Don’t be fooled by the Pumi’s adorable corkscrew curls and toy-like exterior—this active, fun-loving pup comes from a long line of working dogs. Their favorite “job,” however, is playtime with you. This curly cutie loves nothing more than to run around and explore, so if you’re partial to spending your free time in the Great Outdoors, you’ve met your match; the Pumi is as high-energy as you are. And if you ever feel a gentle nipping at your ankles, take it as a compliment—you’re part of this herding dog’s flock, after all!
Temperament:Faithful FriendSmart CookieBundle Of Energy
Coat Color:BlackFawnGraySilver GrayWhite
Because of their high energy levels and devotion to their loved ones, the Pumi dog breed is best for active pet parents and families with kids. Ideally, a home with plenty of outdoor space helps them thrive. These playful pups can also live harmoniously with other dogs and cats as long as they were raised together from a young age.
With their alert, playful temperament, the Pumi is always ready for action—especially when it includes their families, toward whom they’re incredibly loyal and affectionate. While they, thankfully, lack aggressive or biting tendencies, they instinctually take their protection detail very seriously. This means noisily alerting their pet parents (and likely the whole neighborhood) to anything and everything in the immediate vicinity. But take heart: With good socialization practices and professional Pumi training, you can reduce excessive barking and overreactions to new situations.
Not exactly social butterflies, Pumik (yes, that’s the plural of Pumi) are quite reserved by nature when it comes to outsiders. All the more reason why it’s important these pups get plenty of socialization, aka positive exposure to all sorts of people and places, starting when they are young dogs. Though they’re still likely to be aloof with strangers, they’ll be more willing to expand that circle of trust beyond their pet parents and immediate family. This is great news for your best friend and the local mailman.
Pumik are great with kids, particularly if introduced at a young age, and will match your toddler in terms of energy. Although they make great playmates, watch out for their tendency to herd (nip at the heels of kids to round them up). That is what they were originally bred for, after all. The medium-sized Pumi may look like a stuffed toy, but they’re strong and built to work hard. While the idea of having your pet round up the whole brood for dinner may sound appealing, the risk of little ankles being nipped means your dog needs to be trained using positive reinforcement such as treats, toys and praise to keep undesired instincts at bay.
And speaking of family—that also includes the furry kind. A Pumi is happy to fit in with dogs, and even cats provided they were all raised together from a young age. Alternately, introducing a Pumi puppy to existing pets is definitely easier than adding an adult Pumi to the mix, with bonus points for starting your pup’s socialization from the start.
Happiest when keeping active with their family, one of Pumik’s strongest traits is their very vocal bark. They will let you know exactly when they’re ready for attention, which, let’s face it, is practically all the time for these people-loving pets. Parents can keep their dog thriving by engaging their Pumi in vigorous activity, indoors or out. Prepare to play fetch for hours on end with your tireless pet. You can also keep them from barking too much with an assortment of chew toys at their disposal.
How to Care for a Pumi
A Pumi pup is relatively easy to maintain in terms of nutritional needs and grooming, with surprisingly minimal attention needed to keep their distinctive curls in great condition. They do, however, need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, so plan to factor in lots of time playing and exercising to create happy life with your Pumi.
With a life expectancy of 12 to 13 years, the Pumi is a relatively healthy breed in general. Regardless, there are a few common health issues they share with most breeds. Luckily, good breeding practices make most issues increasingly rare. It’s wise to educate yourself about any potential health problems so you can keep your pet going strong.
- Hip Dysplasia: There’s a roughly 10 percent incidence of hip dysplasia in Pumik, where the hip joints become unstable and cause pain and mobility issues. Signs of this condition can vary but can include limping, decreased activity and difficulty running or jumping. Luckily, because they’re a relatively lightweight dog, Pumik aren’t as prone to this condition as larger breeds such as German Shepherds or Great Danes. Treatment plans range from supplements to weight reduction to surgery in serious cases.
- Patellar Luxation: When a dog’s kneecap (patella) slips out of its joint, it can cause further problems in the joints, hips and legs. Excess weight can be a factor in luxating patellas, so Pumi weight management is one treatment option. There is also the option of surgery if the problem is more advanced.
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): A disease that affects the spinal cord, DM causes a dog’s hind limbs to become weaker, eventually leading to paralysis. Mainly a disease that occurs in older dogs, it’s something that Pumi breeders test for, though it is very rare for this breed. While there’s currently no effective treatment for DM, there are actions that can help prolong the quality of a dog’s life, such as physical therapy and weight management.
- Primary Lens Luxation (PLL): Just like DM, there is a test for PLL conducted by responsible Pumi breeders. A rare and inherited condition, PLL consists of the lens migrating within the eye, leading to pain, inflammation and potentially, blindness. Thankfully, there are a number of PLL treatment options including surgery and topical or oral medications if inflammation is present.
The Pumi breed originated in Hungary in the 18th century when the oldest Hungarian herding dog breed, the Puli, was crossbred with other Western European herding dogs and terriers to produce what we now know as the Pumi. The interbreeding resulted in intelligent and driven dogs who worked well at herding livestock as well as being a watchdog and guard dog.
Although considered a variety of Puli for many years, at the beginning of the 20th century, a Hungarian breeder decided that a distinction between the two was needed, and thus began a program to standardize both the Puli and the Pumi. In 1921, the breeding program succeeded, and the Pumi was finally considered a separate breed from the Puli.
Despite being a popular breed in their native Hungary as well as in a number of other European countries, the Pumi did not become established in the US until the 21st century. The Hungarian Pumi Club of America (HPCA) was founded in 2005 with the breed becoming fully recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2016.
If you’re looking to start your journey as a Pumi pet parent and are wondering about the Pumi price, you can find reputable Pumi breeders at the AKC’s website, where you can expect to pay around $2,000 to $2,500 for a purebred puppy. For that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. As a relatively new breed, finding Pumik at rescue organizations might not be that easy, but you can find out more about rescuing or fostering Pumik at the HPCA.
Do Pumi dogs shed?
Thankfully, Pumi dogs don’t shed much. (Can you hear your furniture and floors rejoicing?)
Are Pumik good family dogs?
Yes, Pumik are good family dogs. They’re an incredibly loyal breed which makes them excellent family dogs—they love spending time with their family, and they’re known for building strong bonds. They’re good with children, in particular, if the dog and the kids have grown up together, and similarly, they’re good with other dogs and cats, if the right socialization and training have taken place.
Do Pumik bark a lot?
Yes, Pumik do bark a lot. This is one of the Pumi breed’s most well-known characteristics. Instinctually, they are always on the lookout and will be very vocal in alerting their pet parents. However, excessive barking can be curbed with proper training.
Are Pumik aggressive?
No, Pumik are not aggressive dogs. They were bred to herd and guard, not to attack and would often accompany a shepherd during the day, which is one of the reasons they love to be with their people above everything else.
How big do Pumi dogs get?
Pumi dogs are medium-size pups with an average height of 16 inches to 18.5 inches at the shoulder for a male dog and an average height of 15 inches to 17.5 inches at the shouldr for a female dog. Also, their thick coat of corkscrew curls makes them look bigger than they actually are!
The Pumi is a highly intelligent breed with their own opinion on everything—and, boy, will they let you know it! For active pet parents ready and willing to give their Pumi the mental and physical stimulation they need, the reward is a loyal, loving friend. Oh, and did we mention the gorgeous curls?
Expert input provided by veterinarin Dr. Jackie Sehn, (DVM, CVH, VetMFHom) of MercyVet on Mercer Island, Wash., Karen Beattie Massey CPDT – KA, professional dog trainer at MayaLu Training, Argus Ranch, and Kinship dog training, and Chris Levy, Secretary of the Hungarian Pumi Club of America and owner of Abiqua Pumik.
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Top Pumi Names
These are the top Pumi names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!
- Birdie Bee