Herding Group
AKC Breed Standard

General Appearance

The Puli is a compact, square appearing, well balanced dog of medium size. He is vigorous, alert and active. Striking and highly characteristic is the shaggy coat which, combined with his light-footed, distinctive movement, has fitted him for the strenuous work of herding flocks on the plains of Hungary. Agility, combined with soundness of mind and body, is of prime importance for the proper fulfillment of this centuries-old task.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Ideally, males are 17 inches measured from the withers to the ground; bitches, 16 inches. An inch over or under these measurements is acceptable. The tightly knit body approximates a square measured from withers to ground and point of shoulder to point of buttock. Medium boned.


The head is of medium size in proportion to the body. The almond shaped eyes are deep set, rather large, and dark brown with black or slate gray eye rims. The ears, set on somewhat higher than the level of the eyes, are hanging, of medium size, V-shape, and about half the head length. The skull slightly domed and medium broad. The stop is defined, but not abrupt. The muzzle is strong and straight, a third of the head length, and ends in a nose of good size. The nose is always black. Flews and gums are black or slate gray. Flews are tight. A full complement of teeth, comparatively large, meet in a scissors bite.

Neck, Topline, Body

The neck is strong, muscular, of medium length and free of throatiness. The back is level and strong, of medium length, with croup sloping slightly. The chest is moderately broad and deep–the ribs well sprung. The loin is short, strong and moderately tucked up. The tail is carried over, and blends into the backline.


The shoulders are well laid back. Upper arm and scapula are approximately equal in length and form an angle of 90 degrees. The forelegs are straight, strong and medium boned with strong and flexible pasterns. Dewclaws, if any, may be removed. The round, compact feet–have well arched toes and thick cushioned pads. The Puli stands well up on his pads. The pads and nails are black or slate gray.


The hindquarters are well developed and muscular with well bent stifles, the rear assembly balancing that of the front. The hocks are perpendicular to the ground and well let down. Dewclaws, if any, may be removed. Feet as in front.


The dense, weather resistant coat is profuse on all parts of the body. The outer coat is wavy or curly, but never silky. The undercoat is soft, wooly and dense. The coat clumps together easily, and if allowed to develop naturally, will form cords in the adult. The cords are wooly, varying in shape and thickness, either flat or round, depending on the texture of the coat and the balance of undercoat to outer coat. The Puli may be shown either corded or brushed. It is essential that the proper double coat with correct texture always be apparent. With age the coat can become quite long, even reaching to the ground; however, only enough length to properly evaluate quality and texture is considered necessary so as not to penalize the younger or working specimens.


Only the solid colors of rusty black, black, all shades of gray, and white are acceptable; however, on the chest a white spot of not more than 2 inches is permissible. In the black and the gray dogs an intermixture of some gray, black or white hairs is acceptable as long as the overall appearance of a solid color is maintained. The fully pigmented skin has a bluish or gray cast whatever the coat color.


The Puli is typically a lively, acrobatic dog; light, quick, agile and able to change directions instantly. At a collected, or contained trot the gait is distinctive: quick-stepping and animated, not far reaching, yet in no way mincing or stilted. When at a full trot, the Puli covers ground smoothly and efficiently with good reach and drive, the feet naturally tending to converge toward a median line of travel as speed increases. His distinctive movement is essential to the Puli’s herding style.


By nature an affectionate, intelligent and home-loving companion, the Puli is sensibly suspicious and therefore an excellent watchdog. Extreme timidity or shyness are serious faults.


Any deviation from the foregoing should be considered a fault, the seriousness of the fault depending upon the extent of the deviation.

Approved February 12, 1983
Reformatted June 19, 1990