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The early history of the Pumi is the same as that of the Puli. The sheepdogs of the early peoples of the East were bred with the dogs of later Western migrants for the purpose of improving the life of the shepherds on the Puszta. One result was a small dark predatory looking dog, with heavy outdoor coat, superior intelligence, quickness, and the willingness to work with man. These dogs were used as drivers and shepherd's companions.

In the early part of the 20th century Dr. Emil Raitsis identified separate characteristics of these sheepdogs and selective breeding to intensify these characteristics began. The Pumi was defined as "Canis familiaris ovilis villosus terrarius" It's own standard was defined by at least 1935.

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