The Pumi is a breed of Hungarian working and sheep dog that received full AKC status on July 1, 2016. Often referred to as the Hungarian Herding Terrier, the breed serves many functions like herding cattle, guarding the farm, and exterminating vermin. Considered as a town dog in Hungary, it is one of the lesser known breeds probably because of its rustic appearance. This dog has a lean but muscular structure with a semi-elongated face, slightly floppy ears, black almond eyes, sturdy legs, and a low-hanging tail. Its entire body is covered with curly hair.
|Other Names||Hungarian Pumi|
|Coat||Double-layered, Long, Shaggy, Wavy, Curly, Dense|
|Colors||Black, Silver, Gray, Sand, Rust, Grizzle|
|Type||Livestock Dog, Working Dog, Sheep Dog, Herding Dog, Guard Dog, Watchdog|
|Group (of Breed)||Purebred|
|Lifespan||12 to 13 years|
|Weight||Male: 22-33 pounds;
Female: 18-29 pounds
(full grown adults)
Male: 16-19 inches;
Female: 15-18 inches
|Personality Traits||Lively, loyal, intelligent, active, protective|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Good with Pets||Yes (including cats, but might be unsafe for pocket pets like rodents, etc.)|
|Country of Origin||Hungary|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||Recognized by:
AKC/FSS, ACA, ACR, APRI, CKC, DRA, FCI, NAPR, NKC
The Hungarian Pumi Club of America, Inc.
Video: Training the Pumi Puppy
History & Development
It was in the 1700s that this medium to small breed was developed for the first time. Initially produced from the Hungarian Puli breed for the purpose of driving cattle, the Pumi was brought along with the Spanish Merino sheep that were imported between the 17th and 18th centuries.
Nothing in certain is known about its first origin, though some experts suggest that it was probably crossed with the Pomeranian or Hutespitz. It is also likely that some genes of the old terrier breeds have also been mixed in its blood. However, researchers opined that there is no terrier blood in the breed. Whichever way, the Pumi evolved as an independent race right over the last three centuries.
In 1815, the breed was first referred to by its name “Pumi” being described as a type of sheepdog. However, in 1920, it was officially declared as an independent breed.
In 2016, the Pumi got its recognition from the American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service Program. Though it has been established in North America and all over Europe, its number remains small outside of Hungary.
Temperament and Behavior
Pumi is a highly protective breed and would be loyal and caring of anyone it considers a part of its family. They love to be surrounded by known faces and thus are wary of strangers.
Known for their barking habits, these dogs would start at the slightest provocation (especially noise), alerting its family members. This trait makes it an excellent guard and watchdog as well.
These are active dogs that love to play with children and other pets. With its herding instinct, it has a natural tendency to ‘herd’ its family members. Some pups also enjoy digging, especially when they get the scent of rodents, while others would nip the bottom of your pants just to draw your attention.
They need lots of exercises every day to stay happy and healthy. Call it their requirement even as a part of their training program (see section ‘Training’). In fact, they need to be put to work. So a considerably long walk or jogging would be good for your Pumi. Play games like fetching with your dog, or just allow it to run and play wildly on its own inside a protected area.
Pumi has a combination coat – with both curly and wavy hair. Comb its hair two to three times a week to avoid tangles and remove debris. To retain the curls, you can also wet the coat lightly and then allow it to dry naturally. However, this breed does not require frequent baths.
In general, Pumi is a healthy breed devoid of breed specific issues, except for general problems like patellar luxation or canine hip dysplasia.
- Pumis are characterized by a tendency of barking frequently. To check this habit, you must begin with removing the object, person, or diverting it from the place or situation that is motivating it over and over again, instead of beginning to rebuke your pup. Be calm and ask your dog to stop barking using an assertive look, or a sound, or physical correction. But never give up out of frustration because once it can mirror such an expression on its trainer’s face, it will again get back to what it was doing. If things persist, you can always contact a canine professional for helping it cope with a behavior issue.
- To keep a check on its herding behavior, which it reflects by trying to nip at people, you must begin with the basic commands (like Sit, Stop, No, etc.), or else by clicker training. Keep an eye how your dog’s behavior changes before it attempts to herd others (as in, whether it barks at someone or sniffs his heels before nipping at him). So, the moment you see your dog showing any of these signs when someone is around, refrain him either by your commands or the clicker. Reward it for being obedient.
- Daily activity and regular socialization is the key to keeping your dog away from the habit of digging. Taking part in games, jogging, etc. will help it release its energy and get rid of this bad habit. Early socialization would certainly help it cope with the above two behavioral issues as well.
As a highly-energetic working dog, it will require a diet that might keep up with its levels of activity. Give your Pumi 1½ to 2 cups of protein- and fat-enriched dry dog food daily.
- The plural for ‘Pumi’ is Pumik.
- Interestingly, the standard describes the breed as unable to keep quiet.