The Puli is one of the most unique breeds of dog around when it comes to appearance. Many consider their body shapes to be square and the breed is fairly strong despite the fact that their bones are rather delicate. A healthy Puli will have a tail that is tightly curled over the back and bright, alert eyes. The ears should hang over the sides of the head and the nose should be black. Their eyes may be a bit difficult to see for all the hair covering them but are generally brown and almond-shaped. As you can imagine, these beautiful coats will require some special care and attention that will be discussed later.
If you want a dog that is very unique in appearance then you may very well be interested in owning a Puli. These beautiful dogs originated in Ancient Hungary and are believed to be one of the older breeds of the Hungarian Sheepdog. They are well known for their coats, which are composed of beautiful cords that may grow long enough to reach the ground once these dogs are fully grown adults. Their coats alone make them unique among dogs and very recognizable.
The Puli has a rather interesting history as one of the two types of sheepdogs that were historically used on the Steppes of Hungary. The Puli was the smaller of the two that was used for the purpose of herding the flock rather than the larger dogs that were used to provide protection for the flock. The smaller Puli were bright little spitfire dogs that had the energy and stamina to keep the sheep herded properly throughout the day.
These breeds were not crossbred and this allowed their characteristics and traits to be kept intact throughout the long centuries. Originally, the Puli were all different colors. It is only in recent years that the variations of colors have been fairly well bred out of these dogs leaving black as the widely accepted and most commonly found color for these dogs. There are a few white Puli as well as a few other colors though many of the other colors are not allowed to be shown in competitions for the Puli breed.
Families find that the Puli makes an excellent addition to the household in many cases. These dogs are lively and energetic and eager to become a part of the pack. When properly treated and handled these dogs will become loyal family members. Despite their small size they are very expressive about the level of their affection and devotion to the family.
While they are fairly adaptive animals, they are best introduced to the family at an early age. It is wise to note that they are very intelligent animals but with that intelligence comes a bit of a mind of their own. They can be a tad stubborn and independent though they can also be trained, through positive reinforcement, to behave. The generally do well in obedience training and are very agile animals (this is a breed trait that was necessary in the jobs they performed herding sheep), which makes them popular in competitive showing. They are not known for aggression though they are weary of strangers and may bark when they feel their owners are being threatened.
In general, the Puli are very healthy animals though they are known to suffer from eye infections. These infections are often the result of hair getting between the eyes and their eyelids.
There are unique issues when it comes to grooming the Puli. The first is that this dog should not be brushed. Once you pick up your jaw up off the floor you need to understand that there is an undercoat that is soft and wooly and may cause issues by tangling into the outer-coat. When this happens the mats need to be separated by hand rather than brushing. This is a routine that should happen fairly regularly to prevent larger problems from forming.
Begin working the clumps from the edges inward towards the skin. There is a bit of a learning curve involved in this and every Puli will be slightly difference. The good news is that this process in general is calming to them so they will patiently endure your learning curve. Once you learn how to do this it will take less time. The more often you perform this necessary task, the less time consuming it will be as well.
When bathing you will need to take special care for drying. The most time intensive part of the bathing process is the drying process. If you leave your Puli to air dry it may take up to two weeks. You also need to take care of their teeth as this will prevent them from being lost too early. You should also trim their nails once a week and pay attention to the hair growth between the pads, trimming it whenever it grows too long.
By breed, this is an animal that has an amazing amount of energy and that loves to work and play. For this reason it is a good idea to get out there and run and play with your Puli. Swimming, because of the extraordinary drying time and heaviness of their coats is not a recommended sport for this particular breed and they should never be allowed into the water unsupervised. Small training courses that allow your Puli to exercise and display its prowess when it comes to agility are also excellent choices for exercise. 30 minutes a day of exercise is a good recommendation to keep your Puli healthy and happy.
Because of its history as a working dog and its keen intelligence most owners find that the Puli is a very trainable breed of dog. Whether you wish to train your dog for simple household tasks or work your way up to competitive agility and show quality training is completely up to you. Be sure you don’t try to push your Puli however as this can have a negative impact on the training process. Consistent efforts tempered with positive reinforcement is a recommended form of training with the Puli.