Place of Origin: 



livestock, herding, gundog

Original Function: 

sheep herding

Primary Current Function: 

herding trials

Other Name: 

Hungarian Puli, Hungarian water dog, Pulik

Date of Origin: 

Middle Ages


The modern Puli owes its existence to an invading tribe of Magyar. The Magyar overran the central Danube area and mixed with Turkish tribes in the process.

Puli Breed Health

Avg Size of Female: 

Height: 16 inches, Weight: 25-35 pounds

Life span: 

12-16 years

Major concerns: 


Occasionally seen: 


Avg Size of Male: 

Height: 17 inches, Weight: 25-35 pounds

Minor concerns: 


Suggested tests: 

hip, eye

Puli Breed History

The Magyar brought several types of sheepdogs with them including the ancestor of the modern puli. Some speculate that the similarities of the puli and the Tibetan spaniel are clues that the spaniel may have been involved in the development of the puli. The small pulis were very capable sheepherders including having the ability to jump on a sheep’s back to turn it. The black color of the puli was important in allowing it to be distinguishable from the sheep. There is speculation that the darker pulis were used in the daylight as herders and that the larger dogs were used at night as guards. After the destruction of Hungary in the 16th century, the country was reestablished with western European people, sheep & dogs. The new dogs interbred with the pulik to create the puli. The breed was almost lost completely after being interbred with the pumi. The initial breed standard was written in 1925. At this time the puli varied greatly in size from large to medium to small. The medium sized dogs were most desirable due to their resemblance to traditional herding dogs. In the 1930’s the USDA imported pulis in an attempt to improve herding in America. The AKC recognized the puli in 1936. The breed is recognized as a great sheepherder though it is only mildly popular as a show or pet dog today.

Puli Breed Appearance

This medium-sized breed is compact and appears square in shape. It is medium boned and muscular with a light and quick trot that is characteristic of its breed. Its tail forms a tight curl that rests on its back. Able to turn on a dime, the puli is fast without a far-reaching gait and is a flexible athlete. Its undercoat is soft and wooly, and its waterproof outer coat consists of curls that form into curls if not brushed out. An adult’s coat can grow long enough to touch the ground. The puli’s fur can be many colors including black, gray, apricot and cream and should be mostly a solid color.

Puli Breed Temperament

Referred to as “a mop on springs,” the puli is full of energy. It is an intelligent dog that has a mind of its own. It makes a great watchdog because it is suspicious and alert. It will bark if it senses that its owner is being threatened. Mindful of commands, the puli is an affectionate homebody. It will try to herd children and pets alike and is even-tempered. It can be aggressive towards other dogs and may be stubborn at times.

Puli Breed Maintenance

The puli has very unique grooming needs. The coat can be worn two ways, either corded or brushed. If brushed, it requires regular brushing to prevent mats. Dampen the coat prior to brushing it for an easier job. In the corded puli, the cords should be separated by hand in order to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris. This breed does not shed. Bathing can take up to two hours, and the hair must be dried afterwards. It can take more than a day for the coat to dry completely. The cords will begin to form at around six months of age and should be separated into strands about a quarter of an inch in width. Most dogs will not fight this process and actually seem to enjoy it. This breed loves the physical activity and challenge of herding. If it does not live on a farm or similar setting, it can achieve the same workout through a jog, a game, or even an obedience class. It thrives on mental as well as physical challenges and may become bored during training. Do not overwork the puli on hot days. It can live outdoors in temperate to cool climates and should not be left outside for long periods on hot days. Some love to swim and should never be left alone in the water. Others just do not like to swim.

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