What’s a Puli?

In Hungary, it is said the Puli is not a dog. Friends of the Puli everywhere know this is true. Yet it’s hard to say just what a Puli is. We know the Puli is very smart, able to teach humans hundreds of commands. He has a great sense of humor, which manifests itself in tricks he plays on both two and four legged companions. A Puli develops strategies for getting what he wants, something former dog owners don’t quite believe when they first spend time with a Puli. And the Puli will often show great sensitivity to the human’s moods and feelings, actively communicating empathy. But most of the time, the adult Puli likes to play games and have fun. Pulik (Hungarian plural for Puli) keep their puppyhood attitude nearly their whole lives.

S. Eniko Szeremy, former editor of Puli News (the PCA newsletter), wrote of the Puli’s history:

The Puli is the ancient sheepdog of Hungary, introduced by the migration of the Magyars from Central Asia over 1000 years ago. Records show Pulis working the plains of Puszta as early as the 9th century. Some believe the Puli existed as a working sheepdog for thousands of years prior to this, perhaps as early as 4500 B.C.

Nomadic shepherds of the Hungarian plains valued their herding dogs, paying as much as a year’s salary for a Puli. They were ruthless in maintaining working qualities and would eliminate any dogs that didn’t show these qualities immediately. To survive, the Puli had to be physically sound and mentally capable, agile and willing to work. The Puli’s coat protected the dog while living outdoors without amenities.

Ah, the coat. The five year-old Puli you’ll see at a show will have a coat that reaches the ground, and it has formed itself naturally into cords (some non-Puli people might call them dredlocks). When you see a Puli in full coat move around the ring, or just walk across a shopping center parking lot, it is a spectacular site! The Puli just glides and floats with the topline level and the leg movement mostly hidden by the cords. The coat is solid black, or white, or a mixture of black with white hairs, giving a solid charcoal, gray or silver look. Other striking solid colors are known to occur in the breed, though they are not recognized in all breed standards.

We’ve just scratched the surface in this introduction. We hope our web site will help you learn more about the Puli and our club.