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The working Puli in Hungary

During the Winter of 2005 in Hungary, I spent a day making wine barrels at a barrel company owned by a friend of Eva's.  One of the guys I worked with there, named Janos, has a farm.  We went to see him this year and asked where we might find sheep.  He said they had sheep, and we could come by with Bogi any time.  He said they had a puli, and had a puppy.

As you can imagine we were excited.  We drove out to the farm and were surprised by it's size.  It stretched out farther than we could see, and the assortment of large farm equipment showed that they were serious farmers. 

As we pulled up to the house, the car was immediately approached by their dogs.  There was no fences along the road and from the road to the house, which was about 1/4 mile, there was no fence, but the dogs protect their territory.  We rolled down the car window (a little) and waited for Janos.

He called the big dogs back and they tied them up.  We got out of the car and Janos led us towards the field as he started explaining about the sheep.  He was carrying the puli puppy. 

After a short walk we could see the flock of about 40 sheep, about 200 meters in front of us.  They were spread out and not paying too much attention to us.  As we got to about 100 meters, all the sheep gathered into a circle and every one of them was watching us.  Janos explained that they were watching Bogi, not us.  They are very aware of the presence of a Puli, even though they could tell it wasn't "theirs", and were watching to see what it was going to do.  As we got a little closer, the sheep started moving all together and moved quickly to our left, circling around and heading for the barn. 

They stopped after moving about 100 meters, and again all eyes were on Bogi.  I started walking towards them with Bogi but we never got closer than 100 meters ... they hustled for the barn tightly huddled together in a perfectly formed circle.

Janos explained that the sheep know that the puli only comes out to get them, so when they saw the Puli they head in to avoid being herded.  The puli will sometimes nip at their heels, so they've been taught to move quickly. 

If that were the end, it would be simply interesting .. but wait it gets better.

We asked them about when their puli goes out to get the sheep.

When we got back to the house they pointed to a ladder up against the barn.  When it's time for the sheep to come in, they pick up their puli, carry him up on the ladder and hold him up in the air.  Even if the sheep are out of sight, within minutes they come trotting up to the barn. 

We tried to go back and film this, but there was some really bad fog for several days.  We will get some new video of the farmer climbing up the ladder and holding his puli in the air.

This is the life of a working Puli in Hungary.