On Wednesday, June 22 the American Kennel Club announced that it is recognizing the pumi as the 190th officially recognized AKC dog breed. Now this Hungarian breed can compete for the title of Best in Show at Westminster for the first time.
“It’s amazing.” Chris Levy told NPR. “I don’t know what I’m going to do on that first day, when we can actually get a blue ribbon.” Levy is the president of the Hungarian Pumi Club of America and has been working towards this recognition for 17 years.
One of the many criteria for becoming an AKC registered breed was to have at least 300 pumik (that’s the plural for pumi) in the United States. Before that, in order for pumik to participate in competitions, there needed to be at least 150 of them in the United States. Prior to AKC recognition, a pumi had to compete in the miscellaneous category. Now they can compete in the herding group, and for the title of Best in Show.
The herding history of the pumi makes this dog a high-energy companion. As Levy told the Associated Press, “They’re not for somebody who’s going to sit and watch TV all day long.” But their “whimsical expression” makes them irresistible for many dog lovers. Think you might love to own a pumi one day? Here are a few things to consider.
Energy Level – Pumik are herding dogs, and crave both mental and physical stimulation. They also have the alertness of a terrier, which means they will always have a “ready-to-go” attitude. The AKC suggests herding, agility, obedience, flyball, jogging, or chasing tennis balls as wonderful ways to keep a pumi active and engaged. But after plenty of activity, they do know how to relax. As Levy told the Associated Press, “The pumi can chill out.”
Shedding – The pumi only sheds when being brushed, which makes them a great option for dog owners who prefer a clean house or for owners with mild allergies. And their grooming regime is equally low-maintenance! A pumi’s coat is naturally curly and short, and only requires a good brushing every couple of weeks. After brushing their coat, the AKC suggests wetting the fur to bring the curls back to their natural bounce. Owners may also consider taking their pumi to a professional groomer, which only needs to be done every 3 months.
Family Dog – As AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo stated, “This lively, adorable dog makes a wonderful companion for a family willing to provide lots of exercise and mental activity.” As herding dogs, they are very attentive and focused on their people, and have a tendency to choose a favorite family member – the way a herding dog does with their shepherd. They are also relatively small, reaching a weight of 20-30 pounds. A pumi’s energy, medium stature, and playfulness makes them well suited for active families with children, but should be introduced to a family when the dog is young.
Think a pumi could be right for you? Do you know anyone who already has one of these up-and-coming pups? Let us know!