June 8, 2012

Finnish Character Test

What is Finnish Character Test
The purpose of the Finnish Character test is to evaluate the inherited temperament traits and features the dogs have. It gives information of the dog’s capabilities, strong and weak points. During the Finnish Character Test the dog's behaviour is examined in situations where its nerv system is heavily stressed. Test results can be used to define dog's character, determine the dog's suitability to training, and it gives information for breeding, too. The character test was developed in 1976 and it was based on a suitability test used by the Swedish army.
The age limits for dog's participating are from 2 to 6 years – dog’s over six years, but under seven years can enter. The test is recommended to be taken when the dog is 2-3 years old. At that age, the dog is mentally adult, but the experiences it has had haven’t yet had too much impact on the inherited temperament features the dog has. The older the dog gets, the more the result is reflecting the experiences and the behaviour dog has learned during it’s life, and less the inherited temperament.
Character test is always judged by two specially trained judges. The test can be taken only once, and the result is final, except in cases when the dog has disqualified the test at the first time. The result of the second test is final.
Though it’s difficult to say, which from all temperament features are inherited and which not, and how strongly they inherit, it is certain, that in some extent many features are inherited, and those can be influenced by selective breeding. Such temperament traits are for example capability to function, temperament, mental hardness and nerves. Some temperament traits can be influenced by training. Such temperament traits are for example: desire for defence action, tendency for aggressive behaviour and desire to fight. In the Finnish Character test those tempperament traits that are inherited and can't be influenced by training are given higher coefficents, and they have greater impact for the final test result than those tempperament traits that can be influenced by training.
Throughout the test the owner should keep as motionless and "unsupportive" as possible and he should not try to influence the dog's behaviour in any way unless instructed by the test judges. For example talking to the dog or couraging it is not allowed unless otherwise mentioned.
Character Test in Brief
1. Interview
The test starts with the judge interviewing owner. The purpose of this interview is to find out how much experience this dog has, what is the possible training level (for instance a dog trained to defence work reacts differently than a pet), how old it is, has it had some negative experiences with people (abusing), has it been living with you since it was a puppy, do you have other dogs and what is the dog’s position in the dog group etc. All these things give the judge a better overview of the dog, and help them to understand it’s reactions when the test begins.
2. Accessibility
The judge gives the dog possibility to take contact. If the dog doesn't make contact independently the judge calls it by it's name. The dog should allow the judge at least to take contact with it, and then there are, of course, numerous alternatives of liking, disliking, or loving it! Accessibility is the first test, because later on in the test the same judges are going to threat the dog and cause him lot of stress, and the dog might not be that accessible anymore.
3. Desire to Fight
The judge tries to get the dog to play with him. This is performed with a stick or some other object, dog’s owner may also bring his own toy. If a dog starts to play with the stick or toy, it will also be “threatened” by the judge to estimate the actual force of this feature and how strongly the dog wants to play and how much mental threat it will overlook from the judge without letting it interrupt his play. If the dog won’t play with the judge, the owner may try to play with him.
4. Capacity to function test 1 (threatened)
This phase is executed by pulling an obscure, human like figure towards the dog, who is standing on a leash with his owner. The dog can't solve the sort of this menace, and will be afraid of it (must be!). The capability of functioning is actually seen when the figure reaches dog's owner and stops moving. How long it does take to make contact with the figure? Does the dog need help from it's owner e.t.c. The feeling of threat is essential to this part, the dog must be scared so that the judge can tell how fast the dog will get over it’s feelings of fear when it realize the figurine isn’t alive or dangerous.
The second stage of this test is done in the end of the test, after the defence, mental hardness and temperament test. These two stages together are evaluated with following scale:
5. Defence test
The dog is walking with it's owner. Suddenly the judge attacks the owner with force. The dog should immediately start to protect the owner and stay between the figurant and the owner. When the dog has reacted clearly (escape or defence action) the judge stops the attack and starts to talk friendly to the dog. The dog should stop defending and meet after a while the judge friendly without any aggression.
6. Mental hardness test
This phase is normally performed with an umbrella which suddenly opens in front of the dog to scare it. The mental hardness is determined when the owner takes the dog back to the scaring place after a while. A soft dog refuses to go again to that place, a hard one doesn't seem to remember the whole thing.
7. Temperament test
This phase is normally performed by letting a noisy clattering barrel roll after and chase the dog. The force of dog's reaction shows it's temperament.
8. Capacity to function test 2 (without threat)
Dog's owner goes into a dark room which has several obstacles for the dog. After a while the dog is let into the room. The dog should search for it's owner without help in the dark. It should ignore other people and all the obstacles on his way to the owner. This test also measures the dogs capacity to function, but the situation isn’t threatening for the dog.
9. Aggressivity test
The dog is tied up to a wall with a short leash and left alone there. The judge tacks slowly towards the dog with a growing force. The more aggressive tendency a dog has, the earlier it starts to resist the attack. The judge has a slim stick or such in his hand, and he hits the trees, bushes, ground around him and speaks or yells in aggressive way, but won’t hit or touch the dog. The dog should be barking, growling and resisting the attack. When the judge stops the threat, the dog should recover and calm down and let the judge access him again without any signs of aggressive behaviour.
10. Shooting test
The dog may still be tied up to the wall, or it may be standing on leash with the owner. There will be at least two shots from a distance. The dog shouldn't be afraid of these shots. Dogs who are disposed or have fear of shots are usually recommended to be left out of breeding program, regardless of the breed of the dog. Sound sensibility often goes hand in hand with other faults in the character (nerves, temperament) and are strongly inherited. If dog is afraid of shots, it’s often also afraid of thunder, rockets and other loud noises, and vice versa. This will effect it’s normal life, because the dog will loose it’s capacity to function when it’s exposed to loud noises.
Explaining the Features Involved
The Character test is split into ten sections, that measure eight different features, and sound sensitivity. All the features (except sound sensibility) are evaluated on a 6-degree scale from +3 (optimal) to -3 (least desirable), but one should remember that the scale reflects the ideal for military working dog.  All features have individual coefficients based on the feature's trainability and on the other hand inheritability.
The coefficients are different according to how much or little training and environment can alter the test result. For instance desire to fight (play) is something the owner can strengthen or suppress, and the coefficient is only 1, but the nerves can’t be changed, and the coefficient is 35. Therefore, in the final grade, the importance of the grade given for the nerves is much greater than the grade given for the desire to play.
The test results come in the form of points - maximum amount of points (sum of grades x coefficients) is 300. The test result should not be viewed as the sum of the points, as the total sum doesn't give any information of the grades given from the individual parts of the test, except in extreme cases. Because of the coefficients, two dog's may have the same final points, though their characters are very different. The maximum points, +300, isn't the desired or optimum points for all dog breeds. When looking at the test points, one should always remember the purpose of the dog and the dog breed. The maximum points are desirable for dog's used for military purposes or such, and some of the character traits desirable for military dogs are undesirable for other dog breeds.
The test features involved could be translated as:
Capability to function is feature that could be explained as bravery, eg how logically the dog is able to function even if it's frightened. This feature is evaluated throughout the test, and specially in two parts of the test. 
First test designed to measure capability to function is very early in the test (after testing the dog's accessibility and desire to play) and it's designed to be scary from dog's point of view. A specially designed figure appears from distance and moves towards the dog with varying pace. The purpose is to timidate the dog to see  how scared it will be and how it behaves when timidated, and how fast and well it is able to overcome it's fear. The owner should stay passive. For some dogs this part of the test is already so timidating that they need to stop the test and can not move to the next part. 
Second test designed to measure this feature is later in the test, and it measures the dog's capability to function when there's no threat involved. The owner is taken into a darkened room, where one of the judges is already waiting. The dog is left outside with another judge, and then let in to the room to search for it's owner. There is different obstacles in the room that the dog needs to move around, and the floor consists of different surface materials. The owner should stay in one place, and be quiet. If the dog doesn't start approaching, the owner may first cough, then whisper dog's name, call the dog aloud, try to encourage the dog to come,  and if these don't help, the owner may approach the dog and as last option the light may be increased in the room.
The dog's "bravery" is measured through the whole test as the dog gets exposed to different situations. The best possible result is +3 (Extremely high), and it's given to a dog that is very brave, doesn't step back when the figure is approaching and moves very confidently and without couragement in the dark room, and functions logically and without fear through whole test. Second best graade is +2 (High) and it's given to dog who may move behind the owner when timidated by the figure, but overcomes it's fear soon after the figure stops moving and takes contact to the figure without couragement. The dog moves confidently in the dark room with only minimal help or couragement from the owner. Dog grades +1 (moderate capability to function) if he is greatly intimidated by the figure, but takes contact to it with minimal couragement from owner, and if the owner needs to call the dog in dark room before he moves.
Dog has low capability to function (-1) if it is clearly timidated by the figure and owner needs to courage it to contact the figure by approaching the figure himself and talking to the dog. In the dark room the dog may be hesitant to move before the owner has called him several times. Or the dog may be timidated by the figurine, but not at all in the dark room, but still the overall score will be -1. Dog has insufficient capability to function (-2) if the owner needs to rip down the figure's clotes or turn it over before dog approaches it, or if the owner needs to move towards the dog or the light needs to be increased in the dark room before the dog moves to it's owner. Dog has negligible capacity to function (-3) if dog doesn't take any contact to the figure or it can not overcome it's fear towards it, or if in dark room it will not move towards the owner before the lights are turned on in the dark room. In either case the test will be stopped at the point where the dog shows negligible capacity to function. In most cases this happens when the dog meets the figure, as it is more intimidating for the dog.
Tendency to aggressive behaviour could be explained as sharpness, how low is the dog's treshold to aggressive behaviour when it feels intimidated. The smaller the dog's treshold, the smaller stimulation is needed for dog to react aggressively. This is often described as sharpness.
To measure dog's sharpness the dog is tied up in a wall in short leash, and owner leaves the dog and moves away so the dog doesn't see him. One of the judges is hiding somewhere out of sight when the dog is brought to the site. When the dog has settled down after the owner has left, the judge starts to intimidate the dog. First by approaching the dog, crouched and making sudden movements, but not moving directly towards the dog. The stronger the dog is, the more timidating the judge will behave, and more close he will move to the dog. If the dog is very soft, the attack is stopped very early. Judge will often have something in his hand, a branch of tree for example. After the timidating part the judge will chainge his behaviour to friendly to measure how fast - if at all- the dog will overcome it's fear and make peace with the judge. The owner is then called to the site. Sharpness is also evaluated in other parts of the test. 
Best grade for sharpness is Moderate without post-aggressive behaviour (+3), it means dog is willing to defend itself when it sees the attacker, but is ready to make peace after the threat stops. Dog who has high tendency for sharpness without post-aggressive behaviour (+2) starts barking or growling already before it can clearly identify the threat and is behaving very aggressive, but can leave it behind after the threat stops. Dog who has low tendency for sharpness (+1) shows only little if any signs of aggression, or it can even be fearfull when it's exposed to threat, but it overcomes it's fear after the judge stops behaving aggressively towards the dog. 
The minus scale grades are given to dogs who show small (-1), moderate (-2) or high (-3) sharpness with post-aggressive behaviour, they are unable to make peace and remains suspicious or openly aggressive with the judge even after he stops threatning the dog.
Desire for defence action tests the dog's willingness (not the actual capacity) to defend it's owner and it's territory. Dog's desire to defend it's owner and territory can vary, and it is usually higher when the dog is in it's own home or yard. For example most live-stock guardian dogs are not likely to be very defensive when they are not in their own territory. In this test one of the judges attacks the dog's owner when the dog is in short leash. The judge is hiding, and owner walks towards the judge. Judge comes out from his hiding place and owner stops, as instructed before the test starts. The judge has for example tree branch in his hand. The intensity of the attack is defined by how strong and willing the dog is to defend it's owner. After behaving aggressive towards the owner and dog the judge turns to friendly. If the dog is not showing aggressive behaviour in this point, the judge takes the dog's leash and walks away with the dog, makes contact with it and then releases the dog so it may return to it's owner. In addition to dog's willingness to defend also his capacity to relax and forget the threat is being evaluated in this test.
The best possible grade is Moderate, controlled (+3). The dog is barking and/or growling to the attacker and stays in front or at the side of the owner, and recovers fast after the attacker stops behaving aggressively. Dog who has High but controlled (+2) desire to defend is very aggressive and eager to defend it's owner. Dog who has low but controlled desire to defend (+1) may bark coupple of times but is staying mostly behind the owner and rather leaves the owner to take care of the attacker.  
Dog who has insignificant (-1) desire to defend rather would escape the situation if possible. Dog who has Very high (-2) desire for defending the owner is very aggressive and trying to bite the judge. It needs time to recover from the judge's aggressive behaviour, but will calm down and accept the attacker's attempt to contact the dog after he stops the attack and turns to friendly. Dog who has Extreme and uncontrolled (-3) desire to defend is attempting to bite the attacker and will not be willing to make peace with the judge even after the situation is over,  but will remain aggressive.
Desire to fight (play) measures the dog's eagerness to play with people and "fight" tug a war. As most of dog owner's know, this desire can be used as dog's motor and as reward. Dog's desire to play can be enforced or suppressed with practice, and therefore the overall effect to final score is small. The dog's desire to play is tested in beginning of the test, after the accessibility test. First the judge will try to play with the dog, typically using hard piece of wood. If the dog is slightly reserved it may not want to play with the judge, and in this case the owner is allowed to play with the dog. If the dog is not eager to play with the object provided by the judge, the owner may use dog's own toy. The test begins with small clues that should trigger the dog's pray drive and make it to grab the object with firm grip and keep the grip. Dog who has strong desire to fight will "fight" for the toy, gripping it firmly, using it's whole body to pull and by growling.  If dog has strong desire to fight the judge may raise one of his hands to pose threat and slap his hand down so it hits his other hand. If dog is soft but has strong desire to fight it may release the grip but when judge shows no more threat it will continue the play. Harder dog will not release it's grip. As the play developes, the judge will release his grip from the object to see if the dog's willingness to play is so high that it will try to continue the play by offering the object to the judge, or for example shake the object, release it and grab it again etc. 
Dog's desire to fight is +3  (High) when the dog starts play after little stimulation, grabs firmly, doesn't release when exposed to slight threat and clearly enjoys the fight and wants to continue it. Desire to fight is Moderate (+2) when the dog starts to play eagerly but may release and catch again after threat. Dog has Extremely high (+1) desire to fight when it catches the object with minimal stimulation and is extremely eager to fight. It will not release when judge threats it, and would not want to stop the play. The dog's desire to play is so strong that it may have negative effect on it's concentration. 
Dog has low desire to fight (-1) when it grabs the object, but releases it right away or doesn't grab the object at all but still can "fight" itself through from situations like meeting the scary figure and other parts of the test.  Dog's desire to fight is Insignificant if has some pray drive (may run after and fetch the object) but it is not enough to help the dog to cope better through the rest of the test. Dog's desire to fight is Negligible (-3) when the dog  is clearly unintrested of playing and doesn't show any desire to fight in other parts of the test either, but is rather passive. 
Nerve structure is something the dog inherits from it's parents. Dog who has good nerves is stable and can gain control over itself fast after being timidated, and overall doesn't scare easily. Dog who has poor nerves is easily timidated and fearfull, and may become hysteric when it encounters something unusual or timidating. The dog's nerves are evaluated throughout the whole test, and judged by the signs of restlessness, anxiety and reactions of the dog in different parts of the test. 
Dog who has Calm and firm nerves (+3) passes all the parts extremely well of the test easily and recovers very fast from different situations. Dog is very confident and stable through the test. Dog who is Balanced (+2) gets through the test well and recovers fast and can behave logically through the whole test. Dog who is has tendency to nervousness (+1) gets through the test, but is slightly restless and shows signs of nervousness. Dog gets clearly agitated as the test progresses as it gets mentally tired. Dog may need bit more time to recover from it's experiences between the test parts. Herding breeds overall often score +1 or -1.

Slightly nervous (-1) dog shows clear signs of restlessness and is seeking for support from it's owner to cope through the test. Dog needs longer time to recover between the test parts and as the test progresses it gets more stressed and may start behave less rationally. Dog may be moving restlessly or for example barking without reason. Dog who is Highly nervous (-3) is doing all of above but in larger scale and is clearly stressed by what has been happening. The dog may not be able to go through whole test.
Tempperament describes the dog's alertness, liveliness, reaction time and ability to adapt to new situations and environments. Lively dog is alert and notices the new signals from it's environment fast and reacts to them, and gets used to them fast. Extremely lively dogs are very sensitive to the different signals and get more easily distracted by them and may need more time to adapt to new environment. The more lively the dog is, the more difficult it is for it not to be distracted by it's environment and concentrate on what they are doing. Disturbingly lively dogs are often very restless and constantly on the move. 
The dog's tempperament is tested by sudden sound approaching the dog fast from behind. An empty metal barrell with stones in it is raised on a ramp, and as the dog and owner pass the ramp, the barrell is released behind the dog, so that it will approach the dog from behind and make a loud noise that the dog will flee from. The speed and intensity of the reaction is evaluated. The more lively the dog's tempperament, the stronger and more exaggerated reaction it will show. 
Dog has is evaluated as Lively/alert (+3) if it reacts instantly to the distrubing sound, moves away from the chasing barrel fast but in controlled manner and turns towards the distraction. The dog's overall appearance through the test is lively and enthusiastic and it stays very positive. Dog who is Moderately lively (+2) reacts to the distraction bit slowlier but is focusing it's movement correctly according to the direction where the distraction is coming from. Extremely lively (+1) dog reacts extremely fast and moves as far as possible from the threat, and may have bit of difficulties of determining where the threat is approaching from - it's "doing before thinking", but still isn't behaving irrationally. 
Disturbingly lively (-1a) dogs react very fast, and move as far as possible from the distraction, and have some difficulty to tell where the distraction is coming from.  They are unable to concentrate and stay calm during the test. Reactions of Slightly apathetic (-1b) dog are lazy and slow. Impulsive (-1c) dogs are unbalanced, impulsive and/or restless, their reactons are extremelyt fast and often incoherent. Slack (-2) dogs seem to live in their own world where the signals from this world don't seem to reach. Dog reacts very slowly to distractions but doesn't show signs of unstability.  Apathetic (-3) dogs don't react to any signals.
Mental hardness describes how "hard" or "soft" the dog is, how easily it remembers good or bad things that have happened to it. Herding dogs are typically  bit soft, and therefore they have good trainability: they remember from what kind of actions they have been rewarded for, and what to avoid. To evaluate the mental hardness of dog the dog is walked for example past a corner of a building, and as it passes the corner it is being scared by for example opening an umbrella or pulling up a big black plastic bag. This is done so fast that the dog has no time to recognize what it was that it saw. Then the dog is walked again past the same corner, and the dog's reactions are evaluated as it is approaching the same place where it was scared last time. The intensity of the dog's behaviour reflects how strongly the incident affected it. 
Best possible result (+3) gets dog who is "only" Moderately hard. The dog will not show signs of fear or try to avoid the place where it was intimidated. Hard (+2) dog will walk straight past the place where it was scared the first time, as if nothing ever happened. Nothing through out the test seems to disturb it. Slightly soft (+1) dog is slightly reluctant to pass again the place where it was scared the first time, but can approach the site relatively close with owner's support.
Extremely hard (-1) dogs don't get timidated or react to the unpleasant things during the test. Soft (-2) dogs are clearly afraid of the place where they were scared and want to avoid it even after relatively long recovery time, and they need much reassurance from the owner to be able to walk past the site. Extremely soft (-3) dogs will not go again to the place where they were scared at the first time. 
Accessibility measures the dog's behaviour with new people, and includes the accessibility, kindness and openness. Dog is accessible when it is willing to greet new people, and reserved when it is clearly avoiding contact with people it doesn't know. Dog is described as kind if it's aggressive only when it experiences threat. Very sharp dogs are less kind, since they misinterpret easily people's gestures and have lower tendency for aggressive behaviour when it's unnecessary. Open dogs show openly their mood and it's easy to interpret their mood. Dog's accessibility is evaluated through the test as the judges interact with the dog and owner. 
Dog is Kind, accessible, open (+3) when it seeks for contact with new people. Dog is described Accessible, tendency to reserved behaviour (+2a) if it needs bit encouragement before it goes to greet new people, dog is slightly shy to take contact. Dogs who are Accessible, slightly reserved (+2b) don't seek for contact with new people and need to be encouraged more. Flattering (+1) dogs are acting submissive towards new people and exaggerates in it's efforts to please them for example by licking, showing it's stomach and using other submissive signals.  
Not accessible, clearly reserved (-1) dogs don't want to be touched by strangers and can not be lured by the judges. Aggressive (-2) dogs don't want to interact with strangers and are behaving aggressive. Insidious (-3) dogs may behaive as if they are willing to make contact but turn aggressive without reason or warning.
Sound sensibility is tested by using 9mm blank bullets, minimum two shots, maximum five. The shots are fired from distance of 20-50 meters, depending of the environment. The shooter is not visible to the dog. The judge will signal the shooter, first shot is fired when the dog and owner are moving, second when they are standing still. If necessary more shots are fired to determine the dog's reaction more clearly. From this part of the test no points are given, but dog is graded as following: 
+++ Steady to shots, dog shows no reaction or is just slightly intrested of the sound.
++ Unfamiliar with shots, dog who hasn't experienced shooting before and reacts to the first shot(s) but conciders them not alarming and relaxes when shooting repeats.
+ Aggressive while shooting
- Sensitive to shots, dog reacts and may be slightly timidated but not nervous, level of timidation doesn't increase when more shots are fired, dog reacts the same way after each shot without showing clear signs of nervousness.
-- Fear of shots, dog is clearly afraid of shooting and level of fear increases with every shot, dog has difficulties of regaining control after shooting stops.
Points and grading
Features involved
+2 - High
+1 - Moderate
-1 - Low
-2 - Insufficient
-3 - Negligible
15This is a feature, with which a dog is able to react correctly - without a fear - to real and imagined frightening situations and to do it without interrupting it's action. Dog has to be able to work in logical way though there’s disturbing things happening around it.
TENDENCY TO AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR+3 - Moderate without any post-attack aggression
+2 - High without any post-attack aggression
+1 - Low without post-attack aggression
-1 - Low with post-attack aggression
-2 - Moderate with post-attack aggression
-3 - High with post-attack aggression
1Dog's tendency to aggressive reactions when irritated by a judge.
DESIRE FOR DEFENCE ACTION+3 Moderate, controlled
+2 High, controlled
+1 Low, controlled
- 1 Insignificant
-2 Very high
-3 Extreme, uncontrolled
1Dog's tendency to defence it's owner and itself. The test is measuring tendency and willingness (not skills or ability) to defence and attack.
+2  Moderate
+1  Extremely high
-1  Low
-2  Insignificant
-3  Negligible
10Dog’s inheritable tendency to enjoy fighting (playing) and the use of it's jaws and muscles in this action.
NERVES+3 Calm and firm
+2 Balanced
+1 Tendency to nervousness
-1a Slightly nervous
-1b Slightly apathetic
-1c Impulsive
-2 Nervous
-3 Highly nervous
35Dog’s inherited calmness or nervousness, restlessness in a highly stressing situation. Includes also dog's reactions to shooting.
TEMPERAMENT+3 Highly lively/alert
+2 Moderately lively/alert
+1 Extremely lively/alert
-1 Disturbingly lively/alert
-2 Slack
-3 Apathetic
15Temperament is understood as the ability to react fast and organized to changing environmental situations. Also dog's ability to quickly accommodate itself to rapidly changing situations.
+2  Hard
+1 Slightly soft
-1  Extremely hard
-2  Soft
-3  Extremely soft
8Dog's mental hardness: How strongly the dog allows unpleasant surprises to affect his functions. How well a dog remembers unpleasant situations and how reluctant he is to face the same circumstances later on.
ACCESSIBILITY+3 Kind, accessible, open
+2a Accessible, tendency to reserved behaviour
+2b Accessible, slightly reserved
+1 Flattering
-1 Not accessible, reserved
-2 Aggressive
-3  Insidious (-3)
15Dog's attitude to a strange but friendly person.
SOUND SENSIBILITY+++ Steady to shots
++ Unfamiliar with shots
+ Aggressive while shooting
- Sensitive to shots
-- Fear of shots
This part includes at least two shots with a 9mm gun, fired from close distance (approximately 10 meters). This feature will be scaled negative or positive – if dog is sensitive to sounds or scared of the shots, it gets negative mark, if it’s not afraid, it will get positive mark.

Average Mudi and Ideal Mudi
Based on the test results of the 71 character tested mudis by end of year 2008 the average Finnish mudi would score 144 points and be steady to gunshots. Average mudi has moderate (+1)  capacity to function, moderate (+3) tendency for aggressive behaviour without post-attack aggression, moderate and controlled (+3) desire to defend it's owner. Average mudi has moderate (+2) desire to fight (play), and as typical for sheepdogs it has tendency for nervousness (+1).  Mudi is also extremely lively (+1), which any mudi owner can verify. Average mudi is slightly soft (+1) and learns easily and remembers unpleasant things. Mudi is also usually kind, accessible and open towards people it meets (+3).  In reality the points mudis have scored are approximately between -62 and +200 points. 
In the below table you can see summary of the test results of Finnish mudis.
Test featureScore:+3+2+1-1-2-3
Capability to function153224
Tendency to aggressive behaviour388232
Desire for defence action30121883
Desire to fight (play)163441151
Mental hardness135062
Sound sensibility++++++---
So what about the Ideal Mudi then? What the test result tells us? Basically the more desirable results of each feature are positive, and less desirable are negative. Ideally a dog gets positive results from each feature, but scoring a negative mark from one or more features involved doesn't mean the dog is bad dog or bad mudi. The table that shows the distribution of the grades mudis have scored from each feature tells that mostly mudis are on the positive side of the scale, and only few dogs have got grade worse than -1 from any  features. The grades that I find desirable or acceptable are on darker background in the above table.
What features are important, what are less important? In my opinion Capability to function is important feature, as it determines how brave dog is, or how fearfull it is, and if it can function logically in everyday situations. Roughly two out of three mudis get positive mark from this area, but a third of tested dogs get negative mark. These dogs may need bit more couragement in some situations and might experience stress more easily. In my opinion, any grade between -1 and +3 are acceptable. Majority of the dogs tested in all breeds don't grade higher than +2.
So what about Tendency to aggressive behaviour, or in other words sharpness? Many mudis are rather on the sharp side, but is it feature that should be amplified? Mudis are very lively and have short reaction time. If they are also very sharp and slightly nervous, they might be timidated easily and be prone to exaggerating their reaction when they  feel threatened. Living with less sharp mudi is easier. This feature should not be negative, though. Most mudis don't show post-attack aggressiveness, they do get over the situation.  
Most mudis show desire for defence action, and this again is something future mudi owners should pay attention to. Mudi is mostly willing to at least try to defend it's owner in situations it finds threatning. It is important to socialize mudi puppy properly. In my opinion, grades between -1 and +3 are acceptable. 
Desire to fight (play) describes dog's willingness to engage in play with people. This can be beneficial when training the dog, it can work as dog's engine and resource of strenght in situations where dog would otherwise feel tired, mentally or physically. The desire to fight helps the dog to overcome the situation and work it's way trough. Ideally, this charasteristic should be positive, but in my opinion -1 is still acceptable.
Nerve structure is inherited tempperament trait, and can not be changed with training. If dog has bad nerves, it has bad nerves. This trait should be positive. Majority of mudis score +1, tendency to nervousness,  already balancing on the edge. Nerves should definitely be positive, which is the case with majority or tested mudis, though one would hope that more mudis would score better on this trait.
What comes to tempperament, mudis are evaluated either as highly or extremely lively and alert. Again no surprise to mudi owners. Highly alert grades +3, but when it goes to extremes, it starts to have negative impact on dog's behaviour and ability to concentrate. One could say that calm mudi will grade +3 and normal mudi is more likely to grade +1, extremely lively. Because of it's liveliness mudi picks up everything that is happening in it's environment and can be easily distracted. On the other hand, because of mudi's liveliness it is easy for example to pick up things it does and reinforce actions with clicker. Tempperament should be on the positive side.
Majority of mudis that have been tested are evaluated as slightly soft (+1), as the case with most of herding dog breeds. Slightly soft dogs remember the positive and negative things that have happened, and they are usually easy to train and learn fast. This charasteristic should be on the positive side, too. 
Mudi should in my opinion never be shy or aggressive towards people. Majority of mudis are kind, accessible and open (+3), or accessible but slightly reserved (+2). In my opinion mudi should score +3, but +2 is still acceptable.
Last but not least is the sound sensibility. Dogs who are sound sensitive develope easily phobias for sounds that naturally occure in the environment, such as thunder, rockets, etc. Ideally mudi get positive grade from this trait too. In many cases it is not advisable to breed with dogs who are clearly sensitive to sounds as it is known to be strongly inherited trait.
Tested mudis
Terhi Multamäki has collected the tempperament test results to her website. The site is in finnish but you can use the information provided on this site as a key to the points.

Finnish character test rules - Luonnetestin säännöt, FKC, 1.1.2007
Finnish Kennel Club database "DogNet" www.jalostus.kennelliitto.fi
Terhi Multamäki´s website http://personal.inet.fi/koti/mudi/luonnetestit.htm


15 de Dezembro - 2012 - Póvoa de Varzim