The first ancestor of the Hungarian herding dogs came to the area of today Hungary with migrating Magyars and with their livestock from the area of Ural – Altay around the year 800. The breed that later evolved from this ancient herding dog is known as Puli, which was in 17th and 18th century most likely crossed with German Spitz, French Briard and possibly some other terrier dogs and the result of this crossbreeding was the Pumi. It is important to say, that the Pumi is not a result of planned breeding, but it evolved spontaneously by natural breeding.
2) Separate breed
The Pumi breed is first mentioned by its name in 1815, but it was not viewed as a separate breed, but rather as a regional variant of Puli. It was not until 1921, when the breed was officially recognized as a distinct breed, when Emil Raitsitz wrote a breed standard for Pumi and separated the Pumi and Puli breed. BTW, there is also third, closely related Hungarian sheepdog, which is named Mudi, which was separated from the Puli and Pumi in 1930s.
The main utilization of this breed is herding and they are still used for this purpose to this day. Very often they worked in company of large Hungarian livestock protector dogs like Komondor or Kuvasz, who were protecting the flock, and the Pumi would herd it. And they are naturally good at it, they are alert, quick, agile, endurant, very intelligent, but also independent. They also like to bark and sometimes they nip the livestock. All of these are very important traits for a succesfull herding dog. Sometimes, the Pumi might try to herd kids or other animals as well, but this is vastly influenced by early socialization.
Of course, the Pumi is not only a great herder, but also very good companion dog. It is well suited for active families, who will provide them with plenty of exercise and outdoor walks. But if they have enough exercise, than the Pumi is absolutely loving, loyal and affectionate dog breed who is very fun to be around. With proper socialization they can live with other dogs or pets in the family and they are good playful partners for older kids as well. Overall, this is excellent active family pet.
Thanks to the playful and positive nature of this breed, Hungarians sometimes nickname this dog as „the clown“, which also fits perfectly for the dogs tufted ears. And indeed, Pumi stays playful and active well into their late adulthood. Another name how this dog is sometimes named is Hungarian herding terrier, which is mostly thanks to the terrier like alertness, speed and terrier like body. And interesting fact is, that the plural form of Pumi is not Pumis, but Pumik.
The Pumi is squared, athletic dog breed with long head, semi erect ears, black nose and dark eyes, with average height between 40-45 cm, which is 16-18 inch and weight is usually between 10-13 kg, which is 22-29 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
One of the most distinctive feature of Pumi is definitely its unique wavy or curly coat. The coat is actually a combination of wavy and curly hair forming curls all over the body. It is a doublecoat which provides good protection against harsh weather. The Pumi can have various colors but must always be of one solid colour. Most commonly the Pumi is born black, but as it grows, it changes the color into grey. The adult Pumik can also be white, fawn or black, rarely brown or mottled.
Great fact is, that the Pumi is almost non shedding breed. They can shed a little, but its definitely nothing terrible. Thanks to that, they can be good fit for people suffering from allergies, as there is a chance that they will not trigger the allergy. But it is important to say, that there is no such thing as 100% hypoallergenic dog, as they always produce some dander and salive and you should always spend some time with the breed before getting it so you are sure it will not trigger the allergies.
Speaking of the coat and shedding, it is important to mention the maintenance as well and luckily, it is not terribly hard. The hair requires a relatively low maintenance, grooming by raking or combing about every two to three weeks, which will eliminate any tangling and matting. Just like with all dogs, you should also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Pumi is usually pretty healthy dog breed with average lifespan around 13 or 14 years, which is quite good. Just like all the breeds, even the Pumi may suffer from some health issues, such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, lens luxation, different allergies or degenerative myelopathy.