The Polish Lowland Sheepdog dog breed has an equally long name “Polski Owczarek Nizinny” in the Polish language, but in the United States, it is commonly known as ‘PON,’ which is much easier on the tongue. They are herding dogs of medium size with a shaggy coat of long hair that gives them a distinctive look. Because of their fearless yet obedient nature, they also make ideal companion dogs and guard dogs for the family.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog comes from Poland, but their origins can be traced to the mountain country of Tibet in the Himalayas. It is related to the Tibetan Spaniel, Mastiff, and Terrier dog breeds as well as Lhasa Apso, with some Hungarian blood from the Puli breed that these dogs resemble. They are thought to have been brought to Europe by traders from the Central Asia.
These dogs reached Scotland in a Polish merchant ship in the 16th century, and three of them were exchanged for sheep. They played a major role in the development of the Bearded Collie breed.
They have always been a favorite with shepherds of the Polish lowlands but their numbers declined in the 19th century, s sheep rearing as a profession became less common. The Nazi era nearly pushed them to extinction. It was the efforts of a Polish veterinarian with a dog named Smok who revived the breed.
These dogs were first imported into the United States in 1979, but the breed was finally admitted into the herding by the America Kennel Club in 2001. But it is a relatively rare breed in the country. But the “Polski Owczarek Nizinny” breed is the most popular in Poland now.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is not as big as it appears due to its thick coat. They measure 18 to 20 inches at the withers and their weight ranges from 35 pounds t0 50 pounds. The body is covered in a long coat from head to tail that doesn’t even spare their eyes. Under all that hair, they have a muscular body that helps them work with surprising agility and speed to control as well as protect the herd in their charge. The coat is often multicolored with white or grey being one of the main colors in most dogs. The ears are floppy, and the short tail is often docked in countries where this practice is not illegal.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog breed generally has a balanced temperament with great affection and loyalty for its family. They get along very well with children and other pets, including dogs. However, they remain aloof from strange people, a trait that makes them excellent as guardian dogs. They are intelligent and courageous dogs that rise up to any occasion when required.
These dogs have a good memory and retain their training well, but they have a tendency to dominate over weak masters. Consistently firm handling is required to show them that you’re the boss. They are known to be fond of items of human use. Food is another weakness, but portion control is necessary to avoid obesity.
Grooming and exercise
The long, dense, double coat of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog breed requires regular grooming. It involves a thorough brushing every other day to keep the coat neat and tangle-free.
Being herders, these dogs have tremendous energy and stamina to keep working from dawn to dusk. And that is exactly how they would want to spend their day. If you don’t have work to give them, compensate it with brisk walks or jogs on the leash, vigorous activities and exercise routines that would satisfy their need to remain active. Opportunities to run around or herd will keep them happy. Free access to a large yard is a great plus, but wide open spaces to run around freely would be ideal.
The thick coat offers the Polish Lowland Sheepdog breed protection against cold, and it is a breed that can live outdoors in mild climates. However, this breed with origins in the Himalayan foothills cannot tolerate heat. They should be kept indoors or in air-conditioned comfort during the hot season. If their exercise needs and need for the outdoors are met, these dogs can adapt to living in apartments too.
Common health issues of Polish Lowland Sheepdog dog breed
Being an ancient breed, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog dog breed enjoys excellent health. They are not known to be susceptible to any breed related disorders or common canine health problems. Hip dysplasia is very rarely seen in this breed. Progressive retinal atrophy is another problem that is very occasionally seen. Even though the average life expectancy is around 12 years, many dogs kept as pets live for 14 years or more.