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Country/Date of Origin: Hungary/900s

Nomadic shepherds on the Steppes of Hungary have kept two kinds of sheep dogs since the ninth century. One was a big white guard dog that protected the flock at night and the other was a small active herding dog, the Puli, that actually herded the sheep by day. They did not cross breed the two types and through the centuries the unique characteristics of each became firmly fixed. The Magyars did not pay much attention to the outward appearance of the Puli in regard to size, color, ear carriage, etc. What they were interested in was the dog's ability to work. So intelligence and a willingness to please was prized above all. The original Puli was multi-colored in the literal sense of the word. Over the years more and more color variations were eliminated and by the 1940s black were believed to be the only purebred Pulis. Although today the blacks still predominate, there are white, gray and apricot Pulis although the latter two are quite rare. Pulis were imported to the United States in the 1930s.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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AKC Group: Herding

Breed Club: Puli Club of America

Rescue Club: Puli Club of America - Puli Rescue

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Body Type:

  • It is hard to determine the body structure of a Puli for it resembles nothing more than a string mop
  • Height: 14-19 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 20-40 pounds
  • The tail is carried low and is not altered
  • Hanging ears are not altered


  • Superior intelligence and a keen work ethic
  • Tends to be a one-man dog
  • Wary of strangers
  • High energy, always busy
  • Noisy


  • The highly distinctive coat is traditionally corded and reaches the ground. It is heavy in texture with a fine undercoat
  • Coats can form into matted ribbons or stringy cords. Which coat the dog forms depends on the ratio of harsh outercoat and woolly undercoat. A heavy outercoat forms the low maintenance cords and heavy undercoat will form mats in a solid mass or in wide or narrow ribbons
  • Permissible colors are black, white, and rarely gray or apricot
  • Requires extensive care to keep debris from the cords or ribbons
  • Puli hair is very unusual. The diameter of each hair varies along its length

Health Concerns:

  • Generally robust
  • Subject to hip dysplasia
  • Eye inflammations caused by hair getting under eyelids
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Puli in Hungarian means simply sheepdog
  • Pronounce it Poo - lee
  • The plural of Puli, strangely, is Pulik
  • Unusually bouncy in its gait, the Puli moves like a bounding ball; it will dazzle you with its invisible footwork beneath the bobbing cords

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