The Pumi is a small, highly active, terrier-like sheepdog that hails from Hungary. Pumi puppies are born black and turn varying shades of gray by about 6 to 8 weeks of age. As the dogs get older, they lighten considerably to a color that typically is gauged by the color of their parents. Today’s Pumis have long heads with narrow muzzles, circular tails and short, wiry, curly coats. They should be square in profile. Pumis have lively, whimsical facial expressions that are complimented by their remarkable ears. In fact, the breed's signature trademark are its large, high-set, stand-up pricked ears, which are longer-haired than the rest of its body and tip over at the top, giving the dog the most alert, endearing appearance possibly of any breed. The Pumi’s eyes are tight, medium-sized, dark, deeply set and gentle in expression.
Size and Weight
The Pumi is not a big dog by any means. Mature males stand between 16 and 18.5 inches at the withers and typically weigh between 22 and 33 pounds. Adult females range from 15 to 17.5 inches in height and normally weigh between 17 and 28.5 pounds. According to some registries, the ideal weight for dogs is 27 to 29 pounds and in bitches, 22 to 24 pounds. Their thick coats are deceiving, making them look heavier and bulkier than they actually are.
Coat and Color
The Pumi’s medium-length double coat is thick, unruly and made up of a combination of wavy and curly hairs that form corkscrew-like tufts all over the body. The top coat is harsh, wavy and wiry. The undercoat is much softer. This shaggy coat makes the Pumi look bulkier than it actually is. It should never be either smooth or corded. Pumi’s eyes and faces are short-haired, but still wavy. Their tails have long feathering ranging up to 5 inches in length. Pumis do require regular maintenance to keep their unusual coats attractive and tidy. Most Pumis are gray. Any shade of gray is highly preferred in the show ring, although black, white, grizzle, rusty brown and fawn (ranging from pale cream to deep mahogany red with gray or black shading) are also acceptable under the American Kennel Club breed standard. The overall appearance must be that of a solid-colored coat. Colors that appear in Pumi litters but are not accepted in most show rings include blue, chocolate, black-and-tan or any patched coat, including piebald. Occasionally, puppies are born wolf-colored.
Pumis require quite a bit of grooming. Because their coats are virtually non-shedding, they are predisposed to developing mats, which if not attended to can lead to skin irritation and sores. Their double coat should be brushed and combed out every few weeks. Pumis should also be trimmed and bathed every three or four months. Their hair should be allowed to dry naturally in order to achieve the characteristic corkscrews and curls in the coat. Pumi’s should never appear overly-fluffed or blown-dry. Ideally, their coat should be kept between 1 ½ and 3 inches in length when combed out. This regimen of combing, trimming, bathing and drying will help maintain the coat’s luster and keep the hair soft and manageable. Owners who are not experienced with grooming should hire a professional groomer. The time and expense of regular coat maintenance should be considered before anyone decides to acquire a Pumi.