The Puli can see quite well even with those cords hanging over the eyes. In a way, it’s like looking through vertical window blinds, and since the cords move as the Puli does, the view is even better. An old Hungarian saying is “The Puli, through his hair, sees better than you.”
Still, in both Obedience and Agility, it is allowed to tie up the hair out of the eyes (in a bunch with an elastic band). For Obedience, this allows the handler to see where the Puli is looking before giving a command. For Agility, the Puli’s peripheral vision is improved a bit, and this is worth a lot during a fast run.
How long does it take to grow that long coat?
It normally takes four to five years to grow the coat to the ground. And since a full coat is so striking in the ring, an interesting side-effect is that many a Puli who finishes (gets an AKC Championship) as a youngster will go off to do other activities for a couple of years while the coat grows out. It’s a great time to get a herding title and compete in Obedience and Agility. Then, just when some other breeds are beginning to retire from the showring, the Puli comes out as a Special and might compete between the ages of four or five until reaching nine or ten years of age.
No, the cords begin to form naturally when the puppy is about nine months old. Depending on the amount of mixture of soft and wirery hair, by twelve months it can be impossible to stop the cording, even if you think you want a brushed Puli. Now, the Puli’s human does have to watch the cording process, making sure newly-formed cords are separated (opened up) to the skin. Otherwise the hair can begin to form a solid matt which won’t look good, and won’t allow air to get to the skin. But this opening of cords to the skin merely assists a very natural process.
It doesn’t take much longer to bathe a fully corded Puli compared to any other long-haired dog. You do have to be sure to soak the coat well before soaping up, and you have to rinse and rinse the soap off to protect the skin. But then the fun starts, because drying the Puli may take several hours. Many humans gently wring out the cords a bit, then they may use towels to squeeze out more dampness, then on to the non-heat professional hair dryer for a session of gently drying your Puli while singing or talking to him. There are many clever variations to the process, but they all involve a number of hours.
It’s important to get that coat dry, because leaving it damp can lead to mildew.
The good news is that for some reason, the Puli doesn’t develop that typical “doggie” odor, and really, a Puli probably doesn’t require as many baths as most other breeds. And at the show, it doesn’t take long to get an already clean Puli ready for the ring.
The Puli is a purebred dog native to Hungary and not a mixed breed. It is actually an ancient breed and its history goes back at least 2000 years to regions in Asia. Some believe there is evidence a dog similar to the Puli existed 6000 years ago. Others believe the Puli derived some 2000 years ago from Tibetan Terrier stock. In any case, the Puli is an ancient and proud herding breed.
The lifespan of a Puli averages between 10 and 15 years.
Reputable breeders test their breeding stock for the usual problems that can occur in most any breed. Breeders who are members of the Puli Club of America agree to the club’s guidelines, which include the following:
CHIC testing to determine that breeding stock is free of inheritable disease. PCA required CHIC testing includes:
- OFA or Penn Hip for hips
- OFA for patella
- OFA Degenerative Myelopathy (DNA test)
- CERF (Canine Eye Registry) to be updated every 3 years
Additional tests that can be performed, but are not required, include:
- OFA for elbows
- OFA for cardiac
- OFA for thyroid
- BAER (hearing) test
If you are considering getting a Puli, ask the breeder if they test for these conditions, in particular the club’s required tests.