Dog Health & More
Best known for his long, corded coat resembling dreadlocks, the Puli is a hardworking herding dog and family companion. Energetic and lively, this moplike dog breed hailing from Hungary appears much larger than he is due to that distinctive coat. Thanks to his self-confidence and intelligence, the Puli will have no problem being the center of attention in your home.
Additional articles you will be interested in:
The Puli, also known as the Hungarian Puli and the Hungarian Water Dog, is still used for herding sheep in his homeland. Hungarian shepherds take great pride in the Puli and his abilities; there's a saying among Hungarian shepherds: "He's not a dog, he's a Puli."
Pulik (the plural form of Puli) are self-confident, highly intelligent, and sensitive to their owners. Many tend to act as babysitters and guardians of children and other animals in the family. They can be very sensitive to the needs of the elderly and the sick. making them great therapy dogs. Although he's affectionate and enjoys (and expects) the adoration of his family and friends, he's suspicious of strangers.
The Puli is a strong-willed dog who will attempt to boss you around (nicely), sometimes without you even realizing it. His instinct is to protect and herd, which can sometimes extend to telling you when it's time to go to bed or where to sit, or moving the kids from one room to another.
The distinct Puli coat, which can take about four years to grow in and cord completely, comes in solid colors of rusty black, black, all shades of gray, and white. In Hungary, a common color is fako, which is described as the color of the inside of a whole-wheat roll.
His corded coat makes the Puli look much larger than he really is. The width of the coat across the back can be three times wider than the actual dog. Underneath all that hair, the Puli weighs about 30 pounds and stands 16 to 17 inches tall.
This unique coat requires a great deal of grooming to keep it clean and attractive, however. It is not a coat for beginners. In fact, even many professional groomers do not know how to properly care for a corded coat — not necessarily because they're lacking skills, but because the average pet owner rarely keeps a dog in cords. If your heart is set on owning a Puli, you'll need to learn how to maintain the coat on your own. Ask advice from a Puli breeder, or find someone well-versed in grooming a corded coat.
Some owners elect to trim off the coat to make it easier to care for, though diehard Puli enthusiasts cringe at the thought of this: the cords are a vital part of the Puli identity, they say. While trimming the coat off is perfectly acceptable for a pet, the show Puli appears only with cords in most countries. He can be shown with cords or brushed out in the United States, however.
The Puli isn't born with his dreadlocks. Newborns are round puppies with a little crimp to their coats, which soon grows into fluff. The adult coat comes in at about one year of age, at which time the fluff is separated by hand into cords. This process of separating the cords continues for about three or four months until the cords are set.
At maturity (about four years of age), the coat reaches the ground. Cords on the head fall over the face, veiling the eyes. Some owners tie up these cords to keep them out of the dog's face.
Obedience training, beginning with puppy classes, is essential for the Puli to teach him proper canine manners. Keep in mind that the Puli is highly intelligent and independent — so he becomes bored with repetitive training. Keep lessons fresh, short, and fun to maintain his interest.
Agility and herding are two activities perfectly suited to the breed's natural instincts and playful, spirited nature. In fact, if you try your hand at herding competitions with your Puli, don't be surprised to see Border Collie enthusiasts watching your dog in awe. While Border Collies were bred to handle smaller flocks of sheep, the Puli typically handles flocks of 400 or more, and he looks like a tornado as he whirls around the flock to keep it under control.
An added benefit to participating in canine sports is that it helps you fulfill a basic Puli need: being the center of attention.