Puli: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


Among the characteristics of the Puli dog breed, its hair in the form of dreadlocks stands out. It has an active, loyal and intelligent character. It is an excellent sheepdog to have as a pet with the family. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Puli breed .


Character of the Puli breed

If we were to define the character of the Puli in a few words, these would be: active and with an extraordinary ability to learn , it loves children and is an excellent guardian.

This breed of dog can show off its personality as it is vital, intelligent and loyal. The puli is extraordinary as a family pet and adapts to living in any situation.

Herding breeds are characterized by a special insight, and a great capacity and speed of decision. It needs to be an insightful and intelligent dog, and the puli, indeed, it is.

Created to be in the field, caring for and guiding a large group of animals. Almost always stronger than them, it had to make decisions to keep everyone safe and sound or to get to the right place.

This intelligence also implies that their capacity and speed for learning are extraordinary. All this makes this animal a very easy dog ​​to train.

  • Energy: medium / high level. Very active, it needs to run freely to expend all its energy. It is not at all idle.
  • Temperament: cheerful, affectionate and faithful, it is very intelligent and learns easily, but can make decisions for themselves if its master is not authoritative enough.
  • Adaptability: high. It adapts to urban life if you have a garden or go for a jog outside.
  • Sociability: high. Sweet and playful with all members of the family, it is somewhat suspicious of strangers.
  • Health: good. You have to take care of their coat because it can be a source of infections.
  • Longevity: live between 12 and 15 years.
  • Utility: very versatile. Excellent shepherd dog, but also companion, hunting, rescue, guard, and in agility or obedience.
  • Use: originally grazing.

Can you live in a flat or apartment in the city?

As long as you are given the chance to run freely and expend all the energy stored in your body, you can adjust perfectly to life in the city, a house with a garden, and even living in an apartment.

But never forget that, as a good shepherd dog, it needs a lot of outdoor activity and does not settle for a simple 5-minute walk.

Is it a good dog with children?

The Puli is a canine pet that adores children of any age and its behavior with them is impeccable.

It loves spending time with them and sharing “adventures” together. Yes, you should be careful not to leave them alone with them without supervision.

But not for the animal, but for the children, since their striking dreadlocks are a “temptation” for the little ones.

This could cause unpleasant situations in which the animal, reacting defensively, generates some small incident that is very easy to avoid.

Can you be left alone for a long time?

It is a dog used to working and having physical activity, in which it unburdens and wastes all its energy. For this reason, if the animal is given this exercise, it should not present problems when left alone.

However, it is not the most suitable breed to leave it many hours locked in solitude since it is used to being surrounded by its “herd”.

If it gets used to it from a very young age, it is something it can tolerate. Otherwise, behavior problems, barking or crying could arise.

How does the Puli behave with other dogs?

With other dogs it can be somewhat suspicious at first, but once the first contact is established, it is very sweet and playful. It does not usually present problems with other animals of its species.

How does it act with other pets?

As a general rule, their behaviour with other pets that may be in the home is correct. Although it is ideal to get used to them from a puppy or early age.

It is generally well tolerant of cats, rabbits and birds. But you must not forget that due to its herding instinct, it can try to guide and direct them by imposing his size or authority. Something that shouldn’t be a problem if taught correctly.

What behaviour problems can it have?

It can show a certain tendency to be stubborn or to make decisions on its own without attending to the orders of its master (a circumstance derived from that primary function of a shepherd dog that required it on many occasions to act on its own to safeguard the flock).

These displays of disobedience are accentuated if it perceives that its owner is not safe and capable enough. In that case, it may happen that the animal tries to impose its own rules, even leading to some problems of indiscipline.

It is true that it is a striking dog, but it is not a luxury animal or an idle dog that likes to spend its life lying next to its owners.

In fact, a bored specimen can turn into a noisy and stubborn animal , since it knows very well how to find alternative activities in which to occupy its free time.


Characteristics of the Puli breed

Regarding the general appearance or physical characteristics of the puli dog, it should be noted that it is of medium size, its figure is square and firm, with a delicate bone structure, without being fine, and strong muscles.

The whole body is covered by a mantle of hair developed in tufts and cords. The body constitution is square, since the length of the body corresponds to the height at the withers.

The depth of the chest reaches slightly less than half the height at the withers, and the length of the muzzle corresponds to one third of the length of the skull.

On its head, the skull is small and fine, with a slightly marked stop and a non-pointed snout that ends in a small black nose and is covered by dense, abundant and long hair.

The tail is long and inserted at medium height, reaches the hock and is covered with the same dreadlocks that decorate its entire body. It is rolled flat on the back.

It has a double-layered coat, the internal one is made of fine fluff and the external one with more rustic hair. Together they form fairly long cords and fine dreadlocks that completely cover the dog. It is very similar to the Bergamasco shepherd breed.

It is a black dog , sometimes tawny or with reddish or grey spots, or pearly white.

Let’s now see in detail what the Puli and the breed standard are like:

Puli breed standard

  • General appearance: of medium size and firm constitution, it has a delicate bone structure but without being too fine. The body, more or less lean, is, however, very muscular.
  • Size: medium.
  • Height at the withers: between 39 and 45 cm for males and between 36 and 42 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 13 and 15 kg for males and between 10 and 13 kg for females.
  • Origin: Hungary.
  • Body: the upper line of the body is straight, with the rump somewhat descending.
  • Head: seen from the front is round, but if seen from the side it gives the impression of being elliptical.
  • Skull: small and fine, with a strongly developed forehead.
  • Muzzle: the muzzle is straight and the muzzle, blunt.
  • Nose: black, it is relatively small.
  • Eyes: they are of medium size, slightly oblique and are set at a medium distance from each other. They are dark in color and the edges of the eyelids are well pigmented. Its gaze is intelligent and lively.
  • Ears: set at medium height and with a wide base, they are hanging and end down in a “V” with a rounded tip.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is slightly marked.
  • Jaws: the jaws are strong, with a complete and scissor bite (made up of 42 pieces, according to the dental formula).
  • Neck: of moderate length, firm and well muscled. It is located at an angle of about 45 ° in relation to the horizontal and is covered with a very dense hair.
  • Chest: deep and long, with well sprung ribs.
  • Back: It is of moderate length, straight, firm and muscular.
  • Forelimbs: they are long and muscular. Its shoulders are oblique, they are firmly supported by the rib cage. The forearms and arms are long and straight, they are endowed with a dry musculature.
  • Hind limbs: they are parallel and are located at a medium distance from each other. The legs are long and very muscular. Their hocks are lean and well defined in outline.
  • Feet: they are parallel, they are directed forward and are located at a half distance from each other. Short, rounded and firm, they have the fingers close together, the nails are black or dark slate grey, and the pads are also dark and elastic. The hind feet are a little flatter than the fore feet.
  • Tail: set at medium height, the dog usually wears it rolled flat forwards on the rump and the kidneys, but if it is stretched well it reaches the hock. It is abundantly covered with hair.
  • Skin: it is firm, without wrinkles and is strongly pigmented. Hairless areas are black or slate grey in all coat color varieties.
  • Color: There are two basic colorations, black (either solid black, black with reddish or grey spots, or fawn with black mask) and pearl white.
  • Hair: Puppies have thick, wavy or curly hair. Then they grow strands of hair and then tightly structured strands or strands. The coat is made up of a rustic outer layer and a finer undercoat. The ratio of the two types of hair interacting is what gives the blanket its character. The cords reach their maximum length (between 20 and 30 cm) in the regions of the loin, the rump and its surroundings, and the posterior face of the hind limbs. The shortest cords (about 10-12 cm) are located on the head and on the extremities. The fur on the head falls in the shape of an umbrella over the face.
  • Movement: the movement of this dog is very active and full of temperament, but the typical movement is often in short, quick steps, and with small jumps. The animal has a tendency to make turns on its own axis.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 55. Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs). Section 1 – Sheepdogs.

Puli breed puppies

If you are reading this informative article on this breed of dog, it may be because you are considering adopting or purchasing a puli puppy. In that case, first we believe that you must take into account a series of aspects to know if the dog is right for you and vice versa.

The education of the puli should begin in the first weeks of the puppy’s life. In this period, known as imprinting, all the habits and behavioural patterns acquired by the dog remain deeply engraved on them and it will hardly ever forget them.

It is an animal that needs to do a lot of exercise, take long walks, and when they are young, play. Therefore you must be sure that you can offer this to your future pet to avoid unwanted behaviors.

A specimen that lives in an urban environment and cannot easily access open spaces and the outdoors, will appreciate that its master enlists it in extra sports activities such as agility or obedience, in which it excels.

From the first days, under the supervision of the veterinarian, you must accustom them to living situations in which it sees more people, other dogs or animals and hears noises from the street. In this way, it will not be a fearful or introverted adult dog.

The image of the puli stands out above all for its peculiar fur, which falls in long dreadlocks or locks covering the entire body. Its maintenance is not difficult, but it is laborious and constant.

However, it should not be neglected, since its natural tendency is for knots to form and dirt to accumulate, which would imply having to shear it and, therefore, leave the animal unprotected against inclement weather.

If you opt for the purchase, make sure to do it in a pulis breeder that complies with the law. They must give you all the documentation of the dog, they will explain everything you need and offer you good advice.


Education and training of the Puli breed

In general, the pulí tends to respond well in the hands of both novice and veteran owners, but as long as they have a very clear idea of ​​what they want to do and how to achieve it.

The ideal is to face your education and training with a good pre-established plan, that is, knowing what you want to use the animal for. You do not need to be assigned a specific job, and basic training for daily living may suffice.

As it is a very versatile dog, it can be used for herding and for many other functions such as hunting, obedience, agility or guarding and utility activities.

As a good shepherd dog, it is suspicious of strangers, but it is never aggressive. Its objective is to always warn with its peculiar bark, which, by the way, is quite strident, of the presence of people or animals outside the house and, If necessary, it can defend its master or its family if it sees them in a situation of serious danger.

Herding breeds, especially those that are dedicated to driving livestock, such as the pulí, need to do a lot of exercise , so one of the first tasks that must be started with this dog is the routine of the walk.

It must be taught how to walk tied to the leash next to its master, without jerking and always going one step behind them, who is the one who exercises the role of guide and decides at all times where it is going.

The earlier these routines are established, the more deeply engraved they are in the dog, so it is very important to start with games and walks when the puppy is a few weeks old.

As with its “cousin” the Mudi dog , these initial exercises also serve to establish very clearly what place each one occupies within the family hierarchy.

But, in addition to these long daily walks, a safe place should be found where the animal can run freely and, if possible, enrol it in some specific activity, since, as a working breed, it is restless and intelligent.

The best way to keep them emotionally balanced, as well as physically healthy, is by assigning them some specific task, such as hunting or some sporting discipline.

The ideal family for a puli is one that is involved in their education and that gives meaning to their daily life, beyond making them a mere object of admiration.


Diet of the Puli breed

Regarding what the Puli eats, it is a frugal dog and suffered with food, so it does not present great problems when feeding it. In general, it eats everything and also does it quickly, almost devouring the food.

And it is that the herding dogs often ate more than necessary in anticipation of the days when they could not do so, so they have been in the habit of finishing the entire ration with some anxiety.

For this reason, you have to get them used to eating slowly or dividing the daily ration into two doses to avoid digestive problems.

For our convenience, the main manufacturers of dog food have ranges of products specially designed for these types of breeds. In this way we will guarantee a correct feeding.

You can buy food for dogs of these characteristics in specialized pet stores or, more comfortably online and receive them at home.

The diet of the Puli that is given to them should be energetic enough to maintain its activity level. You have to take into account the stage in which the animal is and the type of life it leads.

It is best to regularly check the weight, the color of the mucous membranes and the condition of the hair to know if it is being fed well.


Health and diseases of the Puli breed

Regarding health, the Puli is a long-lived breed that does not present serious characteristic health problems. It does not usually manifest typical diseases of importance.

In addition, thanks to their conformation and temperament, even the oldest specimens maintain a jovial and playful puppy attitude and are full of life and eager to do things even beyond 15 years of age.

Yes, it is recommended that you go to the vet 2 times a year to check and monitor the health of your pet.

In addition, it will be in charge of complying with the internal and external deworming calendar. As well as the program of the pertinent vaccines and to put the tracking chip on it if it does not have it. Essential aspect to build a strong immune system that will protect you throughout your life against various diseases.

Visits to the veterinarian are very important to minimize the risks of suffering annoying conditions and guarantee a healthy life for the animal.

These visits should also include the most common health check-ups, such as those of the mouth, skin, eyes and ears.

In this breed, the control of the eyes and ears is very important , since being covered by a large layer of hair they can be the focus of infections that remain hidden if they are not checked periodically. Otherwise, the pulí is a healthy and undemanding dog .


Specific care of the Puli breed

The care and maintenance of the coat of the pulí is laborious, since it requires a lot of dedication if it is to be kept in perfect condition, although it is not particularly complicated.

By its nature, it has a great tendency to act as a “broom”, collecting dust and dirt from the environment, which can be very harmful to the animal.

And also, it tends to accumulate residues in the genital and anal areas, and in the beards, so that in the long run they become sources of bad smell and possible infections.

Puli breed arrangement

How often should you bathe a Puli?

To avoid and eliminate said accumulation, they can be bathed, especially in these areas, but always with the precaution of not overusing shampoos and conditioners, which could damage the structure of their dreadlocks, and of not using a dryer or mechanical ejector of air to dry it.

How often should you brush?

On the other hand, the hair of this dog is not brushed, but is worked by hand, dividing it into braids or dreadlocks of regular thickness, from the roots to the ends.

With the help of the hands, the coat should be moved and aired from time to time and the scissors should only be used when it is necessary to lighten or clean the back or to remove part of the interdigital hair.

In the event that persistent knots form, they are undone by hand when dry, never when wet, as the water weighs them down even more and ends up making shearing of the animal inevitable.

How often should your hair be cut?

Depending on its life circumstances, it may be interesting to subject the dog to a more intense haircut.

Keeping it short, so that it does not hinder you to do any activity. But, without getting to shear it completely, it would be totally unprotected against inclement weather and other natural elements.

If your owner is willing to make these small efforts to keep the puli dreadlocks in good condition and is concerned about giving your pet the involvement and appropriate exercises so that it feels useful in its family nucleus, this breed is ideal as an animal of company.

It is a very special pet with whom you can share any activity, both outdoors and inside the home.


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