Pumi Breed Magazine - Showsight

Pumi Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Pumi General Appearance: The Pumi is a medium-sized alert, intelligent, energetic, and agile Hungarian herding breed, originating in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries from the ancestral Puli, and used to herd cattle, sheep, and swine. He is characterized by his square outline, curly coat, circular tail, and long head with semi-erect ears, and whimsical expression. The Pumi originated in Hungary where pastures were small and the livestock were driven to local fields for grazing. He is a versatile stock dog, equally adept at gathering, driving and keeping the stock within boundaries as directed by the shepherd, working very close to the livestock, and using his voice and quick movement to keep the stock under control. Size, Proportion, Substance - The Pumi is square, with the height at the withers equal to the distance from prosternum to buttocks. The bone is medium and the body is dry, lithe and muscular, with an off-standing, curly coat. Size - Dogs are from 16 to 18½ inches, bitches from 15 to 17½ inches. Disqualification - Height ½ inch above or below the desired range . Weight - Ideal weight in dogs is 27 to 29 pounds and in bitches 22 to 24 pounds. Head: Long, with the muzzle 40 to 50 percent of the length of the head. The planes are parallel with a slight stop. Expression is lively and intelligent. Eyes are medium sized, dark brown, deep set, and oval, set moderately wide apart and slightly oblique. The pigment is dark and complete with tightly-fitting eye rims. Ears are set on high, of medium size, and carried two-thirds erect with the tips pointing somewhat towards the sides. The ears are covered with hair, enhancing their whimsical expression. The ears are mobile and alert, moving quickly in reaction to any stimulation. Disqualifications - Ears prick or hanging. Skull is long, moderate in width, with a very slight rounding at the sides and back, but flat when viewed from the side. The occiput is not apparent. Muzzle is strong, tapering to a blunt end at the nose, which is always black in all coat colors. Lips are tight and darkly pigmented, as are the gums. Jaws are strong, with a full complement of well-developed, white teeth that form a scissors bite . Neck, Topline and Body: Neck is of medium length, slightly arched, and well-muscled. The skin at the throat is tight, dry, and without dewlap. Withers pronounced and forming the highest point of the body. Body - The body is smooth and tight with hard, but not bulging muscles, and particularly lean. The back is short, straight, and taut. The loin is short, straight, and firmly coupled. The croup is not too long, slightly sloped, and of medium breadth. The chest is deep, fairly narrow, and extends well back to a moderate tuck-up. The ribs are slightly sprung with a deep brisket reaching to the elbows. The forechest is not pronounced. The depth of the chest is slightly less than 50 percent of the height at the withers. Tail - set high, it arches over the back forming a full circle from base to tip, sitting just on top of the topline. In repose it may hang down. Docking is not permitted nor is a naturally short tail (stump). Forequarters: Shoulders - The shoulders are moderately angulated, with long, well-knit shoulder blades and an upper arm matching in length. The angle formed between the shoulder blade and upper arm should be 100 to 110 degrees. The elbows are tucked firmly against the brisket. The legs are long and straight, with medium bone. The pastern is very slightly sloped. The feet are tight, and round with well-knit toes - a cat foot, with well-cushioned pads. The nails are strong and preferably black or nearly black.

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Hindquarters: The hindquarters are well-developed and muscular, and in balance with the forequarters having moderate angulation. The upper thigh is thick and strong, with a long, strong second thigh. The hocks are short, vertical, and parallel to each other. A vertical line can be drawn from the ischium down to the ground just in front of the rear toes when viewed from the side. Rear dewclaws, if any, may be removed. Hind feet same as the forefeet. Coat: The coat is a combination of wavy and curly hair, forming corkscrews or curls all over the body, and is never smooth or corded. The coat consists of an even mixture of harsh hair and softer undercoat. The coat stands out from the body approximately 1½ to 3 inches and is prepared using a combination of stripping and trimming. The eyes and the foreface are free of long hair. The hair on the underside of the tail ranges from ½ inch at its shortest to 3 to 5 inches and has little undercoat. In order to achieve the characteristic corkscrews and curls in the coat, the hair is allowed to dry naturally. The coat must never appear fluffed and blown dry, obscuring the characteristic curls. Color: Black, white, or any shades of gray. Shades of fawn from pale cream to red, with some black or gray shading desirable. The grays are born black and fade to various shades of gray. In any of the colors, an intermixture of some gray, black or white hairs is acceptable as long as the overall appearance of a solid color is maintained. A white mark on the chest less than 1 inch at the longest dimension is permissible, as are white toe tips. Skin pigmentation is dark, with the coat colors intense and solid, although there may be lighter or darker shadings on head and legs. Disqualification - Any multiple-color pattern or patches, e.g., black and tan pattern, piebald, parti-colored. Gait: The gait is light and spirited, energetic and efficient, with moderate reach and drive, enabling them to change direction instantly. Head and tail are carried up. From the front and rear, the legs travel in a straight line in the same planes, and tend to converge toward a median line of travel as speed increases. Temperament: Lively, alert, intelligent, bold, and ready for duty, yet reserved with strangers, the Pumi assesses each new situation. Faults: Any deviation from the foregoing should be considered a fault, the seriousness of the fault depending upon the extent of the deviation. Additional emphasis should be given to those characteristics that distinguish the Pumi from the Puli: head, ears, tail, and coat. Disqualifications: Height ½ inch above or below the desired range. Ears prick or hanging. Any multiple-color pattern or patches, e.g., black and tan pattern, piebald, parti-colored.

Effective January 1, 2011

JUDGING UPDATES ON THE PUMI BY CHRIS LEVY, HUNGARIAN PUMI CLUB OF AMERICA JEC H aving shown and bred several popular breeds over the last 40+ years, I tend to have some expectations about the level of expertise that judges will have in those breeds. It’s a whole new experience with a new (to AKC) breed where the judg- es quite often know less than the exhibitors.

Prior to July 1, 2016 when the Pumi entered the Herd- ing Group, the Hungarian Pumi Club of America had provided 21 judging seminars in every part of the country over the previous six years. Over 150 people attended these seminars and we’re very grateful that judges were interested enough to take the time and expense of attending. Howev- er, of those 150 people, only 47 (one third) of them are now approved to judge the Pumi. Any judge who judged the Herding Group was automatically granted the Pumi after passing an open-book test on the breed standard. There are now about 225 AKC judges who are eligible to judge the Pumi, only 47 of whom (20%) have ever attended a semi- nar on the breed. We have been told by judges in the ring that they’ve never seen a live Pumi before, or have never actually had their hands on one. In order to best prioritize the dogs in the ring, the judge needs a broad background of having judged many dogs of that breed, and of course, with any rare breed that’s nearly impossible. The Hungarian Pumi Club of America has extensive judges education materials on their website at http://pumiclub.org/about-the-pumi/judges-education/ and we’re hoping that judges do look for and review that infor- mation before judging them. In addition, we completed development of the Pumi course in the AKC Canine College. When we last checked, only 12 people had taken and passed the course. Remem- ber that for those judges who are already approved for the breed, it only costs $20. Call Judging Ops to get the discount. Following are some of the things that I think judges may be missing.


Judging Updates on the Pumi

BY CHRIS LEVY continued

PRIORITIES One of the new learning methods we added in the last couple of years was a prioritized list of breed essentials which was printed in the AKC judges newsletter, and can also be found at the above link. It’s also been incorporated into our PowerPoint presentation and the AKC Canine College. I’ve added one (#5) to our most recent PowerPoint because judges seem to be missing that. • Ears 1/3 tipped • Curly locks of hair • Square • Circular tail • Depth of body is less than 50% of the height • Withers form the highest point of the body • Light-bodied and well-muscled • Moderate reach and drive • Light-footed, ready for action The first two items are most important, and I’ve included number 8 below because some judges are prioritizing Pumik using the criteria of which has the most reach and drive. EARS TWO-THIRDS ERECT This is the hallmark of the breed. In contrast to similar ears on the Sheltie and Collie, the ears

Ears two-thirds erect

must tip towards the sides. CURLY LOCKS OF HAIR

Curly Locks of Hair

This may be one of the most misunderstood aspects of the breed, but is very clear in the stan- dard. They must have curly locks of hair that go clear down to the skin. This breed must never be blown dry which removes the curly locks of hair. No dog should be put to winners or breed with- out this characteristic coat. Puppies will some- times have softer hair, but it must always have the

curly locks on the body and the legs. MODERATE REACH AND DRIVE

The Pumi needs to be able to turn on a dime and is very agile. Their angulation is moderate, as is their reach and drive. Judges should prioritize on breed type, and moderate reach and drive is a part of that breed type. The dog on the right also does not have withers forming the highest point on the body (#6). QUESTIONS FROM JUDGES NOSE COLOR Almost every white Pumi’s nose will fade to some degree (i.e. snow nose), but some of these never regain color in the summer. They also tend to fade in and out with hormonal changes (e.g. being in heat). We did not make a non-black nose a disqualification in this breed because of the fear that snow noses could get disqualified by judges.



Moderate Reach and Drive

Nose color


Judging Updates on the Pumi

BY CHRIS LEVY continued

The only acceptable color nose is black (or a black faded out), and even snow noses have black pigment around the rim of the nose. Because snow noses are so common in the breed, please do not heavily penalize these snow noses or you will force exhibitors to start coloring them. What you must do when judging is give extra credit to a white dog who does have good nose pigment. While white Pumik will usually have faded noses, the fawn Pumik do not seem to have that trouble. So if you are going to give extra credit to a white Pumi whose nose is not faded, make sure it’s not a fawn that has turned almost white (they have that fad- ing gene, too). You can tell a white from a fawn because the fawn will have black hairs in the coat, usually on the ears and tail, but it could be all over the body. The best thing to remember is to penal- ize the faded nose on a white dog to the extent of the deviation, recognizing that it’s hard to find a white with full nose pigment. We would all prefer that they be solid black, but at this point in our breed’s develop- ment, it’s very rare. COLOR SHADINGS VS PATTERNING (DQ) Because the Pumi has a fading gene like the silver Poodle or the Kerry Blue Terrier, they are born black and fade as they mature, but different parts of their body will fade a different rates and they rarely will be the same color all over their body. The Pumi tends to fade on the face and legs first. It is important to know this because the Pumi has a disqualification for “any mul- tiple-color pattern or patches” such as the black & tan pattern. Below are examples of black Pumik that are fading or have faded to gray. For a grey or silver gray Pumi, if their skin is injured, the hair will come back in black, and as the hair shaft gets longer will again fade to gray. This is not a patch of a different color, but only indicates that there’s been an injury of some kind. While the Kerry Blue Terrier has a similar (or the same) fading gene, a judge told one of our exhibitors that the color of the Pumi is called “blue”. That is not cor- rect for this breed–it is “gray” or “silver gray”. A Great Dane can also be “blue” (with the D gene for “dilution”) and that is an entirely different gene affecting not only the coat, but the nose and pig- ment color. Color designations can be breed-specific unless talking about the genetic description.



This is opposed to a patterned black and tan (called “phantom” in the Poodle)


Judging Updates on the Pumi

BY CHRIS LEVY continued

IN SUMMARY It’s been an interesting experience being the Judges Education Chair for a new breed. With inexperienced judges and inexperi- enced exhibitors, incorrect information and priorities abound. But it will get better as the judges see more and more Pumik being shown and get a feel for this great breed.

BRINDLE We have discovered that the Pumi also has a gene for brindle. This is considered a color pattern and is a disqualification. A brindle will have both black/gray and fawn coloring (see photo). TOPLINE The FCI standard does not address the topline specifically, and so the AKC stan- dard doesn’t either. The only reference is “Withers pronounced and forming the highest point of the body”, but in reality the back itself is level with a very slight curve at the loin, ending in a high tailset. When standing and especially moving, the with- ers should remain at a higher level than the backline. Many of the dogs being rewarded do not have high withers. The Pumi is groomed with a slope in the topline from the withers to the root of tail. That is the style that has been given us from Europe. The judge must feel the topline when going over the dog, finding the high withers and level backline, but expect the silhouette when viewing the outline from a distance to have a sloping topline (note the moving silhouettes above). TABLE VS RAMP Both judges and exhibitors have ques- tioned the club’s decision to have the Pumi judged on the table. At the time that deci- sion was made, the ramp was not really an option. In Europe, both the floor and the table are used at the judge’s discretion. The club decided to have the Pumi a table breed for two reasons, 1) the Puli, its first cousin,

is examined on the table, and 2) the Pumi is reserved with strangers and doesn’t like a stranger coming down at them for an examination, where they are just fine with strangers while on a table. At some point in the future, we may re-examine the option to have the breed on the ramp. COMMENTS FROM EXHIBITORS I asked Pumi exhibitors on Facebook what they would like to judges to know from their experience at showing in the regular classes since July 1, 2016. Below are some of their comments: • If judges would just learn the standard, I would be happy! • There are too many dogs with short legs. • Shades of gray or shades of fawn on a dog are acceptable. • The bite and sides of the mouth should be checked. • Emphasize proper coat preparation and correct gait. • A puppy’s coat is soft to touch. • A judge may think a Pumi is oversized but is actually is perfect height accord- ing to Standard. Please measure if in doubt! Be sure to go back and read the breed standard that applies to these comments. Some new exhibitors were concerned about the judge checking their standard in the ring, but they were assured that we would prefer the judges do this to make sure they’ve correctly remembered what’s in the standard.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chris is the Judges Education Chair for the Hungarian Pumi Club of America in addition to being its Vice President. She’s had Pumik for 20 years, importing a number of dogs from Hungary and the Scandinavian countries. She and her husband, Tom, have accumulated 6 World Winner titles, 2 European Winner titles, BOS at the Hungarian Pumi Klub Show with a homebred, FCI Working Certificate (Herding), and AKC herding titles, in addition to nose work and obedience. Since the breed was recognized July 2016, there have been 25 AKC champion Pumik bred and/or owned by them, including the Best of Breed winner at the first AKC National Specialty. Chris judges the Terrier and Non-Sporting Groups and about half the Sporting Group. She was the first adjunct judge for the Pumi.



By Chris Levy

T he Pumi is one of three Hungarian herding breeds, all of simi- lar origin, represent- ing regional variations within Hungary. Th e Puli originated in the eastern plains, the Mudi in the southern plains, and the Pumi in the hilly Transdanubian region of west- ern Hungary. Th ese breeds are so closely related that even today Pumi-appearing puppies can be born in Puli litters, and Mudi-appearing puppies could be born in Pumi litters. Understanding the close rela- tionship between these breeds will assist a judge in their prioritization of dogs when judging each of these breeds. Th e three breeds vary the most in coat type, ear shape, and tails. Th e body types are quite similar, all calling for a square, light-bodied dog. Head & Ears Th e head shape of the Pumi is longer and narrower than the Puli, with the muzzle from 40-50% of the length of the head. Th e stop is slight compared to the Puli’s which is “defined, but not abrupt”. Th e standard asks for a “full complement” of teeth, and we ask that judges check the dentition by pulling the lips back to view the sides. If there are any missing teeth (which is not common), it is usually the premolars. Th e ears are one of the most distinguish- ing characteristics of the Pumi, and lends to its whimsical expression. Th e ears are erect, with the top ⅓ of the ear tipped over, the tips pointing slightly to the sides. Judges will see ears from ½ to ¼ tipped over, but the ideal is ⅓ . Don’t be fooled by a lot of hair on the ear covering up an erect ear, which is a disquali- fication. Th e fold of the ear is not distinct, and is more of a curve than a crease. Body Shape Th e Pumi was used for herding cattle, sheep, and swine. Th ey need to be quick

to think and light on their feet, able to change direction instantly. Th e Pumi is moderately angulated, with moderate reach and drive. Th e picture should be of a tightly held together square, moving in a very collected manner at a moderate trot. Th e dogs bond very tightly to their owners, and rarely will show for someone they don’t know. Typically they are cau- tious of strangers, not backing away, but not going up to them either. Th is is one reason the Pumi is a table breed. Where they will stand very well for a judge to go over them on the table, they do not appre- ciate a stranger hovering over them while on the ground. Th e Pumi is light-bodied, with the depth of chest slightly less than the length of leg. Th ey are like a distance runner— light-bodied and wiry, but with good mus- cling. Th e thigh muscling should be sur- prisingly thick considering the lightness of body. To better see this proportion, see Fig. 2 for a shaved dog. Coat Th e coat is distinct among AKC breeds. It is a mixture of hard and soft hair in a 50-50 proportion. Th e hard hair and the soft hair are basically the same length. Th e hair

Figure 1: Ears should be 1/3 folded over

Figure 2: The chest is less than 50% of the height of a Pumi S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014 • 205

Figure 3: Locks of hair

Figure 4: Some of the curls from a single Pumi

Color Th e Pumi can be almost any solid color, but always with a black nose and black pigment. Th e accepted coat colors are black, white, fawn, and any shade of gray. Fawn should preferably have some gray shading in it (i.e. it was also born black and faded to fawn). Gray puppies are born black and fade to gray, the same as the Kerry Blue Terrier and silver Poo- dle. Because of the graying process, the coat may be a number of shades of gray on the body, typically a bit lighter gray on the legs and muzzle. Th is shading is not the same as a black and tan pattern which is a disqualification (similar to the phantom Poodle).

Tail Th e tail forms a full circle on top of the back of the Pumi, unlike the Puli which blends into the backline, or the sickle of the Mudi. A judge should be able to see daylight in the inside circle of the tail. Th is type of tail may hang straight when at rest (which is not often), but should always be in a full circle on the move. What Judges Are Missing We understand that many times in the Miscellaneous Class, the judge may never have seen the breed before, and it’s the exhibitor’s chance to educate the judges on their breed. I have found that there is a tendency to look for the “generic dog” and

forms into locks of hair which is a distin- guishing characteristic of the breed. Th e hair must never be blown dry and flu ff ed because it obscures the characteristic coat. Th e coat is wet down prior to being shown in order to form the curls and locks of hair. Th ese locks of hair vary in type and shape over the body, from curls on the back to corkscrews on the legs. A judge must check for this type of coat, and for the 50-50 proportion of hard and soft hair. Th e locks of hair do not cord as in the Puli, but can easily be combed out, which they need to have done about once every 2-3 weeks. Th e hair is surprisingly resilient to dirt and twigs, and what doesn’t fall out, the Pumi will pull out themselves.

Figure 5: Black and Tan Patterned Pumi (DQ)

Figure 6: Szürkebarát Vadóc of Abiqua

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miss some of the breed-specific require- ments. At first glance, the Pumi should have a Pumi silhouette, or outline. Very square, upright, light-bodied, slightly slop- ing topline, high tailset, and curled tail, moving at moderate speed with very mod- erate reach and drive—with a light step and springy (not bouncy) motion. Judges seem to be finding the one with the most reach and drive, which while it satisfies many of the AKC breeds’ requirements, that is not one for the Pumi. Future Plans Th e Pumi was able to enter compan- ion and performance events as of January 2008, and in January 2011 entered the Miscellaneous Class. Th ere are 231 Pumik registered with the AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS), and 30% of them have obtained 352 AKC titles in obedience, ral- ly, conformation, agility, tracking, cours- ing, and herding (in addition to non-AKC titles in flyball, freestyle, dock diving, and nose work). Th e Hungarian Pumi Club of America has provided judges education seminars in most of the main venues, and is will- ing to provide more as requested, or to answer any questions judges may have about the breed. Th ere is a judges edu- cational CD on the Pumi. Any judges wanting a copy, please contact the author at chris@abiquadogs.com. BIO Chris is the Judges Education Chair for the Hungarian Pumi Club of America in addition to being its President. She’s had Pumik for 15 years and was instrumen- tal in importing a number of dogs from Hungary and the Scandinavian countries. She and her husband, Tom, have accumu- lated 5 World Winner titles, 2 European Winner titles, and BOS at the Hungar- ian Pumi Klub Show with a homebred. Chris judges the Terrier and Non-Sporting Groups plus a few other assorted breeds.

Figure 8: Pumik excel in all dog sports, but especially agility

Figure 7: FCI International Champion, Hungarian, Polish, Finnish, Argentine, Mexican Champion, ARBA Champion of Champions, Argentina Grand Champion, Latin American & Caribbean Champion Galla-Hegyi Gömböc CM PT CA World Winner ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, 09. Four times National Specialty BOB winner.

“At first glance, the Pumi should HAVE A PUMI SILHOUETTE, OR OUTLINE.”

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By Meir Ben-Dror

he ancestral Hungarian herding dog which later became the Puli, appears to have migrated with the Magyars and their livestock from the Ural-

Altay region, between China and the Cas- pian Sea, to the Carpathian Basin around 800 AD. Th is dog most likely can be traced back to the herding/guard dogs (Tsang Apso, mistakenly called Tibetan Terriers by Europeans) originating from China and Tibet and were widespread in that region. Th e ancestral Puli mixed with French and German herding dogs around 300 years ago, as a result of two-way trading of live- stock between Hungary with France and Germany. Livestock was then driven on hoof to their destination and naturally the shepherds used their herding dogs to per- form the necessary chores around the flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. Some accidental or perhaps even intended matings between the respective parties’ dogs took place as their paths crossed on the roads and mar- kets of Europe. From the German side the contributors to the creation of Pumi were the Pomeranian Schafspudel (Sheep Poodle, still in existence today in small numbers) and the Hütespitz (Herding Spitz) which was considered extinct as of 1935. Both these ancient breeds were known since at least the Middle Ages. Th e Pumi’s name is believed to reflect the origin of its German genetic contributors. Our present day Pumi (Pumik in plu- ral) is the result of centuries of selection by shepherds. Th e selection was directed towards performing tasks which were based on the uniqueness of the environ- ment and the livestock in the Carpath- ian Basin. Th e Hungarian livestock, such as the Hungarian Grey Cattle and the Racka sheep are very hardy and origi- nally lived o ff the land in a semi-wild state. Th eir temperament matched their environment. Th ere were no huge con- tiguous pastures, but many smaller ones,

Figure 1: Racka Sheep in Hungary. Photo © Levy

Figure 2: Hungarian Grey Cattle. Photo © Levy

Figure 3: The author with Bohemia Vivace Ash CM CDX BN RE HSAs AX MXJ OF CA herding Racka sheep in Hungary. Photo © Jozsef Tari

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014 • 211

and alerted its owners when strange people or animals approached. In the early twentieth century, the Hun- garians identified three distinct herding breeds based on phenotype. Th e Puli was identified first, being prevalent on the east- ern Hungarian plains. Th e Pumi was next; found more in the hilly country of western Hungary; and the Mudi (which carries more of the characteristics of one of its ancestors, Hütespitz) the last, from southern Hungary. Th e Pumi was considered a regional varia- tion of the Puli and the two names were used interchangeably for centuries. Dr. Emil Raitsits, a professor at the Hun- garian University of Veterinary Medicine, initiated the standardization of Puli and Pumi in the 1910’s and 1920’s. Th e Pumi standard was approved by FCI in 1935. Th e Pumi’s coat is medium long, form- ing tight corkscrew curls. Pumik range in colors from black to silver, white, and fako (fawn), but must be one base color, with possible shading. No bi-color mixtures are allowed. Th eir pigment should be dark, even in white dogs. Th e coat consists of 50% soft hair and 50% coarser hair, all the same length. Th e Pumi needs combing— never brushing—every 2 to 3 weeks and then wetting down to let the coat curl back up. Once curled, the coat can be trimmed to keep it looking neat. Th e Pumi doesn’t shed, but dead hair will come out when being combed. Th e Pumi’s hair is never blown out and flu ff ed with a hair dryer as that removes the characteristic curls in the coat; it’s the bathing that makes it soft. Pumik have a moderately angulated front and rear, with the shoulder and upper arm about equal in length. Th e loin and croup are short, allowing them to power o ff their rear to turn quickly and sharply. Th e Pumi has some terrier-like attributes, such as quick, alert, inquisitive tempera- ment, and a square, lean and muscular body type. Th e average male ranges from 16 to 18 ½ inches tall and weighs 22 to 33 pounds. Th e average female is 15 to 17 ½ inches tall and weighs 18 to 26 pounds. Th e Pumi is intelligent, a quick learner and energetic, needing regular exercise and mental stimulation. It’s always engaged, sometimes restless with unspent energy. It has boundless willingness to work, but

could be miles away. Th ey had to drive their livestock every day over narrow roads, strips of land, and if possible, had to avoid causing damage to the adjacent properties. Here the dogs didn’t have the opportunity for outruns in wide arcs, because there was no room. Often they had to go ahead between the livestock’s feet to their front to turn or to stop the flock. Th e dog had to be able to protect a cornfield immediately on the side of the road from the flock, spe- cifically it had to “patrol”—move back and forth between the sheep and the cornfield to prevent the animals from going into the crop. As a result, the sheep got accustomed to the fact that when the dog is close, it’s working. Th ere was a need for a dog which likes to work close and is not afraid of livestock. Th e Pumi’s tools were barking, quick movement, and an occasional nip if needed. Th e Pumi also guarded the farm

which were accessible only by narrow roads, through woods, cultivated fields and strip parcels. Th ere was a need for a fast, spirited, decisive dog, capable of completing a task independently; one who is perfectly capa- ble of assessing the given situation and to make decisions—correctly—because of its strong desire to please. It’s not afraid to get close to livestock, but at the same time is absolutely trustworthy not to damage the livestock; a quick learner to the point of seemingly reading its owner’s mind. Dogs that didn’t fulfill these requirements were mercilessly culled. In many cases the livestock owners didn’t even own pastures, or theirs was too small to sustain all their livestock. Conse- quently, they had to rent pastures which

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is not obsessive about it. He can be reck- lessly bold; yet aloof with strangers. Its intelligence, liveliness, opinionated and expressive nature always draws atten- tion everywhere. It’s a fairly vocal breed. Its entire appearance projects its quickness to act and larger than life attitude. It is a good size for a lap dog, and likes to be petted, but may go and investigate if something else is going on. It also likes to be in high places, to better see and check out what’s going on. Th e Pumi wants to be where the action is, or as close to the center of action as possible. As a full family member the Pumi takes it for granted that it should have reasonable rights and absolute admission to all its “flock’s” activities. With daily exercise, the Pumi makes a wonderful house dog. It will bond closely with its entire family, but might prefer one family member as the “boss”. Eventful daily life, without long hours of boredom alone is su ffi cient for most Pumik. Tennis balls and Frisbees are especially important toys and they may be demanding about having them thrown. Th e Pumi is a hardy, healthy breed. Although inherited conditions can be found on occasion, none is prevalent in the breed. It is important to screen dogs for hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Eye tests should be performed annually. DNA tests will show whether the dog carries the genetic markers of Degenera- tive Myelopathy (DM) and Primary Lens Luxation (PLL).

Figure 4: Bohemia Vivace Ash CM CDX BN RE HSAs AX MXJ OF CA

Th e Pumi participates in conformation shows in the Miscellaneous Class, and is becoming increasingly popular for agility, obedience and other dog sport and com- panion events. Th e contemporary Pumi competes in herding trials, and works on the farm as it is still a good herding dog, provided it is trained by someone familiar with its particular style of herding. Our task today as Pumi enthusiasts is to utilize these uncommon qualities with some care and preserve them in the breed.

BIO Meir Ben-Dror has been an owner, trainer, exhibitor and breeder of Pumik since 2009 and owned, trained and competed in obedience and agility other breeds since the early 1980’s. Herding is now his main activ- ity with his Pumik, leaving agility and obe- dience for his wife, Nancy. Meir is fluent in Hungarian, enabling him to research the breed from original Hungarian sources. Meir is a board member of the Hungarian Pumi Club of America.

“THE CONTEMPORARY PUMI COMPETES IN HERDING TRIALS, and works on the farm as it is still a good herding dog...”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014 • 213

Once a Pumi ALWAYS A PUMI... DISCLAIMER: The Pumi Is Not For Everyone

BY LASZLO SULYOK & ILDIKO REPASI photos by Catskill Pumi Kennel and Jozsef Tari P umik are attractive, whimsical creatures. With their “cute ears and funny look” they are real attention getters. It is a breed with an (almost) unbreakable spirit, burn- ing loyalty, and unparalleled work ethic. However, these chivalrous attributes come with a restless, mischievous and vocal terrier type personality. Most Pumik are not the social butterfly types. They don’t do well in small urban dog runs, kenneling out- door, and going on long road shows with handlers in the company of two dozen other dogs where they might be crated for most of the day. They need their handler’s personal attention in the home and on the road. Most importantly, they need daily physical and mental exercise. Pumik don’t take a rain check easily. It is a breed that often generates drama and emotion. If the Pumi was a literary genre, it would belong to tragicomedy. Because of space restrictions, I am not able to explain the overseas palace intrigues, conflicts, revenges, the flawed heroes and a tragic suicide. “Canis familiaris ovilis villous terrarius Raitsitsi” aka Pumi is a Hungarian terrier type herding dog. It originates from the Puli, various continental European herding dogs and terriers reaching back to the 18th century. The Pumi has served as an all around farm dog; provided a broad spectrum of vermin control from fight- ing wild boars on the crop fields to catching mice in the barn. He also served as watch dog and most importantly as a herding dog.


Once A Pumi Always A Pumi...


covering less of the face and legs, and over- all shorter on the body fell out of favor. This despite the fact that based on practical observations of shepherds, Pumik with the latter phenotypical appearance have proven to be more agile and better suited for herd- ing than the curly haired Pumik. (Source: Mihaly Meszaros in “Current Issues of Pumi Breeding”—A Kutya (1993). The coopera- tion paid off and within two decades the result was a much more attractive dog with a relatively well preserved herding instinct. Even though, life behind the iron cur- tain has improved through political nor- malization and relative economic prosper- ity, the “feel good era” that has impacted almost every aspect of society did not reflect on dog fanciers, especially Pumi breeders in Hungary. During the democratic transition in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a new informal group whom I will call the “Nativ- ists” emerged. Utilizing the “Open Stud Book” status of the breed, they have sought out the offspring of Pumik from specific

unattractive appearance. Source: “Mi Lesz Veled Pumi?”—What Is Your Fate Pumi?— a discussion about the breed. A Kutya (1984) (Hungarian Canine Magazine). Apart from the fundamental goal of establishing a distinctly different looking dog from the Puli, the primary concern of breeders and shepherds has been the preservation of the Pumi’s herding ability. Consequently, the aesthetics of the indi- vidual dogs was mostly ignored. As late as the 1970s, many of the Pumik were scruffy looking, so to speak, and came in all sizes, hair types, shapes and colors. To increase the popularity of the breed, around the 1960s the focus turned toward a more aesthetic and more marketable dog within a defined standard. In their search for the ideal Pumi, breeders selected for uni- form height, a square body and a not cord- ing, rather curly type coats. The Puli type, longer haired and round headed Pumik, along with the taller, longer Pumik with “Shinka” type hair that is slightly wavy,

This medium size, low maintenance dog from the western part of Hungary, was agile enough to escort the legendary Hungarian Gray Cattle over 800 miles across half of Europe on foot to German slaughter houses yet gentle enough to move a flock of geese back and forth between the common pas- ture and the barn in its village. Fast forward two hundred years to the 1950s, soon after the devastation of the second world war. Just barely recovering from virtual extinction, the Pumi suddenly found itself unemployed, as small farms across Hungary were systematically elimi- nated and replaced by large modern agricul- tural cooperatives. In the following two to three decades, a small number of devoted breeders whom I will call “Progressives” cooperated to pick up the breed’s cause. The obvious solution was to compromise by choosing urban pop- ularization of the Pumi. They soon realized, however, that they were fighting an uphill battle because of the Pumi’s somewhat


Once A Pumi Always A Pumi...


breeders to learn about the Pumi (in con- junction with the Bratislava European Dog Show in 2012 and a year later the Hungarian World Dog Show). When the Pumi was accepted into the Herding Group in 2016, interest in the breed immediately increased. However, at that time there were only a handful of breeders and a relatively small number of Pumik (300+). Entries in conformation nationwide were rare and the number of entries low. In the absence of substantive English language literature about the Pumi and an updated public education program to satisfy the demand, those newly inter- ested in the breed have chosen to turn to Europe, especially Hungary, with no or little understanding of the breed. The number of Pumik in the US includ- ing domestically bred puppies and imported dogs has more than doubled in the last three years. Unfortunately, a disturbing import pattern has emerged. The “Mail Order Pumik” from overseas have started arriving in increased numbers, sometimes bundled in various combinations of two for one price discounts, pregnant bitches etc. Sadly, some of these dogs have gone to inexperienced hands or to people with outright ill inten- tions. As a result, the breed is experiencing a temporary setback. Pumi pups have started to show up in shelters in various parts of the country. Puppies and adult Pumik are advertised for free, sometimes with no reg- istrations. When evaluating these events, of course we need to make a clear division between puppy mills and those who start- ed, perhaps with good intentions, but with poor preparation relying only on their pre- vious experience with other breeds. We cannot emphasize enough that the state of the Pumi is far from a crisis and the “Pumi market” for lack of a better term will simply readjust after shedding the white noise. However, we think that a coordinated effort should be undertaken through education to further safe guard the breed from inexperienced hands and worse, from puppy mills. We also highly recom- mend to everyone interested in the breed, to take the Pumi for a “test drive” before get- ting into breeding because the Pumi is not for everyone. Only collaboration, due diligence and a clear and honest objective can give this breed a realistic chance to thrive in the US. *because of editorial limitations, some issues might not have been explained in detail. Please contact the authors with any question.

lines from the countryside whose registra- tions lapsed decades ago. These included the offspring of well known Pumik from the past with incomplete pedigrees. These “new” dogs have been introduced to the mainstream gene pool through a carefully designed and controlled program. (The Hungarian Open Stud book has relevance for Pumik imported to the US which, in order to be eligible for AKC registration, must have a minimum three-generation complete(!) pedi- gree from the dog’s country of origin. It is not a hypothetical situation: there has been at least one known case where the AKC has revoked a registration previously issued for a Pumi with incomplete pedigree.) “Nativists” have emphasized and lobbied for a higher genetic and phenotypical diver- sity along with improved working ability and largely ignoring aesthetic uniformity. Some of the more extreme members of this group also opposed exporting the Pumi, because of their conviction even as recently as early 2012 that it is an unfinished breed. By 2013-14 dialogue between the two opposing Hungarian Pumi “parties” came to a complete halt and the status quo has been frozen since then. Besides their ideo- logical differences about the breed, another cause of the schism that harks back to the 1990s, is a well intentioned but poorly executed government reform of livestock preservation and regulation of small ani- mal breeding. This included purebred dog breeding with a broader oversight of Hun- garian breeds. In protest against the new Pumi Klub rules and government involvement, the “progressives” began to boycott the other group’s dog shows by organizing their own events. Some members went further by reg- istering their Hungarian born litters or some individual dogs in other European countries and in one extreme case, a Hungarian born Pumi litter was falsely registered as US born in violation of Hungarian and FCI dog reg- istration laws and AKC’s provenance rules. After an investigation, the AKC revoked the registration of the entire litter. The Pumi has gone through its first phase of growing pain relatively smoothly while in the Miscellaneous class here in the US. The parent club has offered substantive public education events. Most Pumi own- ers knew each other and many have trialled their dogs in various disciplines that helped them to have a greater understanding of the breed. Some of these people went into breeding. They were largely supportive of each other, relatively well versed, in the dif- ferent lines and different types of the breed and could navigate the bureaucratic maze of the European Pumi world. There have been group trips to Europe by these early



I t’s a typical day. The sun is still asleep, but my body says it’s time to rise. As soon as I realize I’m awake, I feel three sets of Pumi eyes fixed on me, waiting for my next movement as permission to spring into action. Even though I definitely would rather sleep, I’m busted. They know I’m awake. This is going to be an exciting day. As soon as I begin to open my eyes, all three dogs leap off the bed, charg- ing down the hallway. Running full speed ahead, they bank their turns on the throw rugs, using them as a launch point as the rugs slide on the wood floor. In a wild frenzy, they race to the back door, expressing their impatience in finding it closed. A chorus erupts. “Open the door, already!” My hand grasps the door knob. With some reluc- tance, they fall silent because that’s the only way the door will open. Once the door opens and I say the magic word, all hell breaks loose. This is how every day begins. If I’m lucky, after the initial display of enthusiasm subsides, I crawl back into bed, for a few more moments of relax- ation. This, of course, doesn’t last long. Before I know it, I feel pressure on my chest and a furry toy-stuffed Pumi-face staring at me. There is no such thing as a snooze button for a Pumi who thinks it’s time for breakfast. Living with a Pumi is a sure guaran- tee of plenty of exuberance. Plenty of demanding your attention. Plenty of noise. Plenty of fun. They are affection- ate, loving, and loyal. They love their people. They love their pack. My little busy-bodies definitely keep me on my toes. When we are in the house, each finds a favorite place to chill until they know I’m headed for the door. Whether or not they hear my car keys or see me sit down to put on my shoes, I don’t quite know. But that’s all it takes for them to turn on and spring

Photo by GreatDanePhotos ©2015. Used with permission

into action. Then the chase is on to be the first to the door and the first out the door. The play is rough among them… gripping one another’s hocks, bark- ing and charging, leaping and lung- ing. Quick swift movements. Instant acceleration, turning on a dime. It’s the Pumi herding style. Nothing in this world is more fun for them than a game of “chase me to get the toy,” even if the toy is a stick or leaf snatched from the ground. Although Pumi are herding dogs, they are not Border Collies. Many of my friends have Border Collies. Every- one knows how a Border Collie loves to work. They obsess about work and will work for anyone. A Border Collie will happily play with whoever is willing to throw a ball. If a stranger picks up a ball and expects one of my Pumi to chase it, they will get a look that says “who are you and why are you throwing my ball?” My Pumi live to work and play, but only with me. And if the game is over and the ball is put away, they find their own special place to chill until it’s time to spring into action again. I like that.

Pumi are not social with people they don’t know. My Pumis have their favorite people, the ones they know and quickly recognize. These are people they greet with a lively chorus of barks, growly-type noises, and everything in between, leaping and jumping with excitement. All others are met with a bit of reservation, until they know these are people they can trust. It may hap- pen in an instant or over a long period of time after several meetings. The one thing people say when they meet my Pumi for the first time is “I just love their ears!” Once the words leave their lips, of course, my dog’s ears start twitching back and forth. The second most common comment I hear is “They look like stuffed animals!” I assure them, they are not stuffed animals. Pumi are great dogs, but definitely not for everyone. A Pumi is like the new kid in school. The new kid will watch and listen before they decide to interact with the people around them. They want to feel comfortable with the situation and the people first. Pumi are much the same. Each of my three Pumi has their own distinctive personality. Zu-Zu is 6

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years old. She is the most outgoing of the three when it comes to unfamiliar people. However, she is also the most reserved with unfamiliar dogs. She’s my hall monitor. She keeps order and makes sure everyone obeys the rules. Every house needs one. Pumi number two is Petey. He’s 2 ½ and the first to initiate play within the pack and likes interacting with unfamil- iar dogs. But, is the most reserved with people he doesn’t know. My youngest, Nagi, is not yet two years old. She pretty much follows what the rest of the pack does. If they approach someone or something, she does the same. If they bark, she does too. She is the most vocal and makes the oddest noises, a combination of a growl, a howl, and a bark. It’s easy to over-face her, but she is young and still learning about her world. Nagi takes a good deal of time to size things up. In most cases, she settles nicely and adjusts well to her environment, once she realizes it’s ok. She is very determined if it’s something she wants. My Pumi are the absolute best hik- ing companions. They always stay close and quickly alert me if there is something they think I should be made aware of. Most times it’s a person in the distance or something on the horizon that doesn’t look quite right. They are very aware of their surroundings. I have no doubt that if a real threat were out there, they would protect me. Pumi are amazingly quick to learn and love to work. All of the focus, ath- leticism, and intensity that make them such a good herding dog also make them excel at performance sports. I have learned to be very thoughtful and careful with my training. If my dogs aren’t giving me what I think they should, I take a step back. I’ve likely rewarded something different than I thought or was unclear about my expectations. When I train, I get further faster by using positive reinforcement and shaping behaviors. I reward for a good effort, even if it’s not exactly what I’m looking for. I jackpot for things that are truly spectacular. If they are not

engaged the way I want or decide not to do what I ask, I take a time out and regroup. Then, I bring them out later to try again. It is thrilling to see my dogs thrive and excel in activities we have trained, whether it be offering behaviors and training tricks, teaching them to stack and gait for the breed ring, or run- ning in the agility ring. Just by watch- ing them, you can tell how much they love what they are doing. And I love that we are doing it together. This is my biggest reward. When I stepped to the start line for the first time with Zu, not many peo- ple knew what a Pumi was let alone seen one run in agility. Since then, we have been doing our best to show just how good a Pumi can be. Five years later, we still turn heads when we run. Now, when I step to the start line with my young dog, Petey, I know people are watching. I would like to think because of us, and the other awesome agility Pumis out there, interest in the breed is grow- ing. A feel a small victory every time I hear of someone who gets their very first Pumi with the idea of going into the agility ring. I smile and hope that maybe Zu and I may have had a small part in making that decision. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the dog you live with. When our work day comes to a close, we pack our three Pumis in the van and head for home. All are sleeping in a heap until we make the turn up the gravel road to our house. In an instant, all three heads pop up and the singing begins. First in yowls and yodels, then as we get closer to the house, the more comparatively softer sounds break way for the loud barking…almost in har- mony. These guys will never be able to sneak up on anyone. After one-on-one play time in the backyard and dinner, it’s time to cuddle in front of the television. One Pumi is at my feet, one is on my lap, and the third is lying on top of the one on my lap. There is never enough of me to go around.

We will go to bed tonight and I will be completely surrounded by my three Pumis in a bed that will always be too small. One under the covers. One at the foot of the bed. And the third one curled up next to me. This must be what heaven is like. Tomorrow we will get up and it will all start over again. And tomorrow will just as exciting as today. My Pumis will see to that! About the Author Tammy and Zu-Zu were the AKC Agil- ity Invitational Champions for the 16-inch jump height class in 2013 and 2014. Petey and Tammy were finalists at the 2015 AKC Agility Invitational, having the top cumulative score of the 16 inch class going into the final round of competition. Petey won all four preliminary rounds, with Zu-Zu finishing in second place behind Petey in two rounds. Zu-Zu was a 2012 Chal- lenger’s Round competitor and a 2013 Finalist at the AKC National Agility Championship. Tammy and her Pumis live in Shelton, Washington and share their home with Birdie, a 14 year old English Cocker Spaniel.

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