The Puli is a medium sized dog most recognised by its corded coat. Unusually, the dog’s fur forms into cords, much like dreadlocks, providing it with a water proof coat.
The Puli is believed to have originated in Asia as far back as 2000 BC and the modern poodle may have its ancestry linked to this breed. The Hungarian Puli is the most well known and is a well regarded herding dog. Pulik are mainly black in colour but white and apricot coats are available but are a rarity. Unique looks have made the Puli popular and there are several breeders in Australia.
Due to the cording of its coat the Puli drops very little fur and the breed is popular with people who suffer from pet allergies. However, keeping the cords clean and free flowing does require regular grooming. The cords need to be trimmed to ensure the dog can see and to maintain its neat appearance. Any cords that drag on the ground will pick up dirt. Washing your Puli does take quite a long time and it may take up to 2 days for its coat to be completely dry. It is recommended that you use a dryer, though be prepared to set aside a couple of hours. If you let the coat air dry, be prepared for a mildew smell to emanate from your furry friend until they are thoroughly dry. The fur can be trimmed to keep it cooler in hotter months though most people enjoy the distinctive look of the cords. Trimming the coat is recommended if you live in an area that experiences hot summers as it is important to be wary of heat exhaustion.
The Puli’s coat begins to take on the corded appearance from around eight months of age. Luckily these dogs enjoy regular grooming as you will need to separate the cords every few days. All you need to do is run your fingers from the skin, through the cords to the tip. You can separate larger cords, ensuring that they are no thicker than the width of your thumb.
Keep the fur clear of your Puli’s eyes and regularly pull out the fur that grows in their ear canal. If left, this fur can harbour bacteria which can lead to ear infections.
The Puli has been bred as a herding dog and such it is extremely active and intelligent. These bright and boisterous dogs have strong personalities; their intelligence, curiosity and mischievousness mean they usually get what they want. Taking on a Puli is a big responsibility and you need to have the time to devote to this remarkable dog. Given much affection and training they are excellent companion dogs for active individuals and families. As a working dog they are extremely protective of their owners and may not respond well to strangers and other dogs. It is most important that you ensure your dog is well socialised from an early age. Their intelligence means they are easy to train but their dominant personalities means they will also keep you on your toes.
These dogs will benefit from dog agility training which will keep them active and able to use their considerable intelligence. They are happiest when they have a job to do but will enjoy playing active games in your back yard or park.
Barking can also be problematic if your Puli is left alone for too long. Ensure your dog has plenty to do and you have a lifestyle that ensures your Puli will have company for most of the day.
Pulik suffer from very few medical conditions, the most common being hip dysplasia and eye problems. Like other breeds however, you should ensure your dog is vaccinated and wormed, and given a healthy diet.
If you’re considering adding a Puli to your family, talk to a breeder and, given the grooming required, carefully consider the amount of time you have available to care for your Puli.