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The Puli is one of the unique herding dogs of Hungary and has been in Hungary since the Magyar invasion of the 10th Century. It has been part of the lives of the Hungarian shepherds for more than 1,000 years. They were bred to be their sole companion and workmate during the long days and months of isolation on the grazing lands of the vast Hungarian plains.

Best at working sheep, they are built for endurance and so make an efficient and effective drover and gatherer. The breed's unusually thick, corded coat, helps it withstand extremes of weather. It was not until early last century that dog fanciers and zoologists began to study and document the breed. The Puli has become popular and established in its native country where it is now regarded as a national symbol and very much a national treasure.


Average lifespan

This robust dog can live to 15 years of age.

Average size and weight

37cm to 44cm
10kg to 15kg

Care requirements

Breed personality, characteristics & temperament

The most striking and distinctive feature of this medium-sized, active dog is its shaggy, corded coat. The coat can reach the ground by about four years of age and, with its tail curled over the back, it is hard to know if they are ‘coming or going’. The Puli is a remarkably active, agile and light-footed breed, and it is highly regarded for their intelligence and trainability. It is a sensitive one-man or family dog, which makes an intensely devoted and loyal companion. Loving and affectionate, it is wary of strangers, but extreme timidity, or aggression, are serious faults with this breed. The Puli must be part of the household and does not take to isolation from its family, or being confined to a kennel.

Compatibility with other pets

The Puli is wary by nature and can be reserved with other dogs. They must learn early to be accepting of other dogs and pets. It has a dominant nature and likes to be the top dog. This could lead to some conflict with adult dogs of the same sex.

Care requirements

The Puli's coat will naturally develop cords and, although the dog does not need brushing, they must still be groomed. A Puli in a full, floor-length coat, requires considerable work to maintain a clean and neat appearance. The full-length coat easily collects dirt, twigs and leaves, and, these can be difficult to remove. To keep the Puli’s coat in glorious condition requires devotion on the part of its owner. Bathing is essential and a heavily corded dog may take an hour to wash and up to six hours to dry, with a blow dryer.

The most intensive grooming period is when the Puli is between 9 to 18 months of age. The coat must be worked regularly, using your fingers, to separate the developing cords. The assistance of the breeder is recommended at this time, so that the correct grooming technique can be explained.

Decision time

Ideal owners

The Puli is best suited to an active, outdoor lifestyle. They are a ‘smarty’ and make a great companion and games dog. Their intelligence, trainability and overwhelming desire to please, make them an excellent dog to own

Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.

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