Hungarian puli (plural pulik) are a small to medium breed used for herding in their native country. They are known for their coats which resemble dreadlocks and needs considerable maintenance to keep it clean and knot free. The usual coat colour is black, with white, grey or cream being less common.
Pulik are an intelligent and active breed, obedience training is more effective when started young as they can also be strong minded.
They are adaptable and can live in cities and indoors if they are given enough exercise. Daily walks are a must, as a minimum. Pulik also love to romp around and will be ecstatic if their owner or a companion dog joins in.
Pulik can be wary of strangers but are not usually aggressive, but will give a growl as a verbal warning if they feel their owner is being threatened.
Pulik can look larger than they are because of their coat, but are actually a small-medium breed which makes them suitable for homes where larger dogs may not be comfortable. Although their coats make them appear bulky, they are fast and agile dogs which can be trained successfully for athletic competitions and often outshine breeds which may appear sleeker and better suited to such sports.
The Puli dog breed was traditionally used as a herding dog, so they thrive on exercise which replicates this including biking, hiking and field work. Maintaining this kind of high activity level also suits the Puli’s puppy-like playfulness which they exhibit long into adulthood, making them especially appealing to active owners. Their susceptibility to illness is low, yet carrying out dog insurance is imperative for any dog owner.
As descendants of working dogs, Pulik can be focussed and determined and as long as this instinct is channelled effectively, they make loyal and faithful companions. Their herding instinct is strong, and their ability to guard often manifests itself as a fearless urge to protect. For this reason, Pulik are sometimes used as police dogs, a job in which their desire to eliminate perceived threats is a real asset.
Pulik are vocal dogs which can be problematic for owners who have close neighbours, and they are not suited to first-time or inexperienced dog owners. Their high energy levels, intelligence and the need for thorough training make puli ownership a labour of love, but one which will be rewarded with a family-friendly pet who will provide years of fun.
Life expectancy: around 12 years
Originating country: Hungary
Temperament: highly intelligent, independent, playful and spirited
Interesting fact: Hungarian shepherds take pride in their puli’s abilities and have a saying “he’s not a dog, he’s a puli”