Meet the Breed: The Polish Lowland Sheepdog
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog, also called the Polish Owczarek Nizinny, and sometimes shortened to PON, is a medium-sized dog with a long, shaggy, double coat. The profuse coat can be any color or pattern but the most common colors are white, gray and brown with black, brown, or gray patches. The topcoat is rough and wiry, but not curly. The undercoat is soft. The coat color often fades as the dog matures. The head is domed. The eyes are hazel or brown. The hair on the head makes it appear larger than it is and covers the eyes. The build is mostly square, though appears rectangular due to the coat. The tail is often naturally bobbed but may be docked.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog has a somewhat vague genetic history with many possible contributing breeds including the corded herding breeds like the Puli, other smaller long-haired mountain breeds. It has also been suggested that it descended from dogs from Asia including the Tibetan Terrier and Lhasa Apso. It is believed that the Bearded Collie is a descendant of the PON with the documentation of a transaction between a Polish ship owner and a Scottish sheep breeder in 1514 who were trading grain and sheep. The Polish ship owner brought his own dogs to herd the sheep and separate 20 from a flock of 60. The shepherd was so impressed with the skill of the dogs that he traded for three of the dogs, which likely became the foundation for the Scottish Bearded Collie. This dog nearly became extinct during the world wars.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a cheerful, steady working dog that is intelligent and easy to get along with, though can be willful if he perceives his handler to be weak. So strong leadership skills are important with this breed. With its herding heritage, this is a dog that requires a good amount of daily physical and mental exercise to prevent mischief. The PON is good with children when socialized with them from a young age but may be wary of strangers. Though this dog is popular in Poland for apartment dwellers, they generally prefer more space to run.
Breed Club Links: American Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club.
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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.