Pumifest 2021 is underway in Sanford and continues through Sunday.
No, Pumifest has nothing to do with pumpkins. It’s a dog party.
For the Hungarian pumi, (pumick for more than one), a medium-sized gray-colored dog that has traditionally been used for herding, according to Bonnie Buchanan, owner of the Bon-Clyde Learning Center on Lee Avenue.
The center is the site of the Hungarian national specialties Pumi Club of America 2020 and 2021.
Eighty dogs and their owners compete in categories such as agility, obedience and rally at various levels.
During the rally, owners and their dogs follow a marked course of 10 to 20 signs, each spelling out an instruction for the pair to follow, according to the American Kennel Club.
Pumik is one of three Hungarian Shepherd breeds, said Tom Levy.
He and his wife, Chris, traveled across the country from their home in Salem, Oregon for the national event.
In fact, club members have come from California, New York, Ohio, Connecticut, Washington State, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Michigan and Nebraska to participate. Many North Carolina pumi owners also participate.
There are between 600 and 700 pumik in the United States, according to Tom Levy, who sits on several of the Pumi Club show/trial committees.
Pumik are solid black when they are born, he said, and their coat turns gray as they age.
The breed has a flat skull, which gives it a resemblance to an airedale or wheaten terrier and normally stands between 15 and 18 inches tall.
The grooming area was busy on Wednesday as the dogs were cleaned up before they took a spin in the ring or on the agility course.
The dogs are low-maintenance, according to Buchanan and Chris Levy. Their coats are made up of curls while the tails are a little looser and curl in a full circle over their backs, per breed standards.
They need a haircut about every six weeks, Chris Levy said, but the coat is low maintenance. It doesn’t need to be blown out with a blow dryer, she says.
“You wash them and let them dry,” Levy said.
The show was scheduled for 2020, Buchanan said, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club will name the winner of the 2020 National Specialty Show on Friday, she said, while the 2021 winner will be honored on Saturday.