The American Kennel Club (AKC) welcomed two new breeds on January 1, 2022. The elegant little Russian Toy Dog joined the Toy Group while the versatile Mudi now graces the Herding Group.
The Russian Toy is lively and long legged, with fine bone and lean muscle. Males and females stand 8 to 11 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 61/2 pounds. There are two coat varieties: The smooth has short, close-lying hair, while the long-coated dogs are covered with moderately long (1 to 3 inches) straight or slightly wavy hair. Colors are black and tan, chocolate and tan, blue and tan, and dark shades of red.
The breed came perilously close to extinction twice. The first time was in the 1920s with the rise of Communism due to the Russian Toy’s association with the aristocracy. Then in the 1990s, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Russian Toy lost ground to the many small foreign breeds that began arriving and catching the eye of dog lovers.
The breed was virtually unknown outside of Russia until the 1990s, but now, with AKC recognition, this vivacious little lap dog will no doubt find many new admirers in this country.
The Mudi (pronounced “moo-dee”) is the latest Hungarian breed to capture the attention of American dog lovers. Hungary has given the dog world a number of versatile and striking breeds, from the rusty gold Vizsla, an unsurpassed bird dog, to the mighty Komondor, a 100-pound protector of sheep, covered in white, rope-like cords.
Closely related to the corded Puli and the curly-coated Pumi and of similar, medium size, the Mudi served in his native country as an agile, all-purpose farm dog, with the courage to work stubborn livestock, protect property and family members and sometimes even flush out wild boar.
The Mudi has a distinctive coat, with a smooth face and a body covered in waves and curls. As one would expect of a rustic, outdoor herder, the Mudi’s coat is easy care, self-cleaning, with a texture that does not lend itself to matting or tangling. The breed standard emphasizes that the Mudi must be presented in the show ring in a natural state, the coat never appearing sculpted, fluffed or blown dry. Colors range from solid black and solid gray to shades of brown, yellow and white. A merle or marbled pattern may be present with any color.
Typical of herding breeds, the Mudi is energetic and tireless, requiring lots of exercise and a job to do. This breed competes successfully in agility, obedience, rally, flyball, tracking and herding. The AKC breed standard describes him as “sensibly suspicious and therefore an excellent watchdog.”