Very rare and extremely unusual looking, the Puli is the most intense mop you'll ever meet. Seriously, those corded locks make this dog look like she just got to college and discovered Bob Marley. That hair isn't just fashion forward, however — the cords protect this dog from predators and intense weather. These days, though, Pulik (the plural for Puli) are more likely to be on the competitive herding circuit than out in the field with the sheep.
Originally from Hungary going back as far as the ninth century, this medium-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 25-35 pounds and lives an average of 10-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Herding
Breed Group: Herding
Average Lifespan: 10-15 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 129
FAMILY livestock, herding, gundog
AREA OF ORIGIN Hungary
DATE OF ORIGIN Middle Ages
ORIGINAL FUNCTION sheep herding
TODAY'S FUNCTION herding trials
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 17 Weight: 25-35
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 16 Weight: 25-35
OTHER NAME Hungarian puli, Hungarian water dog
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Somewhat affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs High maintenance
Cold tolerance High tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A PULI'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
They might look silly to some (seriously, watch them run in slo-mo), but this breed makes for tough and intelligent, all-terrain working dogs. They can also be loyal, affectionate, and playful for the experienced dog parent. Pulik remain puppy-like well into their adulthoods. They also have wonderful senses of humor. These dogs will do best if supervised while playing with older children or other pups and are usually not recommended for small children.
WHAT IS PULI BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a very active breed. Pulik like to work. Yours will need plenty of time outside every day, and lots of space to stretch her legs. They're also real homebodies, however. Their alertness and vigor help to ensure that you'll know when strangers come around. These dogs are protective and can be a bit suspicious toward new people.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A PULI?
Pulik are intelligent and very responsive to training. They definitely know their own minds, so you'll need to be patient and consistent with this pup. She'll respond best to treats, praise, and play rewards.
These dogs are serious competitors in tracking, agility, obedience, and herding events. Many also work as therapy dogs.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO PULIK SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Pulik don't shed much, but they are heavy lifters in the grooming department. Their cords will likely need daily untangling and grooming a Puli means individually handling each and every one of her chords. This pup can take days to dry after a bath. Be sure to dry your Puli carefully — otherwise her cords can mildew, which won't look or smell very good.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO PULIK HAVE?
As a breed, Pulik are generally healthy. Some are susceptible to eye disease, hip dysplasia, slipping kneecaps, or spinal degeneration. A few are also deaf. If you have a Puli, be sure to talk with your vet about caring for those eyes. While they have great eyesight, hair in their eyes can cause issues.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE PULIK GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Pulik among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers. Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS A PULI'S BEST DAY?
Pulik want to be outside doing a job, whether it's protecting sheep or playing with you. Once they've worked out that energy, they'd prefer to be at home, making sure everyone and everything is in its place.
SHOULD I ADOPT A PULI?
With enough exercise, a Puli can live almost anywhere — as long as it's not too hot. (With all those heavy hair cords, it's not surprising that these dogs do well in the cold but get a bit droopy in the heat.) The main things to consider when you're contemplating bringing a Puli home are her grooming needs, intelligence and activity levels. This dog will need daily grooming and rigorous exercise to keep her body and brain happy. If you have the time and energy to devote to this motivated mop, a Puli is a superlative choice of pup.
Have you decided that a Puli is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.