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Grooming a Pumi
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The ideal Pumi coat is elegant, neither too long nor too short, suitably thick, curly, and it is made up of very nice "locks of hair". The coat can be maintained quite easily by combing (not brushing) the coat every week or two. After being combed, the Pumi must be bathed or "wetted down" and left to dry on its own. Never brush and blow dry the hair which takes away the curly locks of hair that is a Pumi characteristic. You may use a hair dryer, but do not brush at the same time, and blow gently. Pumi breeder Tamara Langer described the best way to see what the Pumi hair should look like is to take your dog swimming for five days in a row and each time let him dry naturally. Then his hair will take on the correct characteristics.
The Pumi does not shed, but must be trimmed and/or plucked every 2-4 months to keep him looking tidy.
The correct look of the Pumi should govern how he is trimmed, so let's take a brief look at the standard of perfection for the Pumi. The Pumi is a square dog - he should be the same length from his withers to the ground as he is from the forechest to the buttocks. The sides of the body are rather flat (not rounded or barrel-shaped). The withers are clearly noticeable, the back line slopes slightly. He has a high-set tail curled over the back, a relatively narrow, wedge-shaped head with very little stop, and high-set, semi-erect ears, with about 1/3 of them folding over. His legs should be straight when viewed from the front or rear, with moderately angulated shoulders and rear.
OK, now how does that translate to grooming? The order of grooming is comb, pluck, bathe and let dry (or blow dry GENTLY), then scissor. In fact we've found that for the best effect, only pat them dry with a towel, do not rough up the hair with the towel. In the middle of winter you'll probably want to gently blow them dry to keep them from getting chilled.
First, comb him out until he's fluffy.
Second, shorten his hair by plucking (pulling) out the longer hairs. In other words, where the hair is too long, pull out the long hairs with your fingers (rubber finger tips will help) until only the shorter hairs are left. It comes out quite easily, and the hairs that grow in will be a little thicker and coarser and easier to take care of in the future. If you don't want to pull the hairs out with your fingers, then use the stripping comb (see grooming tools below) and rake the stripping comb through his body coat to pull out a lot of the hair. Some breeders only scissor their dogs, but I find that the hair is easier to maintain and has a better quality when at least some plucking is done.
After plucking the body, bathe your Pumi. When finished bathing, pat your dog dry with a towel and let him air dry on his own. This will allow his naturally curly hair to curl back up again. Bathing with shampoo will soften the coat for a week or two, but the firmness will come back.
When your Pumi is dry, use scissors and trim the body, head, neck, buttocks, forechest, and legs, according to the diagram (from the Hungarian Puli-Pumi-Mudi Club).
The dark areas on the diagram illustrate where the coat is at its shortest (about 1-3 cm or 1/2 - 1-1/4 inches ), the white areas represent those areas where the coat is at its longest (7 cm, 2-3/4 inches maximum), in the gray areas the coat is somewhere in between. The length of coat is measured when the coat is curled up, so the actual length of the hairs is longer than these measurements. The final length of the coat depends on the structure of the Pumi: the coat of a strong-bodied Pumi should be kept shorter, while a light-bodied Pumi can have longer hair, etc. There shouldn’t be any clear edges in the coat - everything should be rounded.
The front (forechest) and back (buttocks) of the Pumi are trimmed shorter to preserve the correct, square look. Be careful with the backline so that it doesn’t look arched, sway-backed or slant the wrong direction.
On the head you should pay attention that the skull and the cheeks don’t look too massive in comparison with the muzzle, so the cheeks should be cut fairly short. The profile of the head should be straight (no stop). The hair on the ears is rounded and trimmed. If the ears are heavy, you should cut more hair off and vice versa. It is good to cut more hair on the outside edges of the ears so that they look as well set as possible. If your Pumi's ears fold over too far, cut as much hair as possible off the ears so there is less weight holding them down. Also you can trim the hair on the top of the head shorter to make the ears appear higher. The opposite is also true, if the ears stand too far up, leave more hair on the ears to hold them down. Pull out the hair that grows inside the ear canal (my Pumi hates this, but it's better for their ear health).
The hair on the tail is trimmed (1) and shortened so that the hair doesn’t "part" clearly. You should be able to see daylight (2) through the inside of the curl in the tail.
The hair on the legs usually doesn't need to be trimmed very much, but make sure the legs look straight and that the hair on the feet is rounded. Also be sure to cut and trim the nails.
Before a Dog Show
Tamara Langer: "We usually don't pull the hair before showing, or we do it only very carefully. Otherwise I usually prepare the coat of my dogs one or two weeks before the show and then I let it take up a natural form. That's also the time when I bathe them with shampoo. The day before the show I just bathe them with clear tap water under the shower and let them dry."
This is a great brush we discovered recently. Properly used, it will take out most of the tangled hair (not hard-set mats) and make it easier to run the comb through the hair. Use this before combing, but not as a substitute for a good combing. Hold the hair and comb bits of the hair away from what you're holding, so that the hair becomes untangled a bit at a time. You can order it at http://www.showdogstore.com/chris-christensen-brushes-16mm-t-brush-1.aspx.
This is a comb that looks like a rake, but works great to comb the
hair which should be done at a minimum of every 3 weeks (more often from
6-12 months old when they haven't gotten their coarser, adult coat). You will get hair
out when you comb, but then your puppy won't be leaving hair lying around
the house at other times. You can get the comb at this web site:
You can use any good dog shampoo,
but not human as a dog's pH is different than human. You shouldn't bathe
them more than once a month unless they're getting really dirty. The nice
thing about a Pumi's coat is that they can get dirty and the dirt doesn't
seem to stay in the coat. If you're going to do the scissoring work
yourself, you will also need to pull any hairs out of the ear canal that
grow there. You can use these hemostats to do that more easily than
tweezers. You can get them at this link:
Get the 5" straight ones. You will also need scissors to do the
touchup work and you can use any good hair scissors that are at least
8" long. All of these can be obtained through
so you only have to pay shipping once.
You can use any good dog shampoo, but not human as a dog's pH is different than human. You shouldn't bathe them more than once a month unless they're getting really dirty. The nice thing about a Pumi's coat is that they can get dirty and the dirt doesn't seem to stay in the coat.
If you're going to do the scissoring work yourself, you will also need to pull any hairs out of the ear canal that grow there. You can use these hemostats to do that more easily than tweezers. You can get them at this link: http://www.showdogstore.com/miller-forge---hair-puller-locking.aspx. Get the 5" straight ones.
You will also need scissors to do the touchup work and you can use any good hair scissors that are at least 8" long.
All of these can be obtained through www.showdogstore.com, so you only have to pay shipping once.
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Last updated: 08/10/17