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Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
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“If you don’t know, the Puli dog looks like a mop, basically, but it has a very playful nature. And the work process of this sculpture is representative of the nature of the Puli dog—very playful, very spontaneous,” explained Zsuzsa Cselenyi, program coordinator for Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival.
The Puli breed has served Hungarian shepherds for centuries and has thus become a symbol of the Hungarian nation. The medium-sized, short-legged dog is one of several distinct Hungarian herding breeds, including the Komondor (“the King of the Hungarian sheepdogs”), the Kuvasz, the Pumi, and the Viszla. The Magyars brought the Puli into Central Europe when they migrated west from Central Asia to occupy the area along the Danube River. Since its arrival on the Hungarian Plains, the Puli has become synonymous with Hungarian sheepherding.
Pulis have a characteristically thick and corded coat that protects them from the elements as well as from potential predators. They are either completely black in color or a variety of shades of grey. Their exceptional temperament, loyalty, devotion, and particularly high intelligence make Pulis excellent sheepherding dogs and pets.