Are Pulis good dogs? Simple and Effective Tips

History of the Puli

For centuries, the puli has been used to herd sheep and guard farms in Hungary. Naturally protective and watchful, today’s puli retains its guarding instinct, as well as the instinct to gather and drive a flock of sheep. If there are no sheep around, the puli is not picky. They will herd family pets, kids, chickens—pretty much anything that moves.

The puli breed survived World War II, and a few dogs made it over to the United States for herd and guard dog use. The puli quickly made an impression in the U.S. and the breed has been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1936, where it’s part of the Herding Group.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Cilla, own an unclipped cream-colored puli named Beast who has its own Facebook page with over 2 million followers.

Grooming is probably the biggest challenge of owning a puli, more so than exercise and training. If you own a puli, you have a choice in whether to cord the coat or keep it brushed out or clipped. Many pet pulis are not corded for convenience because its a lot of work to upkeep the dreadlocks.

Beneath all that hair, pulis are athletic and energetic. They need plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation to be happy. Although long walks (aim for an hour a day total), hikes, and games of fetch can do the trick, many puli owners participate in organized dog sports like herding, agility, flyball, and obedience. Its also a herding dog that needs a large fenced-in yard to run around and dispel all of its energy.

A puli’s cords form naturally, starting when a puppy is about nine months old. You will need to help the coat along, separating the mats to the skin. Your breeder or a groomer knowledgeable in corded coats can help you guide the coat so it cords properly and doesn’t turn into one giant mat.

Bathing a corded puli takes a special technique and patience, as it takes a long time to get the cords wet and to rinse the soap out completely. Drying is the real challenge—it can take hours—just as it does to dry a wool sweater—starting with wringing out the cords starting at the ends, and squeezing more moisture out with towels. Some owners use a special cage dryer for dogs, but you can use a blow dryer and absorbent microfiber towels to do the job. It’s vital to make sure the cords are thoroughly dry after bathing or the damp cords can mildew.

If you choose to keep your puli brushed out or trimmed and not corded, it’s extremely important to still thoroughly brush the dog out from the skin at least once a week to prevent mats from forming. The hair above the eyes can also be trimmed to help the dog see better.

Pulis are highly intelligent and easy to train and with positive methods, these dogs can be taught lots of fun tricks. Early socialization for puppies is important to curb the breed’s natural wariness of strangers and to help the puli develop into a confident adult dog.

Are Pulis good dogs?

Are Pulis good dogs?

Are Pulis good dogs?

Common Health Problems

Like most purebred dogs, the puli is prone to a few genetic conditions. Responsible breeders test their adult dogs before breeding them to avoid passing on inherited diseases. The Puli Club of America, which is the national club for the breed in the United States, requires all member breeders to participate in the Orthopedic Foundation for Animal’s Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) program testing for the following:

  • OFA or Penn Hip/hip dysplasia: Abnormal development of the hip joints
  • OFA for luxating patella (knees): Knee cap slippage resulting in lameness
  • OFA Degenerative Myelopathy (DNA test): Degenerative spinal cord condition
  • Canine Eye Registry (CERF): Informs breeders of canine eye disease
  • Additional recommended testing includes OFA for elbows, OFA for cardiac (heart), OFA for thyroid, and brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) hearing test.

    Health Problems to Watch for With a Puli

    An average puli lifespan is 12 to 16 years. Pulik are hardy, healthy dogs that arent prone to many diseases.Â

    However, some puli health issues include:Â

    Hip Dysplasia

    Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) results from a loose or unstable hip joint. While CHD has multiple causes, genetics is the most significant risk factor. Over time, CHD leads to a loss of cartilage at the hip joint. Limping, reluctance to jump, and loss of back leg muscles are all signs of hip dysplasia. If your puli is diagnosed with hip dysplasia while still a puppy, your veterinarian may recommend Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) surgery. JPS surgery is minimally invasive, and your puli may be able to go home the same day.

    Eye Disorders

    A puli puppy should have an eye exam at eight to 10 weeks old to rule out eye disorders such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). PRA is a retinal disease that eventually leads to blindness. There is currently no treatment for PRA, but its not painful, and most dogs adapt very well to blindness with help from their owners. Â

    Patellar Luxation

    A common knee problem in dogs, patellar luxation is a misalignment of the knee joint. Symptoms include carrying the affected limb for a few steps, a bow-legged or knocked-knee appearance, and shaking a limb before use. Surgery may be necessary in moderate-to-severe cases.

    Degenerative Myelopathy

    Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive, fatal disease that typically presents in older dogs around nine years of age. Symptoms include loss of coordination or weakness in hind limbs, limb paralysis, incontinence, and difficulty swallowing. Theres currently no treatment for DM.Â

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    The puli (pronounced poo-lee) is a medium-sized herding dog known in Hungary for centuries. The distinctively dreadlocked puli certainly stands out in the dog world. The dogs corded coat can grow long, so the hair may eventually reach to the ground, hiding the legs, and making the puli appear like its floating across the ground. The puli’s hair serves a real purpose: The dog was bred to herd sheep in Hungary, and the thick, wooly, and corded coat protected it against harsh weather and any predators, such as wolves.