Put Your Paws Up for the Hungarian Puli Dog

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dog with dreads times 3You’ve recently come to hear of a particular breed of dog named the Puli- a good-natured doggo that makes a great emotional support animal. You’ve seen a few random pics of this fantastic animal, and now your interest is fully piqued.

You’re considering buying a moppy-haired puppy to join your family, but you’re first doing a little research on their character and needs. Good for you! Owning a Puli pup is no easy feat, and, in this article, we’ll give you all the pros and cons of owning a long-haired pooch with absolutely to-die-for dreads.

A Brief History of the Hungarian Water Dog

It is a widely accepted fact that the Puli was bred as a sheepdog in ancient Hungary and migrated with the Magyars from Central Asia. The early Hungarians used this dog exclusively as herding hounds and protectors of their valuable livestock. These animals were avidly sought out and as much as a year’s wages often exchanged hands for a puppy.

The expense was well worth it though, as together with its Komondor companion, the Puli would continuously patrol his area and move the flock of sheep or goat around to prevent surprise attacks from roaming predators, such as wolves and bears.

Puli vs. Komondor: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, these two breeds might be mistaken as to having the same blood-lines, but there are, in actual fact, quite a few differences between them. Both races were bred in Hungary, and often worked side by side in protecting livestock – the Puli being the early warning system of approaching danger and being on duty during the day, and the Komondor climbing in to do actual battle and preferring to take the night shift.

The Komondor can be identified as always have a white coat, while the Puli usually sports a black, gray or white coat (but, with black being the most predominant color.) Compared to the Puli, the larger Komondor is considered a lazy animal (we can’t blame him though, being on guard duty all night is an exhausting enterprise.)

He is also known to be territorial, aggressive, and quick to start fights with other canines. The white Komondor fighter is also much larger and heavier than his more complacent and smaller platoon Puli member. 

The Appearance of the Puli Dog Breed!  

You won’t fail to recognize this mop dog as his truly unique features make him one of a kind. Their coats consist of wavy, coiled fur which closely resembles dreadlocks. This thick, virtually impenetrable coat acted like a coat of armor and assisted the dog in his nightly security duties. If he was attacked, the thick coat ensured protection from sharp fangs and razor claws.

The dense covering also served as insulation against icy weather conditions and dangerous vegetations. These dogs are basically considered waterproof (bathing them is often referred to as “mission impossible”) and have little to no shedding – great news if you’re an allergy sufferer.

Coats and Colors Explained of this Dreadlock Dog!  

This distinctly corded coat comes in three general colors, namely white, black and grey. The Puli coat can take up to five years to reach its optimum length, but any skin or fur issues could cause the hair to break off, which will start the 5-year growing process from the start. 

white and black dreadlock dogs

The Grooming Requirements of These Mop Dogs

If you’re a busy individual with limited time available in your schedule, you might reconsider this specific dog as a companion – for now. If you’re adamant in your decision to acquire a Puli, and can’t handle the grooming yourself, you’ll need to call in the services of a groomer on a regular basis, as these moppy pooches require intense and regular grooming sessions.

Until the pup is around four months of age, a regular bath and brush will be sufficient. From approximately five to six months the coat will require ‘managing’ to ensure optimum skin and fur health.

Puppies are born with two types of coat – the fine undercoat and the rougher topcoat. These two coats grow at different rates and intermingle with each other to form the distinctive and unique ‘cord.’

It is recommended that you intensely research their fur maintenance and be sure you’ll be able to handle all that’s required of you as a Puli owner. 

Warning: Those Cords are High Maintenance!

The most basic daily grooming needed is to keep the coat free of debris, such as twigs and leaves and keep the ‘messy’ areas such as the beard and tail area as clean as possible. You’ll also need to keep the cords separate from each other by manually manipulating each and every dreadlock.

A preventative course of action is beneficial in that you won’t need to bathe your dog as often, which could be as easy as merely tying up sections of cords to prevent them from becoming dirty and matted.

If you can keep your dog relatively clean, he’ll only require 5 – 6 baths a year. The bathing process is a mission in itself – so be warned. You need to thoroughly drench the dog to the skin, which is not as simple as it sounds – he’s waterproof, remember?

Next, you need to wash him with diluted shampoo and then rinse, and rinse, and rinse, and… I’m sure you get the picture. He needs to be completely free of any cleaning product, as residual shampoo will cause skin irritations and cause bald patches.

After rinsing, comes the drying. He’ll need to be completely and thoroughly dried, as bacteria easily breed in those damp locks and he’ll soon start to smell – and you’ll need to start at step one again. Some experts recommend putting him in a crate for the night with two or three heated fans blowing directly on him to ensure he is dried all the way through.

Average Puli Height and Weight

This Hungarian Water Dog is an average sized, solidly built and square looking pooch, with a body that is fine-boned but relatively burly.

Males usually reach a height of approximately 16 to 17 inches (41 – 46 cm) and tip the scales at around 25 to 35 pounds (11 – 15 kgs). Females are generally smaller at 14 ½ to 16 inches (36-41 cm’s) and weigh between 20 to 30 pounds (9 – 14 kgs).

The Temperament of These Protective Dogs

A lively and cheerful fellow, the Puli is an extremely loyal companion and makes an excellent family pet who adapts beautifully to almost all surroundings and circumstances. His caring nature also makes him the ideal candidate to become an emotional support dog. They are highly intelligent which simplifies training – a must, as this strong-willed animal needs an even more stubborn owner.

hungarian puli dog being one of the best guard dogs and herding

If not taught to mind his manners the mop head will become willful and take the reins from you. They adapt exceptionally well to obedience classes and outperform multiple competitors in the show ring with their natural agility. Although he is wary of newcomers, he is never overly aggressive.

These dogs were made to guard and protect vast plains of open fields and thus require immense amounts of exercise to work of their inborn energy. A walk around the block won’t suffice – he needs to run…!

They adapt well to all climate conditions, from the hot, humid Florida swamps; to dry, arid Australia; to icy Denver winters.

In short, they can be summed up as being:

  • Loyal
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Sensitive
  • Fun-loving
  • Courageous
  • Faithful
  • Agile
  • Obedient

They Make the Best Guard Dogs!

Due to the fact that the Pulik were bred and used as herding dogs and protectors of livestock, these dogs are the perfect choice if you’re on the lookout for a guard dog to safeguard your home and family.

They are incredibly protective of their territory, family and owner, and will gladly lay down their lives to protect yours.

A Look at Their Lifespan!

 The Puli generally has a life expectancy of between 14 to 16 years, which is considered a ripe old age for this breed.

3 Potential Health Issues to Be Aware Of!

While considered a healthy specimen overall, like any other dog breed, this Rastafarian is susceptible to a few health issues, and unfortunately, they are deemed significant ailments if the dog should fall ill to them.

Some Puli’s tend to be prone to:

Canine hip dysplasia

Progressive renal atrophy


To counter the onset of these conditions, your vet might recommend regular hip, eye and hearing exams of your dog.

Hungarian Puli for Sale!

If you’re interested in acquiring a Puli, you should get ready to put down around $300 to adopt one, which covers the expenses of caring for the dog before adoption.

If you’re considering purchasing a pup from a breeder, you can expect to pay anything between $800 to $1,600.

The American Kennel Club offers you the opportunity to connect with other Puli lovers and to get involved in your local community, which is made possible through the AKC Breed Clubs located in every state.

You’re also welcome to join up with the Puli Club of America, a member of the AKC, where you’ll be able to learn more about this unique animal. 

Be Sure to Find a Reputable Breeder!

The AKC Marketplace is the only online site where you’ll be able to find registered Puli pups available from breeders who have to adhere to strict guidelines and regulations regarding the care of these puppies.

A quick search on the net provides you with private breeders who advertise their puppies online. Be sure to dig a little deeper though, and make sure you deal with one who has an impeccable reputation and is not running a puppy mill. You’ll also do well to enquire and reassure yourself of the following:

  • The breeding pair has been screened for and cleared of any inheritable health issues.
  • The puppies vaccinations are up to date.
  • You can ask for an initial guarantee of health
  • Look for a healthy puppy with clear skin, healthy coat, and lively bright eyes.

puli puppies cute face

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Shelters are Full of all Dogs Waiting for Adoption! 

As always, it might be a better option to try and adopt a Puli, rather than buying a puppy. Pulik and dogs, in general, are often discarded like yesterday’s rubbish, and desperately need loving owners who will provide them with loving forever homes.

Your nearest or local pound might have Pulik available for adoption, or else, you could have a look at The Puli Club of America Rescue Trust. This trust provides rescuing of unwanted Puli throwaways from all over the country and work to ensure the safety of any Puli dog who may be in need of their help. 

If you’ve now considered all that you need to know regarding this high-maintenance breed and are up for the challenge, you most certainly will never regret your decision to welcome one of these lovable creatures into your home.

You’ll become not only the caretaker of a highly intelligent and self-confident pooch but also acquire the skills of a babysitter and protector of children (although children need to be admonished never to rough-handle their pet,) and other animals in a multi-pet home. These sensitive souls have a natural attraction to the elderly and sick, making them superb therapy dogs.

So, put on some Bob Marley, feel the groove, and dance the jig with your beautiful, dreadlocked friend!

 Common Questions

Is the Puli breed indeed such a high maintenance animal?

Is the Puli only black in color?

Is this breed of dog easily trainable?

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