Let's talk Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

Smaller than an Old English Sheepdog but with a similarly shaggy style, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are clever dogs with buckets of confidence. They are capable of showing great affection towards their family but take a bit of time to warm up to strangers. With a herding ancestry, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs display a strong work ethic - but they also know when to let their fur down and be playful. This is not the breed for self-confessed couch potatoes but families with children and (certain) animals, yes.

Official name: Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Other names: Polski Owczarek, Nizinny, Valee Sheepdog

Origins: Poland

Close-up Polish Lowland Sheepdog in black and white
 Drooling tendencies

 Very low

 Warm weather? High
 Shedding level  Very low  Suited to apartment living ? Medium
 Energy Level *  Medium  Family Pet? * High
 Compatibility with other pets  Medium  Can stay alone? * Medium

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Male
46 - 51 cm Height
14 - 23 kg Weight
Female
43 - 48 cm Height
14 - 23 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Close-up of Polish Lowland Sheepdog

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Get to know the Polish Lowland Sheepdog

All you need to know about the breed

With lots of energy, and plenty of fur, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are known for their gentle temperament. They are sensitive to their owners’ moods so if you’re feeling good, it’s likely that your Polish Lowland Sheepdog feels the same.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs have a tendency to play what might seem like pranks, by hiding random household items from you. Show them who’s boss from the start and you will have good, clean fun without the chaos. But first time dog owners may find this headstrong breed a bit challenging.

While they are protective of, and devoted to, their owners this canine does not do well with noise, as well as strangers popping in and out. Socialisation classes will help with this but your Polish Lowland Sheepdog will never aim to hog the limelight.

A consistent routine is important for your Polish Lowland Sheepdog, which also includes exercise throughout the day. Their size makes them well-suited to apartment living, but only if they’re getting enough stimulation - for this breed that’s between one to two hours per day. Think walking, hiking, running, even cycling - you name it, your Polish Lowland Sheepdog will be game. And then some.

If you like things just so, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog may get your heart rate up as their shaggy coat is great at collecting water, leaves and mud. They require twice weekly grooming sessions (and regular mud inspections). But if you take the leap, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal and affectionate canine companion, for life.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog standing on rock in snow

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2 facts about Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

1. You can call me PON

In their homeland, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are affectionately referred to as “PON”. This is their Polish name and stands for “Polski Owczarek Nizinny”. Polski is “Polish”, Owczarek is “Sheepdog”, and Nizinny is “Lowland”. Language lesson over (and check with a real Pole for proper pronunciation).

2. Headstrong is my middle name 

Gentle, loving, loyal. Yes, this is an accurate description of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. But match them with an owner who can’t be kind, firm and persistent with training, and problems will ensue. Their wilful side will come out in full force and when you give an inch, your Polish Lowland Sheepdog will take (or maybe run) a mile. The breed is also known for their excellent memory, which is even more reason to teach them good habits from the start. So long as it’s clear you’re the leader, life with your Polish Lowland Sheepdog will be cool runnings.

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History of the breed

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog has been around since the 1300s and theirs is a story of survival. The breed is considered a descendant of the Puli, a Hungarian herding dog, along with Central Asian breeds, such as the Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Mastiff, Tibetan Terrier and Lhasa Apso.

In Poland, the breed was used by farmers for herding and guarding sheep, and worked principally on the lowland plains - hence the name. In the 1800s, the number of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs dropped significantly due to the industrialisation of farming. In the 20th century, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs almost faced extinction, along with many other dog breeds, due to the world wars.

Things took a turn for the better in the mid 1900s, thanks to the work of Polish vet, Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz, and Smok, her very own Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Smok is considered the founding father of the breed that we know and love today, siring a remarkable ten litters.

The breed made its first appearance in the US in 1979, but was not accepted officially by the American Kennel Club until 2001.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs remain rare in the States, but in their home country it’s a different story. They have earned the status of most popular dog breed and are unofficially looked to as Poland’s national dog.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog sitting looking at camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

1. Body

Rectangular-sized body is compact and muscular.

2. Head

Medium-sized head in proportion to the body.

3. Eyes

Oval-shaped eyes with a lively expression, usually covered by fur.

4. Coat

Double-coated, with water resistant shaggy overcoat and a soft, thick undercoat.

5. Tail

Oval shaped feet, larger in front than at the back, with arched toes.

Close-up of Polish Lowland Sheepdog in snow

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Polish Lowland Sheepdog lying next to wooden wall

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Caring for your Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog’s shaggy double coat is rather high-maintenance and requires one weekly grooming session, paying thorough attention to dirt removal. Factor in daily upkeep, mostly in the form of grass, twigs and mud checks, after each exercise session to prevent any infections. When cutting their fur, don’t forget to trim the hair located between their paw pads. Ears must be checked weekly for dirt and nails should be clipped often. The energetic Polish Lowland Sheepdog needs plenty of exercise, ideally between one to two hours a day. Spend some time playing in your local park, off-leash if it’s quiet, followed by a gentle jog, hike or bike ride to keep your Polish Lowland Sheepdog in great shape. Be sensible during the warmer months to avoid overheating issues. Early training and socialisation are key for the Polish Lowland Sheepdog. The former will prevent them from herding up children while the latter will help them feel more at ease around new people. It will also keep their headstrong streak in check. Quick to learn, and with an excellent memory, well-trained Polish Lowland Sheepdogs will excel in obedience and agility-based trials.

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All about Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

No, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs do not shed a lot on a daily basis. But they do require a moderate amount of grooming. You should thoroughly brush their shaggy, double coat once a week, and they do blow their coat (i.e. shed) twice a year. While grooming your Polish Lowland Sheepdog, don’t forget to trim the hair located between their paw pads.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are eager to please and have a strong work ethic, so they tend to enjoy training. And because of their stubborn streak, the earlier you start training your Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, the better - and the gentler their temperament will be. Confident owners who are patient enough to take a consistent approach will get great results!

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/