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The Hungarian puli (pulik in plural form) is an ancient sheepdog whose ancestors are believed to have existed six thousand years ago. As a herding and guard dog, this breed is naturally hard-working and protective.
The Hungarian puli loves giving affection just as much as receiving it. Whilst he shares his love to his family, he tends to form a strong bond with one particular family member. Because of his eager-to-please personality, the Hungarian puli is easy to train.
The Hungarian Kuvasz has an ultra-thick corded coat that is hypoallergenic and non-shedding, yet it’s very challenging to maintain. This is because his coat needs to be tended by hand instead of brushing. His exercise needs require him to have at least 40 minutes of physical and mental stimulation.
The Hungarian puli, as the name suggests, hails from Hungary. It is an ancient sheepdog whose actual origins remain a mystery. Its ancestors are believed to have existed six thousand years ago. Others claim that the Magyars introduced similar-looking dogs to Hungary in the ninth century that were prized herding and guard dogs. There is also a theory that this type of dog originated in Asia before it reached other parts of the world.
When it arrived in Hungary, the puli herded livestock through difficult terrains, usually working alongside the much larger livestock guardian dog called the Komondor. The two worked hand in hand to drive away wolves and other predators. The breed’s thick, corded coat provided protection from the harsh weather and predator attacks.
The puli remained virtually true to its original features as Hungarian shepherds strived to protect their dogs from external influence. It also remains an esteemed breed in its hometown that shepherds would willingly pay a year’s worth of wages to own one. It was only recently that this breed became popular in the other parts of the world as a loyal companion and it still remains rare outside Hungary. In fact, people who want to own a puppy will have to wait for a while as the waiting list is quite long. The Hungarian puli is registered with the Kennel Club under the Pastoral Group.
The Hungarian puli is a dog that is hard to miss, thanks to its ultra-thick, corded coat. Weighing 22–29 pounds and standing 37–44 centimetres at the withers, this mop-like dog is actually well-muscled and sturdy. Hair fully covers its dark brown eyes from view, which have a lively expression. It has medium pendant, v-shaped ears, large black nose, black tight lips, and a perfect scissor bite.
Obviously, the most interesting feature of puli is its distinctive coat, which is considered hypoallergenic and non-shedding. According to KC standards, the accepted colours are:
Grooming will be a challenging task as this type of coat is a magnet for debris, which needs to be removed straight away to lessen chances of matting. It is specifically high-maintenance during the first six to nine months when cords are forming. Some coats are self-cording, but humans usually separate them when the coat texture changes from puppy fluff to adult coat at one year of age. The coat becomes fully mature at around four years of age. Corded coats are managed by hand and should never be brushed. The first step in cording is dampening the coat with water, followed by individually separating and twirling the cords. Whilst KC standards require corded coats, some owners prefer the coats of their pulik uncorded and kept them tidy by regular brushing to remove tangles and mats.
The puli should only be bathed when needed, like when it lies and plays in mud or when the coat has collected too much dirt, food, faeces, urine, and more. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have that doggy smell. Bathing is a tedious task as chords need to be soaked in water, carefully shampooed, and squeezed dry. Air-drying can actually take two days and blow-drying is a big no-no as the breed overheats.
The puli is prone to ear infections, which are difficult to clear up, so it is better to prevent them altogether. Ears need to be frequently cleaned and hairs inside need to be removed for air to circulate efficiently. Also make sure that your dog’s teeth are brushed regularly and its nails are trimmed. During a trip to the vet, ask for assistance in inspecting its skin to avoid bumps and parasites.
The Hungarian puli’s interesting coat is paired with a great personality. It is affectionate, playful, and loyal. Dubbed as a one-man dog, it usually forms a bond with one particular member of the family, usually the one that spends a lot of time caring for it. It can be a great pet for first-time owners as long as they are up for the challenge of keeping its coat clean and healthy. It also loves children of all ages, but always keep an eye on interactions because its energetic personality might lead it to accidentally knock over a toddler. It usually gets along with other dogs especially when raised together, but introducing smaller animals should be avoided altogether since it is inclined to chase them.
The puli is intelligent, hard-working, and eager to please, making it easy to train. However, it has a tendency to be stubborn, so early socialisation and training from a firm but gentle owner are needed. Aside from basic dog obedience, training should focus on curbing its strong desire to herd, so it won’t accidentally hurt any family member, especially kids.
A typical serving for an adult Hungarian puli is one to two cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day, which should be divided into two equal meals. If you are unsure regarding the amount and frequency suitable for your dog, ask a veterinarian for advice.
Typical calorie needs of an adult Hungarian puli per day:
Make sure to feed your puli high-quality food formulated for medium breeds for balanced energy that will maintain a healthy weight. Food should contain animal meat from chicken, turkey, lamb, or beef. Owners need to be wary of carbohydrate fillers like soybean, wheat, and corn.
The Hungarian puli is a healthy and robust breed known to have an average lifespan of nine to fifteen years. It is prone to only suffer from a handful of illnesses such as cataracts, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy.
When it comes to its exercise needs, the puli is a lively and energetic dog that only requires a minimum of forty minutes of physically and mentally challenging activities. It loves going out with its owner for a walk and playing canine sports in a fenced yard.
If you are looking to own a Hungarian Puli, you will likely go on a waiting list in order to get hold of one. Be ready to pay £300-£700 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. Since puppies need to eat a lot although not too much, you might have to spend more on puppy or dog food. This can set you back £40-£50 and change when your dog gets older. You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment such as food bowls, leads, collars, and beds, which will likely be £200 depending on the brand.
When it comes to healthcare, you need to be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. You can offset some medical bills if you get a pet insurance, which can range from £22 for a time-limited cover up to £40 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, size and weight, the type of cover you choose, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.
Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £1000 annually. Roughly, you will be setting aside £60-£100 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose. This estimate is also exclusive of walking or grooming services that you might later want to use.
Are you sure the Hungarian Puli is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Is the puli’s high-maintenance coat too overwhelming for you? Take the Pet Finder to find breeds that have low grooming needs.