Showsight Presents The Pumi


Let’s Talk Breed Education!



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 theMudi (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

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

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

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 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.



1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. Pumik haven’t been around shows too long but they’ve cer- tainly gained a fan base. Currently ranked at 151, the Pumi is obviously popular with the general public, too. What’s the most important thing a prospective owner should know about the breed? 3. What’s the biggest misconception about the breed? 4. They’re about the cutest pups in, well, forever. How can you possibly pick the best? At what age do you choose a show prospect? 5. How do you place your pups? 6. What is your favorite dog show memory? 7. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. SANDRA CUMPIAN After discover-

used their dogs so you will understand the needs and personality of the dog. Pumis require a job of some type. They need to be physically and intellectually challenged on a regular basis to be happy and healthy. I think the biggest misconception is that a Pumi is a cute little “stuffed animal” looking dog with cute ears that would be so fun to have sit in your lap and cuddle. Pumis are nice to cuddle and they will stick close to their shepherd, maybe even in your lap, but they are much more than that. They are a dog with physical and mental requirements and because of their intelligence they require a shepherd with a firm and consistent hand. But they are also sensitive to correction and cannot be overly reprimanded. They will remember! At what age do I choose a show prospect? I’m a very conserva- tive breeder. My kennel goals are not to breed champion show dogs. Although that is nice too! My kennel goals are more about furthering the Pumi breed with a focus on health, structure and temperament. That includes trying to infuse more diversity into the US bloodlines and making sure all my breeding dogs have health test clearances that are appropriate and recommended for the breed. I also look at the coat color DNA of my breeding pairs so that I’m not producing a large number of unacceptable colors and I’m a big supporter of the CHIC DNA Data Base. I assess my pups from birth for temperament and physical characteristics. At six weeks I start really looking at structure and personality. My goal is that every puppy will meet the AKC Standard for the breed but of course that is not likely. By eight weeks you can usually get a pretty good idea of how they will look. Of course there is so much growth to still happen that it’s never a certainty. How do I place my pups? I go through a multi-stepped pro- cess to pick the forever homes for my pups. It’s starts when an interested person gets in touch with me, usually by email. I ask them if they have ever seen a Pumi in person and what they are looking for in a Pumi puppy. Based on their answers the next step is a phone discussion so we both have a chance to ask questions. If they have never seen a Pumi before I see if they can come and visit my dogs or if I can find a Pumi in their area and set up a meet and greet for them. I feel it’s so important to see a Pumi up close and personal. See how they move, get your hands in their hair and hear their ear-piercing bark. I talk to them about the groom- ing needs of a Pumi and their activity level. I ask questions about what they plan to do with their Pumi and how long the dog will be left at home alone. I find out what type of housing they have and the ages of any children in their home. After that conversation I decide if they are a suitable home for one of my pups and if they are interested I email them a copy of my puppy application to fill

ing the Pumi when living over seas in the Netherlands I got my first one and the more I learned about the breed the more I loved it. With my background in neonatal nursing it seemed natural to take the next

step and consider breeding to help thin out the bloodlines and promote the breed when we moved back to the US. It took many years of research, learning and testing to whelp our first litter in 2017. It’s a rewarding and time consuming process but also very rewarding. I am a retired nurse and live on eight acres, out in the boon- docks, in Central Texas. Besides “dogs” I have a number or inter- ests. I garden and have a flock of chickens for eggs. I love to sew and quilt and just about any type of craft project. I enjoy spending time with my kids and my ten month of granddaughter. I also follow college football. The most important thing a prospective owner should know about the breed? This is a working breed! Pumis were developed and bred to herd sheep and other farm stock. They are very intel- ligent and can problem solve and remember previous experiences. It’s important to understand how Hungarian shepherds lived and

“They need to be physically and intellectually challenged on a regular basis to be happy and healthy.”


Pumi Q& A out and return to me. This does not guarantee them a puppy but they are a step closer. After the pups are born I review my applica- tions and review the desires and expectations of each applicant as far as what type of pup will fit their needs. I do temperament test- ing and assess the structure of the pups when they are 49 days old. I use this information to decide which pup will do best in which home. My goal is to set every pup and forever home up for success by really making sure they are the best fit possible. My favorite memory is when I had just started showing my dogs. I’m not very good at it but look at it as a time for my dogs and I to spend some time together and work as a team. I was show- ing my female. She is a petite little thing and she knows how to make people like her. We were doing our down and back. When we came back up to the judge and I stopped her, she looked up at the judge with her ears perked up and tilted her head sideways at the judge. The judge couldn’t help but chuckle and smile. That made my day! Pumis are incredible dogs but not for everyone. They get so attached to their shepherd and want to please. Because they are so athletic they make really good dog sport dogs. They also have very little prey drive. So they do well around cats and farm fowl. They learn very fast and often will get frustrated if you ask them to do the same trick over and over. They make great family dogs. CHRIS LEVY I’ve been in dogs since 1971, mostly with Miniature Schnauzers, but also German Short- haired Pointers, Sandra Cumpian continued

The most important thing a prospective owner should know about the breed? The Pumi looks like a teddy bear or koala bear, which belies its working roots. This is a herding dog through and through. They are extremely intelligent and need both mental and physical exercise. This is not one of those cuddly lap dogs (although they will do it for a minute or two) that they appear to be. The biggest misconception about the breed? I’ve heard people say that they’re nasty which is just not true, at least from our 20 years in the breed and importing many dogs from Europe from different lines. I think any “nasty” dogs are an exception to the rule. They are extremely bright; you need to be ahead of their thought processes and not let them get away with anything. This is not a breed for a first-time dog owner. At what age do I choose a show prospect? I’ve been in dogs for almost 50 years, and use my experience to evaluate puppies. In addition to good structure, you need to look at head (ear set, ear carriage, ear tipping, eye shape and color, width and length of skull), and body shape (square), and of course temperament. All this can be seen in an eight week old puppy which is when we make our decisions about which homes they’ll go to. We place puppies in all types of homes, both exhibition and non-exhibi- tion. They go to herding, agility, conformation, and other types of sports homes. I don’t start evaluating until they’re about six weeks, and then it’s a mad scramble in those two weeks to make sure you’ve got the right puppy directed to the right home. We don’t like keeping them longer than eight weeks because they need one-on-one training after that time that’s too difficult to do with a whole litter (usually five to seven puppies). How do I place my pups? Most frequently the new puppy owners come to our house to get their puppy. We have delivered puppies on occasion when we happen to be traveling in the right direction. We want to have a minimum of several hours with the new owners to indoctrinate them into the Pumi world. My favorite dog show memory? Wow, I have a lot of them. We discovered the Pumi at the World Dog Show in Finland in 1998 and had our first Pumi a year later. In 2014 we took one of our Pumis to the World Dog Show when it was in Finland again and won Best of Breed. That Pumi was our third one to get a World Winner Title as we were going to the World Shows almost every year. Equally important was getting a Championship title on a dog that had been a multiple World Winner and the first Pumi to get most of the titles in the US. He finished his championship at the age of 14, getting two Group 2s along the way and was the first Pumi to finish when they became recognized in July 2016. This is an awesome breed for the right people. Their connec- tion to their people and their understanding of their family is uncanny. But they need that interaction with their people. And they do bark, but only for a reason.

Cairn Terriers, and Shiba Inu. We only have Pumik now. I have worked on breed education for Miniature Schnau- zers, Shiba Inu, and

now the Pumi, and held just about every office in the clubs to which we belong. I judge the Terrier and Non-Sporting groups and about half the Sporting group. My husband, Tom, and I live in Salem, Oregon. Most every- thing we do is dog-related. We’re very active in our local all-breed club (I’m President), and even more active in the Pumi parent club where I’m the Judges Education Chair, Vice President, web- master, National Chair, etc. When I’m not doing dog activities, I like gardening.

“The Pumi looks like a teddy bear or koala bear, which belies its working roots. This is a herding dog through and through. They are extremely intelligent and need both mental and physical exercise.”


Pumi Q& A

“This breed does best in a home that is willing to train. They are social so they need homes that want to interact with them.”

ILDIKO REPASI I live in the Catskills in Upstate New York. Outside of dogs, I’m involved in farming, farm products, fiber arts and felting. I was born in Nagyvarad, Transylvania Romania. I have a BFA, porcelain major from Ion Andreescu Arts College, Cluj Napoca, Romania, MFA, School of the Art institute of Chicago, ceram- ics and multi media. I have exhibited in the US, Canada, Mex- ico, and in Europe. My works included in Kohler Factory pri- vate collection, Wisconsin. Exterior Mural St Elizabeth Church, Chicago, Illinois. I’m currently the owner of “GoatSheepShop” fiber farm shetland, merino, mohair fibers, goat’s milk products, fiber clothings accessories. “Catskill Pumi Kennel” Pumi breeder, advocate and enthusiast. Involved in herding, agility, barn hunt, lure coursing and conformation. The most important thing a prospective owner should know about the breed? Their high energy temperament, need of physical and mental stimulation The biggest misconception about the breed? Their supposed “love bug” and couch potato temperament. They can ignore any- one at any place and perform their task perfectly. With the good enough drive they also work for strangers. When can I determine a Pumi’s show potential? Often by six to eight months. How do I place my pups? Active homes, sport homes, last choice is conformation homes. Do I have a waiting list? Yes. It is not chronological (first come first serve) merit based references age limit My favorite dog show memory? Winning the first BOB in Orlando in 2016 after the Pumi was accepted in the Herding group and the first BOB, BOS and Select at Westminster in 2017. Pumis need intense socialization during the first year of their life. They are late bloomers mentally and physically. I do not breed my bitches before three years of age. HEATHER STIMSON I have been involved in Pumi since 2014 and have never looked back! This is a really fun breed and I adore them! I am more than happy to answer any questions any one may have. We live in Lil- lington, North Carolina. In addition to the dogs, I dabble in mak- ing show dog leads. The most important thing a prospective owner should know about the breed? The Pumi is a wonderful breed! They are very smart and want nothing more than to be with you and please you. However, they are talkative and need a job to do. They need a gentle hand; they don’t respond well to harsh corrections. The biggest misconception about the breed? That they are appropriate for any home. This is a vocal breed that needs training. When can I determine a Pumi’s show potential? Show pros- pects start to show themselves at six weeks old. Litter evaluations are completed when puppies are eight weeks old.

How do I place my pups? We have an application to screen homes, if someone appears to be a good fit, we then set up an interview. We place based on the temper of the dog first, then the structure. We often have a waiting list as we do not breed often, but they are worth the wait! My favorite dog show memory? I have so many! My entry into this breed was very different from my other breed. The Pumi community is warm, friendly and inviting. The passion and dedi- cation this community has to the breed is contagious and I love everything about showing them. This breed does best in a home that is willing to train. They are social so they need homes that want to interact with them. Grooming takes a little practice but it’s not hard. Please check the Hungarian Pumi Club of America’s website for quality breeders and mentors. DEBRA THORNTON I live in Rincon, Georgia. This is a totally new environment for me, but am enjoying it. What do I do outside of dogs? Is there anything? Just kidding, my family is now nearby and I am enjoy- ing them. However, my dogs are the essence of my existence. The Pumi is not for everyone. I think it must be a family who has owned other dogs. They are wonderful dogs but they can be difficult for a new puppy owner. People think they are cute. Yes, they are cute but they are also a hard working dog. They are incredibly smart and need a job. They were bred to herd cattle and sheep. They will try to herd you as well and that includes nipping at your legs and tearing your pants. They aren’t biting, but trying to do their job—you must get a hand on it. The biggest misconception may be their appearance. We keep going back to cute and they are, but they can hold their own when it comes to protecting their livestock. I don’t worry about my safety, but wonder if they would protect me if needed. They are definitely my dogs and doubt that they would allow anything to hurt me. At seven weeks old, I really look at their proportions. This is a square dog and they must be square. The loin must be short and the legs beginning to grow. It is just like any breed. Look at the entire dog. Layback of shoulder, movement, level top line can be seen at this age. The pups will sometimes roach as they go through the uglies. It will come back down as the dog matures. I place my pups according to how devoted I believe the people to be. Some families just want a pet, but they must be commit- ted to socializing these dogs. Without the socialization, you will have a great dog at home, but you will not be able to take him/ her off your property. It is imperative, that puppies are social- ized from a young age. Show pups, same thing. There is nothing more important! Gosh, my favorite show memory—not sure. I loved judging the Pumik at Westminster, but the enthusiasm that I see as these dogs run around the agility ring give me goose bumps. If you have


Pumi Q& A


However, behind that cute expression is a very serious working dog with extremely high intelligence. Because of this they need and re- quire a job or Pumi and owner will be unhappy.”

Debra Thornton continued

ever watched the drive, the happiness as the dog runs the course barking with joy, who couldn’t smile and know this is special! These dogs are my heart. I love my previous breed and will always consider myself a Newf person, but my dogs sleep with me, run to me and make me feel special in every way. When I pack to go to an assignment, they jump into the suitcase and I feel horrible pushing them out. I have never had more devoted dogs. The breed is amazing. Smart, devoted, loving and demanding all describe a Pumi. If you don’t have the time, it is not a breed for you. They demand your attention, a job and your unconditional love. THERESAWEBER My history in dogs really

much needed as hard as it is to prepare and address, it will help guide persons through the planning. Another part of my life I am a flight nanny (escorting beloved pets and all animals to their destination so they are never alone). Along with that I am an international pet transportation facilita- tor. My life is really all about the dogs and I love it. The most important thing a prospective owner should know about the breed? The Pumi is cute and whimsical in looks and those ears, how can you not smile. However, behind that cute expression is a very serious working dog with extremely high intel- ligence. Because of this they need and require a job or Pumi and owner will be unhappy. That job can be being an integral part of the family, herding, conformation, agility, obedience, jogging, dock diving, lure coursing, fly ball many activities (jobs). The need the mental and physical stimulation. The more they get the happier they are. There are always willing to learn and eagerly aim to please. Pumi’s do not shed, but do need to be combed out periodically and trimmed as necessary to keep the coat in shape. The biggest misconception about the breed? Their cute whim- sical expression is misleading as to their serious work ethic. They are fabulous family dogs but need mental and physical stimula- tion. They are not just cute teddy bears who are content to sit on the couch! Do they chill, cuddle and have an off button? Oh yes and are great snugglers but they need a job so they can be happy and content. They need to be a very involved part of the family—in fact they demand it. Without that they will not be happy. At what age do I choose a show prospect? Picking a show pup, well that is quite a challenge right? Yes it certainly is but not always. We as breeders are always learning from our past experiences. We acquire a keen eye. Some of the special ones can simply stand out! Does it take much dedication and knowledge? Absolutely! But also so very much interacting, providing much stimulation and lots of watching. At about four weeks, as mobility really starts allowing them to start wrestling, playing and exploring. You watch for the explor- ers, the followers and the content or shy ones. That can change over the next few weeks but I watch and interact. They start going outside. I add new items for stimulation. I start taking them on safe “field trips”. I watch and watch and watch. Who demands attention? Who says meeee, meee, meee! I watch them play....hmmm who is that one that keeps set- ting him/herself up naturally? Who is that nice mover? Do I keep seeing the same one? I watch more. I put them on the table. Do I feel what I see? It’s incredible how they start differentiating themselves. At eight weeks I do my final evaluation of movement and structure. That along with knowledge and many years of experi- ence help form the dreams for each pup to be happy and thrive in

begins as a little girl. I trained my first dog, a Vizsla, when I was just ten years old. Shortly there after I rescued my first dog, his name was “Peanuts”. My love of dogs, all critters big and small, already in my soul, only grew as time and school went on. After college I trained as a Veterinary Techni- cian as secondary training and had hands on experience under wonderful veterinarians at a large and small animal hospital

in a suburb of St Paul, Minnesota. My first large breed dog was a Great Pyrenees. After he passed I was ready for another dog and fell in love with the Newfound- land. With great mentors I was fortunate to train, and show many great dogs as well as start my breeding program. I learned so much and gained a keen eye for structure and movement. With Newfoundlands as my specialty I began handling. I have met many great people and dogs thru handling and forward to most recent I found my love of the Pumi! I started in the breed while they were still in Miscellaneous. I began my breeding pro- gram with a wonderful foundation. I adore the breed and I love being owned by my crew of them. I am a proud breeder. I live in California in a suburb just north of LA. My life is ded- icated to the dogs. I manage my client’s Kuvasz and their breeding program as well as my own love of the Pumi breed. I proudly breed Pumik for soundness, structure and temperament. I will be founding an animal charity run for dogs and their person(s). It will really be just a fun day for the dogs of all shapes and sizes to spend time with their owners for a great cause. I am also starting a program to assist people to plan for their beloved pet’s care when they are no longer able to. This I think is


Pumi Q& A

“THE GOOD AND BAD NEWS ABOUT THIS WONDERFUL BREED IS THAT THEY ‘SELL THEMSELVES’. They are the right size, cute, and do not shed. Those are attractive features but they also attract people who are looking for something the Pumi is not.”

they were a darling and unusual breed. Outside of dogs we enjoy hiking, travel and spending time with family. My husband David and I are attorneys and have recently become “empty nesters.” What’s the most important thing a prospective owner should know about the breed? The most important thing a prospective owner should know about this wonderful breed is that they are an active and busy breed. They are not couch potatoes and need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. I believe the three most important things a prospective Pumi owner can do is (1) Meet a Pumi, preferably several, before you buy (2) Spend actual time with one before buying and as with all breeds (3) Make sure you are dealing with a reputable breeder. The biggest misconception about the breed? Their “whimsi- cal” expression belies their hard-wired toughness and work ethic. They may look like a Build-a-Bear but they are a tough, smart, stubborn, high energy working animal. At what age do I choose a show prospect? Evaluating a Pumi litter is no different than evaluating any other breed. One needs a keen understanding of the breed standard and look for those features in the pups. Different breeds/breeders have different ages which are optimal for evaluating but I’ve had good luck with eval- uating at around 8 weeks. However the majority of my evaluation is done observing a litter at play. It is far more important to me to see how a puppy moves and uses its body in a natural setting than trying to get a table stack analysis. How do I place my pups? The good and bad news about this wonderful breed is that they “sell themselves”. They are the right size, cute, and do not shed. Those are attractive features but they also attract people who are looking for something the Pumi is not. A Pumi breeder needs to be very diligent in their placement. I’ve placed most of my pups in show homes and agility/performance homes. I have two who are in companion homes but those owners understand the unique needs of the Pumi. My favorite dog show memory? Owner handling my Pumi “Boglarka” to a Group 4 at The Beverly Hills Kennel Club under the late Steve Gladstone was a really special moment. Attending Pumifest is always a treat. A non-show favorite memory was rep- resenting the Pumi breed with David Frei on the ‘Today Show’ in New York. We ask that the future breeders, exhibitors and professional handlers respect the rustic heritage and presentation of this breed. They should NEVER be blown dry and overly sculpted.

there new life as a show or companion dog. Happy with whatever adventures they take on with their forever family! How do I place my pups? I talk to the potential owner(s). I ask many questions about their lifestyle, their home and yard, what are they looking for in a dog, what activities do the want to do with the dog? I do a home visit If I’m close enough or they can come to me. They can meet my adults and young ones. If they are close I arrange puppy visits and I watch their reactions. We talk and I listen and answer questions, I talk about the Pumi’s needs. I stress how they need to be part of the family and the fact that they will be their 24/7 shadow. They will bark to alert. They will bark at play or excitement to tell you what they are thinking and happy about. But then they will be quite happy to snuggle watch tv with you and sleep next to your head. As good homes are determined it then becomes my job to match the right puppy with each home. I make sure the temperament and activity level of each pup matches that of their new family and I always match puppy to family, they do not get to choose. The rea- soning for that is: I know these pups inside and out. I have watched and evaluated from the moment they were born. I know their per- sonalities and in order to ensure they have a happy full life and each family is happy It is my responsibility to place the right pup in each home. My favorite dog show memory? Every time I watch the judges smile because of course that whimsical expression and those ears—you simply can’t help but smile. They brighten up any room! Pumi’s are the most happy, loving, loyal, intelligent, hard working, whimsical dog with the expression that talks to you and ears that are well—just the cutest! To live with a Pumi is much like a potato chip, if you have one you will end up having more. I literally laugh every day! They are silly, smart, serious, loving, loyal, boisterous, snuggly, demanding, sweet dogs all wrapped up in a whimsical package. To be owned by a Pumi or two is a wonderful ride of a lifetime! MARIA ARECHAEDERRA We live in Silverado, Cal-

ifornia. My original breed is another Hungarian breed, the Kuvasz and that is how I was first introduced to the Pumi breed. I met my first Pumi around 1992 through my Hungarian friend and fellow Kuvasz breeder Paul Yuhasz who’s wife brought a pair back from one of their trips to Hungary. I thought


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


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