The Polish Lowland Herding Dog, called PON for short, or Polski Owczarek Nizinny in the official wording, is a Polish herding dog that always spreads good cheer with its friendly and fun nature.
The Polish Lowland Herding Dog is a herding dog originating from Poland. The breed is recognized by the FCI and is listed in Group 1 – Herding and Cattle Dogs, Section 1 – Sheepdogs under Standard Number 251. In appearance, the Polish Lowland Herding Dog somewhat resembles the Bearded Collie.
Origin And Breed History
As you can tell from the name, a Polish Lowland Hound originated in Poland, where it was used by farmers as a herding dog and drover.
A Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a relatively old breed. The roots of these “good mood dogs” can easily be traced back to the 13th century.
Experts believe that the Tibetan Terrier, the Lhasa Apso, the Puli and the Tibetan Spaniel are among the ancestors of the PON. The pretty and smart dogs were first mentioned in writing in 1779, in a handbook of zoology.
There were mentioned fuzzy and simple dogs, of high intelligence and of high docility, pointing to the ancestors of the PONs. The Polish Lowland Sheepdog very quickly became popular outside Poland.
According to old reports, in 1515, Polish trader Kazimierz Grabski, while herding sheep in Scotland, caused so much enthusiasm and admiration with his PONs that one of the local shepherds traded a ram and two ewes for two females and a male.
These lowland sheepdogs formed the basis of the breeding of Scottish herding dogs, which also includes the very similar Bearded Collie.
The clever and agile dogs were introduced to a wide public in 1924 at a dog show in Warsaw. At the end of the 1930s, the Polish Breeders’ Association wanted to include and register all dogs that corresponded to the type of the PON.
The efforts came to an abrupt end because of the Second World War and after the war only a few specimens of this wonderful dog breed were found in the possession of Polish farmers. The Polish Lowland Sheepdog therefore almost became extinct before the breed had even become properly known.
That the Polish Lowland Sheepdog lives on and is more popular than ever today is due to the breeding efforts of a Polish veterinarian, Danuta Hryniewicz.
She traveled the country, visited farms and bought some of the last representatives of the PONs. With these PONs she founded her own breeding named “z Kordegardy” and by strict and controlled inbreeding she managed to bring the beautiful breed back to life.
Especially her male “Smok”, on whom the breed standard, as well as all subsequent breeding efforts were oriented, is to be thanked for the preservation of the breed. In 1959, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog was finally recognized as an independent breed by FCI.
Today, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is very popular far beyond the borders of its Polish homeland as a companion and family dog and its popularity is increasing year by year.
Appearance Of The Polish Lowland Sheepdog
A Polish Lowland Hat Dog is a medium-sized dog. PONs reach a maximum shoulder height of 50 cm, so overall they are slightly lower than the Bearded Collie breed, which is very similar to them.
A Polish Lowland Hound has a strong, stocky and muscular stature. Males weigh up to 22 kilograms, females are correspondingly lighter.
The whole body of the PON is covered with long, thick and dense fur. The coat has a goat hair-like feel and is tough and weather resistant.
The top coat is harsh, with a dense and soft undercoat underneath. The coat can come in a variety of colors, ranging from black to brown to white, solid and pied.
A Polish Lowland Hound has a long and densely coated tail. In some dogs there is also a congenital stubby tail, this is accepted.
The ears are medium sized and pendulous. The coat on the head is long, making the head appear more massive than it actually is.
Fun Facts: In order to achieve a uniform breeding goal, the tail was docked in the early days of breeding. Today, fortunately, docking the ears and tail is prohibited in most European countries.
Character And Temperament
A Polish Lowland Hound is a lively, spirited, cheerful and charming dog. This breed is docile and intelligent. A Polish Lowland Sheepdog is also a very even-tempered dog, very calm and comfortable in the home, provided it gets the exercise and activity it needs.
The PON loves his family unconditionally. To strangers, on the other hand, he is skeptical and reserved. This includes strange children who may come to visit your children. Therefore, you should definitely provide a safe retreat for the dog, which must be respected by the children.
These dogs need a clear guidance and are therefore only conditionally suitable for beginners. You should already have some dog experience to be able to train this dog lovingly but consistently.
A Polish Lowland Herding Dog is not suitable for comfortable people who do not like to be out in nature. These herding dogs require a lot of exercise to stay balanced and happy.
People who are very particular about cleanliness should look for a short-haired breed, because the PON drags a lot of dirt into the house with its long coat.
Husbandry And Diet
This energetic, independent dog breed is also a reliable watchdog. He barks a lot – but is not a yapper – and very loud. Therefore, in densely populated areas, it could cause problems with the neighbors.
You should take this into consideration when deciding if a Polish Lowland Sheepdog is suitable for you. A Polish Lowland Sheepdog loves to be outside in all kinds of weather. Extended walks, running on the bike or jogging are ideal for the charming fuzzy dog.
For various dog sports, the PON is also the right candidate. A Polish Lowland Sheepdog can be kept in an apartment in the city, if it gets enough activity and exercise, taking into account its barking tendency.
However, he is most comfortable in the countryside or on the outskirts of town, in a house with a garden, where he can romp around independently and guard “house and yard”.
When it comes to nutrition, a Polish Lowland Sheepdog does not make any special demands. A high-quality dog food, preferably grain-free, with a high meat content and as little “fillers” as possible is recommended. Here it does not matter whether you prefer to feed dry food or wet food.
Education And Care
This breed needs strong leadership. It therefore needs a dog-experienced person who raises the PON with loving consistency.
Its high intelligence allows the PON to understand very quickly what it is allowed to do and what it is not allowed to do. The PON is bribable, treats and the high play instinct can be used by the owner during the education.
Grooming is easy because a Polish Lowland Sheepdog does not shed or mat. Loose hair and loose undercoat are removed during thorough combing once a week.
Health And Typical Diseases
In principle, a Polish Lowland Sheepdog has robust health. Typical diseases you should watch out for are HD, as some PONs are prone to hip dysplasia, PDA – Persistent Ductus Arteriosus Botalli and the eye disease PRA, i.e. Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
This eye disease, however, occurs only in older dogs, approximately from the eighth year of life, and progresses slowly. It can still lead to blindness.
PDA is a heart disease that already occurs in puppies. It is a defective connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery.
This connection is found in every mammal embryo. It closes a few hours, at the latest a few days after birth. However, if it remains open, it is called PDA. The condition is easily detectable and is corrected by surgery. After that, the animal has a normal life expectancy.
It is advisable to look for a breeder who has his puppies examined by heart ultrasound before they are given away, in order to exclude the disease.
Life Expectancy Polish Lowland Sheepdog
The life expectancy of this charming and smart herding dog breed is 12 to 15 years.
Buy Polish Lowland Sheepdog Breed
When buying your PON, make sure the breeder you choose belongs to a club and is registered. Ask your breeder about PDA, HD and the mentioned eye disease and inquire about the health of the parents.
The parents and the puppies should be well-balanced and show no signs of aggression. They should not be kept in kennels and should show a well-groomed appearance.
You can find addresses of good breeders of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog breed on the website of the VDH, the German Kennel Club. This association will be happy to help you find the right puppy.
Please do not buy a puppy from a so-called multiplier. If the puppy is very cheap according to the advertisement, if the puppy is to be handed over on a parking lot or at your home or if you do not see any parents, it is probably a multiplier.
As a rule, you are buying a dog that has been raised without love and without the appropriate vaccinations, and which can or could become seriously ill, and you are supporting a lot of animal suffering with this purchase.
The charming nature and the appealing appearance of this cuddly fuzzy dog inspire every dog lover. However, a Polish Lowland Hound is not to be underestimated.
Beginners are suitable for the pretty herding dogs only if the owner is very willing to learn and has a good dog school behind him, who are familiar with the smart chubby dogs.
People who don’t like to be out in foul weather, don’t like to go on long hikes, or don’t like dog sports should also look for another breed.
Also, a Polish Lowland Sheepdog is only conditionally suitable for city dwellings due to its alertness and associated barking tendencies.
Sporty people, on the other hand, who like to be out and about in nature or who regularly go cycling or jogging, have enough time for their four-legged friend and would like to introduce him to one or the other dog sport, will find a loyal companion in the PON.