Look, it’s a Komondor! No, look it’s a mop with a cute face. No, it’s actually the Hungarian herding breed — the Puli.

With their unique coat and intelligent herding instincts, this old and reliable breed has been working the pasture for centuries.

While their original timeframe is up for debate, there is no debate how much the Puli means to the shepherds of Hungary. Thanks to their speed and endurance, and their aptitude to get the job done, it’s no mystery why they are so popular back home.

Aside from herding, what makes this breed such a wonderful choice as a companion?

Here is what you need to know about the Puli.

History

It was long ago that the Puli began to appear after being brought over by Asian nomads ten centuries ago. In fact, it is said that the Magyars are responsible for the breed’s introduction into Europe. 

A relative of the Komondor, the United Kennel Club believes that the Puli is a descendent of the Tibetan Terrier. 

Some believe that the establishment of this breed may go as far back as 900 A.D. This would be around the Turkic speaking, the Cumans, who would later associate with the Magyars.

A dog resembling the Puli and its relative, the Komondor, did appear in the 13th century along with the Cuman tribe.

Yet, the most crucial point in the breed’s development likely took place in Hungary and with Hungarian shepherds during the 19th century. For the shepherds, the need was for speed and endurance, but the smaller size the Puli had was ultra resourceful. In the late 19th century, the breed began to receive a technical description describing their beneficial size as a herding dog.

The 20th century saw the evolution of agricultural technology and equipment. This wasn’t good news for the Puli. Their numbers would see a steady decline and a possible chances of extinction was a possibility. Yet, one man had different plans

With the help of zoo director, Adolf Lendi, enthusiast and fancier, Emil Raitsits, made it his mission to preserve, protect and bring back the Puli. The two began experimenting with different breeding practices and eventually they found success, which would make the breed a national treasure in Hungary owning one.

World War 2 and the years following did prove to be harsh for the breed. At the time, the breed had two sizes, so breeders and the Hungarian Puli Club made the decision to create a standard by eliminating the two sizes. 

It was the 1960’s, that the breed would return to its grace and began to see a rise in popularity. 

The Department of Agriculture grew of interest with the Puli as well. Imports to the United States during the 1930’s would mark the first time the breed would appear in America. It is said during the time in the United State earlier on, that breeders crossed the breed with German Shepherds and Chow Chows. It is also the belief that the Agriculture Department sold four Pulix  to professional breeders. Those four dogs are said to be the baseline of all American Puli dogs.

In 1936, the American Kennel Club gave the breed recognition. The United Kennel Club would follow suit in 1948. Today, the breed is still herding pastures in its home country and is the 159h most popular American breed.

Size

The Puli is a medium breed, where females are smaller than the males. According to the American Kennel Club, a male will stand upward of 17 inches. A female will stand at 16 inches.

With regards to weight, a male and female should range between 25 to 35 pounds. 

Personality and Temperament

When you get a Puli, you get a comic. The Puli needs to be the center of attention and will do whatever it takes to ensure that’s the case. When this breed is at home, they are energetic, comical and pulls out all the stops to make their.

True to its herding form, the Puli is attentive and instinctive. They’ll have no problem alerting  you of a stranger lurking around, nor will they have a problem confronting that intruder. You may find them nibbling and herding children playfully, which is why it is important to keep a careful watch.

Independent but trainable, this is a very intelligent breed, that is fully capable of many tasks. Learning new tricks and trades isn’t a problem for the Puli. They thrive off of positive reinforcement and consistency.

Close contact is a must for this breed. They thrive when the family is near and want to be part of the family’s endeavors. Others are a bit “lap doggish,” in the sense that the breed want to be where their master is.

As workers, you won’t find many breeds that can match this one’s determination. Their nose to the ground, the Puli is hard working and prefers to stay active and busy. 

All in all, this is a loyal and loving dog at home that is fine with other dogs and good with children. They aim to please their master, even though they do have a stubborn streak. Hard workers and at home, they are cuddle bugs, who want attention and affection any chance they get.

Health

The Puli is relatively a healthy breed with a few items on the list you should keep an eye on. Most of the items are things many dog owners have to worry about. 

First, when you do buy a puppy from a breeder, you should always make sure that the breeder has a good reputation. Ask questions, read reviews, and require the appropriate health clearances you’ll need in order to make a good purchasing decision. 

Additionally, you should schedule regular veterinarian visits to ensure your Puli’s good health. If you can do those two things alone, along with preventative care — there’s no reason your dog won’t live between 10 to 15 years.

Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive spinal cord disease affecting adults in their middle ages between 8 to 14 years. This spinal cord disease has been found in instances to affect the Puli. This can lead to the loss coordination, wobbling and other forms of muscle weakness.

The malformation of the hip joint, where rubbing causes agitation, lameness and pain is Hip Dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is the one of the leading authorities on studying this issues along with others. In a study, the OFA found out of 1,851 evaluations, that the Puli has a 10.6% dysplastic rating. This ranks them 111th among the Border Collie and Finnish Laphund.

The abnormal growth of the elbow is Elbow Dysplasia. This disorder is the most common form for elbow pain among dogs. The OFA ranks the breed 60th, which puts them at a medium risk. Out of the diminutive 187 evaluations, the breed rates 4.8% dysplastic.  This puts them in the neighborhood with the French Bulldog and Leonberger.

An out of place kneecap, Patellar Luxation, is another big problem affecting the breed. In fact, the breed ranks 37th worst with a 4.3% dysplastic rating out of 234 evaluation. This can cause trouble walking, lameness and pain. This puts the among the Dachshund, Bulldog and Bichon Frise.

Cataracts is also a concern affecting the breed’s vision. Cataracts is the cloudiness of the crystalline lens, which can cause night vision impairment and eventually permanent vision loss.

Care

Supervision around smaller child is necessary with the Puli. That’s because the breed does have the infamous herding instincts. That might mean; nibbling on the kiddo’s ankles playfully — or nudging them along. Regardless, the dog may be unaware and feel the play is harmless, it can lead to a child getting hurt. You’ll also want to educate your child on how to treat a dog to avoid any future issues between the dog and child. Other dogs need supervision around this breed as well. They may exude a protective nature and try to dominate the dog. introducing your Puli to new people, other dogs and new things will help in the long run.

This is a breed that needs a firm hand. Someone who is strong and consistent. Someone who is patient as well. The Puli will respond better to these traits better than inconsistency and volatility. The breed is a bit headstrong themselves and can show a stubborn side during training.

Leaving this breed alone for long periods of time isn’t a good idea. They need attention and to feel like they are a part of the family. Leaving them alone may invite boredom and further invite chaos through destruction.

Exercise should two walks per day. You can do up to an hour and that should suffice their needs. Fetch, obedience, agility, and other canine sports will keep them busy. This is a breed that needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation. 

In summary, you will have to watch them around smaller animals with their potential for prey drive. Early socialization and training is a must. Watch smaller children around them as the herding instincts is naturally a part of this breed’s temperament. They area wonderful family companion, who will demand the same in return by having a family that is affectionate, firm, fair and will provide them the attention they need.

Feeding

A Puli should do fine with a typical high quality kibble formula. Meat as the first ingredient with chicken, turkey, beef and fish as the ordinary suspects. Plenty of supplements and the introduction of the Omega Fatty Acids will help with their joints.

Of course, how much your dog eats will depend on their age, energy and metabolism. For the Puli, 1 to 2 cups of top notch dry kibble per day should do the trick. Moreover, you should break that up into two meals per day to avoid the chances of Bloat. Bloat is deadly and painful. This condition is the twisting or distending of the stomach. Another reason to break up the meals throughout the day is so that the breed can get on your schedule and routine.

As always, you should provide your Puli with fresh drinking water, the most important nutrient.

Coat

If you take one look at this breed, then you can see that you’re going to have your work cut out for you. That said, this breed is an infrequent shedder but it is their cord coat that may present a problem. You can  always call a professional grooming to help you along.

The Puli has a cord coat that is profuse throughout the body, dense and water resistant. The undercoat is soft, wooly and dense. The topcoat can be wavy or curly.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Puli has three acceptable coat colors; Black, silver and white. There are no markings.

In addition, although they do shed, this is a breed that is more ideal for someone who is sensitive to pet dander or allergies. This is one those hypoallergenic breeds that shed far less than most breeds.

Fun Puli Facts

  • Although some people just hire a specialist, many owners say that grooming the cord coat of a Puli isn’t too difficult. You do have to bathe the coat frequently and there is some organizing that goes along with it as well. 
  • Famous people who had or own Pulix: the famous writer, T.C. Boyle. Facebook and digital tycoon, Mark Zuckerberg.
  • The breed’s first appearance publicly was at a dog show in Budapest in 1923.
  • Before eliminating the two different sizes back in the mid 20th century. Those sizes being: Toy and Police Size.
  • The Puli is the 33rd most intelligent dog, according to the “Intelligence of Dogs” by Stanley Coren. This means they can obey the first command 70 percent or better of the the time.

Closing Words

In their hey-day, the Puli was a driven and hard worker, that could get things done for farmers and herdsmen. Today, they have found a role in which they thrive in as well. Companionship!

With their unique cord coats, their zest for working and staying active, and their affectionate temperament towards their family, the Puli is a great catch for someone looking for a multi functional dog.

 

 

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