Tag Archives: UKC

Famous Sons of Styria, Austria

March 6, 2016

The Messe Center in Graz, the dog show site. I live only a few blocks away.

The Messe Center in Graz, the dog show site. I live only a few blocks away.

Currently, I am in Graz at the International Dog Show. For FCI Group 1, it is only a one day show on Sunday.

Graz’s population is about 300,000 people. It is the capital of Styria and is located in the South eastern corner of Austria near the Slovenian and Hungarian border. Graz  seems to be one of those ideal multi cultural picture perfect central European cities from the playbook of the Habsburg dynasty of the legendary Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The city is a true  custodian of the often idealized gilded past through its architecture, institutions and traditions. The baroque buildings along the quiet narrow cobble stone paved streets, the richly decorated formal palaces and monumental government buildings  on the open town square, or the ghostly Gostling Castle above the city are great reminders of greatness, wealth, culture and the  imperial absolutism of the past.

The Rathaus or town hall in Graz. I am surprised that Donald Tump has not proposed yet to rename the U.S. Capitol "The Rathaus"

The Rathaus or town hall in Graz. I am surprised that Donald Tump has not proposed yet to rename the U.S. Capitol “The Rat house”

When traveling to foreign places, I am always interested in the “famous native sons and daughters” of the countries and cities I visit. Graz also has its own interesting group of people  to offer.

Graz was the home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the nephew of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz-Joseph.  The aging ruler who preferred feudal tranquility to the reform ideas of the duke,  had a rather unsavory relationship with Franz Ferdinand. The Archduke was also looked upon as one of the dynasty’s black sheep because he married  Countess Sophie Chotek of Bohemia who was just below the “princess level.” Among the many repercussions were Sophie’s exclusion from major state events and the  denial to be buried in the Habsburg Imperial Crypt in Vienna.  The couple’s children were also not eligible for the Monarchy’s throne.  The Archduke’s  assassination in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, caused the beginning of the Great War in 1914.

Arch Duke Johann, the Styrian Prince, one of the favorite son of Graz and Austria, military man and the nerd of the Habsburg dynasty. founder of the Joanneum one of the early universities in Graz, The Graz, Library, Mutual Fire Insurance Co., the Austrian Southern Railway among many other things. He married beneath of his rank, the postmaster's daughter Maria Anna Pilz, that automatically annulled his accession to the Austrian throne.

Arch Duke Johann, the Styrian Prince, one of the favorite sons of Graz and Austria, was a military man and the “nerd” of the Habsburg dynasty. He was the founder of the Joanneum one of the early universities in Graz, The Graz Library, Mutual Fire Insurance Co., the Austrian Southern Railway among many other institutions that contributed to the economic and scientific progress of Austria.  He married beneath of his rank, to the postmaster’s daughter, Maria Anna Pilz. The union automatically annulled his accession to the Austrian throne.

An interesting fact about Franz Ferdinand is that he was  a trigger happy hunter, who killed close to 300,000 wild animals during his short life, from small birds to elephants according to Richard N. Lebow,  who wrote  the book, “Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! A World Without World War I,” in the “what if genre,” proposing and alternative history for the world. Imagine, how our lives would be different today without the first world war… The assassination of Duke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo was indeed one of the greatest catalyst of extraordinary changes in the history of humankind. It is fascinating to think – in a twisted way, – that most technological and scientific inventions  of the 20th century, including the radar, nuclear bomb, man on the moon, your iPhone and one of their unintended results, climate change, originates from Graz, the birth place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, another Habsburg member of the "morganatic marriage" club, (a fancy word for you...) Where would you be and what would your life look like if he was not assassinated...?

The figure from Graz, whose mere existence probably caused it all. His assassination has altered the trajectory of the world – ( for better or worse…?)  Archduke Franz Ferdinand, another Habsburg member of the “morganatic marriage” club, (a fancy word for you…) Where would you be and what would your life look like if he was not assassinated in Sarajevo…?

A bit of contemporary literature from Graz, Folke Tegetthoff. over 40 books and additional films and performances. His favorite genre is to write new style fairy tales for adults. "There is no greater desire than to find someone who listens to you"

A bit of contemporary literature from Graz, Folke von Tegetthoff. (another von…) A story teller, has written over 40 books. He has also written  films and performances. His favorite genre is new style fairy tales for adults. “There is no greater desire than to find someone who listens to you”

http://youtu.be/j1pruq2VffM <—- CLICK HERE!  Ironically, a probably much better known figure  from Graz, is, the ultimate pop culture icon, the total recall governor of  California, 2003, former two times Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He was the son of the former police chief of Graz, Gustav Schwarzenegger. His father was also a former Nazi party member during WWII. We all know   Arnold’s rise to fame and his fall.  Arnold’s movies range from “Pumping Iron”  to “The Terminator” and beyond. It can happen only in America and it can happen only in California.

Graz's legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger Mr. Universe, The Terminator, the Total Recall Governor of California. He unlike the two Archdukes, he married up and he still managed to screw up. Herr Tegelhoff could write a realistic fairy tale about him.

Graz’s legendary son, Arnold Schwarzenegger Mr. Universe, The Terminator, the Total Recall Governor of California. Unlike the two Archdukes, he married up, not down into the American royal family, the Kennedys and he still managed to screw up. Herr Tegelhoff could write a new style fairy tale about him.

By the way, as you would expect, there is an Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Graz. It is the sort of Austrian “Graceland” with less flair  and more though guy image.  The museum recreates Schwarzenegger’s early life in Graz, Austria. It exhibits memorabilia, photos, documents, exercise machines and other, sometimes frivolous curiosities.

young Jack Unterweger, a disturbed mind of Styria's famous sons.

young Jack Unterweger, a disturbed mind of Styria’s famous sons.

The difference between fame and infamy is just one’s interpretation . Jack Unterweger, the Austrian serial killer has certainly stained the impeccable list of famous sons of Styria. Jack, the son of a Vienese woman, Theresa Unterweger and an unknown American soldier, was born in Judenburg, Styria just an hour drive from Graz.  Jack’s early life was the clear road map to the dark side. He’s been in and out of prison for sexual assault. He committed his first murder in 1974. While in prison he started writing stories and poems. “Purgatory of a Guilty Man” has served as the main source for a documentary movie. In 1990, Unterweger has been released from prison as a rehabilitated man with the assistance of public and celebrity pressure. His writings has been taught in schools and his twisted persona celebrated as the example of one of the successes of liberal penitentiary reform. Jack has become a public figure, journalist and broadcaster. As it turned out, during his broadcasting carrieer, he was reporting many of his unsolved earlier murders.

John Malkovich's play catered to the fascination of Americans with murder and violence

John Malkovich’s play catered to the fascination of Americans with murder and violence

Unterweger has turned out as a notorious “meurtrier sans frontier” (murderer without borders) as it was discovered that he also killed in Czechoslovakia, Germany and later in the US when he was hired  by a magazine to write about crime and prostitution in the US.

Even though he committed suicide in his Austrian prison, his infamy has been carried on in popular culture. He has been portraid by John Malkovich in “Seduction and Despair”, he was also portrayed in “The Infernal Comedy” in 2009 and in a documentary movie, “Entering Hades.”

An Austrian play about the disturbed mind of Unterweger

An Austrian play about the disturbed mind of Unterweger

He was charged of eleven murders and found guilty of nine. Since he was seeking appeal while he died by Austrian law his “guilty verdict was not legally binding.”

Grüße aus Graz!

Schwarzenegger's sculpture at the Schwarzenegger Museum in Graz. It is funny that how much it reminds me Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker" perhaps there is such a thing as muscle brain after all...

Schwarzenegger’s sculpture at the Schwarzenegger Museum in Graz .It reminds me Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker” perhaps there is such a thing as muscle brain after all…

Ha... an outdoor sculpture at the Schwarzenegger museum

Ha… an outdoor sculpture at the Schwarzenegger museum

An invaluable piece from the Schwarzenegger Museum. Art thieves in trouble...

A   priceless  piece  from  the Schwarzenegger  Museum. Could art thieves sue the museum for hernia injury…



The super futuristic "Kunsthaus" in Graz. It is the home of art works made after 1960. Or perhaps an unidentified submarine that can be modified to launch missiles to restore the Habsburg Monarchy. Who will be the new emperor? Arnold, Johann or Ferdinand? Perhaps Folke Tekkerhoff can write the story down

The super futuristic “Kunsthaus” in Graz. It is the home of art works made after 1960. Or perhaps it is a secret  submarine that can be modified to launch missiles to help in the restoration of the Habsburg Monarchy and the elimination of  the prohibition of”morganatic marriages” for members of the imperial family. Who will be the new emperor? Arnold, Johann or Ferdinand? Perhaps Folke von Tegetthoff will reveal it in his next fairy tale book

The Gift That Keeps On Giving…

February 26, 2016

During the FeHoVa 2016 international Dog Show in Budapest, Hungary, I’ve noticed that one dog owner specifically kept pulling away her dog from me when my amorous Kaffogo Agyag has kept pulling after her male Pumi. First I thought she was simply unfriendly, however, once her dog was in a “safe distance” under control, she was open to engage in  conversation with me.  When I asked  her why she did not let her dog to play with Agyag and Fruska, her answer was, that she was worrying about canine herpes virus… We’ve all heard of the disease, however, for many breeders and dog owners CHV remains in the realm of the abstract.

So we started talking….

As a farmer who have bred horses, sheep and goats I’ve known about rhino, or “Rhino pneumonitis”, the equine herpes virus. Due to the size of horses, rhino caused abortion is a truly dramatic experience.  Ovines (sheep) can also host the Ovine Herpes Virus 2 that causes an inapparent infection, a condition that we closely monitor here on the farm so we can prevent it.

Canine herpes virus is also an ugly disease. Those who are not so familiar with the details of CHV, might be able learn something from this article. I know, that I certainly would have been able to use a collection of more readily available readings on a website or the advice of  seasoned breeders on breeding and  health related issues in the past and even today.  Hope this article can help to point to the right direction for further readings and to change behaviors when dealing with communicable diseases.

New born puppies are exciting news. Dog pregnancy is a relatively short event and through social media we can closely follow our  “friends'” pregnant dogs and new born litters. With the help of the internet, we are right there in the breeder’s living room or barn… witnessing the pregnancy and new lives.

Unfortunately, sometime, we also witness abortions, stillbirth, pups born weak and die unexpectedly with no previous signs within one- to-four weeks.  We express our condolence and mourn along based on the pattern of the 24-hour news cycle and then move on.  We do not follow up,  and do not go back to ask the question, “what happened…?”  It is considered inappropriate in the eye of public opinion, as opposed to considering it as a learning opportunity and possibly helping others.

In the age of our sanitized virtual relationships across continents, objective discussions  have been considered as impolite.  A friend of mine who is older than Marshall McLuhan’s phrase, “the medium is the message” and who ironically also  happens to be a Canadian (like McLuhan), after she got acquainted with Facebook not long ago, asked her newly acquired Facebook friends for their phone numbers so she could call them instead of  communicating over FB – it seemed less complicated, more effective and goal oriented to her…I guess, she just did not get it… “I thought we were friends after all…” she often told me when talking about her FaceBook friends…

So some fetuses get aborted, or just never fully develop and born or the newborn puppies simply die after birth in a short period of time. Among those who survive, some remains weak and lethargic and perhaps appears to have respiratory or organ problems, nerve damages, mental and behavioral issues.  The cause of the incident does not get tracked down by the breeder, the question remains open, and most likely subjective logic gets applied to explain the misfortune.  This is one way how  taboos and myths born in dog breeding circles.

Canine herpes virus is a frustrating highly contagious diseases that is more frequent than one would think of. 80% of kenneled dogs can come into contact with the virus while among  “in home” kept dogs, the infection rate is much lower, 20-25%.  Ironically,  pet dogs that have been kept in homes as opposed to kennels, when contracted the virus, have shown more severe symptoms  than dogs that are frequently kenneled. In contrast, show dogs who are exposed to low levels of the virus on a regular basis, can develop certain resistance to suppress flare ups.

When talking about Canine herpes virus, a certain cultural bias is unavoidable. I’ve read some studies about canine herpes virus infection rates in England, Belgium and Turkey. (“A serological study of canine herpes virus-1 infection in the English dog population” Reading MJ et al. Arch Virol 1998, – there was a similar  study published in Belgium  by Ronnse V, et. al. Reprod Domest Anim. 2002 – and in Turkey  by Yesilbag K et al. Res Vet Sci. 2012)   Before reading these articles, my prediction, based on my short experience in these countries, listed Turkey as probably the most affected one by the CHV among the three countries listed.  I imagine, many of you would assume the same outcome. Objective reality however, turned out to be different. The studies have basically shown a very similar CHV infection rate  in all three countries.

Dogs can get infected  with the virus anywhere anytime through nasal, oral and vaginal secretion. Most frequent places can be dog shows, like the annual  Westminster Kennel Club Show (to shock you!) or the annual AKC Eukanuba Agility trial (another place where the ELITE appears…) for the “menu chiens” simply dog runs, dog training places, even vet offices can be “ideal” locations of contracting the disease. In short, CHV do not discriminate…

What can tip the scale in favor of countries with a higher puppy survival rate  is, the so called” higher dog culture” ( for lack of a better definition…) that is basically a higher quality post partum care.  If the fetus did not die before birth, CHV can also be transmitted to  the pups through the birth canal and oral or nasal infection. Because puppies cannot control their body temperature before three weeks of age, the virus that thrives in lower temperature (97-99F), infects the young pup’s body due to the body’s inability to produce fever.

Questions one might ask, can or should the dam be bred again after a breeder experiences a CHV infected litter from the dam? if yes, would the dam’s next litter show signs of CHV too?  Can the stud dog  get infected?

Unfortunately, most veterinary information focusing on herpes in puppies and it is hard to find articles about management of herpes in adult dogs.  The percentage of CHV infected adult dog population is staggering. It is btw 30%-80% anywhere in the U.S (Wikipedia puts the number even higher, 40-93% in certain dog populations.)   Adult dogs rarely show signs of herpes as it tend to go dormant in the body, however, stress can trigger a flare ups. Therefore, careful  planning of a litter of a CHV infected bitch  is very important.

Stress management is key. How can a breeder avoid putting stress on a dog that is going to be bred?  What can be the stressors for a bitch?  Mary C. Wakeman D.V.M., summarize it in the following list:

  • hormonal events which temporarily impair the body’s ability to fight infection,
  • shipping , boarding, breeding and shipping again should the bitch travel to the stud dog,
  • possible concurrent bacterial vaginal or uterine disease,
  • lyme disease in certain part of the country when traveling there,
  • decreased thyroid level that is especially common in bitches five years or older,
  • certain vaccinations
  • other issues such as temperature stress.

The presence of stress triggered herpes can explain failed pregnancies, and unusually small litter sizes. In one test,  where strict pre-pregnancy work ups showed no infections around half way to whelping, the  presence of live fetuses have been established.   Later, serum samples were taken for herpes titer about two weeks apart.  Those who have been exposed to shows, kenneling, groomers, flying  and previously showed no signs of infections, the CHV test results suddenly have shown positive herpes titers, in about 80% of the bitches tested.  This outcome should be self explanatory why previously infected bitches especially should avoid stress before breeding and during pregnancy.

It is also important to know that CHV can appear in a form of a respiratory disease, that can easily be mistaken for kennel cough, can manifest as a conjunctivitis, cornea infection of the eye and sinusitis according to the Merck veterinary manual.  Dogs can be exposed to repeat infections by going to kennels, dog runs, training places where they can be exposed to higher or lower level of infective particles from the environment that has a relatively high presence of dogs, They can also flare up as their own dormant infection might resurface.

Breeders who cannot avoid these contacts, because they train other dogs, run  boarding kennels, go to shows and trials, still can reduce the probability of literary taking the disease back home through preventative measures such as regularly changing clothes before entering their own environment.  One can also reduce visitor’s access to the breeding kennel and establish higher sanitation measures for visitors (usually a high percentage of visitors already have dogs who might carry CHV on themselves from home.)

Ironically, pet dogs who do not or rarely visit dog shows, trials, kennels groomers etc are more susceptible because they have no regular low level contact with the virus as show and performance dogs do.

What about male dogs? They may get infected or not. The Belgian pharma company Merial who produces herpes vaccine Euricas 205 suggests that  vaccination temporarily stops the spread of the virus.  Testing at the time of breeding is pointless according to Mary C. Wakeman, especially if the dog is from the same environment as the bitch. Dogs from the same kennels,  will be in various phases of the infection. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that boarding kennels, groomers that primarily cater to pet dogs, contains a much higher level  of infected aerosol particles than breeding kennels in case the bitch has visited one of these sites outside of her kennel. Consequently sanitation is extremely important.  According to the Merck Veterinary manual, CHV is relatively unstable outside the host and sensitive to lipid solvents, ether and chloroform and in general to most disinfectants. With regular cleaning the transmission can be reduced.

Another useful advice is, not to leave the bitch in the dog’s environment at breeding, rather traveling back and forth by car  that most dogs are used to and staying in a hotel with the owner/handler. To further reduce stress and travel related exposure, the use of artificial insemination is also viable alternative.

There is no treatment (curing the disease) available for HCV. There is no vaccination available in the United States. Euricas Herpes 205 vaccination is available in Europe to “manage” the infection. There is an interesting scientific discussion how the vaccine had been developed step by step,  it is certainly not your ordinary non-fiction but I still found it fascinating what a serious work and details goes into developing medicine.                        “http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_-_Scientific_Discussion/veterinary/000059/WC500066409.pdf

About puppies and CHV: the seriousness of the illness depend on the age of the dog that contracts it. In the prenatal stage of development the disease virtually starves the  fetus from nutrients. This is the reason why reabsorption, abortion or  stillbirth  can occur. Pups born with infection contracted in the prenatal period are usually severely damaged.

Puppies that get infected in the utero from vaginal secretion or the saliva or the nasal secretion of the dam during or after birth, often remain under weight, weak with damaged organs. These puppies often suffer from “fading puppy syndrome due to the inability to nurse.”  They are usually in discomfort with pain and  diarrhea. They produce eye and nasal discharge. internal hemorrhage is also a frequent syndrome of CHV pups. Since a puppy under three weeks of age cannot control his body temperature, he cannot produce fever and the virus simply thrives below 98F.  Once a CHV infected puppy reaches 3-4 weeks of age his chances of survival can increase dramatically.

Vaccinations, if it is available,  with proper timing will help the bitch to develop antibodies and reduce or temporarily prevent flare ups during mating and whelping induced stress.  When vaccination is not available like here in the US, strict preventative  measures can improve the puppies surviving rate.

Heat lamp and heating pad can help to elevate the puppies’ body temperature to reduce and prevent CHV replication in the body before three weeks of age until the pups can control their own body temperatures. While antibiotics are ineffective for controlling the virus, it can prevent and eliminate secondary bacterial infections.

Proper sanitation using household disinfectants can eliminate CHV shed by the dam to prevent further infections in the pups. Limiting outside visitors and the use of increased protective measures to introduce outside pollutions are also essential.

According to secondary sources, the pharmaceutical company Merial stated that “the virus, (CHV) does not come from bad kennels – it is already everywhere.”

Can we do something about it together?






Canis familiaris ovilis villosus terrarius Raitsitsi

February 17, 2016

There have been several discussions lately about the Pumi; about its origin, history, function – (original and contemporary), its standard, adaptive trait(s) and also how newer generation of breeders or planning to be breeders and owners are getting connected to the breed and what they really know about the Pumi.

This short article (using informal citation ) is a result of a recent email exchange and it might be a useful addition  for those who are participating in these ongoing conversations on various FaceBook Pumi groups and planning to explore the Pumi’s origin further.

There have been voices in the U.S. for years trying to discredit the idea that the Pumi’s development has been impacted by terrier type dogs. Recently, there was a short article, not more than a “soundbite,” posted on Facebook, “A Pumi Kutya Bemutatasa” (Introduction of The Pumi Breed) describing the Pumi as a terrier type herding dog. The article received some negative comments by some readers.

Familiar with the Pumi’s unique temperament for many decades from Hungary and now as a novice Pumi breeder and farmer who actually uses Pumis for daily farm tasks and who also puts significant amount of time into international travel, studying and researching the breed, I have decided to discuss one of the Pumi’s most important features that he is a “terrier type” herding dog.

The idea that  the Pumi has no terrier impact in him, is based on the false premise that terriers were a British invention and there have been no terriers  in Europe because terriers have not been imported from Britain until the advent of organized dog shows to the continent and consequently, they could have not contributed to the Pumi’s development. In this short article I attempt to make a convincing argument that there have been continental terriers and terrier type dogs, that could have contributed to the Pumi’s development. In addition, it is  important to emphasize that although no one points to any specific British terrier breeds as source of the Pumi’s DNA, it is also a mistake to categorically exclude informal import and export of dogs of many kinds, including terrier types, between continental Europe and the British Isles prior to 1873.

Tamara Langer from Hungary has described a composite  wire haired German/continental terrier type dog, similar in size to the Pumi, as “one of the significant contributors” to the Pumis’ “terrier blood line.”

In her recent email of an excerpt from Johan Gallant’s book, “The World of Schnauzers,” Chris Levy suggests that standard Schnauzers likely had a significant role for the Pumi’s hallmark conformation .

While the Schnauzer’s history written by Gallant is certainly important, I found it more intriguing that additional archeological findings, parallel with the proto Scnauzer’s discovery,  clearly contradicts the idea that terriers have originated from the British Isles. Gallant specifically states that the terrier actually originates from the continent since its archeological remains together with the ancestor of the Schnauzer (the latter was Gallant’s primarily focus) have been found in Lattringen, Switzerland. Gallant quotes from W. Tchudy’s book, “Geschichte des Hundes”, that “the skulls found in Lattringen are in structure the nearest to our schnauzers and terriers and have to be considered their link with prehistory.” By closely reading Gallant’s text, about the pinchers of Germany, the chapter clarifies the debate about the existence of continental terriers. For our purpose to trace the Pumi’s development, Gallant’s explanation can point to the missing link, to one of the Pumi’s ancestral breeds the mysterious terrier type dog(s) in question that have been present in Europe, however, gotten “lost in translation.”

wire hair pinschers illustration from...

wire hair pinschers illustration from 1834

To be fair, it is important to mention that similar developments happened also on the British isles during the same time. Looking into some other archeological readings about the time period, (Archeological Science/ English Heritage, Research Department Report Series no. 29-2011 ISSN 1749-8775 “Review of Animal Remains From the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of Southern Britain (4000BC – 1500BC) Environmental Studies Report by Dale Serjeantson)one can learn, that the neolithic era introduced the increased use of dogs. It is suggested however, that the steadily increased migration from the continent also transported livestock and early dogs to the Isles after the ice age. The evolution of agriculture including animal husbandry at different geographical locations in the same time period, either independently or through the impact of migrations, fueled the need to develop specific types of dogs (herding, hunting farm dogs and pets) in various sizes (36cm-60cm) as shown by archeological findings of dog remains in southern England.

wirehaired Pinscher and smooth haired Pinscher

wirehaired Pinscher and smooth haired Pinscher


Pinscherhund from Theodor Gotz’s book

Obviously, the Pumi is a composite dog that primarily originates from the Puli, Mudi, and some other herding breeds and certain terrier type dogs. My suspicion is that where some Pumi aficionados gone wrong is that they have been looking for a few specific breeds that can be pictured…(!) basically dogs that resembles the Pumi…, as opposed to considering the idea that we should search in a “DNA mutt pool” based on available records, and read and interpret from historical, agricultural and even geopolitical context.

Painting including British terriers

Painting  of terriers by Arthur Wardle

illustration of British terriers by Sny

 terriers by Maude

terriers by Maud Alice Earl

When researching into Hungarian sheepdogs, one has to put the history of Hungarian dog breeding in context. Conditions…: Hungary was a backward country ravaged by wars, long term foreign occupations where serfdom practically was not dismantled until 1848. After the defeated revolution and subsequent freedom fight of 1848-49, the country, especially the common people, experienced severe oppression by Austria until 1867. Clearly, under such conditions, modern dog breeding, like in the west, could not take off. People of the countrysides faced poverty. Shepherds shared their food with their dogs. “Talented” herding dogs earned their position by demonstrating their abilities and were fed. Those who did not succeed were not fed but strayed away or got a lower position in the hierarchy of farm dogs. Dogs still had to augment their daily ration by themselves out on the pastures by hunting vermin, rabbits and other small animals to supplement their diets.   Another dog feeding alternative within agricultural communities, was to “feed” working dogs out on pasture lands with dead livestock. Shepherds often did not bury livestock carcasses. Instead they cordoned them off with wires so the sheepdogs could feed on the decaying bodies. These facts might suggest that environmental factors have also had serious impacts on the breed… (!)

While the Pumi’s conformation may resemble other continental herding breeds, to a certain extent, his temperament among them remains unique and when he is in action, he exhibits a clear terrier type behavior.  He is more agile, more lively, more restless and communicative than any other similar herding breeds.  As a herding dog, within 15”-18” size with the right disposition, his terrier type behavior is strongly asserted and cannot be ignored. To be clear, we are not trying to prove that there is a clearly identifiable specific terrier blood in the Pumi, either British or continental. What we are advocating is that the Pumi has clearly been impacted by terrier type dogs.

So called “dog breeds’” bloodlines have been in flux until modern dog breeding got started with the establishment of The Kennel Club of England (1873) even though, dog breeding among affluent Europeans was already fairly frequent by the mid 19th century.
Galant’s book also includes illustration of pinschers. However, British paintings –  e.g. Arthur Wardle, Maud Alice Earl –  from the 1800’s depicts strikingly similar dogs to those German illustrations in Gallant’s book. I especially enjoyed to see Durer’s name in the context of this discussion since Durer’s father migrated to Germany from the Baja region of Hungary. (According to research papers, Durer owned several dogs that resembled the modern day schnauzers and they are also depicted in some of his work.)

Is it a schnauzer as Gallant claims it? a Puli by a longing Durer for hisHungarian heritage? or a Portugese Water dog as Dr. Elizabeth Garnell believes it?

Is it a schnauzer as  some Durer researchers claim it? a Puli by a longing Durer for his Hungarian heritage? Or a Portugese Water dog as Dr. Elizabeth Garnell believes it?

The mystery dog in Durer's

The same mystery dog in Durer’s Apocalypse The Martyrdom of St John

The descriptions of the continental (German) dogs from the excerpt called “pinschers” and the “terriers” (British) are obviously quite similar. There are two instances where the author points out the back and forth use of the terms “terrier” and “pinscher” to describe similar types of dogs performing identical tasks at different geographical locations. Gallant cites Gotz’s book, “Monographie des Hundes” from 1834 and Weiss’ translation of a British book, by William Youatts, “The Dog,” published in 1852. He points out that this latter translation appears to be one of the causes of the popularization of the term pincher in the case of terriers as Weiss also uses the term “pinscher” in the case of British dogs. (It might be far fetched but it is wort mentioning the centuries old German complaint about their isolation in the middle of Europe and consequently the relative isolation of their language. (Pinscher vs. Terrier -…?)

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the German philosopher, in his “Unanticipated Thoughts” writes about the gaps of the German language mentioning the  advance of Latin based Roman languages and English.  Even though, English is a germanic language, Latin and Romance influence in English is 58% while these language groups have only 26% influence on German.

In Gallant’s book, there is also a specific sentence that mentions Weiss’ writing about the influx of terrier type dogs back to the continent, “over the southern German hinterland…” although it is described as “vaguely mentioned.”  Yes indeed, there have been numerous occasions for informal import of dogs to the continent such as military campaigns and trade. This influx of dogs have been possible via ships sailing back and forth between Germany, Poland and other Baltic states, the British Isles across the Nordic Sea (the Hanseatic Leagues). There have been records of cargo ships clearly mentioning ratters and other dogs as permanent fixtures on boats for centuries. One famous ratter is described in the article, “Meet Hatch the world’s oldest sea dog from the Mary Rose an article by beth Hale in the Daily Mail, (March 10, 2010). Another example is the sea journey of Polish Lowland Sheep dogs to Scotland via agricultural export from the Kingdom of Poland or the catholic Scottish migrant farmers and craftsmen moving to Poland with their belongings, including dogs.

The taxonomic name of the Pumi is “Canis familiaris ovilis villosus terrarius Raitsitsi.” This definition is clear, a “bushy haired terrier type herding dog” ( a dog with inclination to herd). The intention of Raisits and Anghy cannot be misinterpreted. (perhaps with taxonomy’s new developments and directions these all can be genetically tested some day). They wanted to develop a terrier type herding dog.  The fact that this did not become a conscious effort prior to their involvement until the late 1800’s or even later until the early part of the 1900’s, is well known from magazines, newspapers and other records of the period.   So I believe that the description,“terrier type” used by Hungarians is consistent, even if the mystery dog they refer to as ratters and other “continental terriers” are officially called Pinschers or were crosses of pinschers.

Gallant also includes an article, that published a letter by R von Schmiedenberg, in the magazine “Der Hund,” from 1879, “What is a Pincher?” where the author of the letter declares how much pinschers and terriers are analogous. In the context of developing and solidifying dog breeds in Hungary, we should not forget that Hungary has been a quite backward country. Agriculture including animal husbandry and for that matter working dog breeding were way behind western Europe. Based on records, the Pumi and the Puli have not been officially divided into two different breeds for breeding purposes until 1910’s!

A Puli with Pumi impact

A Puli showing Pumi impact- phenotypic plasticity?

Pumi or Puli?

So what do you have a PUMI… or PUMI…?

For our purpose to follow the Pumi’s evolution as a breed, Gallant’s text, supports the idea that continental terriers and terrier type dogs have existed in Europe and in Germany and that the likelihood of British terriers and terrier type dogs entering the continent before organized dog breeding and “modern” dog shows have been also high.

Writings, specifically focusing on the Pumi’s history from Hungarian archival materials collected by Tamara Langer in the Pumi archive, the “Pumitar” (Pumi Warehouse), provide the detailed chronicle of the Pumi’s development as a terrier type herding dog in a historical, social and economic context.

In the article, “Magyar Juhasz vagy Pasztorebek” “Hungarian Sheep Dogs” in one of  the issues of the “Ebtenyesztes”  or “Dog breeding” magazine from 1915, the author, Buzzi complains about the dismal state of dog breeding, especially of working farm dogs in Hungary. He retells stories heard from shepherds about  wolves breeding with Komondors and Kuvaszes, or about fancy purebred dogs, including terriers of aristocrats, spending time in the country breeding with Pumi/Puli dogs. He also warned about the potential negative effects of the war on preserving Hungarian breeds as the Great War was already raging on (the article was written in 1915).

We know from historical records that  introduction of new types of sheep in Hungary came in waves that also brought along various herding and other dogs from France, Germany and from England.  The imported sheep from the British were also mentioned In 1907 by Geza Felix Buzzi in the article “The “Regeneration of Domestic Sheepdogs,” where among many stories, he also mentioned the possible impact of English sheep dogs from England that escorted the livestock to Hungary. The Old English Sheepdog was most prominently mentioned in the article.

Not long ago, in response to one of my comments on the topic of terrier type and Pumi, one tried to vaguely recall an old Hungarian article in which the author used the term “terrier,” in his writing in relation to the Pumi allegedly with false intentions and without merit proposing the idea to advertise and promote the Pumi as a terrier. I found the article in question is from 1984, “Mi Lesz Veled Pumi?” that loosely translates as ”What is Your Future Pumi?” The article calls the reader’s attention to the endangered position of the breed during the 1980’s and in this context quotes Csaba Anghy, from 1935,  “Every one should take advantage of the fact and spread the word abroad  that finally we also have a terrier, that is a terrier for its own merit, based on its temperament, conformation, and its utilization. Emphasizing the Pumi’s terrier type would help marketing the breed abroad. Unfortunately, no one has thought the obvious yet.” The correct reading of the quote clarifies that in fact, Anghy considered the Pumi as a terrier for its on merit (terrier type dog) and did not want to promote or advertise the Pumi under false premises…!

In his article, “Pumitenyesztesunk” or “Pumi Breeding” in the magazine, ”What is New in the Zoo?” XV. February 1-15. 1928, Raisits writes, “The real Pumi with his lively and restless temperament very similar to the Fox Terrier…” In the same article he describes the visit of Dr. Ludwig Heck who after his participation at the International Zoological Congress, in Budapest, picked up “Gezenguz Allatkert,” a Pumi puppy  and took him along to Germany (for its outstanding terrier type attributes). The author also chronicles a dog show of the Hungarian Fox Terrier Breeders’ Club  that was judged by Dr. Otto Wiesbaden, a highly regarded Fox Terrier judge from Germany of the period who also visited the Budapest Zoo and checked out an important Pumi of the time,  “Icig Ficko.” According to Raisits, Dr. Weisbaden noted that “…he wished that many Fox Terriers had such a great terrier type conformation.”

So until we have a better proof, I say, that if it looks like a terrier, acts like a terrier then the Pumi is a terrier type herding breed…

“Budapest Budapest Te Csodas…”

February 16, 2016

“Budapest Budapest You Wonderful…” The title is a popular Hungarian song, I think back from the 1960-70. For Hungarians it is sort of the equivalent of Sinatra’s “New York New York.” https://youtu.be/TIsXvH-e6bU  (it is heavily edited and appropriated sorry original content owners….)

I am so thrilled to be back again…


Catskill Pumis waiting to board at JFKIt is that crazy time of the year again when we travel to Europe to check out the royal and not so royal Pumi houses of Europe to make some holly alliances between the Pumis of the New World and some of the Ancient Regimes of the continent.


It is that crazy time of the year again when we travel to Europe to check out the royal and not so royal Pumi houses of Europe to make some holly alliances between the Pumis of the New World and Pumis of the  Ancient Regimes of Europe.

Catskill Pumi petting ZOO at JFK every one loves the Pumis

Catskill Pumi petting ZOO at JFK every one loves the Pumis

I’ll spend six weeks traveling in Hungary and a few other countries. The plan is to enter some dog shows, visit breeders, get some unofficial breeding and health history on the breed.  I will put  my light blue NATO helmet on and try to do my best to clean off the dirt that comes with all the information from the various sides…  and we also try to breed if all works as planned.

The Catskill Pumi Teddy Bear Collection - I WANT ONE!

The Catskill Pumi Teddy Bear Collection – I WANT ONE!

We had a very orderly departure that is usually a pretty  rear occurrence. Left on time from upstate, made it to the airport without incident, checked in dogs and luggages, I even get to check in an extra duffle bag without paying a penny. The early arrival to JFK gave us some extra quality time with the dogs. They could eliminate, hang out and get used to the new environment without any tension so when they were hauled away to load them on the plain, they did not care too much.

We let Mommy off leash for a pit stop

We let Mommy off leash for a pit stop…

The flight was uneventful. In Helsinki I changed plane to Budapest.  While boarding, the captain assured me that the dogs were  transferred to the second flight and so we went.  After the brutal cold spell of of Upstate NY (we had -40F windchill Friday night) I did not mind the unseasonable warm temperature at my arrival in Budapest.

Agyag and Fruska are checking in at Finnair

Agyag and Fruska are checking in at Finnair

We walked through customs like middle eastern migrants enter to Europe; no one checked my papers or really cared about me or the dogs.  I picked up my rental car and we were on our way to my sister’s house. The station wagon I rented is a blessing because I can fit both crates in the back so I can keep the car clean from muddy dog paws for six weeks. It was funny to see the dogs when we got out of the car and entered the lobby of the high-rise building where my sister lives. As we were waiting for the elevator, they kept looking and wondering why the sheep live in vertically stacked stalls and why they have so many shepherds around.  I needed to pull through the day without going to sleep until the evening so I can manage better the jetlag aka desynchronosis (a fancy word for you).

The Catskill Pumis are ready to board the subway

The Catskill Pumis are ready to enter the Budapest subway system

Today we took it easy. I bought a monthly public transportation pass so I do not have to drive in Budapest traffic unless it is necessary.  I also bought a gym membership to a fancy gym just a few blocks from my sister’s house because even though, i promised myself that I keep my relatively healthy diet while in Europe, I am afraid I will get tempted and breaking down within minutes after walking into one of those famous indoor food markets where they sell all those mouthwatering insanely delicious food creations.

My sister Zsuzsa with my Pumis

My sister Zsuzsa with my Pumis

The rest of the day we are off to the central shopping district on the Pest side of the City.  Lets see what the fancy boutiques of Budapest can offer comparing to Delhi’s “Tractor Supply” selection or Oneonta’s “Walmart” back home in New York. Do not tell this part of my trip to Laszlo…

Dogs and owners need to know a lot before entering a dog run you have to pass a "dog body language test" study material is available at the entrance. Turid Ruugas would be pretty proud

Dogs and owners need to know a lot before entering a dog run. Everyone has to pass a “dog body language test” Study material is available at the entrance. Welcome to Dog Run University… Turid Ruugas would be pretty proud