“I don’t want to get a Border Collie because everyone has them” – that’s the most common answer I get when I ask people who are thinking of getting a Croatian shepherd why they want one. I don’t think this is a good reason to buy any dog, so as you can imagine I get quite annoyed by that answer. Especially after I hear that they actually expect that dog to behave like a Border Collie. But still I probably wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t gotten to know Kiša. A dog that had sooo much trouble finding the right owner, when in fact she is a dog I can only describe with superlatives. I really couldn’t understand this at first, but then I realized it is all about expectations.
People nowadays expect lots of things from their dogs even as they are totally unwilling to understand that dogs have some expectations as well, and that those expectations can be completely different, based on the breed the dog belongs to.
For me it is quite logical – if any dog would feel just fine in any situation and would perform the same tasks equally well, then there would be no reason to create 400 different breeds, don’t you think?
So what can you expect from your Croatian shepherd/Mudi? And even more importantly – what is he going to expect from you?
Your Croatian shepherd/Mudi was bred to work. Not only for one specific task. He was bred to be his master’s right hand.
His job was to guide and protect his stock (no matter what kind of stock – cattle, sheep, even pigs). He had to guard his property so no intruders come unannounced. He had to keep the barn free from mice and rats, and if there was a need, he was supposed to help his master hunt. I hope now you can imagine why your Croatian shepherd/Mudi will expect you to have a job for him to do. And if you don’t have one, he will find one himself. But I am quite sure you won’t like it. They can be quite innovative, so you just might have a new house decorator, he might collect all your visitors in the same room and prevent the “stock” from leaving, and he can also become your personal bodyguard – defending you from everything that moves.
Your Croatian shepherd/Mudi was bred to be his master’s right arm, so he will expect you to behave like his master. He needs to know you are the one in charge; you are the one who is there to tell him there is a job to be done and you two are there to do it. You are the one who will solve problems and save him from trouble. You are the one who he can depend on, and you are the one who never forgets to tell him what a great friend he is, and that your life is much easier since you have such a great team. If you fail to be the kind of master he expects you to be, he will decide to work on his own, and I hope I don’t need to say that it doesn’t end well…
They are LOUD and they will BARK a lot.
In my experience there is practically no other breed that barks that much. You cannot expect from them to be quiet all day long. I am not saying that you must let him bark all day long (I don’t, I live in a rented apartment with 3 barkers and so far I haven’t been kicked out yet;), BUT if you are allergic to barking, if you hate it if your dog barks while working, if you don’t want him to let you know when someone is coming, and if you enjoy quiet, peaceful walks, a Croatian shepherd/Mudi is NOT A DOG FOR YOU, no matter how trivial that sounds.
They are not a unique version of a Border Collie.
In fact, they are much more similar to a terrier than a Border Collie. There is a great chance you will need much more time and patience to teach your Croatian shepherd/Mudi something. They get SOOOO excited so easily that it becomes quite difficult for them to think. Or if I borrow words from a friend and Kiša’s breeder Tanja Janeš: “they bark so much that they can’t hear their own thoughts.” While most BCs are great in distance work, most Croatian shepherds/Mudis will hate being more than a meter away from you. So before you consider getting one, try to imagine yourself on a course, trying to get your dog to jump over an obstacle, while he jumps around you, possibly grabs your clothes or hands, and barks with the full force of both lungs. If you get agitated just by imagining this – well, most likely that is what your first training sessions are going to look like.
Unlike most BCs, they are not automatically friendly towards other dogs and people. It is not uncommon for them to dislike strangers, and for sure they are not always friendly with other dogs. While some of them can be quite soft and shy, there are also dogs that are quite dominant and strong. And they NEED to be taught what kind of behavior will not be tolerated. BUT if you need a family dog that will jump gladly into anyone’s lap or if you need a dog only to be a playmate to your other dogs– a Croatian shepherd/Mudi is not a dog for you.
So – they need to work, they bark, they are not too satisfied with the company of other people and dogs, and they have enough energy to work all day. They expect you to have time and energy for them. Please think carefully whether you have both.
And please keep in mind – a Croatian shepherd/Mudi is not a dog you get because you don’t want to get some other breed. It is a dog you get because you can’t imagine getting any dog BUT this one.
I confess. I am an addict. I just love their endless energy, their enthusiasm and huge will to cooperate. I can’t even remember anymore how quiet life can be, but I don’t miss it for a second. They are everything I expect from a dog, and I hope I am everything Šja, Šaj and Kiša expect from me. Yes, they make me nervous sometimes, and they make me tired every day, but I can’t imagine my life without them anymore. Can you imagine living with them?
Posiblemente junto a mi esposa seamos los únicos dueños de Mudis en España y tengo que decir que elegí esta raza por sus características tan especiales que tiene y sí, son perros de su dueño, ahora mismo el mío está tumbado junto a mí. Una raza que avisa y que nunca me ha fallado. Ahora que mi hembra de Mudi ha fallecido estamos a punto de traernos otra con la que intentaremos también hacer Agility si ella quiere. Adoro esta raza y quiero que la conozcan más aquí en España.
Possibly together with my wife we are the sole owners of Mudisa in Spain and I have to say that I chose this race for its special features it has and Yes, they are dogs of its owner, mine is now lying next to me. A breed which alerts and which has never failed me. Now that my female Mudi has died we are about to bring in another that we will try to also do Agility if she wants to. I love this race and I want to know it more here in Spain. Sorry for the translation.
No worries. 🙂 I can understand everything. I hope you find a new, perfect puppy and help introducing the breed in Spain! 🙂
Already I got my new puppy Mudi, the will arrive in December. I have to say that the first Mudi I saw doing Agility in Spain, was Sjå in the Championship of the world of agility in Valladolid, with you, in the team of Slovenia.
Cool, keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well! 🙂 Yeah, Valladolid was my first WC ever, little Šja was super young than.
Ha ha, yes I CAN imagine living with them because I have two pumis and a puli, and my life will never be calm or quiet again, and that’s just how I like it. 🙂
You have to love that furry barkers! 🙂
just read this article and I really love it. I have a pumi and most of the characteristics of the mudi fit for her, too. and just as you say, pumis are not alternatives for PyrSheep or sheltie if you don’t want those 🙂 you have to want a pumi to be able to enjoy it? but God, life is so much fun with a pumi 😉 <3
Hehe, I can imagine life with a Pumi is fun! 🙂 I like them a lot, they are indeed similar to “my” black devils. 🙂
BRAVO! I am certainly going to print this out and keep copies in my dog bag. Now that I have my mudi girl “Kiwi” trained and adapted to performing agility it seems everyone wants to know what she is, and where they can get one. I then have this long conversation with them, explaining everything you have mentioned above. However, I do not say it with the same eloquence you have. Love this article, thank you! BTW my mudi girl has taught me so much, and like you I love everything about my mudi girl. I cant imagine my life… Read more »
Your article would be great required reading for every new Mudi owner, before they get their hands on that first fuzzy little Mudi puppy!! I got my first Mudi almost 6 years ago now and have added 2 more since then. I am one of those who is totally addicted and dedicated to the breed and can’t imagine living without at least one around at all times. But, my family members and some friends are not quite as in love with my dogs as I:-))) Fortunately, my husband loves them too, and that’s all that matters! I will definitely recommend… Read more »
Yeap, our mudis are special dogs. You either love them or hate them, there is not much space in between. And I am definitely on the love side! 🙂
thanks for this great article.
I met you 3 years ago on a seminar in Germany with my Mudi Fluke and he really made me crazy so that I wasn’t able to think anymore … but I am still or even more in love with this wonderful breed.
So one month ago my second Mudi (Ioda) moved to me and I am sure my life can’t get quiet anymore … and I will enjoy it.
Best regards and hope to see you somewhere again
Nici, Fluke and Ioda
Mudi is the most amazing breed, it’s really impotent that breeders get the information out that mudi is not a smaller border collie with black fur and curls. They are a lot of work and you have to love every inch of there barking and hyper-energy. Like you said they are more like a terrier so intense, no wonder people call mudi the ADHD-breed, problem dog etc. when new owners don’t know what they are getting them self’s into. Thank you for this lovely article, I can’t imagine a life without my mudi.
Hey! I just reread your article on the Mudi/CS and had to laugh so hard at the part about the first training sessions. I read this about 4 years ago, when I didn’t have a Mudi and I remember wanting one even more aftewards 🙂 Now my Mudigirl is 3 years already and it’s so much fun to be reminded why I love her so much! Thank you 😀