Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

Type: Herding Dog

Height: Females: 17 - 19 inches; Males: 18 - 20 inches.

Weight: Females: 30 - 40 lbs.; Males: 40 - 50 lbs.

Life Span: 11 - 14 years.

Litter Size: 2 - 6 puppies.

Country of Origin: Poland

Activity: Indoors - low to moderate. Outdoors - moderate to high.

Watch-dog: Very High. Though they are not usually prone to excessive barking.

Guard-dog: High. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs have been known to thwart even a bear to protect a child.

Description: The Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are medium-sized, strong, muscular, shaggy dogs with a long coat that covers their eyes and body. They may be born without a tail or their tail is docked at birth. Their willingness to please and devotion to their family make them great companions while at the same time a superb watchdog always on the alert for strangers. A Polish Lowland Sheepdog's amusing ways and floppy bodies make them highly lovable. They excel at almost any task they choose to undertake and are highly adaptable and suitable to almost any lifestyle. However, the breed has been known to get into mischief if left in the house alone too long. They can be stubborn and are a very independent breed. They are lively, intelligent and affectionate. They are known to have an exceptionally good memory for a dog - some remembering favors or offenses years after they have happened. The PON has eyes that are said to be "penetrating", and their lovable attitudes make them an ideal choice for the owner with a family.

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Other Names: PON, Polish Lowland Nizinny, Polish Owczarek Nizinny, Valee Shepherd Dog

Colors: PONs come in all colors. The most common color is white with black, gray or tan patches.

Coat: The Nizinny has a double-coat that is considered non-shedding. It is thick, long, and shaggy. PONs have hair on their faces that often cover their eyes. They have a bushy beard and eyebrows.

Temperament: Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are lively but not to excess, perceptive, highly intelligent and affectionate. They are graced with an excellent memory, sometimes remembering actions from years before. They are wary with strangers, stubborn and independent minded, but friendly and lovable to their family. They are devoted dogs. They are trainable, though it may be more difficult for this breed. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are very alert and will defend their family to any extent. They get along well with children, and are protective of them. They also do well with other pets as long as they are socialized. They are a clever breed.

With Children: Yes, if purchased from a reputable breeder and socialized with children from an early age.

With Pets: Yes, if exposed to other pets early on.

Care and Training: Most Polish Lowland Sheepdogs prefer some daily exercise and many will thrive on as much exercise as you are willing to give them. Their long coat requires 30 minutes or more of brushing one to two times a week with a pin brush/comb to keep the coat from matting. Never brush the coat when dry or use a slicker as this damages the coat/undercoat. Teeth, ears and nails must be tended to weekly. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs need consistent, firm and kind training from a young age; obedience school is highly recommended or they will tend to dominate their master. They are very independent and therefore can be stubborn, so they should be given instructive training as soon as possible.

Learning Rate: Very high. Obedience - Medium. They can be a bit stubborn, but with firm and consistent training they can prove very obedient. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Exercise, grooming, training, and socialization.

Living Environment: The PON is very adaptable to many lifestyles, but must be an integral part of the family. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs need a fenced yard in a suburban setting. The best owner for this breed would be an active, dog-experienced individual or family living in a rural or suburban household.

Health Issues: Usually quite healthy, although there have been some instances of hip dysplasia, allergies, cancer, eye diseases and luxating patellas have been reported. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (congenital heart defect) has also been a health concern with this breed.

History: A very old, but not ancient breed, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is believed to have descended from the Puli and the Hun herding dog in the 16th century. Other theories suggest the PON came from Asia over 1000 years ago, bred from Tibetan breeds and the Lhasa Apso. It was developed to be a natural herder with a tough and weather-resistant coat that could survive well in the Polish weather conditions. These herding dogs were used by the Huns in their travels west throughout Europe during the latter part of the 4th century AD. The Polish culture was not concerned with perfecting the breed through selective breeding, but to be concerned with survival. Due to this and the Wars, the breed was not in good numbers. The breed was decimated after both World Wars, and after the second World War there were only eight breedable survivors left - 6 females and 2 males. Following World War II, Dr. Danuta Hrzniewicz, a Polish veterinarian, is credited with doing the most breeding and promoting of the modern day PON. The breed got its real start in the US in the 1980s and is still considered a rare breed to this date. It has been the progenitor of several breeds, including Dutch Schapendoes, the Bearded Collie, and the Old English Sheepdog. In its homeland, the breed is considered to have three distinct sizes, known as Maly (small), Sredni (Medium), and the Duzy Ponad (large). The most common is the Sredni. Only recently has the breed made more populous appearances in dog shows.

First Registered by the AKC: 2001

AKC Group: Herding Group

Class: Herding

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 1), KC (GB), UKC