Satellite ears lend the Pumi a comical air, but the hilarity ends there because this is a serious working breed with a history of herding pigs, cattle, and sheep like the Hortobágy Racka below. This breed of sheep is described as having a lively, if not stubborn disposition, and its cork-screw horns – when yielded by a protective ewe or prickly ram – command respect, and an agile dog.
Since the Pumi is an upright and close working herding dog, its ability to instantly change direction is particularly important so that he can bounce out of harm’s way. A Pumi is less a natural gatherer, and more of a driving and holding dog that instinctively runs around the flock, finds the individuals that are sticking out, and moves them back into the flock. A very square, light-bodied and light-stepping dog with moderate reach and drive gets the job done. If necessary, barking punctuates the dog’s will over the livestock, and “tugging” on the wool of sheep – not tearing, mind you, but a “love grip” further emphasizes the Pumi’s point. Sometimes, the “love grip” is on a nose, something a Pumi will employ to compensate for his small size when up against a animal that significantly outweighs him. Put another way, it’s the Pumi’s “sleight of hand” to make their charge believe that the Pumi is the stronger animal.