- Please introduce yourselves and describe the place where you live.
I’m of Hungarian extraction, I was a child when my parents emigrated. My wife Nancy can be almost considered to be of Hungarian extraction because her maternal grandmother was Hungarian. When we met in the early 1980’s, we still lived in New York State. We both enjoyed horseback riding and also competed as amateurs – both of us in dressage and Nancy also competed in eventing. At the same time we were also into dogs. At the time we had rescue dogs and we showed them in obedience and agility. At the time mixed breed dogs or those with no registration were not allowed to compete in AKC dog sport or obedience events, but there were other organizations which allowed these dogs to participate in their competitions and earn titles. We were not interested in breed shows then, so it wasn’t important to us to have purebred, pedigreed dogs.
Our 22 acre farm is in the northwestern part of South Carolina, at the foothills of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains. We have lived here for the last 14 years. Our area is popular among horse and dog people, because of the climate, the environment, the lay of the land and the easy access. We got to know the area and fell in love with it a long time before the move. We decided over ten years before the move that we’ll settle here as soon as it is feasible.
- When and how did you meet with the Pumi for the first time?
We never actually met a Pumi before we decided that we wanted to get one. I knew about the Hungarian breeds since my childhood from reading and from pictures, but here we could only see Pulik and Vizslas in real life once in a while. The first Pumi we met was Asztro, when we opened the crate he arrived in from Prague.
- Who was your first Pumi?
Our first Pumi is Asztro, whom we imported from the Czech Republic at the age of 4 months, in the beginning of 2009. Just when we decided to get a Pumi, there were no puppies available here or in Hungary. It came to our attention that Bohemia Vivace Kennel still had 2 available puppies and we immediately seized the opportunity. We were lucky with his conformation, because at the time we weren’t experienced with the breed yet; we didn’t even have the intention to participate in breed shows – we were only interested in agility and obedience.
- Tell us about your dogs, the establishment of the kennel and the kennel name.
When we traveled to Hungary in 2009 with Asztro for the World Dog Show in Bratislava, we were so much in love with the breed, that for the first time in the long years of owning and training dogs we started to consider breeding and decided to bring back with us a suitable bitch. This is how Szikra, (Cseri-Subás Édes) who was 10 months old then, became our kennel’s founding bitch. While we were in Hungary, with a few hours of herding instruction by Krisztina Menyhart (Vöröskői-Kondacsipkedő Kennel) I made more progress with Asztro than previously in a few months of struggle with instructors here in the US, who weren’t familiar yet with the Pumi’s herding style (I was a total beginner in herding).
We got the inspiration for naming the kennel from the view from our area, because the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is breathtaking. True to their name, the mountains really look blue from the distance. We kept a bitch, Tisza from the first litter, thinking of the new generation. In 2012 I brought back 3 monts old Zenta (Cuidado Upbeat Ugró) from Hungary, because we liked her lines; we planned to breed her to Asztro, provided her adult conformation and temperament turned out to be suitable. Their litter is 9 weeks old now. Our third bitch, Thistle (English for Bogáncs, her registered name) was born a singleton last year in May as a surprise, because due to my mistake, towards the end of Szikra’s heat Asztro got to her somehow - we kept her. Our young male Buda (Pattogó Parázs Buda) we brought home from Hungary after the 2013 World Dog Show is also very promising. Besides the 6 Pumik we also have 3 English Cocker Spaniels and a Canaan Dog. Except for our younger Engie girl who is now being prepared for obedience trials after a career in agility, they are now retired.
- What sporting, working or other leasure activities do you do with your dogs; are you participating in shows?
Primarily we train our dogs for performance events. We successfully participate in agility and obedience trials with them. We go to breed shows as well and practice show handling for that purpose. I herd with Asztro (Nancy does the agility – I left agility when I started to herd) and we are doing well in herding trials. At this time he has the most herding titles among the Pumik in America; he also earned multiple titles in conformation, agility, obedience and coursing. Zenta, the dam of our recent “C” litter competed successfully in her second Novice Agility trial and won first place with a perfect score before her pregnancy; in herding we achieved the level that I’m ready to start trialing her. Naturally, our dogs, besides training and competing, love to go on hikes, to swim, to play and just to cuddle with us and play the role of lapdogs...
- Who are the prides of the kennel and its hopefuls?
The pride of the kennel is Asztro of course. He earned titles in almost every dog sport. He passed down his working ability and his conformation to our first litter, out of which 4 compete successfully in agility, acieve good results in conformation shows; one of them is also working as a therapy dog. Our latest litter looks promising as well, but the puppies are only 9 weeks old; naturally it will take time until our hopes could become reality. Buda is also one of our hopefuls, he earned the CM title by the time he turned one year old. Last December, at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championships in Orlando, FL he was BOB at the age of 10 months. He also has a good herding instinct and his agility training is going well. Thistle also carries Asztro’s and Szikra’s best attributes and she is promising in herding and agility. Her conformation is excellent, but she gets bored in shows and she doesn’t show herself well. She’ll most likely prove herself as a brood bitch. Zenta also got her CM fairly early, she is very promising in herding, obedience and agility.
- What are your goals?
We would like to make the breed better known in the US and appreciated for its unique qualities. We are striving to preserve – besides their looks – their stable, dependable nature, their intelligence and their working ability, and at the same time to produce healthy offspring. For this end, we have all the existing DNA and medical screenings performed on our dogs.
- What do you feed your dogs?We follow the results of lab tests of dog foods published annually in the „Whole Dog Journal”. We choose our dog foods which contain the most natural and best quality ingredients accordingly. We mainly use the Nature’s Domain line of food from the Costco chain and Nature’s Select (which is manufactured here in South Carolina, with free home delivery). We make liver brownie treats at home with the mixture of chicken livers, whole wheat flour and grated cheddar cheese.
- What is the Pumi’s status in AKC?
Since the Pumi is not fully recognized yet by AKC due to the small number of dogs in the US, we can only show the breed in the Miscellaneous Class which includes the breeds which are still waiting for full recognition and subsequently getting placed in their proper groups. The winner of the Miscellaneous Class can’t participate in the judging for Best in Show. The title, which is the champion equivalent for the Miscellaneous Class is CM (Certificate of Merit). Considering the increase in the Pumi population in the US, we have a fair chance that it’ll take another year until we’re fully recognized and placed in the Herding Group.