The Puli is a unique dog that was thought to have originated over 2000 years ago from Hungarian shepherd dogs. They were typically used as sheep dogs back at that time, and can still be found doing that work today. Besides herding, these dogs are quite skilled at obedience and agility. They are loving dogs who will get along well with kids and other pets, especially if introduced at a young age. They can also be good watchdogs, as they are vocal and protective of their loving family. They are quite intelligent and easy to train, and are also a hypoallergenic breed that does not shed and has low drooling and smell levels as well.
This breed of dog is ancient, with a history that dates back around 2000 years. There have been signs of a dog similar to the Puli existing up to 6000 years ago, but some people prefer to think that this breed is related to a more modern dog. The story behind this breed begins in the place that is now known as Iraq with a crew of people who were excavating for oil and came across the grave of a man who was buried with a sheep and a small dog. Among the remains was discovered a lock of hair that resembles the fur of today’s Puli dog. It was assumed that the man had been a shepherd and was buried with one of his sheep and his loyal sheepdog. This same location was once the territory of Sumeria, an ancient civilization. Clay plaques found in a town called Eridu and a statue of a Puli are indicators that these dogs were used for sheepherding thousands of years ago. These dogs were brought to Hungary about 1100 years ago by Magyar tribesmen. There they became a popular choice for herding dogs. Most shepherds preferred to have black Puli dogs, as they were easier to spot among the sheep. Back in those days, it would cost farmers a whole year’s wages to afford a Puli. Although the shepherds would value their dogs, they could be tough on the ones who were not as talented in performing their duties. This is thought to be why the breed is so intelligent today. In the 1800s, the need for sheep dogs began to diminish, along with their numbers. However, they were saved from extinction in 1912 by a professor at Hungarian University of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Emil Raitsits. He was aided in his efforts to save the breed by the director of the Budapest Zoo, Adolf Lendl. They remodeled an exhibit of the zoo and dedicated it to the breeding of Puli dogs. The second World War almost brought the breed to extinction, and they most likely would have been gone today if they had not become more popular before the war. This breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club in the year of 1936, and in 1951 the Puli Club of America was formed.
Pulis are strong, medium sized dogs with interesting and unique coats. They have long and dense coats that hang down in long corded strands. When these dogs grow to adulthood, their fur can hang all the way to the ground. They most commonly have black coats, but can also be found in gray and white, or a color called fako, which is more commonly seen in their place of origin, Hungary. Sometimes, the black coats of this breed will be described as weathered, as they can have occasional white hairs among the black ones. Their tails will curl over their backs, and their dark brown eyes will be almond shaped and have black lids. The ears of the Puli are v-shaped and medium in size, blending in with the rest of their shaggy coats. They have large, black noses that sit on the end of straight and long muzzles. The teeth of this dog breed will have a scissor bite.
The Puli is a herding dog and will need large fenced in yards that they can run around in to get rid of their energy. Make sure that the fence is a high one, as it is rumored that these dogs can jump up to six feet! They will do great in farm houses, but can also adapt to smaller houses, as long as you can deal with their high activity levels. These dogs should be fed 1 to 2 cups of dog food each day, divided into two separate meals. They will require regular grooming, but they do not get brushed like most other dog breeds. Instead of untangling the fur with a brush, you should first wet the coat with water, and next use your hands to separate and twirl the strands into cords. Your Puli may benefit from occasional trims in order to keep the coat from collecting too much dirt or dust. Bathing your Puli is normal and should follow the same procedures as any other breed of dog, but should not be done often. The dog and its corded coat should be soaked with water and then washed using a dog friendly shampoo. After being rinsed, the cords of this dog’s coat should be squeezed dry using your hands and then using a towel. The drying process can take several days, and using heat to dry them should not be done as they can overheat. For this reason, it is not recommended to bathe them often, unless it is necessary, as in the case of burs, urine and feces, food or other sources of dirt that begin to collect in the coat. The Puli should have its teeth brushed every day, or at least once or twice each week if you can’t manage it daily. One or two times every month you should check your dog’s nails, and trim them if needed.
These fun-loving dogs adore their family and are very affectionate. They are smart and love to work hard. They are suspicious of strangers, and therefore will do great as a watchdog. The Puli is an intelligent breed that still has their herding instincts, and might try to herd people. This is also why they need a kind but firm owner. Many dogs of this breed can be vocal, and teaching them to be quiet on command may be beneficial. They are active dogs who excel at many dog sports, like herding, obedience and agility. Participating in sports can be good for your dog, as Pulis can become destructive if they get bored. If your dog gets lots of socialization and training as a puppy, they can definitely do well with children. These intelligent dogs will protect your younger ones, as well as play with them gently. If they are brought up well, Pulis will have no problem living with other pets either.