Critter of the Week: Puli

The Puli is a Hungarian breed that stands about 17 inches tall, weighing around 30 pounds. Pulik (plural for Puli) have a slightly unknown history but it is most believed that they were introduced into Hungary 1,000 years ago during the Magyar migration from Central Asia. In Asia, the breed even dates back 2,000 years! It is most well-known for its corded coat that looks similar to dreadlocks, which can make a Puli look three times larger than its actual size. A larger breed that resembles the Puli is known as a Komondor, which also originated in Hungary.
The Puli’s corded coat provided protection for its primary purpose in Hungary: guarding and herding livestock. Pulik would often work with a Komondor to look after the livestock. Komondorok (plural for Komondor) look like a much larger version of the Puli and were used solely for guarding, not so much to herd like the Puli. Both breeds have the corded coats which are so thick, they can fully withstand the bite of a wolf! Farmers used to pay as much as a year’s salary for a Puli or Komondor!

 

 Around the beginning of the 20th century, the Puli’s role began to shift from protecting livestock to protecting farmlands. In fact, there was an unpublished experiment that was conducted in the 1930s as farmers kept having trouble with herding dogs killing the livestock they were meant to protect. Pulik were put up in comparison to other dogs such as Chow Chows, German Shepherds, and other Turkish dogs. Pulik were seeming to perform much better than other breeds but WWII interrupted the experiment and was too inconclusive to publish.

 

There have been Pulik on album covers and even in books throughout the years. Another notable Puli is known as the Auditor. The Auditor lived in a contaminated copper mine in Butte, Montana. He was one of the few things that could live and thrive in that environment; after the Auditor passed away, several memorials were erected. Side fact, Mark Zuckerberg has a white Puli named Beast!
Puli puppies aren’t born with the characteristic dreadlocks. Instead, they have a round appearance with a little crimp to their coats that will grow into fluff. After a year, owners can choose to keep grooming the dog fluffy or facilitate the tell-tale cords. After four years, their cords will be fully grown to the ground! Make sure to get a Puli from a reputable source as Pulik can have breed-specific health conditions such as hip dysplasia, retina problems, and cataracts.