Rare Breed Profile: The Hungarian Pumi

I’m a firm believer in biodiverisity. Variety is the spice of life, after all! For that reason, I’ve decided to start occasionally profiling a rare breed on Petlvr: The Blog, in hopes of encouraging dog lovers who’ve decided on a purebred dog to investigate rarer dogs. Of course, I always encourage adoption as a first choice for most pet parents, but for those who want a purebred, owning a rare breed can be fun. It’s a great conversation starter, too!

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Hungarian Pumi!

Pumi Dog by Lake
Pumi Dog by Lake

Photo by Voff.

If you love the look and attitude of spunky terriers like the Wheaten Terrier, but enjoy the energy and intelligence of herding breeds, the Pumi (not to be confused with the Puli, another Hungarian breed) might be your perfect dog. The breed originated in Hungary and was originally developed to herd sheep. Although the Pumi is first and foremost a herding breed, its terrier traits are more than skin deep. Like many terrier breeds, the Pumi also eagerly combats rodents and other prey, even wild boar, and can easily learn to hunt by scent.

Allergy sufferers like Malia Obama might also consider a Pumi the perfect pet. Its harsh, curly topcoat and soft undercoat grow continuously, but the dog has little or no shedding, making it potentially less likely to trigger dog allergies. No breed is truly “hypoallergenic,” but breeds like the Pumi and Poodle with coats that do not shed are generally more likely to be compatible with owners who have dog allergies.

Pumis aren’t perfect for everyone, however. The high energy levels of a herding breed, combined with the boldness and confidence of a terrier, make the Pumi a dog not suited for a meek pet parent or a couch potato owner. They need frequent, high intensity exercise to stay calm. Obedience training is mandatory for this breed. Without training and frequent practice, they may become defiant and ignore commands. Like all herding breeds, Pumis are happiest when they have work to do, whether it’s herding, hunting, or something else.

If you think a Pumi might be the right dog for you, answer the following questions:

  • Can you commit to exercising a Pumi every day?
  • Would your Pumi have a job, like hunting with a member of the family, competing in dog agility, or taking herding lessons?
  • Will you take an obedience class with my Pumi and reinforce lessons at home with at least one short training session daily?
  • Are you willing either to learn to groom a Pumi at home or to pay for professional trimming and grooming every 8-16 weeks?
  • Can you wait anywhere from a few months to 2 years to add a Pumi to your family? Rare breeds can be hard to find, and good breeders have long waiting lists.
  • If you choose to get a Pumi from a breeder, will you commit to keeping the breeder updated on the dog’s health and temperament, to help the breeder make better decisions in breeding future Pumi generations?
  • Can you afford treatment for hip dysplasia or patellar luxation if necessary, both of which are unfortunately fairly common in Pumis?
  • Can you commit to the care and keeping of a Pumi for at least 12-15 years?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above, consider contacting the Hungarian Pumi Club of America and locating a Pumi fancier in your area who can introduce you in person to the breed.

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