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Meet the breed: Puli

Anna is a lifestyle writer who spends way too much time with her two dogs. When she is not writing, she is probably gardening, reading, tripping over dog toys, or trying to acquire more farm animals than she really needs.

The loyal and affectionate Puli may be the perfect pet for you

It's not a mop — it's a Puli! Meet the Puli, a Hungarian dog breed whose personality is almost as charming as its signature dreadlocks.  

Puli, or their plural form, Pulik (pronounced the same as Puli) might look like larger-than-life mop heads, but they have a lot more to offer their families than just clean-up duty.

History of the Puli

The Pulik originated in Hungary, where they herded sheep and other livestock for early farmers and nomads. Their distinctive coats protected them from fierce winters and warm summers on the Hungarian plains, where only the hardiest and most efficient dogs were bred, resulting in a dog breed whose fancy footwork keeps livestock on their toes and dazzles in the show ring.

Puli history
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Puli temperament

Don't be fooled by their long dreadlocks. These medium-sized dogs are extremely agile, according to the AKC. Years of working closely with humans and livestock created a breed known for its resilience, alertness, eagerness to please and endurance. Pulik take their roles as guardians seriously. They are loyal to their families and naturally suspicious of strangers. At home, they are playful and affectionate family dogs who never really lose their puppyish charm.

The loyal and affectionate Puli may be the perfect pet for you
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Exercise and trainability

Herding dogs as a group are known for their trainability and intelligence, and Puli dogs are no exception. Pulik are quick learners, but they do need a firm hand. Perceived weakness is an opportunity for a Puli to take charge of the situation, creating potential problems for lax owners. Pulik enjoy having a job to do and require daily exercise and stimulation — these dogs are not couch potatoes.

The loyal and affectionate Puli may be the perfect pet for you
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Health and nutrition

While Pulik are susceptible to common dog health problems like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, eye disease and degenerative myelopathy, responsibly bred and well cared-for dogs typically live long and healthy lives. Feeding them a high-quality diet and providing regular exercise will help your Puli get the most out of their 10 to 15-year lifespan.

The loyal and affectionate Puli may be the perfect pet for you
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Puli appearance

Beneath their corded fur, Pulik are agile, active, medium-sized dogs, averaging 16 to 17 inches at the shoulder in height. The AKC accepts black, gray and white as the standard colors, although other variations do occur.

The loyal and affectionate Puli may be the perfect pet for you
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Puli grooming

Their distinctive cords are composed of the outer layer and a dense, wool-like undercoat that insulates them from heat and cold. Puli puppies' hair cords naturally as they get older, or you can keep their fur trimmed and brushed out. Either way, Puli dogs require daily grooming. Regular baths prevent odor and dirt, but care must be taken to properly dry out the cords with a blower to avoid mildew. If this seems like too much work to you, there is a bright side: Puli dogs don't shed.

The loyal and affectionate Puli may be the perfect pet for you
Image: Mica Quartey/EyeEm/Getty Images

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Is the Puli right for you?

If you are looking for a loyal, active companion to join you on life's adventures, the Puli could be the dog breed for you. Puli owners are dedicated to their dogs' grooming needs and take obedience training seriously. The Puli, like most herding dogs, is better suited for more experienced dog owners, as the breed is both physically strong and strong-willed. Pulik get along well with children and other pets, and their playful personality will charm all of your dog-loving friends.

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