An ancient breed used by Hungarian sheep farmers for over 1000 years, the Puli or Pulik (plural) are a very rare breed. In fact there are only about 150 Puli registered each year in comparison to about 60,000 golden retriever pups.
Pulik come in solid black, rusted black, grey and some white. Most Pulik are black because sheep farmers found that the sheep responded better to black dogs than any other color. Farmers preferred using Pulik during the day so they could easily distinguish the dog from the herd. And they already had some of the Puli ancestors like the Komondor which are also corded, but white and bigger to guard the sheep. Their white color of the Komondor helped them blend with the sheep at night or in the plains.
Pulik use bouncy movements and barking to herd the sheep unlike other herding dogs that nip at their heels or use eye control to stare down the sheep. The Puli is a dog with a lot of drive and intensity, very high energy and even though they have short legs, they are super fast. This is why it’s not rare to find them in agility trials, show rings and herding clubs. This breed has a very playful side to them and their bouncy gait can be quite comical.
A Puli has a compact, square body with a tail that curls upward at the end. They weigh between 25 and 35 lbs and are about 17 inches tall. Their corded coat is quite unique, it looks similar to dreadlocks and is usually long to the ground. Pulik have a dense under coat that is wooly with a profuse, long outer coat that will naturally cord after puppyhood. This amazing coat is weather resistant. The cords are a great source of protection, not just a barrier against the elements but also against larger predators like wolves. And since they were bred for it, you can expect them to be great watch dogs. This can translate into a weariness of strangers, but once a Puli gets to know you, he’ll be loyal and loving.
Pulik can be great family pets but they do much better with older children and more experienced dog owners. This breed is eager to please but needs training from a young age. It is also a great idea to get them used to the intense grooming that will be required from puppyhood.
Those beautiful Puli cords are hard work… for show quality coats expect several hours of care per week. Each dreadlock needs individual care and their coat can take up to 3 days to dry. This is a very high maintenance breed. But if you take the time to keep those cords in good shape this dog is definitely a head turner.
Regardless of what one might think, Pulik have great eyesight under all that hair. And they adapt well to all climate. The hair works well as insulation for both hot and cold climates.
So if you have experience with dogs, have a lot of time to dedicate to grooming and quite an active lifestyle then a Puli might be just the dog to draw everyone’s attention in your home.