Basic facts on the Pumi:
Pumik (note the irregular plural) are shepherd dogs with terrier-like features – both internal and external – that can be observed in their appearance (the characteristic head-shape, long muzzle, quadratic body) and are reflected by their behaviour and disposition as well: they are bold, fearless and vigorous. On the other hand they belong to sheepdogs and cattle dogs (FCI group 1) after all.
Due to this duality training of Pumik must be of a kind of dual nature too.
First of all, and it’s common in the training of all kind of shepherds, socialisation is all-important! The young Pumi must get used to unfamiliar noises or places, strangers, other animals, etc., as soon as possible; without this later it will develop a nervous, sulking behaviour! Like all shepherds, Pumik have a sensitive nature, so commanding aloud is usually enough to discipline them. Beating and harsh treatment make them suffer!
Secondly, like terriers, Pumik must be trained consistently. Do not let these “cute little fluffballs” charm you because they take charge in no time and then it is too late!
Pumik are very intelligent like shepherds in general, they learn easily and quickly, also they can solve unfamiliar problems very fast, they “use their wits”. “Traditional” kennel-work (sit, heed, lie down, stand up) is monotonous and tedious for them, this breed is not made for this but rather for playful tasks that require some brainwork. They love, for example, searching hidden things, they excel in tracing objects, agility and Frisbee. So they can do their best in situations where there is a given task but the way it is carried out is up to them: “Tell your Pumi what to do but let it find the way!” Maybe this is the most important particularity of this breed.
Pumik are moving all the time and they need a space for it. It is a breed of playful nature so it is not choosy when it comes to exercises! They love long trips, balls and water. If we are not able to walk them we can tire them out perfectly with a ball as well (they are tough and tenacious and so we should be too…). Of course, the company of another dog can be helpful.
If you have not got enough free space do not buy a Pumi! At the end they will find a means of draining off their accumulated energy and it usually means unwelcome forms of behaviour. They will make up tasks for themselves: chasing cyclists and cars, raging at everything that passes by the fence, demolishing furniture – generally becoming unbearable.
Pumik basically get along with other animals and dogs quite well. Appropriate socialisation is essential, which must be started at a very young age.
They tend to be dominant, so keeping two males together is problematic and not advisable. Bitches get along with each other relatively well. They are friendly to children but, again, it is important to familiarise our dogs with them early.
Since they are herd dogs Pumik have the tendency to drive everything: other animals, dogs, members of the family. It manifests in circling around or biting our ankle sometimes. Of course, consequent training can break this habit too.
The Pumi is always on the watch and constantly communicates with its environment. All of its body is always ready for action, its ears, tail are constantly on the move. It is a talkative breed, hilarious when going for a walk, playing or when the master arrives home, comments on and reacts to everything aloud. Barks when a stranger steps to the gate, when the postman comes or when it has something to tell us. However, basically Pumik are not barkers because they never bark without a reason. If nothing happens they keep silent.
There many variations existing: black, white, grey and fawn. Grey is the most frequent. It is important to know that the grey ones are born black. Those born grey are ineligible, so the grey adults should be really called black turned grey. Depending on the degree of colour change the result ranges from dark grey to silver-grey. Black and white are much rarer. In the case of white ones there can be problems with pigmentation, lips and the nose are not dark enough (the originally dark nose becomes flesh-coloured temporarily – or even permanently), the skin is not grey but pink, which is not eligible. Fawn coat is the rarest, it can be red, yellow or cream. When it is masked fawn the base colour should be overlaid by a black or grey shade and a definite mask.
Pumik should get accustomed to grooming at an early age. The coat is easy to groom. It is an advantage that the Pumi does not really loose its hair but, for that very reason, a monthly combing and brushing is required. For a neat appearance trimming with scissors is needed, however, it does not require being an expert in cosmetics, it can be learned easily.