Pumi

Canis lupus

Last updated: August 9, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Kerrie T/Shutterstock.com

Pumik developed their loud bark to communicate with shepherds at long distances.


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Pumi Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Pumi Locations

Pumi Locations

Pumi Facts

Fun Fact
Pumik developed their loud bark to communicate with shepherds at long distances.
Temperament
Hard-working, excitable
Diet
Omnivore

Pumi Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Grey
  • Red
  • Black
  • Silver
  • Sandy
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
12 to 13 years
Weight
33 lbs

Pumi as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
High
Separation Anxiety
High
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
Moderate
Pure bred cost to own
$2,000 - $3,000
Dog group
Herding
Male weight
27-29 lbs
Female weight
22-24 lbs

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The Pumi is one of three different types of Hungarian sheepdogs recognized by breeders. The other two are the Mudi and Puli, the latter of which the Pumi is a descendant of.

The Pumi — referred to in the plural as the Pumik — wasn’t recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club until 2016, but its stuffed animal appearance and larger-than-life personality are winning it a lot of fans. Hailing from Hungary, the Pumi has both the personality and the stature of a terrier, and their role as breeders means that they have a tendency to develop bossy personalities. Give these herding dogs something to do and you can count on them to meet and exceed your expectations. But leave them to their own devices, and you can expect them to get into some serious trouble.

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This is a breed that demands a lot from its owners, but they’ll pay you back with their fierce sense of loyalty, their relentless work ethic, and their infectious optimism.

The Pumi’s coat consists of 50 percent soft hair and 50 percent harsher hair.

History of the Breed

Two Pumi dogs lying on a dog matress.

The Pumi dog was developed in the 17th or 18th century.

©Jne Valokuvaus/Shutterstock.com



The Pumi has been around for quite some time, having originated in Hungary around the 17th or 18th century, and is a descendent of the Puli, a breed that is believed to have been introduced in Hungary about 1,000 years ago. The development of the rare herding Pumi dogs began by mixing the ancestral Puli-type herding dogs, which are said to be the Pomeranian Schafpudel, a sheep poodle, with German herding spitz, the Hütespitz (considered an extinct breed), as well as terriers.

Types of Pumi

Puli dog outside on grass.

Puli dogs have long hair that forms into tight curls and waterproof cords.

Health and Entertainment for your Pumi

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©iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

While there is only one type of Pumi, there are three distinct herding breeds that are indigenous to Hungary. These three distinct breeds were identified in the 20th century based on their characteristics and traits. These breeds are:

  • Puli – the original herding dog; identified first and found throughout the eastern Hungarian plains.
  • Pumi – found in the hilly regions of western Hungary.
  • Mudi – found throughout southern Hungary and bares a closer resemblance to its Hütespitz ancestors.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Pumi

Pumik are adorable, but that’s not reason enough to make them a part of your family. If you’re considering tracking down breeders for this Hungarian dog, here’s what you should know.

Pros!Cons!
Their sharp minds and desire for purpose make them well-suited to a variety of tasks. Whether you’re looking for a guard dog or an exterminator, these canines can prove surprisingly helpful around the house.Their highly communicative nature often translates into shrill barks. These dogs are vocal, and that’s unlikely to change completely even with behavioral training.
They’re healthy dogs that aren’t particularly prone to any serious health issues.They can be highly excitable, requiring a great deal of attention both in the form of physical exertion and socialization.
They communicate well and are generally eager to learn more tricks and tasks.They’re inclined to suffer from bad separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods of time.

Size and Weight

Pumi isolated on white background.

A pumi is going to stand at a height of roughly a foot and a half tall, and its weight can vary.

©iStock.com/vauvau

Pumik have huge personalities, but they lean towards the smaller end of medium-sized when compared to other dogs. Males are slightly larger than females, and they have a few extra pounds on their bodies to compensate. On average, a pumi is going to stand at a height of roughly a foot and a half tall, and their weight can vary from about 22 to almost 30 pounds depending on their size and their gender.

Height (Male) 16 – 18.5″ tall
Height (Female) 15 – 17.5″ tall
Weight (male) 27 – 29 lbs, fully grown
Weight (female) 22 – 24 lbs, fully grown

Common Health Issues

Pumi close-up

Some pumik also carry the gene for a disease known as degenerative myelopathy, but you can determine whether or not your particular canine possesses it with genetic testing.

©Kerrie T/Shutterstock.com

Pumik rank among one of the healthier breeds, likely in part because these miniature Hungarian sheepdogs haven’t been over-bred like some of their purebred counterparts. Still, there are a couple of health conditions that are common to this Hungarian dog. Also common in terrier breeds like the miniature bull terrier and fox terrier, primary lens luxation is a relatively common but manageable eye condition that can lead to blindness if untreated. Some pumik also carry the gene for a disease known as degenerative myelopathy, but you can determine whether or not your particular canine possesses it with genetic testing. They’re also prone to hip dysplasia — a common condition in dogs that results in a deformed bone.

Here are the conditions to keep an eye out for to ensure your dog has a healthy lifespan:

  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Primary lens luxation
  • Hip dysplasia

Temperament

Herding dogs have a tendency to be hyperactive, agile, and whip-smart — and pumik are no exception. And while they can be standoffish to strangers and other animals when they just meet them, they show a bright and loving personality to the people they choose to let into their lives. These are not a dog for families that just like to lay around, nor is it one for people who aren’t willing to put in the effort to set boundaries. As a herding dog, they’ve gained the tendency to be bossy — and they’ll extend that bossiness to you if you give them half a chance.

How To Take Care of a Pumi

Pumik can require a bit more care than the average dog, but this breed tends to reward that effort with its own diligent work ethic and overgrown affection. Here’s what you need to know to care for Pumik from the time they’re puppies all the way through the length of their lifespan.

The Best Dog Food for Pumik

Rarest Dogs: Pumi

Make sure that you’re feeding them the right food for their age and that you’re using high-quality food with a decent amount of meat content.

©iStock.com/slowmotiongli

Pumik don’t come with any particular dietary restrictions, but you may want to seek out food that’s designed for more active dogs. Make sure that you’re feeding them the right food for their age and that you’re using high-quality food with a decent amount of meat content. Treats can be a great way to reward behavior and train Pumik, but be careful that treats don’t become a de facto replacement for a real meal.

Degenerative myelopathy is a heartbreaking condition for dogs like Pumik to go through. So when looking for the right dog food, Pumi owners should prioritize dog food nutrients that are essential to the nervous system.

This is why A-Z Animals thinks NUTRO ULTRA Small & Toy Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is a perfect food for the Pumi.

Because this dog food provides potassium to support nerve-pulse transmission, manganese for neurological function, thiamine (vitamin B1) for neural tissue, and copper for myelin formation. Plus, the calcium fortifies Pumik’s cartilage and bones and Vitamin A contributes to healthy eyes and vision.

Pick up a bag of Nutro Ultra Small Breed Dry Adult Dog Food on Chewy and Amazon today.

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Maintenance And Grooming

The uniquely curly coat of Pumik is made up of a combination of soft and wiry hairy, and these hairs winding together cause the coat to puff up. But there’s no need to worry if that curly hair is intimidating, as Pumik require little in the way of grooming. These dogs rarely shed, and they only need to be combed every three to six weeks. Be sure to get the fur wet after combing to make sure the fur curls back up. A semi-regular trim should be performed to keep the fur neat, but only do it after the fur has curled again to keep the length consistent.

Training

Pumi jumping over an obstacle on an agility course.

Pumik love having a task to perform and engage actively in training.

©Jne Valokuvaus/Shutterstock.com

Pumik are smart dogs, but that also means they have a tendency to overthink. This can quickly lead to them developing their own habits — and their stubborn nature ensures that these habits can be hard to break. Fortunately, Pumik love having a task to perform and engage actively in training. Their intelligence can sometimes get the best of them, however, and they can grow bored with the same tasks over and over again. Making sure that you find the right motivation to keep them engaged and offer some variety in their training will lead to significantly more successful results.

Exercise

Cute Hungarian Pumi shepherd dog enjoying outdoors in spring.

Active play is a necessity, and Pumik are particularly prone to enjoying fetch.

©Angyalosi Beata/Shutterstock.com

Pumik were raised to manage entire herds of sheep and cattle, so it only makes sense that they’re highly active dogs. You should be walking your Pumi regularly, but these dogs require diversity in their playtime. Built to be nimble, they excel at agility tasks and can make great performers. Even if you keep your Pumi engaged, you can expect them to climb over, under, and around everything in your home. Active play is a necessity, and Pumik are particularly prone to enjoying fetch. Frisbees and balls will get a lot of use in a home with this breed.

Puppies

A Pumi can be a handful fully grown, and that’s doubly true of puppies. Highly social with the people they bond with and incredibly active, you can count on your new Pumi puppy to require a lot of your time. Socialization should start early, as these dogs tend to naturally be shy and hesitant about animals and people that they haven’t met before. Obedient, training should be adopted early and consistently, as Pumik will push back against training if the process isn’t thorough and devoted. Pay special attention to noise training, as these dogs are very vocal — and very shrill — by nature.

Pumi And Children

Pumi running down a path covered in leaves

Early and persistent training can reduce the likelihood of them herding and nipping at the heels of smaller children.

©Barita/Shutterstock.com

Curious, vibrant, and friendly, Pumik can be great with kids if properly socialized. Starting them off as puppies and making sure that the children they interact with know the proper etiquette for dealing with dogs can go a long way toward ensuring a harmonious relationship with Pumik and the kids in your household. It is always important to remember that these are herding dogs through and through, and they may have a tendency to treat children as their flock. Early and persistent training can reduce the likelihood of them herding and nipping at the heels of smaller children.

Dogs Similar to Pumi

Pumik have only recently gotten attention throughout the world, but this breed dates back a long time in their native Hungary, and they share obvious similarities with quite a few breeds. These similarities can be most dramatically seen when comparing these dogs to the Corgi, Puli, and Berger Picard.

  • Puli – The similarly named Puli is actually believed to be a descendant of the Pumi. As a smaller variety of herding dog, they’re known for their unique coats which resemble a large and dense bundle of yarn.
  • Berger Picard – Pumik are believed to share a lineage with French herding dogs like the Berger Picard. These larger dogs have the same confidence and work ethic of the Pumi, but they tend to have a more mellow personality, making them appropriate for less active homes.
  • Corgi – The Corgi is technically two separate breeds, but both share the size, purpose, and energetic optimism of the Pumi. They may not have the same woolly coats, but they’re plenty adorable in their own right.

Here are some popular names for Pumi:

  • Apollo
  • Toby
  • Felix
  • Angel
  • Sheba
  • Zara

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Melissa Bauernfeind was born in NYC and got her degree in Journalism from Boston University. She lived in San Diego for 10 years and is now back in NYC. She loves adventure and traveling the world with her husband but always misses her favorite little man, "P", half Chihuahua/half Jack Russell, all trouble. She got dive-certified so she could dive with the Great White Sharks someday and is hoping to swim with the Orcas as well.

Pumi FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Pumi good with kids?

Kids love the boisterous personalities of Pumik, and these dogs tend to get along well with kids in return. Just be sure that they get the training they need, as they can develop the habit of herding children, which can involve some light nipping and barking.

How long does a Pumi live?

Pumik rank among the healthier purebred dogs. With appropriate care, you can expect a lifespan of 12 to 13 years.

What is a pumi dog?

This Hungarian breed is a sort of miniature sheepdog. They’re highly intelligent, hard-working dogs with big and bubbly senses of personality. Only recently introduced to the world stage, they’re still a fairly rare breed.

How much is a Pumi?

Pumik are still rare dogs, and breeders can be difficult to find in the United States. That has a dramatic effect on their price as well. The price for a new puppy is approximately $2,000 to $3,000. This price doesn’t include maintenance costs which can run you an extra $1,000 to $1,500 a year.

What type of dog is a Pumi?

Pumik are smaller sheepdogs that come from Hungary. They combine the adorable look of a stuffed animal with an active and hard-working temperament.

Are Pumi dogs good family dogs?

Pumik are great for active families, but keep in mind that they’re a big responsibility. If they can get the attention they need, they can be loving and devoted family dogs.

Are Pumi dogs easy to train?

Pumi is eager to learn and whip-smart, and that usually translates into easy training. However, keep in mind that they bore easily, so you’ll want to maintain variety in your lessons and exercises.

Does a Pumi shed?

Pumi don’t shed naturally, but they do lose some hair when they’re groomed. You should make a habit of brushing your Pumi once every three to six weeks.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://akc.org/dog-breeds/pumi
  2. Dog Breeds List, Available here: https://www.dogbreedslist.info/all-dog-breeds/pumi.html
  3. Vetstreet, Available here: http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/pumi
  4. Hungarian Pumi Club of America, Available here: https://pumiclub.org/

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