The Polish Low Shepherd Dog, or PON for short or in the official wording of the Polski Owczarek Nizinny, is a Polish herding dog that always spreads a good mood with its friendly and funny nature.
The Polish Low Shepherd Dog is a herding dog that originated in Poland. The breed is recognized by the FCI and is listed in group 1 – herding dogs and cattle dogs, section 1 – shepherds under the standard number 251. In terms of appearance, the Polish Low Shepherd Dog is a bit similar to the Bearded Collie .
Origin and Breed History
As you can see from the name, a Polish low herding dog has its origin in Poland, where it was used by the farmers as a herding dog and driving dog.
A Polish Low Shepherd Dog 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 belong to the ancestors of the PON. The pretty and smart dogs were first written in 1779, in a manual of zoology.
There fluffy and simple dogs, of high intelligence and of high docility were mentioned, which point to the ancestors of the PONs. The Polish Low Shepherd Dog quickly became popular outside of Poland.
According to old reports, the Polish merchant Kazimierz Grabski aroused so much enthusiasm and admiration for his sheep herding in Scotland in 1515 that one of the local shepherds exchanged a ram and two ewes for two bitches and one male.
These low herding dogs formed the basis of the breed of Scottish herding dogs, to which the very similar Bearded Collie belongs.
The smart and agile dogs were introduced to a wide audience at a dog exhibition in Warsaw in 1924. At the end of the 1930s, the Polish breed association wanted to accept and register all dogs that corresponded to the type of PON.
The efforts came to an abrupt end due to the Second World War and after the war only a few specimens of this wonderful dog breed were found in the possession of the Polish farmers. The Polish Low Shepherd Dog almost became extinct before the breed was really well known.
It is thanks to the breeding efforts of a Polish veterinarian, Danuta Hryniewicz, that the Polish Low Sheep Dog lives on and is more popular today than ever.
She toured the country, visited farms, and bought some of the last few representatives of the PONs. With these PONs she founded her own breed called “z Kordegardy” and managed to bring the beautiful breed back to life through strict and controlled inbreeding.
Especially her male “Smok”, on whom the breed standard as well as all subsequent breeding efforts were based, the preservation of the breed is owed. In 1959, the Polish Low Shepherd Dog was finally recognized by the FCI as an independent breed.
Today the Polish Low Shepherd Dog is very popular as a companion and family dog far beyond the borders of its Polish homeland and its popularity is increasing from year to year.
Appearance of the Polish Low Shepherd Dog
A Polish Low Sheep Dog is a medium-sized dog. PONs reach a maximum shoulder height of 50 cm, so they are overall slightly lower than the breed of Bearded Collies, which is very similar to them.
A Polish Low Sheep Dog is strong, stocky, and muscular in stature. Males weigh up to 22 kilograms, bitches are correspondingly lighter.
The whole body of the PON is covered with long, thick and dense fur. The fur feels like goat hair and is robust and weatherproof.
The top coat is harsh, underneath is a thick and soft undercoat. The fur can come in different colors, so everything is from black to brown to white, monochrome and piebald.
A Polish Low Sheep Dog has a long and thickly hairy tail. In some dogs there is also an innate stump tail, this is accepted.
The ears are medium-sized and drooping. The fur on the head is long, making the head look bigger than it actually is.
Worth knowing: In order to achieve a uniform breeding goal, the rod was docked in the early days of breeding. Fortunately, cropping of the ears and tail is now banned in most European countries.
Character and Essence
A Polish Low Shepherd Dog is a lively, spirited, cheerful, and charming dog. This breed is docile and intelligent. A Polish Low Shepherd Dog is also a very balanced dog, very calm and pleasant in the apartment, provided that it has the required exercise and activity.
The PON loves his family unconditionally. On the other hand, he is skeptical and reserved about strangers. This also includes foreign children who may come to visit your children. Therefore, you should definitely provide a safe haven for the dog, which must be respected by the children.
These dogs need clear guidance and are therefore only partially suitable for beginners. You should already have a certain amount of dog experience in order to be able to train this dog lovingly but consistently.
A Polish Low Sheep Dog is not suitable for comfortable people who do not enjoy being out in nature. These herding dogs require a lot of exercise and exercise to keep them balanced and happy.
People who attach great importance to cleanliness should look around for a short-haired breed, because the PON carries a lot of dirt into the house with its long fur.
Husbandry and Nutrition
This energetic, self-reliant breed of dog is also a reliable watchdog. He barks a lot – but is not a barker – and very loud. Therefore, problems with neighbors could arise in densely populated areas.
You should take this into account when deciding whether a Polish Low Sheep Dog is suitable for you. A Polish Low Shepherd Dog loves to be outside in all weather. Long walks, cycling or jogging are ideal for the charming fuzzy dog.
The PON is also the right candidate for various dog sports. A Polish Low Shepherd Dog can be kept in an apartment in the city if it is given enough activity and exercise, if one also takes into account its bellicosity.
However, he feels most at home in the country or on the outskirts, in a house with a garden, where he can run around independently and guard “house and yard”.
When it comes to nutrition, a Polish Low Shepherd dog has no special requirements. A high-quality dog food , as grain-free as possible, with a high meat content and as few “fillers” as possible is recommended. It doesn’t matter here whether you prefer to feed dry or wet food.
Education and Care
This breed needs strong leadership. It therefore takes a dog experienced person who trains 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 corruptible, treats and the high play instinct can be used by the owner during the upbringing.
It is easy to care for, because a Polish Low Sheep Dog does not shed and does not become matted. Loose hair and undercoat are removed once a week with thorough combing.
Health and Typical Diseases
A Polish Low Shepherd Dog has, in principle, robust health. Typical diseases that 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.
However, this eye disease only occurs in older dogs, around the age of eight, and progresses slowly. It can still lead to blindness.
PDA is a heart disease that already occurs in the puppy. This is a faulty connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery.
This connection is found in every mammalian embryo. It closes a few hours, at the latest a few days after birth. If it remains open, however, it is called a PDA. The disease is easy to identify and can be remedied by surgery. After that, the animal has a normal life expectancy.
It is advisable to find a breeder who can have their puppies checked by cardiac ultrasound before handing them over to rule out the disease.
Life expectancy of the Polish Low Shepherd Dog
The life expectancy of this charming and smart herding dog breed is 12 to 15 years.
Buy Polish Low Shepherd Dog Breed
When buying your PON, make sure that the selected breeder belongs to an association and is registered. Talk to your breeder about PDA, HD and the eye disease mentioned and inquire about the health of the parent animals.
The parents and puppies should be balanced and show no signs of aggression. They should not be kept in kennels and show a well-groomed appearance.
You can find addresses of good breeders of the Polish Low Sheep Dog breed on the website of the VDH, the Association of German Dogs. This association will be happy to help you find the right puppy.
Please do not buy puppies from a so-called multiplier. If the puppy is very cheap according to the advertisement, if the puppy is to be handed over in a parking lot or at your home, or if you don’t see any parent animals, it is probably a breeder.
As a rule, you acquire a lovelessly raised dog, without appropriate vaccinations, which can also be or could become seriously ill and supports a lot of animal suffering with this purchase.
The charming nature and the appealing look of this cuddly fuzzy dog inspire every dog lover. However, a Polish Low Sheep Dog should not be underestimated.
The pretty herding dogs are only suitable for beginners if the owner is very willing to learn and has a good dog school behind him that is familiar with the smart, stubborn heads.
People who do not like to be out and about in bad weather, do not like to go on long hikes or who do not like dog sports should also look for another breed.
Also, a Polish Low Shepherd Dog is only partially suitable for city apartments due to its vigilance and the associated barking pleasure.
Sporty people, on the other hand, who like to be out in nature themselves or who regularly ride a bike or jog, have enough time for their four-legged friend and would like to bring them closer to one or the other dog sport, will find a loyal companion in the PON.
FAQ on the Polish Low Shepherd Dog
A Polish Low Shepherd Dog has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
A Polish Low Shepherd Dog weighs around 18 to 22kg.
The height at the withers of Polish Low Sheep Dogs is 45 to 50 centimeters.
In itself, a Polish Low Shepherd Dog is family-friendly. As a beginner and / or city dog, however, it is rather unsuitable. He’s also quite stubborn, which is why you have to spend a lot of time, energy and willingness to learn (dog school!).
There is no difference between PON and the name “Polish Low Sheep Dog”. PON is the abbreviation for the Polish name of the breed: Polski Owczarek Nizinny
A Polish Low Shepherd Dog needs a lot of exercise. Wind and weather don’t bother him, he enjoys dog sports and extensive hiking tours.
A Polish Low Shepherd Dog is usually a real charmer. He is intelligent and has a lot of temperament. However, he approaches unknown people with caution. He’s also a little stubborn.
A Polish Low Sheep Dog is suitable for families and people who like to move around a lot without being afraid of wind and weather. It is also suitable as a guard and / or herding dog. Many people also keep him as a companion dog. Beginners should carefully consider a purchase due to their stubbornness and consult a qualified dog trainer or a good dog school. Upbringing is a lot of work and therefore you should only choose this breed if you are really ready and have enough time. Since he is a herding dog, he likes to bark extensively. This dog is therefore rather unsuitable for apartments in the city (and also because of its size and the urge to move around).
Although the Polish Low Shepherd Dogs are a very resilient breed overall, there is unfortunately an increased risk of hyft dysplasia (HD for short), the heart disease PDA (Persistent Ductus Arteriosus Botalli) and PRA (Progressive Retina Atrophy), which (mostly only in old age) ) affects the eyes.