The Puli is quite a unique breed of dog, surrounded by a wealth of myths and pseudo-truths, their background is steeped in mystery and debate. Their quirky nature is partly to thank for the fact that there is no shortage of surprising stories and little known facts about the breed. Here are some things you might not know about the Hungarian Puli:
With the exception of carefully groomed show dogs, Pulis tend to have wild manes of hair covering their faces, and as silly as it sounds, there is a common misconception that Pulis can't see. It is true, however, that their mane might hinder their peripheral vision, and Puli owners are advised not to startle the dog by sneaking up from the sides.
There are a lot of myths regarding the origin of the breed. They are commonly misrepresented as being related to Tibetan terriers or even being poodle half breeds. The Puli is actually classified as its own, unique breed (some Puli enthusiasts even prefer to view the Puli as its own animal altogether!) whose origin is debated to go back anywhere from 1,000 to 8,000 years ago. Veterinarians and other animal experts attest to the fact that there are no unique similarities between Pulik and any other breed.
Hungarian migrants are credited as the first Puli lovers, though it's widely disputed as to whether they bred the dogs themselves or if they discovered the breed in their travels. Nevertheless, it was in Hungary that shepherds first trained, bred and generally developed the breed for the purpose of sheep dog work.
The Puli's trademark cords of hair can be brushed out if the owner makes sure to maintain the straight look from the earliest stages, but the brushed look is only officially recognized by the American Kennel Club standard and might disqualify the dog from competition in most other countries.
While less common today than a hundred years ago, the Puli can still be found in England, Scotland, the United States and of course, Hungary (where their status approaches 'sacred') herding sheep side by side with their human counterparts.
Formally, the plural of Puli is not Puli's, but Pulik. Both are widely used and grammatically correct, but Pulik is preferred by most Puli enthusiasts and certainly by any Puli purist.
Partly to thank for the high capability and intelligence of the breed is the fact that the Hungarian shepherds who bred the dog couldn't afford to feed and take care of the weaker dogs of the litter. Sadly, these dogs had to be euthanized. As tragic as this may sound, this 'survival of the fittest' philosophy is exactly why the breed are such strong, smart, capable workers today.