The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognises 353 dog breeds, only nine of which are Hungarian in origin, but there is one more peculiar dog breed that is, unfortunately, not recognised by the FCI but is from Hungary. This unique breed is quite rare, but if you see one, you will certainly notice it.
This special dog breed is called Májzli [mɑːjzli], and it might be the only Hungarian “bald” dog breed. When people see a Májzli, they often think they saw a Puli or Mudi that has seen better days or that has some sort of skin problem. Funnily enough, however, even though most specimens’ fur looks like the work of a drunken amateur dog groomer’s first try at the job, they are supposed to look like that.
Although the nine Hungarian dog breeds recognised by the FCI are well-known, there are many more that have not been recognised yet by this worldwide organisation; one such example is the topic of this article, the Májzli. According to Azénkutyám, the Májzli is a working-type dog in essence, and during the 2011 professional conference of Kisállattenyésztési és Takarmányozási Kutatóintézet (~Animal Breeding and Feeding Research Institute), aka KÁTKI, unofficial Hungarian breeds were spoken of optimistically:
“There are valuable Hungarian dog breeds that still do not have an FCI classification but will soon be classified as a (Hungarian) National Treasure; the protection of these breeds must be a priority. […] It is justified to […] protect it ex situ in gene banks and in situ […].” Other such breeds include the Kárpáti Kalibakutya (Carpathian shack dog), Kárpáti Baromfiőr Eb (Carpathian poultry guard dog), Kárpáti Komondor (Carpathian Komondor), Sinka Kutya (Sinka dog), Magyar Hajcsárkutya (Hungarian driver dog), Anwart Vizsla, Ősi Magyaragár ‐ Rabsicagár (Hungarian (poacher) sighthound).
Unfortunately, this idea has not come through since then, and according to a summary, less than a hundred individuals of the Májzli breed are in Hungary. According to other opinions, this number is even lower, with only 15-30 animals living in the country. It is hard to state the exact number of this unusual breed, as herding dogs living on homesteads are not easy to account for. Hungarian breeds are in a difficult situation in general, but the Májzli is especially close to being extinct.
They are most often found in villages of Germans resettled in Hungary, which is why they are also called Sváb Puli (Swabian puli). Its other name is the Magyar Kopasz Kutya (Hungarian bald dog). According to some sources, Mudi is referred to as the German Puli, and some people theorise that the Májzli is a genetically defective version of the Mudi, and this defect is what causes the baldness. This might be an explanation for the similar nicknames, but it is not certain, just a theory.
In the video below you can see a Swabian Puli, aka the Májzli:
Unfortunately, the heyday of shepherd dogs has been in decline as they are not needed as much due to the modernisation of livestock farming. And while some breeds with attractive traits, cute appearances, and friendly nature have perfectly fit into the everyday life of families, let us be honest, sadly, the Májzli would not win a beauty contest. Unfortunately, in our modern world, looks are usually the most important, and the fact that the FCI does not officially recognise the breed does not help either. Due to these reasons, selective breeding of this unusual dog has not become popular.
It is just as excellent for a working dog as any Mudi or Puli. In Hungary, most of the Májzli are kept by shepherds who think it is the best herding dog and consider it their most precious treasure. Sadly, sometimes, you can find one or two in the shelters. In essence, it is an energetic, skilful, intelligent, and kind breed, just like the other Hungarian shepherd dogs, making it an ideal family member as well.
The appearance of the Májzli may deter some people from the breed, but its nature is sure to compensate for it. To be honest, the Chinese Crested dog is not the most beautiful breed either, yet it is very popular, why not save this Hungarian breed? This precious and talented herding dog should not be allowed to disappear forever.
Source: Azénkutyám.hu, Kóborka.hu,