The Puli’s unusual coat is instantly recognizable. The Puli is a handsome dog with a nomadic heritage and solid reputation. As a herder, the Hungarian Puli was celebrated throughout Europe and later in North America. As a pet, the Puli has enjoyed only moderate popularity as few dogs are registered each year. The springy and agile Puli is a bouncing ball of fun, especially if your definition of fun involves grooming!
Around 1100 years ago, a nomadic tribe called the Magyar wandered westward from the Ural Mountains in western Russia to the central Danube region. With them, they brought sheepdogs and the forbearer of the modern Puli which may have been influenced by the Tibetan Spaniel. These early Puli dogs were brilliant shepherds, easily controlling massive flocks of sheep. Stray sheep were quickly redirected when the agile Puli jumped on the sheep’s back and forced the sheep back into formation. The Puli’s black coat made him easily distinguishable from the white sheep and his penchant for barking made him easy to locate even amongst enormous flocks.
The sixteenth century saw the decimation of Hungary through invasion and with the invaders came their sheep and sheepdogs. Over the next few hundred years, the Puli was commonly interbred to the extent that the Puli was nearly lost. It was not until the early 1900’s that an effort was made to re-establish the Puli and the first Puli standard was written in 1925. Ten years later, the US Department of Agriculture made attempts to import several Pulis. The war thwarted this effort, but the not the reputation of this breed. Today, the Puli is one of the most recognizable breeds in the world even though he is exceedingly rare. And, despite the Puli’s charm and intelligence, he remains only modestly popular in the ring and as a family pet.
The Puli is a mop on springs! His spectacular corded coat appears similar to dreadlocks and they should swing freely as your Puli bounces by. The Puli is mid sized and roughly square and his head is slightly domed. The Puli’s tail is also corded and is carried over his back, and hangs over one side. His eyes, though you can’t see them, are almond shaped.
The curious coat of the Hungarian Puli is not naturally occurring. In fact, the thin cords are the result of careful and selective matting. Some owners prefer to trim the Puli’s coat short, but this can be risky. Sometimes, the magnificent corded coat will not again grow once it has been cut.
The Puli is an exceeding intelligent dog. He will understand most everything you tell him and may even try to glean your mood and act accordingly. The Puli is curious with energy to match and will dash about as though he is intricate to the functioning of your home.
With the Puli, other dogs may be unwelcome, but some other pets, including felines may be tolerated. The Puli is an excellent watchdog and protector. He barks a lot which can be off-putting, especially with neighbors, but training can help to curb this.
Puli Exercise Info
The Puli is always on the lookout for something to herd. He is energetic but his exercise needs can be met with a long walk or jog. If you live in a warm climate, avoid jogging with your Puli during the hottest part of the day as your Puli is intolerant of excessive heat. The Puli will also enjoy many hours of yard play, so long as you enjoy picking the twigs fro his coat afterwards.
Puli Grooming Info
Runway models know well the hours of make-up application necessary for that desirable ‘natural look’. The coat of the Puli is oddly similar. The Puli appears unkempt, unbrushed and even ragged, but the Puli’s matted coat is anything but untended.
When he is a puppy, your Puli will have a fluffy and uncorded coat. The coat will likely collect bits of debris – seeds, twigs and the like. You will need to pick these out one by one. Mud and garden variety goo may be bathed away.
As the Puli reaches adolescence, the texture of the Puli’s coat begins to change. Typically, the coat becomes denser and springier, beginning at the head and rear and progressing toward the center.
During this stage, the Puli owner may need to guide some of the cords, or tendrils into shape. Some Puli’s however, need less intervention as their coats self-cord. This practice will be carried on into adulthood.
When your Puli is about three years old, you will have a good idea of how his coat will grow. If some of the cords are too wide, you can divide them starting at the skin and working your way down. Most owners agree that thinner cords are favoured. But whichever way you keep your Puli’s coat bathing him is a Herculean feat.
Your Puli’s coat will resist water, but eventually, it will be saturated. Use only doggie shampoo, and dilute it more than the bottle recommends.
Rinsing and drying are the most arduous and time consuming factors in bathing your Puli. Every molecule of shampoo must be rinsed away lest your Puli develop a skin irritation. Should this malady occur, your Puli will scratch and chew off the cords. Another sign of skin irritation is the doggie odour that is absent in healthy Puils. If you are a vigilant rinser, dampness will be the likely culprit. You must dry your Puli thoroughly and to do so, you will need equipment.
Set your Puli’s cage in a shaded area on a structure resembling a glass topped table without the glass (you’ll need to build this somehow). Underneath, set two or three fans and direct them at your Puli. After several hours, your Puli should be bone dry. Do not use heat as this can burn his skin. Before releasing him from his cage, check his coat thoroughly for any signs of dampness. Skin irritations from dampness are often severe and can necessitate shaving your Puli.
Finally, fleas on Puli are an urgent matter. If your Puli gets fleas, the only was to rid him of this pest is to shave his coat. Years or careful growth and attention can be dashed unless measures are taken to prevent flea infestations.
Puli Training Info
Although the Puli loves to please his owner, there is a stubborn streak in the Puli, which can make training somewhat more challenging than with lesser breeds. So, the savvy Puli owner will bribe his Puli with tasty treats or preferred toys. Always reward your Puli immediately following proper behavior. If the Puli becomes bored, all is lost. For best results, have well planned, ten minute sessions in a location with minimal distraction.
Crate training your Puli will be similar to that of other breeds. Just bring your Puli outside following naps and meals and your Puli will quickly establish an acceptable bathroom routine. Unlike other breeds, the Puli will need a little post-bathroom attention to his fur. The long cords can harbor all sorts of unpleasantness, so a quick inspection and cleaning may help.
Puli Health Info
Some common health concerns for your Puli include CHD, PRA and deafness. Beyond these maladies, the Puli is a healthy breed.
Puli Right Breed Info
The Puli is immeasurably lovable, and is equally time consuming. So, if yours is a family of hairdressers or the like, the Puli is the breed for you! However, those who cannot afford near-daily professional grooming may be well advised to consider other breeds. Ideally, the perfect Puli family is outdoorsy and fun-loving with many hours to devote to their dog. Urbanites will welcome the relief of paved sidewalks over debris-filed paths. Urban folks will certainly be charmed by your Puli’s valiant, but ultimately misguided attempts at herding chipmunks.
When purchasing your Puli, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.
More Information about the Puli Dog Breed
Puli on Wikipedia