- Breed group — Herding Group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 15-17.5 inches (females), 16-18.5 inches (males)
- Weight — 22-24 pounds (females), 27-29 pounds (males)
- Coat length & texture — Corkscrew curled, medium-length coat
- Coat color — White, silver-gray, gray, black, fawn, born gray, and born brown meet the Pumi breed standard. Markings may include black and tan or brindle.
- Exercise needs — High
- Intelligence —High
- Barking — To alert
- Life span — 12-13 years
- Temperament — Spirited, active, affectionate, and playful
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — Hungary
Pumi fun facts
- The pumi was first bred as a working dog in. Don’t be fooled by the curly hair, king head, erect ears, and big brown eyes. Pumi dogs are descendants of Hungarian herding terrier breeds and were born to work.
- The breed name is pronounced POO-mee. When talking about more than one, the plural of pumi is pumik.
- The pumi is a rare breed in the United States. However, the distinct breed is popular abroad, and today is Finland’s most popular Hungarian herding dog,
Pumi temperament and characteristics
If there were a “cutest dog breed” award, many would consider the pumi to be a strong contender. The curly coat and dark, round eyes aren’t the breed’s only adorable characteristics. The affectionate pups love snuggles and being playful and loving with their human families.
The pumi is a lively and energetic dog. As a herding breed first developed to do a job, a pumi craves activity and plenty of physical and mental stimulation. The breed is best suited for prospective owners committed to filling their days and years with plenty of play and walks.
Pumi dogs can get along with young children, other dogs, and cats, but not always. A local shelter, rescue, or reputable breeder can tell you more about the specific pumi you want to welcome into your family, whether that be a puppy, adult, or senior dog.
The breed is known for its vigilance and will bark to alert. A pumi is generally open to strangers but may be a bit standoffish, particularly at first — don’t expect the pups to be the life of the party.
Common pumi health problems
No one wants to think of their pet getting sick, especially when bringing them home as a puppy. A pumi can provide families with love and fun for a long time. However, the breed is prone to a few health conditions. Understanding these conditions is a good way to empower pet parents to seek prompt care and improve outcomes.
- Degenerative myelopathy. This condition is similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in humans and is a degenerative disease that affects the spinal cord. The Hungarian Pumi Club of America (HPCA) says some pumik are genetically predisposed and can produce puppies with the condition.
- Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a joint condition that occurs when the hip ball and socket don’t develop as they should. It can cause pain and mobility issues.
- Primary lens luxation. Another inherited canine eye condition, primary lens luxation, happens to dogs whose eye lens detaches or moves from the normal location.
- Patellar luxation. Pumik are susceptible to this common canine knee condition. It occurs when the kneecap pops out of its standard spot and can cause lameness.
👉The HPCA recommends responsible breeders perform DNA tests for primary lens luxation and degenerative myelopathy before breeding pumik puppies.
Cost of caring for a pumi
Health costs will vary based on the condition your dog has and even the location in which you reside. Hip dysplasia surgery can cost $3,500 to $7,000 per side, including pre-surgical bloodwork. Primary lens luxation can be treated with surgery, costing $500 to $3,000 per eye. Dogs with patellar luxation may need long-term medications, which may run from $20-$50 monthly. Some may require knee surgery, totaling $1,500 to $3,000 per knee.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure or treatment for degenerative myelopathy.
Health insurance may be a good way to lower out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance provides the most significant benefits to pet parents who sign up their pups early. Other ways to reduce health costs instead of or in addition to insurance include developing a budget and starting a pet savings account.
History of the Pumi
Generally, the pumi is considered one of three sheepdog breeds first hailing from Hungary. The other two are the puli, believed to be the oldest, having been around since about 800 AD, and the mudi. About three or four centuries ago, breeders likely interbred the puli with Western European herding dogs and terriers, and the pumi was born. It took a long time for the pumi to be recognized as a distinct breed. Until around the early 1900s, the pumi was simply thought of as a regional variant of the puli. Noble and quick, pumik gained reputations as capable sheepherders who could move flocks through narrow roads between pastures in western Hungary.
Emil Raitsits, a professor at the Hungarian University of Veterinary Medicine, was one of the leaders who pushed for separate breed standards for the puli and pumi in the early 20th century. It took a long time for the U.S. to record its first pumi. That happened in the 1980s, though the breed likely has been here longer. The AKC officially recognized the pumi in 2016 as a member of the Herding Group. The modern pumi remains active and needs mental stimulation but is also keen to take on a new role as a family pet.
Caring for your Pumi
Pumik are lively and loving dogs, but caring for a new puppy can be an overwhelming experience at first. Your to-do list gets longer, with a trip to the vet and scheduling your dog’s vaccinations at the top of it.
Pumi are curious animals. Though eager to please, they’ll benefit from a puppy-proofed home, especially initially as they get the lay of their new land. If you’re bringing home a pumi puppy, you’ll want to prepare to keep the dog comfortable during teething.
No one wants to worry about losing their new dog, but FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared — just in case. Here are some other basics to help you prepare for prospective pumi parenthood.
Though modern pumi love to snuggle, they remain a herding breed. As such, the dog has a desire to work. No real gig to grant them? That’s OK. Keeping a pumi mentally and physically engaged with plenty of exercise and enrichment will help. Long walks are a great way to keep your dog physically active throughout the year. These dogs may look like balls of curly-cue fur, but they’re game for year-round exercise.
You’ll want to take a few precautions, such as washing their paws after walks when sidewalks are covered in salt in the winter. It’s always essential to provide your dog with plenty of fresh water, but even more important to keep an eye on their bowl when playing and walking on warmer days.
Pumik are fast and nimble, making them a good fit for agility courses. Puzzle toys can also help entertain a pumi by making them “find” a treat.
The pumi’s coat is half soft, half harsh, and totally curly. It requires regular upkeep, including a good comb every three to six weeks. After combing the hair, wet the coat so it curls again. Then, trim the longer hair so the coat remains neat and one length.
Basic maintenance will also be required. Nail trimming is important. Though broken and hangnails may not seem like a big deal, they can be painful to dogs. Ear cleaning and checks are also a good idea. Check your pet’s ears for dirt about once weekly, but stick to cleaning them every other week and after water exposure, including baths, unless they have allergies or a vet has advised you to perform more frequent cleanings.
Dental disease is one of the most common and preventable issues in pets. Daily toothbrushing is the best preventative measure you can take.
While pumik are considered a good choice for owners with allergies, no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic. Allergic reactions occur due to the protein found in a dog’s dander, hair, and saliva. Dogs that are considered “hypoallergenic” simply shed less and thus have a smaller effect on those with dog allergies.
Diet and nutrition
Older puppies and adult pumik will generally eat twice daily. Your vet is your best resource for food portioning. However, the bag will also contain guidance. Sometimes, bags will provide daily portion sizes, in which case you’ll want to divide by two.
Your dog’s nutritional and caloric needs will depend on their weight, health, and age. However, a 27-pound pumi will need about 794 daily calories.
Training your Pumi
All dogs benefit from training from a young age to help them learn good manners and social skills. The pumi is no exception. Pumik are eager to play and are generally considered one of the easier breeds to train. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right paw:
- Keep it positive — The Humane Society and experts agree that positive reinforcement, like treats and praise, is more effective than raised voices and punishments.
- Stay consistent — Use the same words and/or hand signals whenever you give a command. Everyone in the home should also use these techniques to avoid confusing a dog.
- Keep it short — Commands should be short, such as “sit” and “stay.” As smart as pumik are, they don’t need a lecture on why they should sit.
- Consult your veterinarian — If you’re having training challenges, a vet can connect you with local professional dog trainers or behaviorists.
Breeds similar to the Pumi
Not quite sure that a Pumi is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Cocker spaniel. Cocker spaniels are also mid-sized dogs with lively, affectionate personalities.
- Fox terrier. The high-energy fox terrier is also a fine fit for active families.
- German shepherd. If you’re looking for a larger breed dog with a blue-collar mentality, consider the German shepherd. The breed is also part of the herding group and was born and bred to work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are pumi good family dogs?
When well-trained and socialized, the answer is usually yes. Pumik are affectionate and loyal. But, the breed can be hit or miss with small children or other pets, so you’ll want to speak with a breeder or shelter about the specific pumi you are hoping to bring home. Pumik thrive in active households with families willing to meet their need for physical and mental stimulation.
Do pumi dogs bark a lot?
Yes, pumik are highly vigilant and very vocal.
What are the health issues with pumi dogs?
Pumi dogs can live long and healthy lives but are prone to some health issues, including Hip dysplasia. Degenerative myelopathy, a degenerative disease affecting the spine, and primary lens luxation, a knee condition, are hereditary. A responsible breeder can likely produce a DNA test showing a puppy’s parents are not genetic carriers.
What is a pumi mixed with?
The original pumi was likely a product of the Hungarian herding dog, puli, and Western European herding dogs and terriers. Some German herding dogs may have been used during the pumi’s development. For years, the pumi was considered a regional variant of the puli. That changed around the early 1900s when efforts were made to create two distinct breeds.
What is the general temperament and personality of a pumi dog?
Pumik are known for being incredibly loving and affectionate. They’re also full of energy and require frequent physical and mental stimulation. Pumik are vigilant and will bark frequently. They can be a big standoffish toward strangers. The pumi is usually eager to please, making the breed usually among the easier dog breeds to train.