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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Puli Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More

Puli Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More

Puli dog lying on grass

The Puli (plural Pulik) is a unique Hungarian dog best known for its distinctive corded coat. It (and its larger cousin the Komondor) is sometimes nicknamed “the mop dog” because of its appearance, but owners agree that the Puli has a beauty all its own!

Breed Overview


15 – 17 inches


25 – 35 pounds


10 – 15 years


Black, silver, white

Suitable for:

Experienced owners, families, apartment dwellers


Loving, active, intelligent

The Puli is known as an affectionate and sometimes clingy dog that loves to be kept busy. They are great options for owners who want to spend a lot of time playing with and training their dog and are often used in competitive showmanship and obedience events because of their intelligence and work ethic. But Pulik are not for everyone! Pulik need a lot of time and attention to keep them healthy and happy. New or busy owners probably won’t be able to give a Puli the time he needs to be happy.

Puli Dogs Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Puli Puppies

If you’ve ever seen a Puli at the park, you know it’s a head-turner. And while Puli puppies look more like teddy bears, before long they’ll develop the corded coats that are their most distinctive feature.

The most important thing to consider when buying a Puli puppy is the time commitment. Pulik hate being bored and although they are highly trainable, it takes time to build a strong bond and convince your Puli that obedience is worthwhile. They also require significant grooming time to keep their coat healthy and clean.

Pulik are incredibly intelligent and trainable, and they love attention and affection. If you are willing to put the time in, Puli dogs can become incredible companions.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Puli

Gray hungarian puli dog in the park
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock

Pulik are energetic and alert dogs who love to be in the middle of things. They have strong protective instincts and are often vocal dogs, so it is important to train them to minimize barking and socialize them to become accustomed to strangers.

The Puli is known to be affectionate and sometimes clingy. Once they become attached to their family, they sometimes become jealous of anything that takes up too much attention. With proper socialization, though, they can learn to accept others as part of the family. Puli dogs don’t like being left alone for long periods of time.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Most of the time, Puli dogs make great family pets and get along well with children of all ages, but socialization might be needed to get them there. They struggle with frequent shouting and arguments, so high-conflict households can lead to stress and lashing out. Children need close supervision until they are old enough to avoid rough play, climbing, and hair-pulling. They love to run and play with older children, but they might need some training to avoid nipping in excitement and other herding behaviors. Pulik are also fairly adaptable to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise and play.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Puli is a friendly dog with socialization that usually does well in a multi-pet household. New dogs might require an adjustment phase. If you get a new dog, make sure to shower your Puli with lots of attention so that it doesn’t feel replaced or jealous. Small pets might be regarded as prey to a Puli, so caution is required, but some Pulik can become socialized to small pets.

Image Credit: kidsnewshu, Pixabay

divider-pawThings to Know When Owning a Puli:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Puli is a medium-sized dog with a healthy appetite. You should expect to feed your Puli 1-2 cups of food each day, ideally divided up into two or three meals. Look for high-quality dog foods that have a high protein content and minimal fillers.

Like many dog breeds, the Puli is prone to obesity. They aren’t always good at regulating their own food consumption, so owners need to watch carefully to make sure their pet isn’t overeating. The right amount of food depends on several factors, including age, size, health, and weight. If you worry your Puli is overweight or gaining weight, a diet adjustment might be in order. You can always work with your vet to set up a healthy diet for your dog.

Exercise 🐕

Pulik aren’t the most high-energy dogs in the world, but they do need exercise to keep them healthy, happy, and most importantly occupied. The Puli’s shepherding background makes it want to be working and keeping busy, and if it starts to become bored or cooped up it will cause trouble. Puli dogs are happiest with exercise that changes from day to day. Although they need daily exercise, the intensity needed varies from dog to dog, and outside-the-box solutions are often more rewarding than a regular walking route.

Training 🎾

The Puli is an extremely intelligent, quick-learning dog. Some Pulik are stubborn at first and need a calm but firm approach to training. But once you win your Puli’s loyalty, expect training to go much more smoothly.

The Puli is well-known in events like agility, obedience, and herding competitions because of its ability to learn commands quickly and retain complex commands. If you are looking to train your dog beyond basic obedience and good manners,

Like all dogs, the Puli does best with training if it has been socialized well. Exposure to strangers and other animals is important in developing a well-adjusted dog.

Grooming ✂️

Pulik are most famous for their distinctive coat, but keeping it looking nice isn’t easy! One reason Pulik do better with more experienced owners is that it takes time and effort to clean the corded coat. If you aren’t attached to the cords and don’t have the time to care for them properly, it is okay to keep your Puli’s coat shaved short. It will take several years for cords to properly regrow, though, so make sure you really want it.

To care for your Puli’s coat, brush through it with your fingers several times a week to detangle and remove dirt and debris. Expect to spend some time finger-brushing; it won’t be done in five minutes. You can keep the cords trimmed to four to six inches long to minimize tangles. Pulik usually need bathing every six to eight weeks. When you bathe your Puli, make sure every cord is saturated with water and use a pet-safe shampoo to clean them. Then use towels or old sweatshirts to squeeze all the excess water out of the cords. Finger comb before and after bathing to separate the cords.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Puli is a generally healthy breed but there are a few conditions to watch out for, especially as your Puli gets older. Pulik are slightly more prone to thyroid issues including hypothyroidism, a condition caused by insufficient thyroid hormones. They also may develop diabetes more frequently than other dogs. Pulik are also prone to obesity and dysplasia. It is important to bring your dog in for regular vet check-ups and monitor for health and behavioral changes. A healthy diet and exercise also go a long way towards helping your pup stay healthy.

Minor Conditions
  • Hip/Elbow Dysplasia
Serious Conditions
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Male vs Female

The differences between male and female Pulik are minimal. Some people say that male dogs tend to be more social, energetic, or aggressive, while female dogs are a little more anxious and aloof, but in the Puli, there isn’t a huge difference between genders. Both males and females can have a range of personality traits and it is important to socialize them well to avoid any kind of behavior problems. Male Pulik do tend to be slightly larger and more heavily built than females.

Whether your dog is male or female, having them fixed will help them be healthier and more emotionally stable. Unless you plan to use your dog for breeding or showing, it is recommended to spay or neuter them. Many breeders and rescues fix puppies before adopting them out.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Puli Dogs

1. They Have a Long Herding History

The Puli comes from Hungary, where they have had a lot of practice herding sheep—in fact, ancestors of the Puli were used in herding more than 1,000 years ago! They have a long history as show dogs, being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936.

2. Coat Color Was Important

Pulik come in white, gray, and black colors, but the different colors often had different roles historically. Black Pulik were often used for daytime herding activities because they stood out in the flock and were easily visible. On the other hand, a white or gray Puli might be left with the flock at night to provide protection.

3. Their Coat Serves a Purpose

The corded coat might look funny, but it is actually an important adaptation. The cords help protect the Puli from harsh weather and predators. It also makes the Puli look bigger and more threatening to other animals.

divider-pawFinal Thoughts

From its origins as a Hungarian sheepdog to its modern place as a star competition dog and beloved family pet, the Puli has always stood out. It isn’t the easiest dog to work with—its need for affection and stimulation make it a little more demanding—but owners all agree that it is worth it. If you have the time and experience to own a more challenging dog, this unique wooly breed might just capture your heart.

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Featured Image Credit: Zsuzsa Varga, Pixabay

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