Type: Herding dog
Weight: Male – 11-16kg
Female – 9-14kg
Height: Male – 16-17in / 41-46cm
Female – 14-16 / 36-42cm
Appearance: The Puli is a small to medium-sized dog with a quite unique appearance. Pulik (plural for Puli) have a solid coloured coat, in most cases in black, but dark brown, white, grey and cream can be seen too. The coat itself is corded. This is a special technique in animal grooming where the coat is separated to dreadlocks for presentation purposes. Pulik have small black noses and dark eyes which are usually covered by their fur.
Temperament: Pulik are intelligent, fun and loving animals. They are loyal to their owners and friendly, but can be suspicious of strangers. This is a rather vocal breed, they tend to bark and you will certainly hear. Because of their love of play, long after they grow up, Pulik are often called puppy-like.
Skills: Pulik are hard working and athletic dogs but can be stubborn when you try to train them. They do well in herding tests, agility and obedience competitions. The high energy level and intelligence of this breed demands an outlet, if under-stimulated they can become bored, mischievous or even destructive. Apart from canine sports, running, hiking and field work are all great ways to keep your Puli busy.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: Pulik are great family dogs, they love to play with children and can even become quite protective of them. Of course you should always be careful, pay attention and teach your children how to interact with your pets to avoid any incidents. Pulik get on well with other animals, especially if you make an effort to socialise them or if they’ve grown up together.
Common Health Problems: Pulik are a healthy breed but some issues can occur. Hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and cataract are most commonly seen.
Lifespan: Average 10 to 15 years
Puli puppies should be enrolled in puppy training classes to receive basic training and socialize with other people and pets. Otherwise, the Puli may become fearful or aggressive towards strangers. This process should be started early in order to combat bad habits from setting in. If leadership is not established, the pet may assume that the household is not governed by any rules. The owner must establish authority over the pet.
Puli puppies need time to grasp the concept of housebreaking. As a direct result, this process may take up to 8 weeks. An owner should first decide whether one wants to train the dog to eliminate outside or within the household. The puppy should always be rewarded when the animal relieves in the right place in order to further encourage such behaviour. Either method is proven to be successful for this breed. However, it is preferable to teach the Puli to relieve outside. The outdoor method should be practiced half an hour after the puppy has eaten a meal and right before bedtime. The owner should designate a particular area for the dog to relieve in and said area should never be changed.
A calm approach, combined with generous amounts of treats, will make sure to set the pet on the path to socialization. Once leadership has been established and the Puli has mastered basic obedience, the owner should move on to agility or herding activities. Watch dogs by nature, these animals are especially suspicious towards strangers. The Puli must be taught from the very beginning that guests are welcomed in the household.
The Puli could act friendly around other pets as well. Should the owner have other dogs, they should be introduced to the Puli at a neutral ground, for example at a dog walk in the park or in the neighbourhood. If the owner has cats, the latter should be placed in a crate in the centre of a room and the dog should be left to sniff the animal and get acquainted. This process should be performed for an hour each day over the course of 4 days. The animal will behave well around polite children, however the Puli will not tolerate screaming, pulling, pushing or other types of teasing. Playtime with children should be supervised, because Pulik have the herding habit of nipping heels and can accidentally hurt someone.
Adult dog training
Should the owner have an older Puli, it should be taken outdoors every two hours until the dog learns which door leads directly to the eliminating area. Older dogs of this breed, however, quickly adapt to housebreaking, provided that they are shown what to do. They tend to establish a strong bond with a single person. Dogs of this breed are constantly looking to perform various activities and should always be kept busy. Thus, they need exercise, daily jogs or walks in order to maintain good health, temperament and happiness. Pulik need to both walk and run on a daily basis. The best way for such dogs to spend their energy is through agility training. Pulik are intelligent animals that will become tired from constantly playing fetch or strolling through the neighbourhood. Such animals should live in households where owners could freely exert their influence over their pets. The Puli is known to make a wonderful house pet and family member if exercised properly and handled carefully, yet decisively.
The Puli is an ancient sheepdog breed from Hungary, popularized more than 1,000 years ago by the migration of the Magyars from Central Asia. During the 16th century, people from Western Europe, along with their sheep and sheepdogs, began to repopulate Hungary. The Puli intermingled with sheepdogs from France and Germany, which resulted in the Puli breed. Pulik (plural for Puli) were mostly used for herding and guarding livestock. They would commonly work beside the much larger Komondor, a Hungarian breed of livestock guardian dog. Pulik were also used to fight off wolves as their thick coats protected their skin from being bitten. They are, however, no longer used as sheepdogs. A turning point for the breed came sometime during the beginning of the 20th century, when the dogs were rediscovered by the American Kennel Club in 1936. Although their traditional duty was kept intact, they started to fulfill tasks that were convenient for their owners. Thus, they gradually became house dogs.
In Asia, the breed dates back 2,000 years and it is suggested that a Puli-like dog existed 6,000 years ago. The progenitors of the Puli breed, however, are not identified with certainty, for some of the references go as far back as ancient Rome. After the Second World War, the breed’s popularity as pets declined and, to this day, Pulik have not been able to regain the popularity that they previously enjoyed.
For the past 40 years, the AKC have accepted Hungarian pedigrees, recognized new bloodlines, updated two standards and imported the breed from other countries. In the last ten years, the breed has become very popular and close ties have been formed between Puli breeders in Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and Hungary.
- Recommended daily amount: 1 to 2 cups of high quality dry food per day, divided into two meals.
- The food should be measured and given twice a day.
The owner could perform a simple test to find out whether the dog is overweight. First, the owner should put hands on the dog’s back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. The person performing the test should be able to feel, but not see the ribs without having to press hard. However, if that is not the case, the dog needs less food and more exercise.
- The Puli’s coat should be cleared from tangles and dirt on a regular basis.
- The corded coat should never be brushed, but instead managed by hand.
- The length of the corded coat is sometimes trimmed to avoid collection of dust and dirt.
- For the bathing process, the dog should be put in a tub and scrubbed with water and soap.
- Heat drying is not recommended since it takes time to dry the cords and the Puli can become overheated.
- The Puli’s teeth should be brushed at least two or three times a week to remove tartar build-up.
- The nails should be trimmed once or twice a month to prevent painful injuries and other problems.
- The dog should be praised while brushed. Calm, quiet behaviour should be rewarded to encourage it further.
- It may be occasionally required to perform ear plucking. A veterinarian or professional groomer should be consulted to learn how to carry out this task safely.
As the dog ages, the animal should be taken for examinations at least twice a year. Pulik are prone to develop medical conditions, such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and cataract. These dogs should also be annually checked for heartworms by taking blood tests. For hip dysplasia, the owner should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).