Puli, which kicks in Jamaican style hails from Hungary and is as old as the European nation itself.
The dog is one of the national treasures of Hungary whose personality is almost as charming as its vivacious dreadlocks. Puli identifies with the most enchanting dog breeds; there is no doubt about it.
Also referred to as the “top dog” or “Hungarian dog,” thePuli (articulated as “pooh-lee”) is the most magisterial and mettlesome mop you’ll ever meet.
Seriously, those dreadlocks make this dog look like she just got to college and bumped into Bob Marley. That hair isn’t just fashion forward; however, their distinctive cords shield this dog from intense weather and predators.
Puli Breed Characteristics Sheet
- Origin: Hungary
- Size: Medium
- Dog Breed Group: Working/herding /pastoral group
- Purebred: Yes
- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Height: Male – 15-18 inches (40 – 45 cm), Female – 14-16 inches (37 – 41 cm)
- Weight: Males – 13 – 15 kg (28-33 lbs) and Females – 10 – 13 Kg (22-28 lbs)
- Coat Appearance: Double coat
- Coat Colors: Black, Fawn – all shades, Grey, White
- Temperament: Affectionate, Cheerful, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loyal, Outgoing, Protective, Pleasant, Responsive, Social, Spirited, Territorial, Watchful
- Good With Children: Yes
- Intelligence Level: High
- Good With Pets: Yes under supervision
- Hypoallergenic: Yes
- Grooming: High
- Shedding: Low
- Barking: Barks when necessary
- Suitable For Apartments: Yes
- Need For Exercise: High
- Easy To Train: Yes
- Good For First Time Owners: Moderate
- Health Issues: Allergies, hip dysplasia, Diabetes, and some eye problems
- Litter Size: 4-6 puppies
- Average Price: $1000 – $1200 USD (USA), £890 for KC Registered, £380 for Non KC Registered (UK)
These herding dogs have been an indispensable mate and helper of shepherds, herders, and nomads since ancient times.
They braved the fierce winters and warm summers on the Hungarian plains, where only the hardiest and most efficient dogs were bred, resulting in a dog breed whose fancy footwork keeps livestock on their toes.
There’s an old saying amongst Hungarian herdsman: “He’s not a dog, he’s a Puli.”
Although the actual origin of Pulik (the plural for Puli) remains a bit of a mystery, it is thought they were introduced to the Carpathian Basin from Middle Asia during the great migration by the Magyars during the 9th century.
Regardless of the whirls of history, the Hungarian beaut kept its role as the Number one shepherd dog of the region, while its phenomenal personality conquered the hearts of dog lovers all over the world.
Is Puli, The Right Dog For You?
If you are looking for a pooch who…
- Is not very large, acrobatic and also agile
- Thrives on athletic and exercise activities
- Is loyal, active companion to join you on life’s adventures
- Playful and passionate family dogs that get along well with kids and other pets
- Is serious about her responsibility as a watchdog with keen eyesight and acute hearing
You may definitely consider Puli Dog.
If you are not keen on active training demands, not sure of taking a good charge of the dog’s grooming and also not for a high priced dog, then Puli may not be right for you.
Puli Size And Lifespan
Height – Male – 15-18 inches (40 – 45 cm), female – 14-16 inches (37 – 41 cm)
Weight – Males – 13 – 15 kg(28-33lbs) and Females – 10 – 13 Kg (22-28lbs)
The average Puli life-span is about 12-14 years. A lucky few owners have Pulik that live happy and healthy lives up to 16 years.
Puli Coat Color
- Fawn – all shades
The first thing you’ll notice about this dog is its extremely thick and dense, rope-like double coat. The waterproofing and the protection coat cords provide evolved to help this breed stay warm and dry while working outdoors in the Hungarian mountains.
Their distinctive cords are composed of the outer layer and a dense, wool-like undercoat that’s free from any felting or matting. Their cords tend to be shorter on a dog’s head and their feet but longer over their hindquarters. The long, twisted strands of fur in the coat almost reach the ground.
Don’t feel bad if you mistook the animated, affectionate pup’s exclusive coat for a largely twisted thread mop. But once you get a glimpse of that merry face and the mischievous sparkle in the eyes under the mane of her hair, you’ll be smitten.
This Hungarian sheepdog sure doesn’t look like a herding or pastoral dog breed when you first meet one that is sporting a full-length adult corded coat! Under their thick, corded coat, the Puli is a well-muscled, sturdy yet supple dog.
Pulik have quite small, slightly domed heads with a well-defined stop which looks round from the front and elliptical from the side.
Nicely proportioned muzzle which is one-third length of head and not bluntly rounded, it is just very hard to see. Their Medium size, dark brown eyes always boast a lively expression.
Noses are relatively large and black adding to a dog’s attractive appearance.
Ears are V-shaped, pendant of a medium in size and set slightly below the level of a skull, well covered in hair even when these dogs are alert.
The roof of a dog’s mouth is either dark in color or variegated with pigmented spots on a dark base. These dogs have a perfect scissor bite.
A Puli’s neck is set at a very distinct 45-degree angle and moderately long as well as well-muscled. However, it is hard to distinguish the neck as it appears to merge with the body under a dog’s full coat.
Hindquarters are muscular and strong with a dog’s pelvis creating a 90-degree angle with their thigh bone. Their feet are round, short and tight with hind feet being slightly longer than the front ones.
Paw pads are springy to the touch and are dark grey. A Puli’s tail is of medium- length and dogs carry them tightly curled over the rump-loin area because of the density and texture of a Puli’s coat, it is hardly distinguishable.
Puli is an awesome athlete with quick reflexes. She endures to be cheerful and light-hearted during her early years.
The herding instincts of Puli are hard-wired and she can leap a six-foot high fence from a standstill.
The Puli has an “in your face” personality and is independent. You have to take charge of consistent rules and firm leadership.
This dog is also stubborn and high-strung and won’t tolerate inconsiderate conduct. At home, they are playful and passionate family dogs who never really lose their puppyish charm.
They are known to be a “one-man dog” and take their roles as guardians seriously. They are loyal to their families and can be a little wary of strangers.
Pulik are highly adoptable dogs and providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with as much mental stimulation, they are just as contented living in an apartment in town as they are living in a country house.
With this said, like other energetic and active breeds, the breed very much likes to spend time outdoors, so a fenced back garden that the Puli can roam around and the guard dog is a big advantage.
There it can linger and let off steam in the great outdoors to its heart’s content.
- Apartment living – Yes
- Good for first-time owners – Yes, a half-chance
- Sensitivity level – High
- Loneliness – Averagely suited to be alone
- Cold weather – High
- Hot weather – Average
- With Family – High
- Kids – High
- Other pets – Good, if raised together
- Good With cats – Good, if raised together
- Strangers – Low, reserved
- Other dogs – High
- Independence – Fairly independent
- Dominance – Moderate
- Combativeness – Bit aggressive
- Indoors – Moderately active
- Outdoor – Highly active
- The tendency to bark – Medium
- Territorial – Yes
- Easy of transportation – Medium
The Puli is an outdoor as well as an indoor dog. They are fairly active outdoors and will do best with an at least an average-sized yard so that she can run, play and bounce there.
As with any other breed, they should be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their skin and coats are maintained in top condition.
The Pulik has a very high prey drive and will gladly chase anything that moves just for the fun of it. As such, care should always be taken as to where and when Puli can run off the lead more particularly if there is livestock and/or wildlife close by.
Pulik are an athletic, agile dog breed and they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise combined with as much mental stimulation. Ideally, Puli needs 1 hour’s exercise a day, but the more the better.
Do not expect this dog to be pleased with a quick walk in the neighborhood. They were originally bred to assist herdsman for herding and guarding flocks, and to this day, they will be truly happy, well-rounded dogs when they are active.
They will be first in line when you have planned a hike or a jog and your puli will be more than eager to join you in many of your own sports and recreational endeavors. You have to be rather exploratory in nature to keep pace with this curious creature.
If their instinctive desire for constant activity and exercise is not met, they will quickly channel their energy into digging and chewing.
Puliks will be never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time and they may become destructive which may manifest in incessant barking to show how unhappy they are at the situation.
Like any dog, the puli becomes timid if she is not properly socialized, exposed to different environments when she is young.
Primary socialization should start with things outside the household.
You can take your dog to dog parks, to visit neighbors and friends and this will improve her social skills.
- Exercise needs – High
- Intensity – High
- Activity level – High
- The tendency to Snore – Low
- Exercise requirements – >1 hr/day
- Rec. walk mileage/week – 8 miles
- Playfulness – High
- Grooming needs – High
- The tendency to Drool – Low
- The tendency to Bark – High
- Tendency to Dig – Low
- Social/Attention Needs – High
- Trainability – Slightly difficult
- Intelligence – High
- Memory – High
- Mouthiness – Low
- Prey drive – High
- Barking – High
- Wanderlust potential – High
It is absolutely essential to know certain basic factors which help you to understand your puli’s needs and instincts and also allows your Puli to have complete trust in you.
Remember these Golden Rules To Building A Relationship With Your Puli:
- Puliks are friendly dogs. They can be very easily misled.
- They may try to manipulate you sometimes.
- Puli’s tend to be carefree, cheerful, happy dogs who like nearly everyone. The key to successfully training a Puli is to ensure their training is always consistent and fair.
- Develop a close bond with your Puli. They are very insightful and instantly feel their masters’ state of mind. As soon as they know you are getting irritated during any training session, it will cool down and behave gently.
- They may try to show-off when they found that they are pampered much by all. As a veteran puli owner knows, “perky” is their first name.
It’s important to learn potential puppy training phases right away. In the natural canine world, mama dogs educate their pups about eating, survival, living together happily in various stages of development and everything they need to know about their world.
Now that’s your job!
Your Puli’s training can be divided into five phases:
The Teaching Phase – This is the phase where you must physically demonstrate to your Paul exactly what you want her to do which includes house training, crate training, meal manners, daily routines, potty training, socialization etc
The Practicing Phase – Practice makes Perfect is not a cliche. Practice with your Puli what you have just taught her. And, introduce the leash training in a safe, fenced-in location like your backyard or apartment courtyard.
The Generalizing Phase – These involve practicing behaviors in several situations and also include‘recall training’.You can take your Puli out for a walk, or to a close by park and commander to practice whatever you’ve taught her.
Practicing the learned lessons in different locations and in the presence of small distractions will help her learn and retain lessons better.
The maintenance Phase – Once the above phases are complete and successful, many pet parents get the wrong impression ‘yup, it’s over’; their dog is set for life. The truth is very different.
You will, in fact, need to practice and exercise with your puli for the rest of her life. Training our dogs isn’t natural for them therefore if not maintained properly it will “vanish” without a trace from their minds, very similar to us.
She may not come up with the correct response the very first time you do this. Follow the rule of the 3 P’s – persistence, patience, praise.
Internalizing Phase – ultimately, here comes the exceptionally rewarding phase where yourPuli does everything she is taught to do even without your commands.
Never reproach your Puli if she fails. It’s not her fault. It’s you have failed as a trainer!
Appreciate and love your Puli when she does it right! A little act of encouragement goes a long way and will work wonders for your Puli. You must be persistent and patient in your efforts to reap rewards.
Puliks are full of beans and busy dogs. You will need to take this activity level into consideration when determining how many calories your Puli needs, particularly if you are doing any work or training.
If you obtain a puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine. If you want to change a puppy’s diet, this needs to be done very gradually and make sure that they don’t develop any stomach upsets.
Rough Feeding guide for Puli:
Puli puppies need to be fed a good quality, highly nutritious diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a puli puppy should be fed with their meals is evenly spread out throughout the day. It’s best to feed 3 or 4 times a day:
- DAILY COST – $1.50 – $2.00 (average)
- Monthly cost – $45.00 – $60.00
- Pulipups between eight and 12 weeks old – 4 meals every 24 hours (150g- 275g).
- 3 to 6 months old – 3 meals every 24 hour period (300g)
- Feed puppies 6 months to 1 year – 2 bowls of food daily (300g)
- When your Puli hits her first birthday, one bowl or two smaller bowls every 24 hours is typically all that’s necessary.
Remember, the feedings depend on puppy’s build. Once a Puli is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food depending on their activity level.
- Dogs weighing-10 kg = 150g to 250g
- Weight 13 kg = 200g to 300g
- 15 kg = 200g to 300g
Keep in mind; these feedings depend on puli’s eating tendencies and depending on their activity
Adult dogs need to be fed a good quality diet that meets all their nutritional needs while keeping a close eye on a dog’s weight. Here is a rough feeding guide for your perusal.
- Protein content should be anything from 14 – 25% (eggs, milk, fish, tuna etc.,)
- Carb content should be 30 to 70% (you can give mashed potatoes, cooked rice etc.,)
- Fiber content should be less than 4% (beans, peas, carrots, fruits)
- Fat content should be less than 10%
- Calcium content should be 0.5 – 0.8%
- Phosphorous content should be 0.4 – 0.7%
- Sodium content should be 0.2 – 0.4%
Recommended Read: What Foods Can/Cannot Dogs Eat?
Puli Grooming And Shedding
- Coat density – Dense
- Length – Long
- Texture – Corded
- Brushing frequency – Weekly
- Trimming/stripping – Needed
- Hypoallergenic – Yes
- Shedding – Minimal
The Puli has an ultra-thick, weather-resistant coat that can be curly or wavy but never silky. The undercoat is soft, dense and woolly.
The hair easily clumps and if left to itself will shape into woolly cords as the dog matures, starting when she is about 6-9 months old. Depending on the amount of undercoat and outer coat as well as the coat’s texture, the cords may be round or flat.
The full coat doesn’t manifest until a puli’s third year and it takes 4-5 years to grow out completely and may sooner or later reach the floor. The cords also tend to clump together, especially around a dog’s abdomen, their back ends and in their feet.
These larger clumps need to be gently teased out to form smaller ones as soon as possible to avoid any matting.
The Puli coat can be left to cord or brushed. If you plan to brush the coat rather than let it cord, start early on and look forward to brushing it at least weekly 2 or 3 times.
Puli doesn’t shed much, so you don’t have to worry about getting dog hair all over your house. Here’s where you get the answer for that big question of “are Puli hypoallergenic?” so, yes.
The Puli sheds lesser than other breeds and the shed hair stays ‘trapped’ in their dense coat. The cords must be separated often to maintain their look, and they do pick up a lot of dirt and debris. The Puli’s coat should never be matted, dirty or bad-smelling.
To prevent problems, you should definitely consult a dog groomer and ask for some useful advice that will make grooming and trimming less difficult.
Interesting Facts On Puli
- Despite one of the ancient breeds known, the Puli was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936 and is a member of the Herding Group.
- Etymologists believe that the breed name is borrowed from the PuliHou, the “Destroyer Huns” of Asia.
- It is very much like the Tibetan Terrier in instincts and body type which signifies its Asian influence
- The Puli and the Komondor (another Hungarian breed used in herding) used to work together to guard and herd livestock. The Puli would hold the fort during the day and the Komdor would take the night shift.
- This dog breed was so highly prized in Hungary for their skills and abilities, that’s why Hungarian Shepherds were willing to pay a year’s wages just to own one of these loyal and dedicated dogs.
- The breed was first mentioned in a book by Carl von Heppe, the German hunting writer and forest inspector in 1751.
- Puli breed owners established its first standard in 1915; favorable physical and personal traits that are suitable to keep within the breed. The pedigree was at last issued in 1924.
- Pulik are legendary for being good at herding sheep, for being a great watchdog, for being fast and also one of the ‘beast’being owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
So, don’t say you did not learn anything new today.
So, what’s the number one warning about the Pulik?
Let me start with the guaranteed tips for finding which end of puli the face is located:
– Put her outdoors in the sun for a few minutes and, for sure, on one end they will have a lolling, little pink tongue.
– present them treats and watch out which region wags.
– Offer treats higher up and identifies which end is pointing upwards(quite sure that no dogs will try to catch treats with their butt.)
– Get the treats away and observe which end growls. This is a bit risky but still rewarding
– Once you locate the face, mark that end with ribbon……
- Hip dysplasia – Hip dysplasia is caused by a malformation in the hip joint that affects one or both of the hips.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy – An inherited disease of the retina that includes several different genetic diseases that lead to the degeneration of the retina.
- Allergies – Food Allergies, Airborne pollens, Dust mites, Flea, and tick bites
- Cataracts – This typically affects senior police
- Diabetes – There is above average incidence of diabetes in these dogs
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) – This is the general medical term that refers to the disease of the dog’s bone marrow or spinal cord.
Puli Price And Breeders
Average -$1000 – $1200 USD (USA)
£890 for KC Registered, £380 for Non-KC Registered (UK)
The current median price for all Bearded Collies sold is $1000-$1200 USD. This is the price you can expect to budget for Puli with papers and vaccination details but without show quality or breeding rights.
Puppy without papers can cost lesser, however, we do not recommend buying a puppy without papers. Looking for a dog with a superior lineage?
You should expect to pay a premium for a puppy advertised as show quality with papers or for a puppy with breeding rights. You should budget anywhere from $1,500 – $2000 or even more for a Puli with top breed lines and a superior pedigree.
Finding well-bred puli puppies can be really challenging with long waiting lists and they can often charge a lot of money. Get started by searching for a good breeder on national kennel or breed clubs.
Start your search for a good breeder on the reputed websites such as Puli Club of America, prestige puli club etc. Hungarian KC offers a ‘Find a breed’ page on their webpage and lists members of their Accredited Breeders Scheme.
The HPC of UK has an often updated ‘Litters available’ section on their website too. Select a breeder who has agreed to abide by the club’s code of ethics, which prohibits the sale of puppies to or through pet stores or to backyard breeders.
Alternatively, you can look for animal shelters and breed rescue organizations which always have a great selection of dogs looking for new homes.
How much is a Puli dog?
Pulik puppies will be priced anywhere between $1000 – $1,200. The costs will depend on the age, quality, lineage, breeder, your location, popularity at the time of purchase and inclusions.
It is difficult to find this dog in many countries. Hence you may have to pay for shipping charges also. Depending on the location and how you send the price may go up by $200 to $500.
Are Puli good dogs?
The Hungarian herder Puli looks like some sort of twisted, animatronic mop similar to the much larger Komondor. But, there can be no bad days, as long as you come home to see a face like this.
Puli is an energetic dog with life to spare and who soaks up as much as attention and time her family is willing to give.
The Puli is first and foremost a sheepdog, and she was actually bred to guard sheep and other livestock in farms. If she doesn’t have sheep to work with, she will herd people.
The Puli is also a good choice for first-time owners because they are quite easy to train. With this said, anyone sharing a home with a Puli has to be prepared for some serious coat maintenance, particularly in puppies and adolescent dogs which is a time when their cords are just forming.
Can Puli dogs see?
There are all sorts of myths about these dapper dogs, but almost all of them seems like it would be more fact than fiction.
Some people believe that pulik struggle to see through their matted cords, a perception that honestly isn’t absurd, considering you can barely see their eyes through their hair.
However, pulik have excellent eyesight. Almost, it’s like looking through vertical window blinds, and given that the cords move as the Puli does, the view is even better.
This is a good question that most of them wondered about. Even a puli veteran or handlers may not answer correctly.
Next time, if anybody asks you this…Answer them nonchalantly and walk away with your puli. Imagine it should be somewhat like looking through blinds at a window.
With the blinds, only partially open, stand back at a distance. It doesn’t seem the blinds permit for seeing much through the window from that distance.
Move little close to those blinds or so close as if you are pressing your nose up to them – and you’ll be able to see through quite easily. There is an age-old Hungarian saying: “The Puli, through her hair, sees well than you.”
What does a puli dog look like?
‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest of them all?’ Your Puli would be a front-runner with their attractive Rasta dreadlocks.
The striking feature of puli dogs is evidently their staggering, shaggy manes that have an uncanny resemblance to dreadlocks.
But whilst their clumps of hair appear like dreads, they are, in fact, called as cords.
The base of the cords is much softer and becomes twisted in the thick outer layer, which is a weather resistant shield that allows these dogs to endure through all sorts of environmental challenges in the Hungarian plains where they worked as herding dogs.
They also act as a sort of armor that protects them from potential predators. The substantial amounts of hair camouflage their bodies from biting predators and they are more likely to grab a mouthful of hair than actual flesh.
Can you shave a puli dog?
No more than it is to shave a babies hair, unless for a reason. Would you recommend it without any reason? Perhaps not. Puliks have their coats for a reason.
They need their coats for protection from the weather – both hot and cold. Coats need to be clean, well-conditioned, combed and well brushed, mat-free, regularly de-shed, but they need their coats.
A coat keeps them dry, and it protects their skin from the external environment. Except for infestations or skin issues, do not shave the dog. Love your double-coated dog.
Know that to DE-SHED it is healthier, easier and more effective than shaving it down. Comb and brush it and regularly bathe and condition it. Better yet, send it to professionals for regular grooms.