Pumi dogs, like the Puli dog breed, originated in Hungary. The Pumi (plural Pumik) were first bred in the 17thor 18th century and differ from other Hungarian herding dogs owing to their square build and curly coats. Find out whether the Pumi is a good addition to your family.
Cool facts about the Pumi
- The words Puli and Pumi are often used interchangeably although they are two distinct breeds.
- Pumik are a result of the cross between some French and German herding dogs, a terrier breed, and the Puli dogs.
- The AKC recognized the Pumi as a separate dog breed only in 2011 and as a herding class in 2016.
- Pumi are excellent herders of livestock and they have also become excellent additions as household pets.
- The origins of the word Pumi are unknown. However, Dr. Emil Raitsis, the ‘Father of Preservation of all Hungarian Breeds’ described the Pumi as a sheepdog terrier.
- In the early days of the breed, they were often compared to their more attractive cousin Puli who had a more majestic appearance. As a result, the Pumi was virtually unknown until a few dogs were sent to Finland where they quickly gained popularity as agility dogs. Soon they had interested buyers in Germany, France, and other European nations.
- The Hungarian Pumi Club of America was formed in 2005. These dogs are still quite rare in the United States but they are slowly gaining popularity as show dogs, sports dogs, and even as multi-purpose farm dogs. Many just keep them as house pets.
- Pumi can be described as a sheepdog with a terrier head. They are medium, squarely-built dogs with a well-muscled, lean body and narrow terrier-like head.
- Pumi comes with a high-set tail, erect ears, and thick curly coats.
- Typical Pumi colors are black, gold, gray, fawn, and cream with or without small white markings on the chest and toes.
- The herding dog’s height is between 38-47 cm (15-19 inches) and weight is between 8-15 kilo.
Don’t let his endearing looks fool you; this is a high-energy dog that is reactive and prey-driven. In the hands of an experienced owner, he can work very well and perform many tasks on the farm. Pumik are intelligent, quick-learners, and extremely motivated dogs. They are loyal dogs and they love spending time with their families. However, they are, by nature wary of strangers and will be aloof with them. Pumik are good with children but their strong herding instincts may drive them to herd the kids.
As watchdogs, Pumik are quite efficient. They will bark loudly if they see any strangers in the vicinity. Their protective and alert nature makes them highly suspicious of anything or anyone out of the ordinary. Socialize your Pumi from his early puppyhood. This is a breed that needs an experienced owner who can keep up with his high-energy levels. Without training and socialization, your Pumi may try to challenge you and you certainly want to avoid that.
As far as other household pets are concerned, Pumik may not get along well. However, early socialization can help change that. Avoid keeping small pets like hamsters around Pumik; after all, they are ratters and they won’t hesitate to chase, even kill.
Where to find a Pumi
The AKC puppy finder for Pumiks is a good place to start your search. You can also try adopting one from the shelters. However, this is a relatively rare breed in the US. Therefore, finding Pumi rescues may be difficult. You could visit the Hungarian Pumi Club website. They give out information about Pumi-related shows and events. Find a registered breeder through the Club and speak to them. Be prepared to wait it out for your Pumi puppy; the wait time could be in months or years.
When you visit the breeder’s kennels, assess the reason behind the breeder’s breeding program. Make sure they are in it for the welfare of the breed and not just for the money. Ask several questions about raising a Pumi puppy. Find out what constitutes a good diet for Pumik. Try and assess the temperament of the dogs, especially that of your potential puppy’s parents. The average price of a Pumi puppy is between $1500 to $2000 depending on the breeder and the pup’s pedigree.
Pumik are intelligent dogs and they love to work with their owners. They are highly motivated and love it when they are given a job to do. Without lots of exercise, they are prone to separation anxiety, lots of barking, destructiveness, and aggression. So make sure you find the time to exercise your pet at least twice a day. With the right owner, Pumik make excellent ratters, watchdogs, and herders. They are especially happy on a farm where they can drive or move sheep. In Hungary, they are also used for herding cattle and pigs.
Training your Pumi
As far as training goes, Pumi can be a demanding breed. They combine the traits of terriers and herding dogs, so careful training is a must. An untrained Pumi will challenge his owner and might even try to herd pets and children in the house! They also need tons of socialization to people and other dogs.
Start training your pet as soon as you bring him home. The first thing to do is house-train him. Show your puppy where it is okay to eliminate. You could go for crate training and housetraining at the same time. Take your puppy outside several times a day. This way, he can relieve himself and soon learn that it isn’t okay to do so indoors. You may also want to enroll your pet in puppy kindergarten or obedience classes. Dog training experts know how to train stubborn dog breeds and they also give you the tools and skills which you need to implement at home. Pumik do well in agility courses as well. Always keep your home-training sessions short and sweet. This is necessary to keep your puppy’s attention and make him look forward to the sessions. End each session with plenty of reward and praise.
Grooming a Pumi
A Pumi’s coat should appear shaggy; not corded or smooth. Do not trim it anywhere other than the face and legs. The coat also needs brushing once a week and stripping and trimming once every three months. A professional groomer can help you out. No dog is 100% hypoallergenic and the same is the case with the Pumi.
Pumik are healthy dogs having a life expectancy of 10-12 years. Some are even known to live up to 17 years! Common health concerns in the breed are patella luxation and hip dysplasia. These health records have been mostly based on Pumik bred in Finland and Sweden. 80% of the dogs here have healthy hips.