The Puli
'Hungarian Water Dog'

descriptive textDog breed info
‘Hungarian Water Dog”
Weight: 25 — 35 lbs
Height: 16” — 17”
AKC Rank 2008 #140
Lifespan: 10—15 yrs
Group Herding
Origin: Hungary

Dog Breed Info - The Hungarian Puli

descriptive text

Breed Overview

Origin: Middle ages. Original function: Sheep herding. Today: Herding trials. Colors: Solid black, rusty black, grey, white. Black is most common.

The Puli originally was in a large and smaller size with the large version used to guard flocks of sheep and the smaller one to herd them. This dates to the ninth century Hungary and some of the dogs were even used as companions. Two small dogs, the Puli (Pulik is plural) and Tibetan Spaniel, two excellent sheepherders were able to turn a sheep by jumping on its’ back. The black color was important, as it could be spotted by the shepherd. It is believed this dog is related to but came before the Komondor, Poodle and possibly the Kuvasz breeds. Hungary was decimated by invaders,. after which the dogs were greatly reduced in number. In the sixteenth century, the country was re-populated by people, sheep, and dogs from western Europe. These dogs interbred with native Pulik which produced the Pumi. After much interbreeding, the original breed was nearly lost. However, the first standard was written in 1925. In 1935 the United Stated Department of Agriculture imported a few Pulik with the intent to improve herding dogs in America. The work was sidetracked by war but the abilities of the breed were widely known in the world and in 1936 the AKC registered the breed into the herding group. The modern version is a fine herder but has only modest popularity as a family pet.


They are fairly easy to train in both obedience and water retrieval. He is eager to learn, fun to work with and responds really well to clicker training and positive reinforcement.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your dog? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The puppies are slow to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. The process can take up to 8 weeks. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

The Puli is best described as bouncing energy that appears as a “floor mop on springs.” An energetic little dog, it gets a big job done in the field as a guardian and herder of sheep. This is a busy, curious, happy and loyal breed that needs plenty of exercise, adapts well and is not hard to train. He’s smart, headstrong and tough and can be aggressive toward other dogs as well as wary of strangers. Dog health is not a big issue with this guy. The Puli a good guard and watch dog. This dog needs to live in a dominant household and gets along fairly well with older children that know how to be “pack leaders” in the eyes of the dog, as he will try to take over the family and run the show if not kept in a submissive position. This “Hungarian Water Dog” as they are known makes a wonderful house pet and family member if exercised properly and handled firmly but kindly by an alpha leader. They tend to bond strongly with one person. He barks quite a lot. The main thing about this dog is that it wants a job to do and to keep busy all the time.

If you happen to get a dog with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No. Can be aggressive toward other dogs. Will pick and choose his dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

.Maybe. Dogs in the family — Introduce on common ground such as a dog walk in the park or neighborhood first. Cats — Place cat in a crate in the center of a room and let the dog sniff and get acquainted for an hour a day for 4 days, then allow the dog and cat to mingle together.

It’s always good if the dog is raised WITH the other pets in the house. You can’t go wrong that way.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Cautious about strangers. Warms up once the threat is lifted. Will bark if a stranger approaches.


Moderately playful. Give him chew toys and play games in the yard.


Not very affectionate—loyal and devoted to family, but not a lap dog.

Good with children?

Maybe. Older, well-mannered children okay. The Puli will NOT tolerate screaming, screeching, poking, pulling and pushing and other silly antics kids can dish out. Normal romping and running in the grass ir fetching a ball, yes. The older kids need to understand how to exhibit the alpha role in front of the dog.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Needs too much exercise, not affectionate or playful enough.

Living environment

House with a small to medium size fenced yard, farm or ranch okay.

This dog barks a lot so apartments and condos are not advised.


Energy level

Fairly high energy. Rate this 7 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

The Puli loves jogging or running beside a bicycle for exercise. This should be done on leash.

After running, take him for a walk for mental stimulation. He also enjoys a game of fetch or a training session in obedience or agility.


Excellent watchdog. Loves to bark anyway and will announce everyone in the area.

Guard dog

Excellent. Very protective of family and property. Fairly aggressive when needed.


No shedding. Good for allergy sufferers.


The non-shedding coat can hold dirt and debris. It can be brushed or corded by hand; if brushed, use a stiff bristle brush every day. If corded, the cords must be separated by hand regularly because the cords hold the debris.

Washing the dog is an all day affair., Bathe the dog early in the morning and allow a full day for drying. Keep the dog away from dirty areas during the drying process. Clipping the coat into a regular “doggie” shape will simplify the grooming process considerably.



Suggested Reading For The Puli
Click on the cover photos for more book information.

3rd book from left - "101 Dog Tricks" is stimulating mental exercise for your dog. There are things in this book I had no idea existed!

The book on the far right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. This is Vol 2 and includes DVD.


Puli Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Puli puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been WELL socialized and started in obedience training. This is a rare breed in America and after surfing, have come up with some information. Try this:
Puli Breeders with puppies for sale.

Dog Health Issues For The Puli
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Puli by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. These are dog illness and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • The most common dog health problem for this breed has been Hip Dysplasia. Since this is a very rare breed, it's possible some dog health issues have gone unreported or "under-reported."

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Plott great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the Puli “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—(PRA) An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the Puli and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Deafness—Hereditary or caused by: Excessive loud noise, Intolerance to anesthesia, drug toxicity, and Otitis (middle ear infection), In some cases, one ear can have no hearing from birth and the other ear can be losing the ability to hear over time, undetected, then suddenly one morning the hearing is totally gone. There is no reversing once that happens.

Other health problems could occur with your Puli. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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