By Langley Cornwell
The Puli, an ancient sheepdog from Hungary, has been helping Hungarian Shepherds herd flocks for over 1,000 years. Interbreeding almost extinguished the Puli breed in the 17th century; fortunately, the breed began a revival in 1912 and the first Puli standard was established in 1915.
Once accepted in four different sizes, the medium size Puli became the most popular and is the size that is now accepted as the AKC standard.
About the Puli
These dogs are solid, energetic and alert. Sometimes called Hungarian Water Dogs, the Puli is a strong, tough herding dog – able to perform its duties across any terrain. Their trademark wavy or curly coat naturally clumps together into what resembles dreadlocks. It’s these wooly ‘dreads’ that protects Pulik (plural) from unforgiving climates.
The dogs are vigorous athletes with a high level of confidence and intelligence. Pulik do extremely well both as herding dogs and as family pets. Today, the Puli is often seen in the show ring as well as in the herding, obedience, agility, tracking and therapy dog arenas.
The Puli is a well-proportioned, compact, medium-sized dog. His head is average sized and looks in balance with his body. The tail is unaltered. His deep-set, almond shaped eyes display a high level of confidence.
His distinguished, weather resistant coat is plush and abundant all over his body. The dense outer coat is wavy or curly with a soft undercoat. The coat clumps together to form the aforementioned ‘cords’ or ‘dreads’ as the dog reaches adulthood. The dog has been described as an animated string mop.
The Puli makes a striking impression with his intelligent eyes, long, shaggy coat and animated, light-footed stride.