Other Names: Puli, Hungarian Sheepdog, (Pulik plural)
Weight: Female 10-13kg Male 13-15kg
Average Lifespan: 9-15 years
The Puli is an ancient breed of Hungarian sheep dog that has a very unique and unusual mop like appearance with their dreadlock/corded coats. There can be confusion between the Komondor and the Puli dog breeds due to their mop like appearance, but their jobs were more specific: Komondors guarded the flock while the Puli herded them.
The Puli has a small head with a strong muzzle and a round nose with a bright red tongue. The eyes which are hidden under the hair are dark brown and have a lively expression. The ears hang down in a rounded shape. The Hungarian Puli is medium-sized lively, cheerful dog who is very loyal to his family. Puli’s are intelligent and lovable due to their puppy-like attitude with people making them great family pets. The breed rarely moults and is deceptively fast and acrobatic.
Coat: The uniqueness of the Puli comes from its corded coat. Similar to the appearance of dreadlocks, they give a fun look to this breed. However unlike the dreadlock thatneed twisting and braiding, the coats of the Puli naturally turn that way. On average, it would take 4 to 5 years for the coat to grow long enough to touch the ground. But the cording doesn’t begin there. It begins as early as nine months and by twelve months it will be quite impossible to stop.
- Birth – The puppy has a short, wavy coat which is very shiny.
- 8-12 weeks – The coat is thick and 4-8cm long.
- 9 months – The adult coat has nearly formed and the undercoat of soft hair is beginning to cord or wrap around the more coarse top coat.
- 2-3 years – The coat has finished growing and the dog has long cords of various lengths up to 18cm. The coat is extremely weather resistant.
Coat colours are either black, white, grey or apricot. In Hungary the coat works well in protecting the Puli from the intense winter cold.
The Puli are very intelligent and that is a bonus when it comes to training. However, this same intelligence can give them a sense of independence in that they often have a mind of their own. It is this same level of intelligence that allows them to do well in obedience training and gives them the agility they need for the show ring. With more advanced training the Puli can become very impressive and is often regarded as one of the most “trainable” breeds around.
Hungarian Puli’s are very energetic and love exercise. They are delightful to watch when they run and play with their unusual coat swinging freely. This breed usually does well in agility and fly-ball sports.
It is very important to understand that this breed should NOT be brushed. The corded coat of the animal begins to form at around the age of 6 months when the soft woolly undercoat intermingles with the harsher outer-coat. At this point, the mats that have formed should be separated by hand. This should be done on a regular basis. This breed’s coat needs some intense work because keeping up a steady grooming schedule will cut down on matting and odor problem from arising on its thick coat. The clumps should be separated by hand from the tip of the clump back to the skin. It should be noted that each coat is individual to the animal but as a rough guide, the sections should not be made thinner than the width of a pencil. Learning this may take a bit of time and practice but the animal itself often finds this hand care to be relaxing and will not usually complain. Once you have learned the technique for this the care is quick and easy.
Bathing – Usually the dog is placed in a large tub filled with room temperature water and a bit of shampoo, the individual cords are squeezed by hand and the skin is gently massaged. Care must be taken not to damage the cording or the individual cords will become tangled together and the show look requires that the long cords hang naturally and separately from each other. Once the shampoo has been squeezed through the coat, the dog is placed in several tubs of tepid clear water as a rinse and also sprayed thoroughly and finally, toweled dry with the same squeezing process. A blow dryer can then be used, provided it is not so powerful that it “frizzes” the coat. It can take up to 24 hours for their coat to dry naturally.
If you do not intend to show this breed in the ring, for the easiest coat, you may choose to keep the coat trimmed or clipped so it’s short and neat.
Hip dysplasia: a malformation of the hip joint resulting in a poor fit between the head of the femur bone and the hip socket. This condition can be alleviated by surgery, at some cost to dog and owner. Because dysplastic dogs often produce dysplastic puppies, buyers should ask if both the sire and the dam of the puppy in which they are interested have been rated clear of hip dysplasia. Do not take yes for an answer without seeing a certificate, and ask for a copy to take to your veterinarian.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary disease of the eye that has been identified in this breed. PRA is a blanket term for many types of retinal diseases, all of which result in blindness. All Alaskan malamutes, regardless of age or breeding status, should be examined yearly by a member of the Veterinary Opthalmologists.
Cataracts: cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
Hungarian Puli History
Since the ninth century, nomadic shepherds on the Steppes of Hungary have utilized two kinds of sheep dogs. One is the familiar large, white guard dog (Komondor) that was used to protect the flock at night. The other was a small active herding dog, the Puli, and it was this little bundle of energy that actually herded the sheep by day.
The shepherds did not cross breed the two types and through the centuries the unique characteristics of each became firmly fixed and it has remained that way to present day. For these ancient shepherds, the size of the Puli did not matter to them. They were impressed with the animal’s intelligence and willingness to work. For these reasons, the Puli were highly regarded and respected by these ancient nomads. It may also be reasoned that their responsibilities as a herding dog may have added to their sense of independence. The original the breed was a multi-colored breed. It has only been through years of specialized breeding that the color variations were eliminated.