The Pumi is a medium-sized dog similar to the Puli. The most notable characteristic is its coat. Wavy to curly fur covers its lean body in rings and curls. The coat is never corded or smooth. A soft undercoat mixes with harsher outer hair that stands out not more than three inches from the body.
Pumis are gray, white, black, or a shade of fawn. The distinctive texture of the coat is achieved by letting it air-dry; it should never be blown dry.
In addition, the Pumi has a long muzzle, which is around 50 percent of the length of its head; partly erect ears; a jaunty, tightly curled tail forming a circle; and an overall square shape. You’ll also often see an amused look on a Pumi’s face, as if it’s in on the joke and you’re not.
Since the Pumi has both a herding dog and a terrier background, it is a lively, alert, hardworking dog that can herd cows as well as catch vermin. It has inherited (or developed) an intolerance for silliness.
If you have small children, the Pumi is not for you, though older children who know how to behave around dogs should be fine. If you have other family pets, socialize your Pumi with them as soon as possible.
In common with some other curly-haired breeds, the Pumi is a low-shedding dog requiring minimum grooming, which makes it a good companion for allergy sufferers. The Pumi should be thoroughly groomed every few months, including trimming its facial fur.
The Pumi must have some sort of work, whether it be a sport such as agility, herding trials, flyball, or trying to control the family cat. This is an active breed, so you must be prepared to exercise your dog moderately as well as engage it in sport.
The Pumi is often wary of strangers, making it a good watchdog, but this also means you need patience and training to teach your dog that your houseguests are not intruders. Sometimes its barking becomes incessant, but this behavior can be corrected. Pumis can control their voices to dominate stock.
The Pumi is generally a very healthy dog, with patellar luxation (dislocated knee joints) and hip dysplasia being the most common health issues.
The Pumi originated in Hungary in the 17th or 18th century. Pumis were bred as multifaceted stock dogs who could gather the stock, drive it, and control it in small open spaces. They can handle sheep, swine, and even cattle.
The breed’s makeup comprises the Puli, herding dogs from Germany and France, and a touch of terrier. It was deemed a separate breed from the other Hungarian herding dogs in 1920.
Today, the Hungarian Pumi Club of America champions the breed as a working dog and family companion.