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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Pumi Dog Breed Guide: Pictures, Info, Temperament, & Traits

Pumi Dog Breed Guide: Pictures, Info, Temperament, & Traits

Two pumi dogs in a studio

The Pumi is a Hungarian herding breed that is easily recognized by their signature corkscrew curls. They are small to medium-sized dogs, weighing anywhere from 22 to 29 pounds and reaching 15 to 18.5 inches at the shoulder. Their unique coat is solid in color, does not shed, and comes in a variety of colors including black, brown, grey, silver, grizzle, and rust.

Pumi’s have a history that dates to the 1700s. Over the past 300 years, they have begun making their way across Europe and into North America. It is believed they originated from breeding the Puli with other French and German herding dogs.

Breed Overview


15-18.5 inches


22-29 pounds


12-13 years


Black, rust, brown, sand, grey, silver, grizzle

Suitable for:

Active families, those looking for a low-shedding dog


Lively, affectionate, energetic, driven

The Pumi is a very active, lively, and vocal breed that has seemingly endless amounts of energy. They are very intelligent, driven, and easy to train. Pumi’s are generally healthy and have an average lifespan of 12 to 13 years.

Pumi’s are affectionate and form strong bonds with their families. They remain loyal and dedicated to their owners and make wonderful companions for active families that have the time and ability to give the Pumi the exercise and stimulation they require.

Pumi Dog 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.


Pumi Puppies

The Pumi is a rare breed that only recently received AKC recognition. They may be a bit difficult to find in the USA and North America, but reputable breeders do exist. It is important to note that this breed is very active and will require a lot of exercises and mental stimulation. While they are curly and cute, they are not well-suited for more sedentary individuals and families.

Pumi’s are known for excessive barkers, so anyone that is looking for a quiet breed that rarely barks will not want to consider a Pumi. They aren’t ideal for apartment living, for this reason, and their off-leash exercise needs make it difficult for some apartment dwellers.

They are intelligent and purpose-driven, if they do not have a job to do and are lacking in physical and mental stimulation, they can become destructive. They do not enjoy being left alone for long periods and will want to be with their people and keep busy.

Pumi Dog Breed
Image Credit: Enna8982, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Pumi

Pumis lively, intelligent, and full of energy. This breed is typically very easy to train, as they typically pick up on commands with ease. They are very loyal and dedicated to their families and will regularly shower them with love and affection.

Pumis can be wary of strangers and may come off as shy and aloof when introduced to new people. They are very intuitive and attentive dogs that have big personalities for their small size. They are very communicative and vocal, so you can expect a Pumi to do a lot of barking.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Not only is the Pumi a good size for families with children, but they are also very playful and affectionate. They may even help keep the kids busy with their high activity level and desire to play.  These dogs are great for active families and will enjoy having children as playmates.

As with any dog, it’s best to be wary of young children that have not yet learned how to properly interact with pets to avoid any accidental injury for the child and the dog.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

If a Pumi is properly socialized, they will generally have no trouble getting along with other pets in the household. Small animals such as cats or rodents may spark their prey drive, but this is much less likely if they are raised with them from puppyhood. They are a herding breed by nature, so you may notice the Pumi express this behavior with other animals in the household.


Things to Know When Owning a Pumi:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

A Pumi’s diet should consist of high-quality food that is appropriate to their age, size, and activity level. They should always have access to clean, fresh water.  Check with your veterinarian for the best guidance regarding diet and nutritional needs or if you have any concerns about their weight or feeding regime.

Hungarian Dog Breed Pumi
Image Credit: katinka bakos, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Because the Pumi is a very active, energetic, and intelligent breed, they will require a lot of exercises and mental stimulation. Pumi will love having plenty of space to run and play. They are also very good climbers so they will need to be supervised in areas that give them access to climbing. High, secure fencing is recommended for Pumis for this reason.

This is a breed that will excel in competitive dog sports, such as agility events. They will need to be exercised for at least an hour or more per day, whether it be daily walks or a lengthy playtime.

It is recommended they get some off-leash playtime regularly, as this is better for their mental stimulation. This breed will love to play fetch and chase toys and are very well suited for active families that can provide them a release for all their energy.

Training 🎾

Pumis are very intelligent and trainable. Because they are very driven and willing to work, they tend to learn very quickly and enjoy training. Pumis should begin obedience training in puppyhood and will likely impress their owners with how easily they pick up on commands.

This is an attentive breed that will assess situations and think more critically. Owners should use positive reinforcement and reward with treats or some fun playtime. Pumis are a very loud breed and while you should not expect your Pumi to ever be quiet, you may need to provide some extra training to prevent excessive barking.

pumi puppy
Image Credit: Jne Valokuvaus, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

The Pumi’s coat is made up of half harsher and half-soft hair. They will require a thorough combing every three to 6 weeks and their coat will need to be wetted down to allow their signature corkscrew curls to return to their normal shape.

It is recommended to keep their coat trimmed to keep them from looking unkempt. Pumis do not shed but they will lose loose hair during grooming. It is never recommended to blow dry their coat since it will remove their curls.

Their nails should be trimmed as needed and their ears should be checked regularly to ensure they are clean and free of infection.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Pumis are known for being a very healthy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 13 years. Reputable, responsible breeders will screen for any health conditions and will strive to produce the healthiest dogs. Pumis suffer from some genetic health conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, degenerative myelopathy, and eye disorders.

Male vs Female

As with most dog breeds, male Pumis are typically larger than females. Males tend to weigh anywhere from 27 to 29 pounds and reach about 16 to 18.5 inches in height at the shoulder while females are typically 22 to 24 pounds and stand 15 to 17.5 inches at the shoulder.

When it comes to having your Pumi spayed or neutered, males are generally much less expensive to have neutered compared to having a female spayed. Spaying is a more complex surgery that comes at a higher cost. If you are not a breeder, it is highly recommended that you have your dog altered to prevent unwanted behaviors and some serious health conditions that commonly affect unaltered dogs later in life. It will also prevent unwanted litters.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Pumi Dog

1. They Were Recently Recognized By the American Kennel Club

This Hungarian breed dates back as far as the 1700s but only recently was it recognized by the American Kennel Club, or AKC. The Pumi was officially recognized by the AKC in 2016. This rare breed is slowly growing in popularity in America. The Hungarian Pumi Club of America was established in 2005 and works to educate and promote responsible breeding of this wonderful breed.

2. The Pumi Cannot Keep Quiet

Thanks to years of herding instincts, the Pumi is known for being a very vocal breed. Their barking helped guide stray livestock back to their flock. Anyone interested in a dog that does not bark a lot should avoid owning a Pumi. Their excessive barking tendencies do not make them ideal for apartment living.

3. They Are One of Three Hungarian Sheepdogs

The Pumi is one of three sheepdogs that hail from Hungary. The Puli and the Mudi, the Puli being the oldest of the three. In fact, the Pumi used to be considered a regional variant of the Puli until the 20th century when the two breeds were standardized.


Final Thoughts

The Pumi is a unique herding breed that hails from Hungary and is recognized for its unique, corkscrew curls and big personality. They are driven, energetic, and possess a strong work ethic and willingness to learn. They do tend to bark excessively due to their long-standing herding instinct.

Pumi’s have intense exercise and mental stimulation needs. They will need an owner or family that is active and can provide them with lots of attention, a job to do, and enough exercise to release all the energy they have.

They typically do well with children and other pets, though they may want to herd them from time to time. The Pumi is not for everyone but can make a wonderful, loyal, and affectionate companion for those that are compatible with their needs.

Featured Image Credit: Jne Valokuvaus, Shutterstock

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