HISTORY OF THE BREED

The Pumi (in Hungarian, the plural form of pumi is pumik), also known as the Hungarian herding terrier, is a medium-small breed of sheep dog from Hungary. In spite of the fact that some refer to the Pumi as the “Hungarian herding terrier”, there is no terrier blood in the breed; it only means that the Pumi has some terrier-like attributes, such as quick movements, alert temperament, quadratic, lean and muscular body type.


The ancestral Hungarian herding dog appears to have migrated with the Magyars and their livestock from the Ural-Altay region, between China and the Caspian Sea, to the Carpathian Basin around 800 AD, writes Meir Ben-Dror.


This dog most likely can be traced back to the Tibetan herding/guard dogs (Tsang Apso, also mistakenly called terriers by Europeans) originating from China and Tibet and were widespread among various tribes in the region.


The ancestral Puli mixed with French and German herding dogs around 300 years ago, as a result of livestock trade with France and Germany.


In the early twentieth century, the Hungarians identified three separate herding breeds based on phenotype. The Puli was identified first, being prevalent on the eastern Hungarian plains. The Pumi was next, coming from the hills of western Hungary. Then the Mudi last, from southern Hungary. The Pumi was considered a regional variation of the Puli and the two names were used interchangeably for centuries.


Emil Raitsits, had initiated the standardization of Puli and Pumi in the 1910s and 1920s. The Pumi standard was approved by FCI in 1935.


Early breed standards of the Pumi noted the impact of other breeds. This included conformational differences from the Puli, such as the longer muzzle area, the smoother stop line than the Puli's, terrier-like upright ears with tilting top and different coat type.


The Pumi was used to herd cattle, sheep, goats and swine and it is still used today as such. Because livestock was typically kept in the village at night and driven to pasture for the day, the Hungarians needed a dog to work close in and drive livestock to and from pastures, keeping them within the pasture boundaries. The Pumi’s tools were barking, quick movement, and an occasional nip if needed. The Pumi also guarded the farm and alerted its owners when strange people or animals approached. It is usually very vocal and barking shouldn’t be encouraged in most non-farm situations.