The Puli (pronounced Poo-lee, plural is Pulik) is a herding breed known for his intelligence, energy, resourcefulness and high spirits. Bred in Hungary for centuries to herd sheep and guard property, he is especially prized as a drover and a willing worker. The Puli is a medium-sized dog when fully grown averaging 16 to 17 inches in height at the withers. The acceptable Puli colors are the solid colors of black, gray and white. There is no mistaking him for another breed if his profuse coat is allowed to cord naturally often reaching the ground. He is best described as “mop-like” or a “shag rug” whether corded or brushed. He is very strong and agile. Those who have seen a Puli working a flock of sheep are amazed by his dazzling footwork and flying coat. However, in the United States, the Puli is mostly a house dog and companion.
Faithful and intelligent, the Puli makes an excellent house dog. He is an alert watchdog and an ideal guardian and playmate for children, especially if brought up with them. With a happy, playful temperament, the Puli becomes extremely devoted to his master and family. No Puli should be shy but is wary of strangers and will not be bribed because he is determined to protect. Socialization and occasional firmness are required from puppyhood. Obedience training gives a Puli the chance to display his willingness to please and his great intelligence. Bred into the breed are protective instincts and the ability to make decisions. Slow maturing, the Puli does not reach full size until the age of one year and is not really mature until two or three years old. The Puli is generally long-lived and stays active for most of its life.
The Puli coat is double, thick and heavy. The undercoat is wooly and the outer coat is coarse and wavy. This combination of two types of hair forms naturally into tassel-like cords that give the Puli his unique appearance. If the Puli is to be corded, it must also be groomed properly, especially when the dog is young and the cords are forming. They must be separated from time to time to keep them from growing together into mats. If maintained correctly during growth, they will hang in even cords at maturity. A fully corded coat can take five years to reach the ground. If the Puli is to be maintained in a brushed, uncorded coat, weekly brushing will be required for the appearance of a profusely shaggy dog. Either way, the Puli coat requires proper care and grooming. Without care and grooming, the coat will soon become badly matted. No Puli can be a healthy dog if his coat is neglected. Both types of coats must be kept clean and well bathed. The breeder of your Puli is your best resource for proper coat care.
The Puli should be bathed if he becomes dirty. A weekly inspection of the coat and skin will reveal the need for care. A corded coat takes much longer to get thoroughly wet than the brushed coat. A mature coat will require a longer time to dry. Cords do not come undone when the Puli is bathed but will tighten up with age and washing. A brushed coat should be entirely free of mats before bathing. If not, the mats will become tighter and more difficult to remove. Pulik also require standard care for eyes, ears, teeth, pads and nails. Further information is available through your veterinarian. Pulik are usually robust, hardy and not prone to particular diseases or problems. Prompt action is important if fleas or ticks are found on your Puli’s skin or coat. More detailed grooming instructions are available from the Puli Club of America.
The herding instinct of the Puli has been honed over many hundreds of years of selective breeding practices. This commitment to the working abilities of the Puli resulted in an all-purpose herding dog, bred to gather and drive the flock as the shepherd commanded. He can work and control all types of stock but was developed particularly for sheep. The Puli has a strong desire to please his master. He works in harmony with him and is usually at his side. He does not work away from the shepherd unless performing a task. The Puli does not use “eye” to control the stock, but rather he utilizes his natural bouncy, energetic, quick, feinting movements and the occasional high pitched bark. The Puli is fully capable of moving and gathering the stock as directed by his shepherd. The Puli does not work with the intensity of some of the other breeds and this looseness of style is natural for this breed.
Training and Activities
The Puli is one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. He has been bred for centuries to be an independent thinker and problem-solver and expected to work on his own initiative. He is a willing worker and can be trained easily to follow commands and directions. The Puli Club of America encourages all Puli owners to get involved in activities with their Puli. Pulik excel in many performance events including herding, obedience, rally and agility in addition to therapy work. Basic obedience training is an essential part of responsible dog ownership. It will make your dog a better companion and will help establish a stronger bond between the two of you. Classes ranging from puppy kindergarten to advanced obedience training are available in most communities. Contact your breeder, veterinarian or your local kennel club for training opportunities in your area.
Spay, Neuter, Breed
The Puli Club of America encourages pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent accidental breedings resulting in unwanted puppies. We encourage breeders to discuss spaying and neutering options with puppy buyers who do not wish to participate in conformation events.
Puli Club of America
The Puli Club of America is dedicated to the well-being of this breed. Its membership newsletter, Puli News, is published six times a year and is also available by subscription to nonmembers. For more information about the Puli and the Puli Club of America, visit our website at www.puliclub.org.
Download the PDF Puli Flyer.