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The dog with the dreadlocks! The Puli hails from Hungary and has an appearance quite unlike any other dog breed, apart from its bigger cousin, a dog called the Komondor, also another Hungarian breed. The plural for Puli is 'Pulik'.
The Puli was bred as a herding and guarding dog and was much valued by shepherds who worked the hills and plains of central Europe, often pays as much as a year's salary to purchase a highly bred Puli dog. The Puli is thought to have emerged from Asia over a thousand years ago before settling in Hungary where its thick coat not only kept it warm in winter but also provided a protective shield from bites from animals such as wolves it would have encountered when herding and guarding its flock.
The Puli is thought to be have a paw in the development of the Poodle as a separate breed and it's not difficult to see why, although there is no definitive research or record that shows this is definitely the case.
Carpathian travellers bought the Puli into England where they were mainly kept as household pets, but after World War II the popularity of them waned. They are still amongst the less prolific of dog breeds in the UK.
Average height to the withers: Up to 17.5 inches for males and 16 inches for females.
Average weight: Up to 11.5kg for females with males being slightly more than this.
The Puli is a distinctive dog which, while it is usually black in colour, can feature any colour at all, including white, gray, or cream. The cream coated dogs usually have black facial masks. If white in colour, they also usually have blue eyes. The signature feature of this dog is its coat. The coat is termed to be 'corded' and the texture of this can vary from dog to dog being, flat, round, thick or thinner. The owner can control the cording of the coat to some degree through careful grooming, and in showing circles; finer and thinner cords are more desirable. The coat is fully developed by the age of 4-5 years of age. This is a dog of medium size and a robust appearance and looks almost 'square' in shape. The tail is gracefully curled over the back and the abundant hair covers most of the face, obscuring the facial features.
This is a happy, athletic and confident breed of dog with a high working and energy drive. As such, it needs plenty of exercise to keep it happy and combined with its easy going intelligence and sociability, the Puli is a perfect companion for an active family who want a dog that they can involve with their activities. They are generally very good with children and develop strong and protective bonds with their family, bringing their innate guarding instinct to the fore. Because of this, they can be wary with people they do not know and it is not uncommon for Puli to growl or even snap at a stranger from whom they feel threatened.
They can have a habit of herding household pets and sometime people, so early socialisation is a must if they are to live with any other animals. As a rule, they make good, solid and sociable family pets when the correct training, exercise and leadership is provided. In a working capacity, there are few dogs which can cover all types of ground and terrain with the same grace. Given their somewhat bulky appearance, they are surprisingly swift and can turn on the proverbial sixpence! The speed and agility at which they can change direction is marvellous in action and this trait makes them an excellent choice for canine sports such as agility.
Puli have a life expectancy of between 10-15 years and are quite a healthy breed. They are prone to Hip Dysplasia and PRA. Hip Dysplasia (HD) can affect all breeds of dog but is more prevalent in some breeds than others. It is caused by the abnormal formation of the hip ball and socket joint. Normally the ball would form a pivot point in the socket; however, some dogs are born with a genetic predisposition for HD. This means that at birth their hips are normal but as they grow, the hip joint does not grow correctly and as a result the ball no longer fits as it should. After the age of a year or so, the owner can opt to have their dog 'hip scored'. Hip scoring is a method used by vets to determine the degree of HD in dogs and involves the vet assessing a number of criteria during a diagnostic examination. If the dog is then found to have a high probability of HD, remedial action can be taken.
PRA is a group of genetic diseases seen in certain breeds of dog. Its clinical symptoms include a degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss culminating in blindness. There is currently no known treatment for this condition.
The coat of the Puli needs careful management once every 1-2 weeks as the cords will occasionally need to be separated by hand to prevent matting. This is a good breed for people with allergies as the cords are every long lived and it does not moult. The care of the coat is especially important when the dog is younger and the cords are forming. The coat should not be brushed and when it gets dirty it can be sponged out or bathed (but do not over bathe). A wet Puli will take hours to dry completely! When the cords become too long and start to brush the ground then they need to be trimmed to prevent a build up of dirt. If they are allowed to grow too long, they can also impede the movement of the dog.
The owner of this breed must also make allowances for the (at least) twice daily walks and runs it needs.