Showsight Presents The Pumi

Once A Pumi Always A Pumi...

BY LASZLO SULYOK & ILDIKO REPASI continued

breeders to learn about the Pumi (in con- junction with the Bratislava European Dog Show in 2012 and a year later the Hungarian World Dog Show). When the Pumi was accepted into the Herding Group in 2016, interest in the breed immediately increased. However, at that time there were only a handful of breeders and a relatively small number of Pumik (300+). Entries in conformation nationwide were rare and the number of entries low. In the absence of substantive English language literature about the Pumi and an updated public education program to satisfy the demand, those newly inter- ested in the breed have chosen to turn to Europe, especially Hungary, with no or little understanding of the breed. The number of Pumik in the US includ- ing domestically bred puppies and imported dogs has more than doubled in the last three years. Unfortunately, a disturbing import pattern has emerged. The “Mail Order Pumik” from overseas have started arriving in increased numbers, sometimes bundled in various combinations of two for one price discounts, pregnant bitches etc. Sadly, some of these dogs have gone to inexperienced hands or to people with outright ill inten- tions. As a result, the breed is experiencing a temporary setback. Pumi pups have started to show up in shelters in various parts of the country. Puppies and adult Pumik are advertised for free, sometimes with no reg- istrations. When evaluating these events, of course we need to make a clear division between puppy mills and those who start- ed, perhaps with good intentions, but with poor preparation relying only on their pre- vious experience with other breeds. We cannot emphasize enough that the state of the Pumi is far from a crisis and the “Pumi market” for lack of a better term will simply readjust after shedding the white noise. However, we think that a coordinated effort should be undertaken through education to further safe guard the breed from inexperienced hands and worse, from puppy mills. We also highly recom- mend to everyone interested in the breed, to take the Pumi for a “test drive” before get- ting into breeding because the Pumi is not for everyone. Only collaboration, due diligence and a clear and honest objective can give this breed a realistic chance to thrive in the US. *because of editorial limitations, some issues might not have been explained in detail. Please contact the authors with any question.

lines from the countryside whose registra- tions lapsed decades ago. These included the offspring of well known Pumik from the past with incomplete pedigrees. These “new” dogs have been introduced to the mainstream gene pool through a carefully designed and controlled program. (The Hungarian Open Stud book has relevance for Pumik imported to the US which, in order to be eligible for AKC registration, must have a minimum three-generation complete(!) pedi- gree from the dog’s country of origin. It is not a hypothetical situation: there has been at least one known case where the AKC has revoked a registration previously issued for a Pumi with incomplete pedigree.) “Nativists” have emphasized and lobbied for a higher genetic and phenotypical diver- sity along with improved working ability and largely ignoring aesthetic uniformity. Some of the more extreme members of this group also opposed exporting the Pumi, because of their conviction even as recently as early 2012 that it is an unfinished breed. By 2013-14 dialogue between the two opposing Hungarian Pumi “parties” came to a complete halt and the status quo has been frozen since then. Besides their ideo- logical differences about the breed, another cause of the schism that harks back to the 1990s, is a well intentioned but poorly executed government reform of livestock preservation and regulation of small ani- mal breeding. This included purebred dog breeding with a broader oversight of Hun- garian breeds. In protest against the new Pumi Klub rules and government involvement, the “progressives” began to boycott the other group’s dog shows by organizing their own events. Some members went further by reg- istering their Hungarian born litters or some individual dogs in other European countries and in one extreme case, a Hungarian born Pumi litter was falsely registered as US born in violation of Hungarian and FCI dog reg- istration laws and AKC’s provenance rules. After an investigation, the AKC revoked the registration of the entire litter. The Pumi has gone through its first phase of growing pain relatively smoothly while in the Miscellaneous class here in the US. The parent club has offered substantive public education events. Most Pumi own- ers knew each other and many have trialled their dogs in various disciplines that helped them to have a greater understanding of the breed. Some of these people went into breeding. They were largely supportive of each other, relatively well versed, in the dif- ferent lines and different types of the breed and could navigate the bureaucratic maze of the European Pumi world. There have been group trips to Europe by these early

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019 • 281

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