Puli Dog Breed: Pictures, Colors, Bark, Characteristics, and Diet

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The Puli (Pulik for plural) is an ancient Hungarian shepherd purebred dog, famous for its unique appearance. 

The average male Puli is 17 inches (43.2 cm) tall and weighs 25 to 35 lbs (11.3 to 15.9 kg), while the average female is 16 inches (40.6 cm) tall and weighs 25 to 35 lbs (11.3 to 15.9 kg).

A happy portrait of a Puli dog

They are born in litters of 5 puppies and reach their adult size by around 10 to 11 months old.

Known as Hungarian Pulis and Hungarian Water Dogs, Pulik have long, corded double coats that look like dreadlocks. Their coats can be black, rusty black, white, and gray. They can also be brindle, brown, cream, and rust. . 

Pulis also have square, muscular bodies with agile legs and tightly curled tails. Their faces are cute with short snouts, droopy ears, and brown eyes. 

Hungarian Puli dogs are loyal, intelligent, and playful, with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years with good care. Caring for a Puli dog includes a high protein diet of 1 to 2 cups and at least 40 minutes of exercise a day.

Like all herding breeds, they also need a lot of mental stimulation and companionship to prevent boredom. 

Pulik have a bite force of between 200 to 400 PSI and a loud, strong, high-pitched bark. Keep reading for everything you need to know about life with a Puli dog!

What is a Puli Dog?

A black Hungarian Sheepdog
A black Hungarian Sheepdog near the swamp forest – Image source

The Puli is an ancient breed of Hungarian shepherd dog; they were bred to guard and herd livestock and their corded coats served as protection during fights against predators. like wolves. 

They are thought to be derived from other ancient Hungarian shepherd breeds and are also a direct ancestor of the Poodle.

Their ancestors are closely related to Komondors, which share many similarities to the breed, like their corded coats and energetic temperament. 

Why are They Called Puli Dogs?

The etymology of Puli dogs is unclear, but despite their nickname of “Hungarian Water Dogs”, they have never worked in water. Their nickname is likely related to their water-resistant coats

Where Did the Puli Come From?

Puli dogs are Hungarian. They originally worked on farms in the rough plains of Hungary and were so valued by their people that nomadic shepherds were known to pay as much as a year’s salary for a Puli dog.

When Did the Puli Originate?

A side view of a Pulik dog
A photogenic Pulik dog during sunset – Image source

The Puli is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Whilst their exact origin is unknown, it is thought that they were brought to Hungary during the Magyarian invasion of Europe over 1000 years ago. 

In the late century, changing farming practices and advances in technology meant that the Puli was less necessary for farm life and they began to be kept more as family pets than working dogs.

They were imported to the US in 1935 as part of an agricultural experiment and were recognized by the American Kennel Club a year later. 

They almost went extinct during World War II due to a lack of food and medical supplies, and they were overshadowed by newly important breeds after the war.

Their popularity has since increased slightly, but they are still relatively rare dogs. 

How Many Pulis are There in the World?

As mentioned above, the Puli is a relatively rare breed, but well-loved and celebrated by their devoted owners all the same.

Around 150 Puli dogs are registered each year, and as of 2020, they ranked 143th out of 195 in popularity in the US according to the AKC. 

What are the Characteristics of Puli Dogs?

A Hungarian Puli enjoying on countryside
A Hungarian Puli dog enjoying the countryside outing – Image source

Pulis are unique dogs with great personalities. Whilst every dog is different and their temperaments can vary, every breed has qualities that they tend to display. These are the most common characteristics in Puli dogs.

  • Energetic – The Puli is an active dog that requires at least 40 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Playful – Pulik are fun-loving dogs that need lots of mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
  • Loyal – They’re also faithful, devoted family dogs that enjoy the company of their loved ones.
  • Loving – Puli dogs are super affectionate and form close bonds with their family members. 
  • Friendly – The breed is typically friendly following socialization and does well in homes with more than one pet. 
  • Sensitive – These dogs are incredibly sensitive, and gentle with children.
  • Intelligent – Like most herding dogs, they’re also very intelligent and highly trainable.
  • Dominant – Some Puli dogs can be dominant, leading to stubbornness and territorial behavior without firm training.
Puli Characteristics Rating 
Relation with Family 5
Good with Children 4
Friendly with Strangers 3
Friendly with Other Dogs 3
Easy to Train 4
Energy Level 4
Barking Level 4
Mental Stimulation Needs 5

What Does a Puli Look Like?

Two Hungarian Puli dogs
Two white Hungarian Puli dogs in a park

Hungarian Puli dogs have long corded coats that look similar to dreadlocks. Their coats can be black, rusty black, white, and gray.

These can sometimes be brindle, brown, cream, and rust. They have a square, muscular build with agile legs and tightly curled tails. They also have cute faces with short snouts, droopy ears, and brown eyes. 

How big is the Puli?

The Puli is a small-medium-sized dog, with males averaging 17 inches (43.2 cm) in height and females standing at 16 inches (40.6 cm) tall.

They can live in smaller homes, including apartments because of their size, providing they get enough stimulation every day. If you’re going to crate train your Puli, you’re going to need a 30” crate. 

Puli
Physical Features
Male Female
Height  17 inches
(43.2 cm)
16 inches
(40.6 cm)
Weight 25 to 35 lbs
(11.3 to 15.9 kg) 
25 to 35 lbs
(11.3 to 15.9 kg) 

How long does a Puli dog grow?

The Puli reaches their full adult size by 10 to 12 months old. They also reach adolescence by 6 months old, full sexual maturity at 8 to 9 months, and mental maturity by 18 months of age. 

What is the average weight of Puli dogs?

The average weight for male and female Puli dogs is 25 to 35 lbs (11.3 to 15.9 kg). Your Puli’s exact weight will depend on their size, sex, diet, and activity level, but maintaining a healthy weight is essential. 

What is the Average Life Expectancy of Pulik?

The average lifespan of a Puli dog is 10 to 15 years. They are generally healthy dogs, but some common health issues experienced by the breed include Hip Dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). 

What Coat Type Do Puli Dogs Have?

Black Puli dog in the front yard
Black Puli dog enjoying in the front yard – Image source

Puli dogs have a unique double coat that is long and corded. It is their most distinguishing feature and their cords form naturally when they are about 8 to 10 months old.

As you might expect, it takes a fair amount of care to prevent matting and bad hygiene. 

What is the Puli dog’s coat like?

The Puli dog’s coat is dreadlock-like. You cannot brush corded fur, but you should use your hands to separate twisted cords every day to prevent matting, which can be uncomfortable, painful, and even cause and mask infection.

Their coats also need regular bathing with a high-strength natural dog shampoo.

How long is the Puli’s coat?

The Puli’s coat can grow to reach the ground. You can trim them regularly to keep them shorter, and some owners even clip them completely. Most owners clip the cords and prefer a puppy cut for this breed. 

How dense is the Puli dog’s coat?

The Puli is a double-coated breed of dog. Their undercoat consists of soft, wooly, and dense hairs that intertwine with their longer and thicker guard coat to form the striking dreadlock-like cords. 

Do Pulis shed much?

Pulis are classed as hypoallergenic dogs, which means that they shed so lightly that they are extremely unlikely to cause a reaction in people with allergies to dog hair. Great for budding owners with allergies.

Can Puli Dogs Live in Hot Weather?

A Hungarian Puli dog laying on the deck
A black Hungarian Puli dog laying on the deck – Image source

As you may expect, the Puli can feel uncomfortable in hot weather due to their long, heavy double coats, but their fur can actually act as a barrier to the heat and prevent them from overheating a little better than other breeds.

That said, they should still be monitored in hot weather and provided with constant access to water.

Do Pulik Love Water?

The majority of Puli dogs do tend to like the water and are good swimmers by nature. Thankfully, their locks are water-resistant and won’t absorb a lot of the water, but supervision is always advised. 

What Colors Are Puli Dogs?

The Puli dog’s coat can be a few different colors, including black, white, cream, brown, brindle, and silver. The majority of Pulis have solid-colored coats that don’t have any markings. 

Two adorable black and white Puli dogs
Studio shot of two adorable black and white Puli dogs

Do Puli Dogs Have Markings?

As mentioned above, the majority of Puli dogs have no markings, but some lighter-colored Pulis have black markings that sometimes come in the form of a mask, and some darker-coated Pulis have white markings.

Are Pulis Good Family Dogs?

A Puli dog sitting on the stairs
A Puli dog with leash sitting on the stairs – Image source

Pulis tend to make very good family dogs. They are affectionate, playful, and faithful.

They get on well with children and other family pets, but they do need a lot of stimulation and companionship, so the family must be the right fit for the breed. 

Puli Temperament Rating
Adaptability 4
Friendliness 4
Mouthiness 3
Playfulness 5
Family-Oriented 5
Stranger Tolerance 3

Are Pulis good with other dogs?

Puli dogs are generally good with other dogs providing they are well socialized. Some Pulik have a dominant streak that can manifest as territorial behaviors with other dogs. In these cases, socialization is especially important. 

Are Pulis friendly with other people?

Pulik are very loving and affectionate with their human family members and those that they know well. They are known to be especially gentle towards older members of the family and vulnerable people. 

Can Puli dogs get along well with strangers?

Puli dogs can take a while to warm to new people and will typically be suspicious and reserved towards strangers at first. So, when approaching an unfamiliar Puli, it’s best to take it slow and let them come to you. 

How do Pulis get along with young children?

Puli dogs tend to have an affinity with and to be protective of children. They make great playmates for young kids because of their fun, affectionate nature.

However, it is best that the dog was raised with them and all children should be taught how to interact with dogs safely to prevent accidents. 

Can Pulis Adapt Easily?

A Hungarian Puli dog inside its crate
A Hungarian Puli dog laying inside its crate – Image source

Puli dogs are adaptable dogs, as they can live in almost any sized space providing that they are sufficiently cared for. However, they can get anxious when they are left alone for too long. 

Are Puli Dogs Aggressive?

Pulis are not aggressive dogs by nature, but they will protect themselves, their homes, and their family members against threats with ease.

As we mentioned, these dogs are capable of fighting wolves – so there’s not much that they’re afraid of.

Are Pulis Dangerous?

Pulis are not considered to be dangerous dogs anywhere in the world, but any breed of dog can appear to behave dangerously when they feel vulnerable and are not being handled with care. 

Do Puli Dogs Bite?

A jumping Hungarian Puli dog
A lively Hungarian Puli dog jumping for joy – Image source

Puli dogs have a bite force of between 200 to 400 PSI but shouldn’t bite as well-trained adults. However, they can be especially nippy as puppies, due to their herding instincts, and this should be trained them at an early age.

You can do this by yelping like a puppy and ending your interactions immediately when they nip to show them that it is bad behavior. 

Are Puli Dogs Protective?

Pulis are very protective dogs by nature and will not back down to a threat.

As previously mentioned, some Pulis can have a dominant streak, so socialization is essential in order to prevent protectiveness from elevating into territorial behavior. 

Are Pulis Affectionate?

Pulis are very affectionate dogs and the majority of them love the company and being adored by their family members. As mentioned, these dogs are sensitive and may act as babysitters to children and helpers to the elderly. 

Are Pulis Loyal?

A Pulik dog loves the new home
A black Pulik dog settling into the new home – Image source

Puli dogs are very faithful dogs. They love the company of their family members and don’t like to be left alone for too long. The Puli is best when surrounded by the people he loves and tries to please.

Does the Puli Love Freedom?

Puli dogs have a higher than average tendency to wander off and have strong chasing potential. So, practicing recall is essential for any owners of the breed – and don’t forget to secure your backyard.

Black Puli dog while on trail
Meet Spirit, a Black Puli dog walking straight during the trail – Image source

Are Puli Dogs Easy to Train?

Puli dogs are bright and highly trainable, but their dominant streak can lead to stubbornness without patience and consistency.

So, it’s best to keep training sessions clear, concise, fun, and rewarding with lots of treats and praise. Areas of focus for the breed should include recall and socialization.

How Smart is the Puli?

According to Professor Stanley Coren’s book The Intelligence of Dogs (1994), Pulis are of above-average intelligence in comparison to other breeds registered with the American Kennel Club.

The Puli’s brightness makes them quick learners.

Can Puli dogs be used as working dogs?

Puli dogs are still used as herding dogs in their home country of Hungary and can make excellent therapy dogs with lots of training.

They also often compete in dog shows and are more than equipped for herding tests, obedience, and agility trials. 

Do Puli Dogs Bark a Lot?

Like all herding breeds, Puli dogs tend to be vocal. They will bark and growl to tell you exactly what they’re thinking, whether they’re having fun or alerting you to something.

However, they don’t tend to bark excessively or inappropriately, but any excessive barking can be curbed with training. 

How does a Puli bark?

The exact decibel and Hz level of the Puli dog’s voice have never been officially recorded, however, their bark is loud and powerful, with a high-pitched tone that is not considered “yappy”.

Watch this video to find out how Puli bark: 

Do Pulis Have High Energy Levels?

Like all herding breeds, Puli dogs have very high energy levels for their size. They need lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. 

Are Pulis Active Dogs?

Yes, Pulis are very active dogs. They do need at least 40 minutes of exercise a day, which is a fair amount for a smaller breed. They also love to run, leap, and explore new places, and like most herders, they are very fast runners.

Black Puli dog playing a soccer ball
A black Puli dog playing a soccer ball in the front yard – Image source

Are Pulis Playful?

Puli dogs are super playful. They love toys and games that engage their minds and exercise their herding instincts. Below, we’ve listed some fun activities that you can do to keep them entertained.

  • Fetch
  • Chase
  • Agility courses
  • Obstacle courses
  • Snuffle mats/slow feeders
  • Puzzle games
  • Treat dispenders
  • Sensory toys
  • Hide and seek
  • Treasure hunt
  • Cup game

Does the Puli Drool a Lot?

If you’re not a fan of droolers, you’re in luck! The Puli is not a heavy drooler, but any dog can drool when they are around food. If your Puli does drool a lot, it could be a sign of anxiety or allergies. 

What Does the Family Life of Puli Dogs Like?

The family life of the Puli is extremely loving and action-packed. They form very close bonds with their family members, especially children, and daily life will consist of exercise and play, and quality time. It will never be boring.

What is the Average Cost of a Puli Puppy?

A Hungarian Pulik dog just sitting indoor
A newly groomed Hungarian Pulik dog just sitting inside the house – Image source

The average cost of a Puli puppy is currently $1,000 to $2,500 in the United States. They are on the expensive side due to their rarity and fabulously unique coats.

It’s always best to buy from small-scale breeders rather than commercial ones. Although their prices are higher, so is the quality of care. 

What Kind of Food Should Pulis Eat?

Puli dogs should eat a nutritiously complete and balanced diet with a high protein content to power their active bodies.

Every dog should eat good-quality foods made from natural ingredients that are free from fillers and artificial additives, which can affect a dog’s health over time and significantly impact those with sensitive systems. 

Adult Pulis should eat between 1 to 2 cups of food per day split between two meals.

Puppies should eat 20g per 1kg of their weight split into 4 meals when they’re under 6 months of age, and seniors should eat fewer calories as they slow down. 

Both puppies and older dogs should eat age-appropriate foods to support their developing/aging bodies and develop/maintain good cognitive function.

What are the Best Dog Foods for Pulis?

A Hungarian Pulik dog laying down while waiting to eat
A Hungarian Pulik dog laying down while waiting to eat – Image source

Following on from the guidelines written in the section above, we’ve come up with a list of the best commercial dry dog foods for Puli dogs on the market. Here are our top product picks for adults and pups!

For adult Puli dogs:

For Puli puppies:

What Other Dog Breeds Look Like the Puli?

Portrait of a Komondor dog
A huge Komondor dog in an outdoors

The Puli is a fairly unique-looking breed with a coat that is incredibly rare in the dog world. However, there are a couple of dog breeds that look like the Puli and a couple that can look like them with a clipped coat.

The Verdict: Should You Get a Puli Dog?

If you’re looking for a smooth-coated breed, you may be better off with a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. However, if you like the look of the Puli dog’s crazy cords and you’re willing to take care of them, go for it.

Just so long as you can commit to the long walks, the daily games, and the companionship, you couldn’t ask for a more loyal, loving, protective four-legged friend than the Hungarian Puli. 

Do you have a Puli dog? Besides their unique coats, what do you love the most about them? Let us know in the comments down below!

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