by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 6, 2009)
In Hungary, in the famous sheep grazing lands known as the puszta, there are four main types of sheepdogs. The two larger breeds are called the Komondor and the Kuvasz. The two smaller breeds are the Pumi and the Puli (for which the plural is Pulik). The latter dogs are sometimes lumped together under the general title, Juhasz Kutya, meaning "shepherd's dog."
It is said that, in Hungary, the Pumi is a sort of "town dog," while the Puli still is used on the plains. The city dwellers are said to consider the two breeds as virtually identical. But on the puszta, they are considered separate breeds.
A British sheepdog expert, considers the Puli to be merely a small edition of the Komondor. In truth, the two dogs do appear to be similar. However, the Komondor, because of his great size, is used as much as a guard dog as he is for sheepherding, whereas the Puli are almost entirely used for herding. An exception is in Germany, where a few Pulik have been trained for police work.
Some writers, notably Mehely, have said that the Puli are really of Nordic origin, being descended from Iceland and Lapland dogs. There would appear to be no real basis of fact in this, other than the general statement which can be made that probably all shepherd dogs originated in the northern countries. Other writers have asserted that the Puli is the Hungarian water dog. According to this view, the Puli is a rabbit and duck dog, as well as a sheepdog.
In the decade beginning in 1930, Pulik began to appear in America. They were brought here at about the same time as the Komondor, Kuvosz, and other types of European shepherd dogs. They attracted immediate attention, not only because of their good looks, but because they proved to be alert and easily trained.
The general appearance and characteristics of the Puli is that it is medium size, very alert, courageous, intelligent, and extremely active. The Puli is a dog accustomed to one person and is aggressive with and suspicious of strangers. The coat is long, of fine hair which often mats, giving his coat a somewhat corded appearance. He looks larger than he really is, due to the profuse coat on head, neck, and quarters. The male height is about seventeen inches while the female is slightly smaller.
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