Information about the Pumi

The Pumi is a medium-small terrier-type breed of sheep dog from Hungary.

The Pumi has been used as a “general farm dog”, shepherding not only sheep but also cows and pigs, and also for catching small rodents. It originated in the 17th or 18th century, when shepherding terriers were brought to Hungary from Germany and France. These terrier-type dogs mixed with the Puli-type dogs that were in Hungary, and the result was a terrier-type herding dog. As a working dog, it was quite freely bred until the 1970s, and other Hungarian dogs such as the Puli and Mudi were used for breeding. Until recently there has been a special B-registry for work bred Pumi. The parentage of these dogs are unknown, but if they meet the breed standard, they can be given a “B-pedigree”.

The Pumi received FCI recognition in 1966. The breed was quite unknown outside Hungary until the 1970s. In 1973, the first Pumis were exported to Finland, and in 1985 to Sweden. Later, Pumis were exported also to Germany, Netherlands, Italy, and in the 1990s to the USA.

Most Pumis are gray, and any shade of gray is accepted in the show ring. Gray Pumis are born black but puppies usually start graying at the age of 6 to 8 weeks, and the shade gradually lightens. The final shade can be predicted by the color of the parents. Other accepted colors are black, white, and maszkos fakó, which is yellow-brown with a darker mask. This color is known as sable with mask in other breeds, such as the Terveuren. The graying often also affects the maszkos fakó Pumi puppies, and the adults are often just slightly shaded. Other colors are possible, but not accepted for shows. Black and tan, brown, blue, and wolf-colored puppies are born occasionally.

The coat is curly, thick, and of medium length, approximately 7 cm long and consisting of a harsh topcoat and soft undercoat. The coat is maintained by combing every few weeks, and trimming every 2 to 4 months. The coat grows constantly (similar to that of the Poodle) and, if grooming is not maintained, the coat may start matting.

This breed has little to no shedding.

The Pumi trademark is its ears, which are always alert and very lively. Ears are high-set and the tip bends down. Ears are covered with longer hair than the rest of the body.

The Pumi is a light-bodied, square dog that looks slightly larger than it is because of the thick coat. The Pumi has a long, narrow head. The muzzle is 45% of the length of the head, which is of equal length to the neck. The stop is barely noticeable, and the skull is flat when seen from the side. The eyes are small, dark, and slightly oblique. Movements are lively and energetic, as is the Pumi itself.

Male Pumis stand 41 to 47 cm at the withers and weigh 10 to 15 kg; bitches are 38 to 44 cm and weigh 8 to 13 kg.

The Pumi can be very protective of its own family, and often slightly reserved toward strangers, so socialization must begin early. The Pumi is a lively and active breed. It is intelligent but barks easily. Pumis are easy to train.

Pumis are a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, but Pumis have been known to live up to 19 years. Known medical problems are patella luxation and canine hip dysplasia.

The most extensive health records of the breed can be found from Finland and Sweden, and around 80% of the Pumik born there have healthy hips.

The Pumi was originally used as a herding dog, but now, most of them are used for other purposes such as dog agility, dog dancing, and obedience, but also can be trained for detection, search and rescue, and other purposes. Since the Pumi was originally used for herding they are eligible to compete in herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Pumis that exhibit basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials. Pumis have been used also for hunting wild boar.