Let's talk Pulis

There’s no mistaking the Puli dog. Their coat, composed of long cords, is nearly unique in the dog world and a sight to be seen. Lying underneath is a sweet disposition and a merry face, not to mention a muscular frame. This breed evolved on the Hungarian plains herding and guarding flocks so is surprisingly agile when out of doors. A Puli benefits most from a hugely active lifestyle—mentally and physically. Very good-natured and alert, this intelligent dog will turn heads, and win hearts with all who come their way.

Official name: Puli

Other names: Hungarian Shepherd, Hungarian Puli, Hungarian Water Dog

Origins: Hungary

Close-up of Puli in black and white
 Drooling tendencies:  Very low  Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level:  Very low  Suited to apartment living? High
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *:  High  Family pet? * Very high
 Compatibility with other pets:  Very high  Can stay alone? *

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

Inline Image 15
Illustration of black Puli
39 - 45 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
13 - 15 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
36 - 42 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
10 - 13 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight

 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 12 months
 Adult age:  1 to 7 years
 Mature age:  7 to 10 years
 Senior age:  From 10 years

Puli standing in long grass looking at camera


Get to know the Puli

All you need to know about the breed

One-of-a-kind in more ways than one, the Puli is one dog that can’t be missed: They possess a distinctive and naturally occurring corded coat, one of few breeds in the canine kingdom to have doggie dreadlocks, as it were. This very contented dog hails from Hungary where it was raised for use as a nimble sheep herding dog. The Puli’s coat can be either black, white, or gray.

How did the corded coat come to be, you ask? By the intertwining of the Puli‘s double coat starting in late puppyhood, when the soft wooly undercoat mingles with the wavy or curly overcoat at six to nine months to produce the long rope-like strands that cover the Puli from head to toe. It’s water-resistant, which makes bath time a challenge but not impossible. There are owners who prefer the straight look, so brush out the thick tresses of their Pulik (Hungarian plural for Puli). Either way, the unique outer layer is this breed’s calling card extraordinaire, to be sure.

Underneath that voluminous coat lies a highly affectionate and contented dog, with an open heart who’s fast on their feet. The breed is surprisingly very energetic, despite their fur, standing only 16 to 17 inches (41 to 43cm) tall and weighing a maximum of 35 pounds (16kg) when fully grown. They may look large but they are in fact a medium-sized breed.

And if you decide to become a Puli owner, be prepared for two more welcome traits: Extreme intelligence and a super temperament. Puli are never far from where the action is, and even more pleased when everyone joins in.

Puli puppy standing on earth with grass in background


2 facts about Pulis

1. Intellectual passion

As active as the Puli dog is, they also very much need mental stimulation on a daily basis. It’s almost equal to their need for a good amount of daily physical exercise. Pulik are highly intelligent and will get bored easily if not provided enough activity. They get bored with repetition and may take matters into their own paws if they find a better alternative.

2. Herders at heart 

The very intelligent and highly energetic Puli will offer nonstop hours of enjoyment to their family but their natural instinct to herd and stay on the move should be met. They will be inclined to herd anything on the homefront—children and babies, other pets, even birds outside! Meet their needs best by enrolling your Puli in competition, like agility or, of course, herding. Obedience competitions may prove too repetitive to this dog’s very active mind.


History of the breed

Europeans have contributed innumerably to the wonders of history and the Puli dog is right up there on the list of admirable additions. Research shows their origins almost 2,000 years ago but the breed is said to have descended most recently from similar dogs brought over by the Magyars, Asian nomads and the early Hungarian peoples who migrated west in the 10th century. They needed sturdy working dogs to guard flocks, with a thick outer coat that could withstand harsh conditions on the Carpathian plains.

As time passed and the need for herding dogs dwindled, the Puli’s numbers lessened. In 1812, Hungarian veterinarian Dr. Emil Raitsits and Adolf Lendl, director of the Budapest Zoo, established a breeding program for the Puli, which helped their numbers increase. The World Wars challenged the Pulik as well but with huge enthusiasm in Hungary, they’ve stood the test of time. The Puli was registered by the American Kennel Club in 1936.

Black Puli standing facing camera in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Pulis

1. Ears

V-shaped, drooping ears, medium-high attachment, rounded ends.

2. Head

Small, rounded head, small nose.

3. Coat

One-of-a-kind corded thick double coat, finer undercoat intertwined with coarse outer coat.

4. Body

Medium length, square-shaped body.

5. Tail

Tail of moderate length, curled and folded flat over rump.

Side view of Puli looking at camera


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Puli
Puli running through very long grass


Caring for your Puli

Grooming, training and exercise tips

It seems that as much could be written about grooming the Puli as there are cords in their famous coat, but there is a methodology to all of it. First, some owners choose to brush out the Puli’s cords, but since that’s quite time consuming, some opt to keep them as is, untangling them by hand regularly. Bathing should be kept to a minimum (remember, the coat is waterproof) since wringing water out completely is difficult. If you do bathe, first blot them dry then wrap in towels to soak up the excess. Dry next using fans or a blow dryer. It will take at least 48 hours for your Puli to dry fully. Bacteria and even mould can set in if not dried sufficiently, giving rise to possible skin infections. Cutting the cords back once a year, to three inches, will help them maintain their health. Lots of exercise is the Puli‘s jam—lots. One fun fact is that Pulik stay puppy-ish well into their older years, so will be looking to play any chance they get, and daily walks, romps, even runs, are fine with this energetic dog. When it comes to training, the Puli is fully compliant! But only when commands are gentle and reassuring. Housetraining could be a slight challenge but treats taken from their daily kibble portion help in letting house rules settle in for good.


All about Pulis

The Puli's unique corded coat is, admittedly, a lot of covering for one canine. In late puppyhood, their coat grows in, with the soft undercoat and the coarse, wiry outercoat winding around each other. Some owners, then, opt to keep the hair short. Brushing should still be done weekly to keep their dense coat in top form.

Keeping any dog groomed and bathed regularly is important but for the Puli, it’s key to prevent harmful microbes from setting into their thick and complex fur. Their coat takes a very long time to dry and bacteria can easily take hold if they’re not dried thoroughly. The breed has no naturally occuring odour otherwise. Any undue infection though will indeed cause an unpleasant smell so make sure to visit the vet regularly.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/