The Health of the Hungarian Puli in Great Britain
Written by Lesley Cook
The Hungarian Puli is a breed that generally benefits from good health and can stay active and be long lived. However like all breeds there are areas of health that need to be monitored and responsible breeders and owner’s hip score for Hip Dysphasia and eye test for Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD). The Hungarian Puli Club of Great Britain is keen to encourage its members of puli owners, breeders and puli enthusiasts to hip score and eye test their pulis. The Committee are also sending out a health questionnaire this year to all its members to try and update and identify in more detail the general health of the breed at this time
The results of hip scores and eye tests are published in the breed magazine The Cordlet.. Eye test results can also be found in The Kennel Club recently created an open MRD register for all breeds and where puli eye results will be stated
Responsible breeders screen their puppies for Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia. Opinions between breeders can differ as to when a puppy should be screened. Ideally pulis should be screened as puppies and again after they are a year old for MRD, ensuring that the condition has not developed once the puli is fully grown. Eye testing is available in most areas of the country on a fairly regular basis.
The average age for the puli to be hip scored is between 12 -18 months however a puli can be hip scored beyond this date and the average hip score for the puli at this time is approximately 16 at this time
The pulis long corded coat is characteristic of the breed and like all coated breads an understanding of coat maintenance is important for the puli well being and to enable it stay fit and healthy. The puli are an intelligent and active dog and appreciate plenty of exercise and mental stimulus. Pulis are seen in the show ring with cords to the floor and to keep the coat in this condition takes time and patience. Many puli enthusiasts can find it difficult to maintain the coat at this length and often decide keep the cords at a shorter length which they find more manageable, or in some cases are clip the coat off.
The coat starts to develop into cords from approximately 6 months of age ( this can vary), and during this time the coat needs regular attention. It. can take approximately 4 – 5 years to grow into a full mature coat. Once the cords have formed the maintenance of the coat becomes much easier. The coat is not brushed but managed by grooming with the fingers and the aim is to keep the developing cords separate. The development of the cords is unique with each dog. Some pulis will develop pencil cords which are long and slim and others will develop ribbon cords which are wider. Trimming around the mouth and under the feet may be required. Grooming is an essential part of the pulis well being. It keeps the skin and coat in good condition, allows the owner to identify any areas of concern, gives the opportunity to check the eyes and ears regularly, and builds up the relationship between puli and owner. Grooming the puli puppy from an early age is important if the experience is to be a pleasurable for both puli and owner later when the coat starts to develop the characteristic cords. It allows the puppy to gain an understanding of what is expected of it during a grooming session and the procedure does not become stressful.
Generally bathing the corded puli is necessary and thoroughly rinsing the shampoo and conditioner out of the coat after washing is essential to keep the skin healthy and stop irritation. A fully coated puli coat can take on average 12 hours to dry, some types of coal will take longer and others less time. However the drying process can be completed quicker if the coat is kept short, or if a hair dryer is used.
There is a dedicated pool of experienced puli breeders and enthusiasts in the UK who offer continued support and information to new or prospective puli owners and enthusiasts. The Hungarian Puli Club of Great Britain offer information service identifying where information and support can be found throughout UK. The Secretary organises the Discover Dogs stand at Crufts and Earls Court and is actively supported by breeders and enthusiasts alike. Without their support, these events could not take place. The club also maintains a Puli welfare scheme. The Hungarian Puli Club of Great Britain also has nominated a Breed Health Coordinator whose role is to collate health information and work with the Kennel Club regarding health issues.
The Hungarian Puli is a numerically small breed in the UK and the need to share information is important for the breed to meet the challenges in the future. With the continued support of all those who are involved in the breed, the good health and well being of the puli will continue in the future.