Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Pulis: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Puli temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Puli dog breed

Puli Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Puli Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

The acrobatic Puli has been likened to a bouncing spring. Happy and playful well into his teens, with boundless energy and insatiable curiosity, he bustles about with light-footed agility, checking out every new sight and sound and expressing his opinion about it.

The Puli is sturdy and durable, a superb athlete with quick reflexes who can turn on a dime and clear a six-foot fence from a standstill.

With his keen eyesight, acute hearing, and suspicion of strangers, he is serious about his responsibility as a watchdog. He will rush up to a stranger to take his measure and is willing to back up his loud warning bark if necessary. Extensive socialization is required to keep him from becoming too sharp.

Some Pulis are playful with other dogs, while others are dominant, bossy, and territorial. His high prey drive will send him in rollicking pursuit of small creatures that run.

One of the smartest of all breeds, supremely self-confident and self-possessed, the Puli is also one of the most demanding and manipulative, with (as one breeder puts it) "a capacity for causing mischief that is truly awesome."

The Puli has an "in your face" personality and is accustomed to making his own decisions. He will continue to do so unless you take control with firm leadership and consistent rules. Positive training methods and fair handling are musts, for the proud, sensitive Puli won't tolerate harshness or teasing.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is conveniently sized, sturdy and durable, athletic and agile
  • Has a long shaggy coat that can be encouraged to form tassel-like cords
  • Sheds less than many other breeds (shed hairs are trapped in the long coat)
  • Has been likened to a bouncing spring: with boundless energy and insatiable curiosity
  • Thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
  • Is supremely confident and self-possessed
  • Makes an extremely keen watchdog and small guardian

A Puli may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Suspiciousness or aggression toward strangers when not socialized enough
  • Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars
  • Barking
  • LOTS of grooming/maintenance of the unusual corded coat (or clipping it short)
  • "Shaggy dog syndrome," i.e. debris clinging to the coat, water soaking into the beard and dripping on your floors
  • Waiting lists (hard to find) and a high price tag

A Puli may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Puli

If I was considering a Puli, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Pulis MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.

  2. Suspiciousness. Most Pulis have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to biting.

  3. Animal aggression. Many Pulis are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures.

  4. The strong temperament. Pulis are very, very smart working dogs, capable of learning a great deal. But they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Many Pulis are manipulative. Some are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Puli to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Puli Training Page discusses the program you need.

  5. Barking. Pulis are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, Pulis are not a good choice for you. For the same reason, Pulis should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some Pulis have intense, high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.

  6. Grooming. If you want your Puli to look anything like the pictures in dog books and on TV, you'll be spending an enormous amount of time and energy in coat care. The wiry hairs of his outer coat tend to fuse with the wooly hairs of his undercoat to form felt cords. If you wish to keep this appearance, you must separate the cords every few weeks. Bathing takes a half hour, for the cords must be thoroughly rinsed. Drying takes 24 hours, with the dog in a crate surrounded by a dryer and box fans. Your second option is to brush out the cords whenever they start to form. This produces a natural "shaggy" look that simply requires lots of regular brushing. For the easiest coat, you may choose to keep the coat trimmed or clipped so it's short and neat.

  7. Shedding. Pulis definitely shed, though much of the shed hair gets caught in the long coat rather than ending up on your floor. But if you clip the coat, of course, there is no longer an impediment to the shed hair falling out.

  8. "Shaggy dog syndrome." Like all shaggy dogs, the Puli is a messy dog. Leaves, mud, snow, fecal matter, and other debris cling to his rough coat and ends up all over your house. When he drinks, his beard absorbs water, which drips on your floors when he walks away. When he eats, his beard absorbs food so that when he sniffs your face or presses his head against your leg, YOU end up dirty, too. Shaggy dogs are not suited to fastidious housekeepers.

  9. Finding one and paying the price. In the United States, fewer than 150 new Puli puppies are registered each year. (Compare that to over 60,000 new Golden Retriever puppies.) And many breeders are charging $800 and up.

book cover To learn more about training Pulis to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Puli the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Puli. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Puli might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Puli home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Puli...

When you're acquiring a Puli PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Pulis who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter