NEW YORK (AP) — An athletic Hungarian farm dog and small pet of former Russian aristocrats are the latest breeds in the American Kennel Club’s purebred lineup.
The club announced on Tuesday that it recognizes the Russian toy and the mudi. This means they are eligible to compete for best show at many US dog shows, including the AKC’s annual grand championship and the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show.
The mudi (pronounced as “moody”) descends from long lines of Hungarian sheepdogs before a museum director took an interest in the breed and gave it a name around 1930. Fans say the medium-sized dogs and shaggy are vigorous, versatile, and hard-working, capable of herding sheep, hunting wild boar, catching rats, and participating in canine sports such as agility and dock diving.
“They’re very perceptive and they have a subtle quality” and are very trainable, but they need things to do, said Kim Seiter, a dog agility trainer from Oak Ridge, New Jersey, who has four. “They are not for the inactive person.”
The dogs – the proper plural is “mudik” – were featured on postage stamps in their native country in 2004, as were other Hungarian breeds.
The Russian Toy developed from small English terriers that came to the attention of Russian elites in the early 1700s. The small dogs – believed to weigh no more than 6.5 pounds (2.7 kg) – have a leggy figure, perky expression and lively demeanor, breeders say.
“They’re extremely affectionate” with their owners, but can be reserved around strangers and need to meet lots of new people as puppies, says Nona Dietrich of Minnetonka, Minnesota, who raises and shows them. “And they are funny. They have a hell of an attitude. »
The AKC is the oldest purebred dog registry in the United States. It recognizes 199 breeds, including the two newcomers, and acts as the governing body for many dog shows.
Recognition requirements include the presence of at least 300 dogs of the breed in at least 20 states and the promulgation of a breed standard that specifies ideal characteristics, from temperament to toes. Many popular hybrid or “designer” breeds, such as Labradoodles and Puggles, are unrecognized, but they may one day be if breeders decide to take an interest in them.
Some animal rights and welfare advocates bemoan dog breeding and the purebred market, saying they spur puppy mills and block adoptable pets from shelters.
The AKC says breeding can be done responsibly and preserves somewhat predictable characteristics that help people find and commit to the right dog for them.