AKC Herding Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Nomads from the East brought the Puli to Hungary almost 1,000 years ago. This small sheepdog has been used for centuries in Hungary and is still very popular there today. In many ways he resembles the Tibetan Terrier, from which he may have originated. The Puli almost became extinct during the many wars involving Hungary, but a man named Emil Raitsits reestablished the breed. Lighter colored varieties were used to guard sheep and darker types were used as herders and drovers because sheep work better for dark-colored dogs. The Puli has also been successful in obedience competition. The breed was first recognized in the United States in 1936.


The Puli is a sturdy shaggy-looking dog with a totally encompassing coat hanging in long felt strips, much like the Komondor’s. The full adult coat can reach all the way to the ground. The coat comes most often in a weathered black, but sometimes in gray, white, or, more rarely, apricot. The tail curls closely over the back. The skull is slightly domed. The almond-shaped eyes are dark brown with black lids. The medium-sized ears hang down, blending in with the rest of the coat. The body is square proportioned, with medium bone.

Key Facts

  • Height:  16 to 18 in. (male); 15 to 17 in. (female)
  • Size:  Medium
  • Weight:  25 to 40 lbs.
  • Availability:  Difficult to find
  • Talents:  Herding, watchdog, guarding, and competitive obedience


Unusual long, corded coat needs extensive grooming if the dog is to be shown or kept indoors. The felt cords also take a long time to dry. The breed also can be maintained or shown with its coat brushed out. Barks a lot. This breed loves to swim.


Energetic and very protective. An excellent watchdog. Lively and brave. Independent and sometimes very willful. Affectionate with the family. Can be quick tempered, so not recommended for small children. Beware—some breeders breed for “sharp” temperaments. If you purchase your Puli from a poor breeder or raise him incorrectly, you might end up with a bossy dog.


  • Children:  Good only when raised with children from puppyhood
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Very easy to train
  • Independence:  Very independent
  • Dominance:  High
  • Other Pets:  Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
  • Combativeness:  Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Fairly active indoors
  • Owner:  Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Extensive grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Long coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A good jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  Does all right without a yard
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Puli Breed Standard


Puli Breed Club


Search for a Breeder


Rescue Organizations


Books about the Puli


Puli Gifts