By Michael Russell
The Pumi is a cattle drover that is used extensively in Hungary and is native to that country. He is prized for his abilities to drive cattle without spooking the herd and to round them up effortlessly, employing techniques similar to that of the Border Collie. Unlike the Border collie he is not a quiet dog and will bark when performing his herding functions and will also bark when alerting against intruders and is valued for this behavior also. The Pumi is a useful and versatile farm dog . With his high spirit and an unquenchable activity level, the Pumi is not a dog for the elderly apartment dweller in any respect. He is a long lived and active dog and seeks to find trouble if he isn’t given a job to do. As a farm dog he will make work for himself rather than just lie about the yard in the sun. If kept in the city he is friendly and personable but does need regular exercise and the family who owns one in the city will find themselves going on long walks twice a day. He is playful and good with children and that is a bonus.
The Pumi is believed to be descended from crosses with the original native Puli and the Hutespitz and Pomeranian dogs that were brought to Hungary during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by traders. Barter was a common form of commerce and good farm dogs held as much value as the sheep and cattle themselves and were often exchanged as much as the livestock. The Hungarian, German and French Spitz breeds were numerous and had considerable impact on the development of the Pumi. The Pumi has always been used as an extension of the shepherd and has always worked with mankind rather than independently. Consequently he is a willing worker , learning quickly and is easy to train.
The Pumi has a perpetual look of surprise because of its ear set. The large ears are standup and slightly lopped over at the top, covered on the backside with short fur. When combined with the square muzzle and curly hair all over the face and body, the Puli has a unique and unforgettable look. The coat is quite short and tightly curled, it grows to perhaps a length of three inches. It is a plush coat, quite soft and seldom needs brushing. The coat does not cord, unlike the coat of his cousin the Puli. Any solid color except white is acceptable. A white Puli may not be used for breeding but can be registered. The history of this coloration is part of the utility of the dogs used for herding or drovers versus the dogs used as flock guards. A dog used as a herding dog needs to be of a color that distinguishes him from the sheep, while a dog that is a flock guard must blend in with the flock and thus surprise the predator who does not suspect that he is present.
The Pumi has recently been entered into the F.S.S. (Foundation Stud Service) of the American Kennel club. This is the first step on the road towards recognition as a registered A.K.C. Breed. The fanciers of the breed in this country consider him as a working dog and he will most likely enter into the A.K.C. as a herding dog. He is presently recognized by the F.C.I. as a member of the herding group.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dogs
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