Dating the early origin of the Hungarian Puli is difficult, with references being made to Ancient Rome and Central Asia. It is generally thought that the Puli was introduced to Hungary by Magyar invaders nearly 1,000 years ago, although breed records suggest a much older lineage. Highly valued by nomadic shepherds, the Puli was utilised in herding and guarding livestock, working alongside the much larger Komondor. Whilst the Komondor guarded the flocks at night, the Hungarian Puli would keep watch during the day, alerting the Komondor if predators or thieves were detected. Officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1936. Following the Second World War, the Puli lost considerable favour, never regaining its earlier popularity.
Distinctive in appearance due to its profuse corded coat, the Puli was well adapted to its earlier employments, capable of defending livestock from predators without the threat of serious injury, protected, as it was, by its dense coat. The breed is further characterised by a low, solid frame, short limbs and domed head. The coat typically lengthens with age, although the modern owner will clip it, especially if living under warm climates. Commonly coloured black, grey or apricot, with a rarer variation seen in white. The non-shedding coat requires moderate maintenance if corded, needing to be separated out by hand. Due to its dense nature, bathing is easy yet drying can take up to a couple of days.
A docile and loyal breed, the Puli is highly compatible with children and other house pets. Wilful and difficult to manage if untrained, the Puli requires firm leadership, early socialisation and consistent obedience training from puppyhood in order to adapt well to domestic living. Fun-loving, energetic and enthusiastic, the Puli makes an entertaining addition to family life, needing moderate exercise and mental stimulation. On average, a fully grown Puli will weigh 9-16 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 12 years.
Due to the inherent hardiness of the Hungarian Puli, specific ailments are rarely observed and, as a breed, it is not susceptible to any genetic diseases.