Puli Dog Breed

Black Puli Dog
  • Other names:
  • Hungarian Puli
  • Pulik
  • Hungarian Water Dog

Pronunciation: "poo lee"

The Puli is a Hungarian herding dog known most often for being "the dog with the dreadlocks". They have a unique bouncy, agile style while working and their mop-like coat protects then in the field. This breed requires more grooming maintenance than almost any other breed! These dogs are great family pets for households with older children and usually get along very well with other pets. They are one of the most intelligent breeds in the world and are fairly easy to train. Pulik need a lot of daily exercise and an equally high amount of family time. They make excellent guard dogs. Members of this breed usually live 10-15 years with few health issues.

Puli Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred10-15 yrs.14-18 in.22-33 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Puli is designated to the herding group by the AKC; this is fitting as over 1,000 years ago this sheepdog migrated with the Magyar people (nomadic shepherds) into Hungary and developed into the distinctive breed we know today. The 1900's began a new era where sheep herding was not as necessary as farming, so the Puli greatly declined in number-- it is still considered a rare breed with less than 150 members registered in the U.S. each year. The AKC recognized the breed in 1936.
The ideal Puli home would be a farm or ranch but a large yard is the next best thing. You should be comfortable with your dog living indoors and be able to spend time with him/her daily. Here are some Puli facts you can use to decide if this is the right breed for you:


  • Excellent herding dog
  • One of the most intelligent breeds
  • Fairly easy to train
  • Great with older kids
  • Good with other pets
  • Excellent watchdog
  • Playful, faithful and intuitive
  • Extremely unique look
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Great exercise buddy
  • Companionable-- wants to spend a lot of time with you!


  • High exercise needs, intensely energetic
  • Not suited for very young children
  • Reserved around strangers
  • Highest level of grooming required
  • Should't spend long amounts of time alone
  • Must have outdoor access
  • Tricky, mischievous and hard to handle if bored

Puli Breed Description

The Puli is a fascinating dog! You can call him/her the Hungarian Puli, Hungrian Water Dog, or if there are more than one--Pulik. This breed is known first for it's corded coat that many call "dreadlocked" or "mop like" but Pulik can also be brushed out into tight wavy curls. You may wonder how this dog can even see to herd livestock with all that hair in his face, but he can see very well and doesn't rely on using eye contact to control his charges. Pulik don't nip either-- they rely on their intense agility, bouncing around from one direction to the next.

These dogs are top tier intelligence and are said to be tricky and strategic in getting what they want-- whether it be from you or a stray calf. They are also said to be very intuitive and sensitive to human feelings and can hold a grudge against someone who hurts them. If you begin training early, you should easily be able to train this easy to please companion in a number of skills including: obedience, agility, herding and showmanship (amongst other things). If they are not employed on a farm or ranch, note they will need outdoor access and a minimum of an hour intense exercise daily.

Although you aren't likely to run across one unless you are at a dog show, plenty of Puli breed info exists. This rare breed has numerous clubs dedicated to it as well as a Puli Wiki page and a feature on Animal Planet's Dogs 101: Puli (rare breed edition).

Puli Coloring

There are four generally recognized colors for the breed:

  • The white Puli is the rarest color with less than 2% of individuals having this coat. The white ones look very much like mops!
  • The black Puli is best choice for a herder because the animals respond better to a black dog.
  • There is also a black Puli dog with rust blended into the coat.
  • Silver/Grey Pulik are also acceptable and look like a dirty mop!

A white spot on the chest is ok as long as it isn't larger than two inches. These dogs sometimes have black markings or masks but these are not considered standard by the AKC.

Puli Size

Although they are used to herd large livestock animals, the Puli is a medium sized dog. Male Pulik are usually 15-18 inches at the shoulder, with 17 inches being the ideal; their weight ranges from 28-33 pounds. Females are a bit smaller at 14-17 inches shoulder height (16 ideal) with a weight of 22-28 pounds.

Average Adult Height

14-18 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

22-33 lbs

Puli Variations

This breed doesn't have large variation among members of the breed. There are no short haired Pulik, however, some owners choose to shave off the thick, corded or wavy hair. Doing so removes protection of the the working Puli against wolves and other large predators-- it also exposes their skin to the elements.

This breed is quite rare so it's not likely you will find any backyard breeder's selling Miniature Pulik. There is no such thing officially recognized by any Kennel Club and you may be purchasing an unhealthy runt (or something other than a Puli) if you happen upon one. Some may be getting this idea of a Mini Puli mixed up with a dwarf Puli-- which is a slightly smaller type once considered one of the 3 breed divisions.

Puli Temperament

The Puli temperament is very much what you'd expect out of a working dog. He is intense, determined, energetic and focused in the field. At home he is a faithful and watchful companion. The Puli is happy and playful around children and will be protective of them, however, the intense playfulness is better suited for slightly older kids. These dogs will be reserved around strangers and should be socialized early to prevent any shyness or over protective tendencies.

Pulik are of the most intelligent dog breeds. They are independent thinkers in the field and have remarkable problem solving skills. Unlike some independent breeds, they are eager to please and are said to train easily. The key to training this breed is to start as early as possible and to always remain firm and consistent.

This breed should have plenty of daily human interaction, as they are very family oriented. If you are gone from home frequently for days on end, the Puli is not right for you. Ideally, they will have access to a large property or yard but be indoor pets.

Living Requirements

The Puli dog breed is one of the most intelligent in the world, that being said, they don't do well being locked up alone all day. The Puli is a sheepdog or livestock herding/droving dog so if they are not able to exercise their natural abilities, they should get at least an hour of intense outdoor exercise. An unexercised, bored and lonely member of this breed will turn from a bouncy ball of energy to an intense pain in the butt!

Hungarian Puli dogs are hypoallergenic, meaning they produce less allergy inducing dander than other breeds-- not necessarily that they are completely allergen free. They are normally kept indoors and don't shed. Speaking of Pulik dogs in the home, they will make excellent watchdogs.

Puli Health

Puli dogs are usually very strong, healthy dogs and have a lifespan of somewhere between 10-15 years. The Hungarian Puli Club of Great Britain mentions only Hip Dysplasia and Multifocal Retinal Atrophy as common conditions. You can ask your breeder for Hip and Eyes scores for the parents to ensure your best chances of getting a healthy puppy-- a reputable breeder will have no issues answering your questions. Due to the abundance of hair that hangs in the eye are they can easily get eye infections so check your Hungarian Puli's eyes daily.

Puli Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Puli as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America's Pet Registry
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • United Kennel Club
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • View all 14...