Showsight Presents The Pumi



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

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