When it comes to herding, Hungarian’s own, the Pumi, is one of the finest breeds out there. Need to drove pig? No problem! What about sheep and cattle? The Pumi is up for the job!

Yet, away from the pastures, is a cunning and sweet breed of dog. Aside from their loving temperament, their teddy bear like appearance fits the role perfectly.

There’s much excitement behind this breed since the AKC’s recent recognition. While they are new to the kennel, the Pumi goes back many centuries ago.

So why is this breed the most popular Hungarian breed in Finland? And can they make a great fit for your home?

Here is what you need to know about the Pumi.

History

You may have never seen this breed before or heard of them for that matter. Indeed, there are only a few liters born in the United States each year. As rare as they are in America, the breed is quite popular elsewhere, including Finland.

This breed descends from the Puli. In fact, for centuries, the Puli and Pumi were interchangeable and a Pumix was thought of as a regional variation of the Puli.

Moreover, the Puli is the likely culprit, when breeders crossed the breed with French and German herding dogs 300 years ago. This is according to K-9 Magazine. The breed’s ancestry is likely traceable to the Tsang Apso.

Furthermore, it is said that Pumi’s ancestors came from the Urai-Altaic region, which is obsolete and between China and the Capian Sea. Historian believe that the Magyar tribe brought the dog over around 800 A.D.

For centuries, the Pumi made a reputation for itself as being one of the versatile herding breeds. The reason for their popularity was due to their ability to work in tight areas like narrow roads. The breed was also a formidable guardian of farms, although herding and droving livestock was their primary job.

Thanks to their agility and speed, just as well as their endurance, the breed could herd multiple types of livestock throughout the day. Another key element to this breed that farmers could appreciate was the fact that they didn’t injure or ruin livestock.

The first sign or time the breed’s name could be seen was back in 1815. However, people would call the breed the Sheep Dog.

Just as he did with the Puli, Dr. Emil Raitsits was going to engineer a way to progress this breed further along and on its own. In 1935, after the doctor’s work on creating a breed standard, the FCI gave the Pumi recognition.

Around the world, the breed began appearing in the 1973 in Finland. Even today, the breed is Hungary’s most popular breed, according to the American Kennel Club. After appearing and winning dog lovers in Finland, the breed would venture into Sweden in the mid 1980’s. Finally, the breed would find its way into the United States around the early 1990’s.

First, the breed would gain recognition with the United Kennel Club in 1996. Then, 20 years later in 2016 the AKC gave the breed recognition. Today, the breed is still a viable force for farmers and ranchers. The AKC list the Pumi as the 162nd most popular breed in America, which means the breed is fairly rare.

Size

This high energy Hungarian dog is a small breed. The American Kennel Club lists male Pumix between 16 to 18.5 inches in height. A female should stand between 15 to 17.5 inches.

With regards to weight, the male Pumi should range between 27 to 29 pounds, where the female should fall between 22 to 24 pounds.

Personality and Temperament

This little worker loves a challenge and will take on any job regardless of size from the opposition. As a very active breed, they are athletic and confident. Not only are they good at their jobs, but they seem to know it as well. When it comes to working, this breed is game and game for most tasks you can throw at them. They are extremely viable and can learn rather quickly. Enjoying a challenge, they strive to please their hand when on the job.

As a companion, you are getting a spunky, and loving do. As active as they are outside, the breed is incredibly lively indoors. They don’t mind making themselves out to the clown. However, they do tend to gravitate towards one person more than the whole group. Yet, they are very affectionate and don’t mind slobbering the whole gang and in front of other people.

Fast on their feet, it’s not surprising to see them running around and engaging actively throughout the home. The thing about this breed inside, is the fact that they love to climb up on a platform, and inquire around and about. Clearly they have a nose for investigating.

Strangers may experience a different side of the Pumi. They are aloof with strangers until they are comfortable enough to know your friends are good people. Then, they will warm up rather quickly and treat them as family.

All in all, if you need an athletic goofball, with a unique appearance, the Pumi is that dog. They can get the job done and done right. The breed is fully aware of their skills and is bold as a terriers. If they grow up with smaller children and dogs, typically, the Pumi gets along well with both. A good family dog — even better at herding.

Health

There are some things you can control to improve or ensure good health of your Pumi. For starters, when you buy from a breeder, you should make sure you’re dealing with a credible breeder. Someone who will provide you with the proper documentation and health clearances. In addition, you’ll want to schedule routine visits at the veterinarian’s. If you do that then there is no reason to believe that your Pumi can’t live between 12 to 13 years.

There is a possibility, albeit low, that your Pumi may suffer from Hip Dysplasia. This is the malformation of the hip joint socket. It causes rubbing due to the loosening of the hip joint, which causes pain,  immobility and lameness. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, a key authority in studying these health disorders has the breed 130th on their list. This is out of only 126 evaluations. The OFA found that the breed suffers a 7.9 dysplastic rating putting them in the company of the Bichon Frise and Bull Terrier.

Elbow Dysplasia is the most common reason for elbow pain and is the abnormal growth of the elbow. This affects 5.1% Pumix, according to the breed’s club.

Primary Lens Luxation is a genetic eye disease, which causes the eye lens to dislocate. The Pumi Club of America states that 22 percent of Pumix are carriers. Because this breed’s a working dog, it is always best to get any type of clearances you can get when it comes to the eyes.

Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive spinal cord disease that can affect the breed’s mobility and leads to muscle weakness.

Patella Luxation is common for most breeds and the Pumi is no exception. They rank 54th on the OFA”s list along with the Bloodhound, Labrador, and the Poodle. A 3.0 dysplastic rating out of 67 evaluations, while the breed has a 97.0% normal rating.

Care

Yes this is a very active breed and while they do require a great deal of physical stimulation, mental stimulation is just as important for the breed. Boredom can lead to destructive habits and that can lead to damage. This is no good for anyone, so always ensure you are giving the Pumi plenty of physical and mental stimulation. In the same sense, early training and socialization is important to produce a dog that is friendly with other dogs and strangers.

With children, you will need to supervise the encounters as the breed has natural herding proclivities. Although they may mean well, they don’t know if they are hurting the kiddo when they are playing. And while the breed typically is fine with other dogs, it’s always best to practice precaution and supervise the dogs.

The Pumi needs a challenge and a job. They come from a long line of busy body dogs, that could handle many different tasks. This intelligent breed will embrace a challenge so give it to them. They won’t appreciate, however, repetition, so try to break up the monotony. 

Check their ears on occasion for any kind of bacterial buildup or unpleasant odor. Also, you’ll want to inspect their nails and trim them routinely to prevent overgrowth and splitting. You should brush their teeth at least 2-3 times per week as well.

Feeding

How much your Pumi eats will depend on their age, activity and metabolism. Not all dogs are the same but you can get a good gage on the appropriate amount of food by looking at the back of the kibble bag. Most owners seem content feeding their Pumi 1 to 2 cups of high quality kibble a day. You should spread that out into two or three meals a day to reduce the chances of Bloat or obesity. Every dog should have their own bowl to avoid confrontation and territorial aggression. 

Meat should be the first ingredient in their food. Protein value is important just as quality calories are for a working breed like the Pumi. For a typical housedog between 22 to 29 pounds, 709 to 872 calories per day is necessary. For a dog in the same weight group but moderately works, then you should ensure they get 1181 to 1453 calories per day.

As always, you should provide your Pumi with fresh drinking water.

Coat

This is a low maintenance breed. They do shed infrequently. However, some of their may fall out after grooming. This is a breed that is god for those who have allergies to pet dander. Brushing once a week should do the trick for this breed.

Unlike the Puli, there are no cords for this breed. The breed should have  a curly or wavy mixture throughout the entire body. The texture should be slightly coarse and soft on the undercoat.

According to the American Kennel Club, there are five acceptable coat color option for the Pumi: Black, fawn, gray, silver gray and white.

There is only one acceptable marking and that is black and tan markings. 

Fun Pumi Facts

  • The English Kennel Club gave the breed full recognition in 2015.
  • Some call the Pumi “Hungarian Herding Terrier.” However, the breed doesn’t have any terrier blood. They do however, act very terrier like being bold and scrappy.
  • The three breeds with AKC recognition from the country of Hungary are: Puli, Pumi and Mudi.

 

Closing Words

Indeed, if herding with speed is your need, then the Pumi, without exception, is the perfect breed for the job. Endurance along with their ability to foster the right amount of force makes this breed perfect for herding sheep, cattle and pig.

Yet, let’s not forget what this breed can do inside the home. Not every Pumix will end up out in the pastures. Some will be companions. And with their sweet, loving and loyal nature, that is something this hardworking dog can do with the best of them.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading: