Pumi: A Breed of All Trades

pumi standing on the log
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Are you looking for a dog that can cuddle but also enjoys going out for a run? A breed that loves to be around children? Well, if so, you should think about getting a Pumi. This multi-purpose breed is packed with talent, while also loving the company of their family. A nice combination, right?

The Pumi is a breed that’s full of personality. On the one hand, they’re opinionated and need to be heard, while on the other hand, they enjoy cuddling on the couch with their family. So, with a Pumi by your side, you’re always going to see a different side of them as they’ll keep you on your toes.

You may be wanting to learn more about this breed. We understand why you’re curious about the Pumi as they’re extremely interesting and quirky. You’re in luck because in this article, we’re going to show you everything you need to know about the Pumi. We’re going to give you a complete run-down on this breed, and by the time you’re done, you’ll know whether or not the Pumi is the right dog for you.

Breed Characteristics

pumi's head

  • Adaptability: Good; but not suited to apartment living

  • Trainability: Moderate

  • Health and Grooming: Moderate

  • All Around Friendliness: Good; not easily provoked

  • Exercise Needs: High Maintenance

Dog Breed GroupHerding Dogs
Height13 - 19 inches
Weight18 - 33 pounds
Lifespan12 - 13 years

The Pumi is an interesting and quirky breed. First mentioned in 1815, the Pumi is believed to be cousins of the Puli breed. The Pumi was bred as a herding dog for cattle as they are extremely energetic, opinionated, and daring.

Their name stands for “unable to keep quiet” which is very fitting to their personality; if they feel something, they must express it.

The Pumi is a multi-purpose breed that’s able to herd, hunt, and guard. Of course, they’re also used as companion dogs which they excel at as well. However, instinctually, they’re wired to herd.

Despite their size, they’re strong dogs, and they need an even stronger owner. If they sense that their owner is weaker, they’ll take on the role of making decisions instead.

They’re highly observant and need to see everything that’s going on around them. Thus, if you have a busy home, they’ll be kept very well entertained. Though surprisingly, they can be reserved towards people they don’t know. They do well around other dogs; however, you need to socialize them from an early age.

They get along well with children, but because they’re herders, during puppyhood, they’ll nip the heels of children to herd them. However, with proper training, this can be easily resolved. Once that’s taken care of, they’re exceptional around children, hence why they’re a family favorite.

Main Highlights

pumi dog on a leash

  • The word Pumi means “unable to keep quiet.”

  • The Pumi is highly vocal, expressing their opinions through barking.

  • They’re not good for apartment living.

  • They’re relatively unknown outside of Hungary. However, the Pumi is highly loved in Finland and other European countries as well.

  • They’re highly intelligent and require mental stimulation on a daily basis.

  • It’s believed that they share some of the same ancestries with the Puli breed.

  • They’re extremely cheerful, energetic, and observant dogs.

  • Their coat is 50% soft and 50% coarse hair, making for easy and low-maintenance grooming.

  • The Pumi has a huge personality and loves to be given tasks.

  • They are exceptional at agility and obedience training as they have a lot of energy and love to be mentally stimulated.

  • The Pumi can be stubborn at times, however, aren’t overly difficult to train. They do well with reward-based training.

  • They love their whole family, however, tend to pick one individual as their favorite.

Breed History

pumi lying on a bench

You may have gotten the Pumi mixed up with the Puli, and that’s quite common as both are Hungarian herding dogs and most likely have some ancestry that’s crossed over into each other’s breed. However, the Pumi does have its own breed history.

The Pumi is believed to have originated over 300 years ago, around the same time when the Puli was crossbred with German and French herding breeds.

The breed was first mentioned by name in 1815. In 1920, the Pumi was recognized as its own breed, and you’ll be able to find them in their native country of Hungary to this day.

The Pumi was bred to herd cattle as their personality makes for a courageous and opinionated breed. The name Pumi means “unable to keep quiet,” which is very fitting for the breed.

In 1996, the Pumi was recognized by the United Kennel Club and also belongs to the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service. However, they’re internationally less well-known and is still relatively uncommon in the United States.


gray pumi

The Pumi is a small breed, measuring between 15 and 18 inches. In addition to their small frame, they weigh only between 18 to 33 pounds.

Their bodies are compact yet well built. With strong paws, they’re able to support their muscular and sturdy frame. The females tend to be smaller in both height and weight than males.

Personality and Character

pumi sitting

What the Pumi lacks in size they make up for in personality. The Pumi is a highly versatile and multi-purpose breed. Originally, they were used as sheepdogs. However, they also make exceptional guard, hunting, and companion dogs.

Their multi-talents lie in their quirky personality as they’re extremely curious, jolly, and attentive. They love to know everything that’s going on around them and need to observe everything that happens. Many owners mention that they feel like their Pumi is reading their minds.

The Pumi is a huge fan of cuddling and loves to hang out with their family at the end of the day. Though they show love to all their family members, they tend to choose one person as their favorite. However, if they feel that their owner is weaker than them, they’ll feel the need to take over an make the decisions instead.

They love to be given tasks and work hard. However, they’re not fans of boring and repetitive work. This also includes their physical activity. You have to make sure that you switch up the activities so that it doesn’t feel like a routine to them.

When it comes to training, you’ll need to be creative if you want to keep their attention. And start early. You’ll also want to socialize them with other dogs as soon as possible to remove any pesky behavioral issues that they may have.

The Pumi does have a tendency to bark a lot, as they use this to communicate with their owners. Remember, they’re highly observant; thus, when expressing their opinion, they’ll use a bark.

See Also: How to Teach a Dog to Speak

Health and Potential Problems

Pumi lying on grass

We all have our own health problems, and this goes the same for dogs as well. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to inherit a family condition; you may have a completely different set of problems, and this is the same for dogs as well. Each breed has its own health conditions which appear more often, however, every individual dog is different.

Now, the Pumi is known to be a relatively healthy breed, but they also have their own set of health conditions which you need to keep an eye on. When selecting a Pumi, make sure the breeder you’re going to has proper certification of the parents, proving that they’re healthy. This will help to minimize future health problems.

Here are some of the more common health problems that occur with the Pumi.

#1: Patellar Luxation

This is a condition which occurs when the kneecap is dislocated from the thigh bone. If your Pumi has this condition, you’ll notice that they’ll have problems moving and will be lethargic.

This condition is highly common in dogs and is typically more common in females a. There are very little options when it comes to treatment; a radical form of treatment is surgery.

#2: Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

This is a common health condition which occurs mostly in older dogs. This disease typically happens between the ages of 8 and 14 and is a progressive disease of the spinal cord.

What happens is that the dog will begin to lose coordination of the hind limbs, causing them to wobble or drag their feet when they walk. There is no cure for this condition.

#3: Eye Disorders

There are eight common eye problems that tend to occur in dogs. These conditions include cherry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, corneal wounds, dry eye, entropion, and pink eye.

Now, these are all treatable. However, you want to make sure you catch these conditions early on to prevent further deterioration.

See Also: Eye Infections in Dogs

#4: Hip Dysplasia

This is a relatively common health condition which tends to occur more frequently in larger breeds, however, is not exclusive to them. Hip dysplasia is when the hip joints are malformed.

In a normal dog, the hip joints are separated to prevent them from rubbing together, however, with hip dysplasia, the hip joints are not properly separated. Thus, they rub together. This rubbing causes extreme pain and inflammation in the joint area.

Now, if your dog is suffering from this condition, over an extended period of time, they will develop arthritis. For mild cases, it’s treatable with pain medication, but if your Pumi is suffering from a severe form of hip dysplasia, they’ll need to undergo hip replacement surgery.

Luckily, this condition is screenable. Thus, you’ll be able to foresee this when your Pumi is still a puppy. Like we said before, you should make sure the breeder has the necessary certificates proving that the parents are healthy and free from hip dysplasia as it’s genetically passed down.

Care Features

pumi puppy running

Despite their size, the Pumi isn’t a dog which can sit home all day inside an apartment. In fact, if you have an apartment, then the Pumi isn’t for you. This breed is pumped with energy and must live in an environment which allows them to roam around.

In addition to living in a large space, they also need a lot of exercises; letting them run around the yard isn’t enough. If you wish to walk or run with them, make sure to do this twice a day as they’ll have plenty of energy to release. However, if possible, allow them to run and play off-leash. Just make sure the area is properly fenced.

They’re intelligent and highly agile. Thus, you can play around with different forms of physical activity by letting them climb, play agility games, fetch, and obedience training.

See Also: Dog Agility Equipment DIY

Feeding Schedule

pumi standing

Like you’ve learned, the Pumi is a highly energetic and active breed. Whether they’re guarding the house, hunting, or herding flock, they’re going to need a proper diet in order to keep up with their tasks.

The Pumi will do very well on a high-quality diet that consists of the essential nutrients, proteins, and carbohydrates. You can purchase branded food, or you can prepare homemade food for your Pumi.

Regardless of how you decide to feed your Pumi, what’s important is that you make sure they’re provided with high-quality food. Low-quality dog food is equivalent to junk food for humans and will have drastic health effects on your Pumi.

You should consult the vet when deciding on what type of food to feed your Pumi. The vet will be able to take into consideration the dog’s age, activity level, and health conditions if they have any.

Pumi dogs have a tendency to become overweight if they aren’t active, which means you need to keep an eye on their food consumption to prevent obesity. In addition, make sure that your Pumi has a fresh bowl of clean water available to them throughout the day.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Pumi dogs of different colors

The Pumi has an interesting coat. The coat comes in a couple of colors such as black, grey, burnt red/brown, and in some cases, white. The coat is always a solid color, never mixed.

Their coats are a combination of wavy and curly hair with a corkscrew texture. Half of their coat is made of soft hair while the other is coarse hair, all in the same length.

They’re not heavy shedders, but you’ll need to groom the Pumi once a week to remove debris and dead skin cells from their coat. You can trim their coat if you want to keep them looking tidy.

When it comes to baths, they don’t need them frequently. However, if they’re going to be on your furniture, we recommend bathing them on a monthly basis. After bathing them, allow their coat to dry naturally as it’ll restore their beautiful curl. Do not blow dry their hair as it’ll destroy the curl.

See Also: How to Bathe a Dog Correctly

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

With children, the Pumi is great around them. However, you will need to do some training. Instinctually, they’re a herding breed, so, they may attempt to herd people, children specifically, when they’re puppies.

As puppies, Pumi dogs will nip at the heels and possibly grab the pants around the ankles in order to guide the human. This behavior is easily trainable, and once it’s taken care of, their playful and cheerful personalities are a favorite among children.

The Pumi typically gets along very well with other pets. If you introduce them from a young age and socialize them with other dogs, they’ll have no problems getting along with your other pets.

They’re able to recognize non-canine pets and even if they’re not friendly towards your Pumi, don’t expect a fight to break out. Instead, the Pumi will simply ignore them.

However, you should always keep an eye on your Pumi around very small pets as they are a hunting breed. Thus, if you have rodents in your home such as guinea pigs, hamsters, and mice, the Pumi will not be a good choice for your home.

Wrap Up

pumi dogs lying on grass

No one said that choosing a dog would be easy. With an endless number of breeds out there, we get why it’s hard to choose just one. However, the best way to start is to look at your needs and lifestyle. Choose a breed that will be able to easily adjust themselves to your life, rather than the other way around.

Since you’ve read about the Pumi, think about your lifestyle and whether or not the Pumi would fit in. The Pumi is an opinionated and cheerful breed that can take on any task you give them. Whether they’re adopted to be a companion, herder, or guard dog, they’ll take on every task with pride to not only please themselves but their owners as well.

They definitely have a lot of energy, so just make sure that you’re able to invest the time necessary in giving them both mental and physical stimulation.

If you’re looking for a brave, cheerful, and energetic breed, then why not consider getting yourself a Pumi? This multi-purpose breed can do just about anything and loves to help around the house any way they can.

Will you be adopting a Pumi? What part of this breed made the decision for you? If you need a name for your Pumi, check out our list of little dog names.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.