AKC Dog Breeds: Pumi

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: 15-18  inches  Weight: 18-33 pounds  
  Always solid with no markings; grizzle, black, gray, sandy brown, russet

The Pumi is a medium-small terrier-type breed of dog. It is a sheep dog from Hungary. Originating during the 1700's as a descendant of the Puli, this Hungarian breed was developed to drive cattle, sheep, and pigs. Pumi's were also used to guard farms and exterminate vermin. Considered to be the town dog of Hungary, the Pumi is relatively rare in North America. A hardy and sturdy sheepdog, this breed is often referred to as the breed who is "unable to keep quiet". Their consistent vocalizations make them excellent watchdogs. This Terrier type of herding dog is suited both for companionship and sport. Today the Pumi is the most popular of the Hungarian herding dogs in Finland. The first Pumis were imported to Finland in 1972. The Pumi is relatively unknown outside Hungary, but in Sweden and Finland around 100 Pumis are registered every year. In both countries, the Pumi is a very popular agility dog, and Pumis are seen almost every year in the Championship competition. In Scandinavia, the Pumi is used for obedience and dog dancing competitions. The Pumi has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 2001.

General Appearance
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 coat is curly, thick, and of medium length. The undercoat is soft, but not velvety. The outer coat is harsh in texture. 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. The compact hind feet are set back from the body. The chest is deep and ribs are somewhat flat. The feet are strong, with elastic pads and hard nails.


Like the Mudi, the Pumi is a multi-functional dog. It is a vigorous and sturdy sheepdog, but also a successful guard dog and hunting dog. Pumis are very active, lively and energetic, always alert and ready to work with cattle and pigs as well as sheep. Its probable terrier heritage has given it a great interest in the lairs of wild animals such as foxes and hares. It is said to be a successful ratter and also makes a wonderful family companion. The Pumi breed is affectionate with the family and has a cheerful disposition. They are typically timid and suspicious of strangers and this makes them a good watchdog. They do best in a home with older considerate children. Pumi's have a tendency to be dog aggressive. This breed is always alert, energetic, willful, and intelligent. The Pumi will become bored, lonely, and destructive if they do not receive sufficient attention or have a job to do. This breed is independent, extremely bold, always restless, and noisy. A superb watchdog, the Pumi uses its voice liberally and consistently. If you are surrounded by neighbors where you live, it is sensible to teach the dog that after a couple of barks it must be quiet.

This breed sheds little to no hair. The Pumi requires weekly combing of the coat. Bathing should only be done when necessary. Professional grooming must be done every three months and removing excess hair from the ears is recommended.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

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.

Activity Level

Pumi's are not recommended for apartment living due to their high activity level and tendency to bark incessantly. They are outdoor dogs and will be at their best living on a farm where it will find enough work to do for itself, such as guarding the entrance and keeping the livestock together. If it is to live in an urban environment then you must find replacement activities to keep it occupied, which includes a daily walk or jog.  The Pumi excels in fly-ball and herding. Pumi's enjoy playing a game of fetch and make good jogging companions provided they are securely leashed.


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