and behavioural comorbidities with human ADHD (Oct 2021)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-021-01626-x#Sec1

For a brief summary:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211015184215.htm


_____________________________________________________________


Articles regarding separation related behavior in dogs (commonly known as separation anxiety):

#1 Separation-related behavior of dogs shows association with their reactions to everyday situations that may elicit frustration or fear (Sept 2021)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-98526-3

 

#2 Canine separation anxiety: strategies for treatment and management (Oct 2014)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7521022/


#3 Developing Diagnostic Frameworks in Veterinary Behavioral Medicine: Disambiguating Separation Related Problems in Dogs (Jan 2020)

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2019.00499/full

A brief summary of the above study only:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200318104429.htm


#4 Prevalence, comorbidity, and breed differences in canine anxiety in 13,700 Finnish pet dogs (March 2020)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-59837-z

A brief summary of the above study only:

https://www.science.org/content/article/your-dog-anxious-genes-common-its-breed-could-play-role


#5 A descriptive study of 215 dogs diagnosed with separation anxiety (Oct 2014)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159114001890


#6 Separation anxiety in dogs: What progress has been made in our understanding of the most common behavioral problems in dogs? (Nov-Dec 2016)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1558787816000216


#7 Pet dogs home alone: A video-based study (Nov 2021)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159121002501#sec0075


#8 Influence of Owners’ Attachment Style and Personality on Their Dogs’ (Canis familiaris) Separation-Related Disorder (Feb 2015)

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0118375


#9 Should I whine or should I bark? Qualitative and quantitative differences between the vocalizations of dogs with and without separation-related symptoms (Nov 2017)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016815911730223X?via%3Dihub


#10 Separation anxiety in dogs: What progress has been made in our understanding of the most common behavioral problems in dogs? (Nov-Dec 2016)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787816000216?casa_token=FbCAdhpsxGgAAAAA:464Qo6_x4mWGuYnJkiSe8eudbAdae0-tyGgqQeE7486FwMBf_3EIz0pJ6hqL8yrS0gwKiA32dA


_________________________________________ 


I hope you can find some time in the days ahead to 

read these valuable scientific studies! 




Thursday, December 9, 2021

Health Assessment in the Mudi Using GCOI

 



A new study was published last week, The effect of inbreeding, body size and morphology on health in dog breeds (link below), which included a bit of data for the Mudi.

Health data was collected from Agria pet insurance, mostly based on dogs insured in Sweden, while “the heterozygosity values were obtained from worldwide sample collection centered in the Scandinavian countries”, using DNA samples sent to MyDogDNA™/Optimal Selection™/(both products of Wisdom Health). They refer to the level of inbreeding used in the study as “genotype-based coefficient of inbreeding”, also known as genetic coefficient of inbreeding, or GCOI.

Number of Mudi used in the study = 141

Heterozygosity minimum = 27.6

Heterozygosity median = 40.4

Heterozygosity maximum = 47.6

Adjusted inbreeding level = 0.096 (9.6%)

Mid range body weight was calculated using AKC breed standards: 10.66 kilos (FCI = 10.5 kilos)

Breeds were sorted into groups based on FCI grouping = No group was listed for the Mudi (although it is listed as belonging to Group 1 in FCI)

Health Insurance Count = none listed

Morbidity = none listed

Brachycephaly yes or no = not listed (the Mudi is not brachycephalic)

The Mudi did not have any health insurance data listed in the data sets, which leaves one to assume they did not have any health data.  The missing health data is not due to the low sample size of Mudis as there were 85 other breeds with a lower count that did have health data (85 breeds have 141 or less dogs and have insurance, morbidity, brachy designation and FCI group information). As a comparison, 222 Pumis and 36 Pulis, were also included in this study and they had insurance, morbidity, brachy data and FCI group listed.

The only mention of the Mudi in the study can be found in this one sentence and Dataset 1:

“The breeds with low inbreeding included recent cross breeds (Tamaskan Dog, Barbet and Australian Labradoodle) and landrace breeds (Danish-Swedish Farmdog, Mudi and Koolie), supporting the notion that high inbreeding is a result of closed stud books or small numbers of founders or both.”

The authors mention landrace breeds once more: “The breeds with the lowest levels of inbreeding were mostly landrace breeds or breeds with recent cross breeding.”

The study states that low inbreeding is less than 10%, the Mudi is 9.6% in their study, if 9.6 is rounded up, it is no longer low, this rounding note will be of some importance later in this post. From the study: “Strikingly few breeds (N = 12) had low inbreeding values (< 0.10)”.

They write that the Mudi is a landrace breed and I agree with that, but so are the Pumi and the Puli.  But the Pumi/Puli inbreeding levels are not below 10%, they are: Puli = 13.6% and the Pumi = 12.1%, according to their DNA sampling. 

They infer that the low inbreeding level in the Mudi is due to the stud book being kept open or from having a high number of founders.  I disagree with the high number of founders existing in the Mudi, it is simply not the case and several of the original founder lines have already been lost, while others were in critical danger of extinction the last time I did a Mudi founder study.

Yes the stud book is still open in Hungary and therefore other FCI countries, but this is not the case already in Canada (CKC stud book has been closed since 2015) and eventually the USA as the stud book closing clock will start to tick January 1, 2022, as that is when the Mudi will become a fully recognized breed with AKC, which means only 3 full generation pedigree Mudis can be registered.  The AKC will leave a window open until 12/2026 for some further registration of less than 3 full generation pedigreed Mudis, via a domestic registry solution, but the details of which domestic registry they will allow are still undetermined, which is quite worrisome.  It is also unknown if they can extend this window after 2026.  This means the Mudi breed will eventually experience an interesting trial between USA/Canada and the rest of the world in terms of inbreeding levels.

Having an open stud book is only valuable if the dogs that are being brought in are truly representative of new or lost lines and the July 23, 2021 Mudi Directions post, The Neglected Hungarian Treasure,  already explained how that has not been the case for quite a long time now.  

So how has the Mudi kept inbreeding levels low?  Are they actually low? Good questions I will research answers to when I have a chance.  I used to publish periodic reports about the levels of inbreeding, but no one seemed to care, so I stopped wasting my time.

I do not disagree that inbreeding levels are connected to health, reproduction and longevity in animals, as many studies have shown it.  As for the other breed data used in the study, I have no quarrel as I am not familiar with their status.

However, inferring the Mudi is healthy because it has a lower level of inbreeding, is not a correct assumption.  The lack of supporting health insurance data is also not an indicator of the health status of the Mudi.  The Mudi data used in this study is not relevant to the purpose of the study.

Regardless of my opinion, I urge you to read the entire study and make your own conclusions.

 

INBREEDING VALUES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL

I have been recording the Embark GCOI Mudi data for quite a while.  I also tracked the Wisdom/MyDog/Optimal Select GCOI, but there was a problem with the information they provided.  Wisdom does not give a usable GCOI, they give a percentage of heterozygosity (photo example below). Therefore, it is not comparable to my pedigree COI, nor the GCOI that Embark gives which is based on homozygosity.  I can compare the GCOI of Embark to my pedigree database, and my pedigree COI is surprisingly close to Embarks GCOI in most cases I have compared thus far (50+).  

Why do I do this?  It’s more than just curiosity or data collecting, I want to check the reliability of the pedigree COI I give. In many cases Embarks GCOI and my pedigree COI are often within 1-4%. The difference can be due to rounding (I don’t round the COI’s I calculate) and the number of empty spaces on the pedigree.  In a few cases it can be from less common things such as parents being incorrectly reported on pedigrees, accidental breeding with multiple sires, and other breeder/pedigree record mismanagement.

It should be noted that Embark uses the rounding principle with their GCOI’s, for example, if the GCOI is 5.7, they round it up to 6%.  I assume they also round down.

Embark has DNA tested more than 100 Mudis, possibly more than 150.  And these are not just Mudis in the USA or Scandinavia, but Mudis from many parts of the world.  I have just now asked Embark if they can tell me how many Mudis they have tested, if I get a response, I will update this post.

As indicated on a recent Embark results report (see photo at the top of this post), the range of GCOI in the Mudis tested with Embark is between 1% and 30%. What the Mudi breed average is, I cannot tell from the graph. It appears that the bulk of Mudis tested are in the 6-10% range, if the bars indicate that by their height. 

Of course, much depends on the gene set each DNA lab is using as a baseline indicator of homo-heterozygosity for a breed and most likely Wisdom and Embark are not using the same gene set for comparison. Several Mudis have been tested by both labs, with the test results sometimes showing differences, which further indicates testing parameters are not the same.

 

LET’S HERD SOME DUCKS TO ROWS

Even with all the data both labs offer, it is still unknown how representative it is of the Mudi breed in actuality, as a whole. That is, does their GCOI average speak for the whole breed?  Or due to the number and relationship of Mudis tested, is the GCOI average actually much higher or lower?

I had an idea today to see what kinds of statistics I can make using the data I constantly collect.  I decided to compare the GCOI of Embark, to my pedigree COI, to health issues affecting the tested dogs. I also used the rounding function on my pedigree COI to be more in line with the Embark GCOI.

Number of Mudis in my database with Embark GCOI = 50

Embark GCOI range and average of these 50 Mudis: 2-29%; Average GCOI: 11%

USA living Mudis (40) GCOI = 11%; Canada + Europe living Mudis (10) GCOI = 11%

Pedigree COI range and average of these 50 Mudis: 0-21%; Average COI: 8%

Year of Birth/Age range of these 50 Mudis: 2008 to 2021; Aged 13 to less than 1 year

28 Mudis are aged 2 or younger, this means health data is likely not available for these Mudis yet

Country these 50 tested Mudis live in: USA = 40; Canada, UK, Austria, Hungary, Poland = 10

How many of the 50 Mudis produced a litter: 12, between 1 and 4 times

 

LITTERMATE SPREAD IS NOT FOR BREAD

What was also interesting in this GCOI data, is the effect of littermate spread.  

Among this set of 50 GCOI tested Mudis, there are 8 litters containing two or more tested littermates.  The range of the littermates GCOI’s I call littermate spread, the gap is the difference between highest and lowest GCOI of the tested littermates.  For example, the largest set of littermates in this group of 50 is 6 puppies.  Their GCOI’s were 6, 8, 10, 11, 12 (two puppies had 6% each). The spread is 6-12%, with a gap of 6%, which is equal to a 50% difference between the 6% and 12% littermates. That is a significant difference.  However, it is not unexpected for a gap this large to occur in lower GCOI litters.  As the GCOI level increases, it is expected the gap between littermates will decrease.  That is, when the GCOI for a litter reaches the 12.5% and higher range, the gap between littermates GCOI’s should narrow. Why?  Because as the GCOI level rises, the genes shared between puppies in a litter become more and more similarly shared, that is, they have less variation between them, which allows a more similar GCOI.  Less variation in genes creates both good and bad points for a breed, but that is a topic for another post.

In case you are still not sure what littermate spread is and why it is important to understand, think of it this way: the lower the GCOI for a litter, the greater the chance the GCOI for each puppy in the litter to have a very different GCOI from the other puppies in the litter – there can be a big range of GCOI’s among the littermates, this is not unexpected.

As the GCOI level increases, the diversity decreases among the littermates making the differences between puppies smaller – thereby equalizing the GCOI more closely among littermates.

GCOI level is low = higher gap between GCOI’s in littermates

GCOI level is high = lower gap between GCOI’s in littermates

The gap for the 8 groups of littermates found in this group of 50 Mudis, ranges from 0% to 12%, with 5 litters having a 1-4% difference in their GCOI.  The other 3 litters had a gap of 6, 7 and 12%.

As time goes on, it will be interesting to see more of these littermate spreads and if they can be correlated to health issues or longevity between littermates.

 

HEALTH ISSUES AND GCOI

Now for the list you’ve probably been waiting for most.  The following health issues affect these 50 Embark tested Mudis / how many are affected / and the GCOI. Order is alphabetical.

Allergy / 2 / 13%, 15%

Anal Gland Issue / 1 / 7%

Bite: 1 over, 1 under / 2 / 9%, 14%

Distichiasis / 1 / 7%

Elbow Dysplasia / 1 / 7%

Epilepsy / 1 / 9%

Hip Dysplasia / 1 / 14%

Patella Luxation / 2 / 9%, 23%

Teeth Issue / 1 / 9%

Testicles, Missing / 1 / 9%

Thyroid / 1 / 13%

Trichiasis / 1 / 23%


12 health issues in 15 Mudis, GCOI range: 7 – 23%

Percentage of 50 Mudis affected: 30% (15 affected from 50)

Number of affecteds with 10% GCOI or above: 7

Number of affecteds with 9% GCOI or lower: 8


Of course, this is a very small study using only 50 Mudis.  However, a 30% rate of health issues is not small.  It does not appear to be biased towards high or low levels of inbreeding as 7 vs 8 affecteds is not a significant difference.  Perhaps with more Mudis a difference might be seen. 

I do hope to expand this study, however I will need cooperation from the Mudi owners that have done Embark DNA testing.  Please consider sharing your Embarked Mudis results with me.  I will not give subject names to the data, it is anonymous as you can see, and it will always be that way.

If you would like to see the comparison chart between the Embark GCOI and my pedigree COI for these 50 Mudis, I can add it to this post, send me a message that you would like to see it included.

I would like to thank the 49 Mudi owners and breeders that shared their Embark data with me as they made this small starter study possible.  The 50th Mudi is mine.

If you have any questions, or other statistics or data you would like to see, just ask!


REFERENCES:


Embark report notes, in reference to the chart at the top of this post:

Genetic Diversity and Inbreeding

Inbreeding is a measure of how closely related your dog's parents were. Dogs that are less inbred tend to live longer, healthier lives.

Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI)

Genetic COI measures the proportion of your dog's genes that are identical on the mother's and father's side. The higher the number, the more inbred your dog is.


Wisdom DNA Inbreeding Level Report, photo below:


ARTICLE LINK:

The effect of inbreeding, body size and morphology on health in dog breeds

https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-021-00111-4