Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Polish lowland sheepdog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog, also known as PON, is a dog of medium size that originated in Poland. This dog breed is known for a specific and shaggy coat and his excellent sheep abilities. The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is amazing at herding and guarding so it is not surprising that he is used as a working dog breed even today. Besides being a great worker, he is also intelligent, strong and very active. However, he has also become a popular companion dog nowadays.

In this article we are going to take a closer look at this breed’s unique characteristics so you can see whether he is the right dog for you.

Breed Characteristics

TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingBelow Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Herding Dogs
Height:1 foot, 5 inches to 1 foot, 8 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:Generally 35 to 55 pounds
Life Span:10 to 12 years

When it comes to adaptability, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is an easily adaptable dog breed. He adapts well to apartment living even though he is of medium size. However, that also means that he should be taken on everyday walks because he is a very active dog of high energy levels. A house with a big yard is definitely preferred to a small apartment, but this breed can get used to it if you exercise with him regularly.

Just because he is very stubborn, this breed is not recommendable for novice owners. He can be overwhelming and his energy can be too much. Unless you are experienced or well-prepared, you might not be ready for the PON. When it comes to sensitivity level and being alone, this dog does not like being alone but he tolerates it well. Since he has herding instincts, he is used to working alone, so he would not mind being alone, as long as that period of time is reasonably normal. He also tolerates well cold and hot weather despite his thick coat.

Speaking of being friendly, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a great companion. Despite his original role as a working dog, he can be really affectionate towards his family members, including children. He is less friendly towards strangers and other dogs, but that is nothing that cannot be managed with proper training and socialization. All in all, he can be a great friend and companion.

When it comes to general health and grooming, this dog breed does not shed a lot and he also does not drool much but he is not easy to groom at all. You would probably need a professional groomer in order to cut his thick coat properly, including regular brushing. He also has a tendency to gain weight, which means that you should be careful when monitoring his diet and meals.

His size is medium, which can be suitable for both apartments and yards. Speaking of general health, there are a couple of conditions that this breed is prone to, which will be discussed later on in the article; however, the general health is more or less fine.

Speaking of trainability, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is more or less an easy dog to train. He is intelligent and also responds well to positive reinforcement learning. He does have a potential for mouthiness, which most herding dog breeds do, but that can be corrected with training. He does not bark much, but he can show prey drive and wanderlust potential. The herding instincts are strong in this one, so you should keep an eye on him when he is off leash.

When it comes to exercise needs, they are pretty high. This dog breed has a very big energy level and the intensity of exercises should be medium. His needs are high, which means that besides regular daily walks, you should also engage him in both mental and physical games. Since he is a very playful dog, you won’t have any problems to spark his interest at all.

Main Highlights
  • The PON can be a very hungry eater, so you must monitor his meals closely.
  • You should know that this dog breed has a very strong personality, which means that he thinks for himself and can be stubborn.
  • The Polish Lowland Sheepdog can be suspicious of strangers and unfamiliar dogs, so you must socialize him on time.
  • This dog breed can be a really affectionate companion dog and he is great with children.
  • If you do not provide this dog with enough exercise, he will become destructive and end up finding fun on his own.
  • His coat requires lots of grooming and brushing and you might need to hire a professional groomer.
  • Never purchase Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies from unfamiliar and suspicious puppy mills or pet stores! Sometimes it might be simply better to adopt.
Breed History

This beautiful and muscular dog breed originated in Poland and he is one of the oldest breeds out there. It is believed that he is a descendant of Puli, another herding dog, as well some other Asian breeds such as Tibetan Mastiff and Lhasa Apso. Some people like to say that the Huns spread this breed to different countries, but it is not known for the fact.

A Polish merchant named Kazimierz Grabski is the one who brought this breed to Scotland in 1514. When the PON mixed with Scottish dogs, it is believed that is how the Bearded Collie was made.

After that, when the herding declined during the 19th century, the number of this breed declined as well. However, a Polish veterinarian named Dr. Danuta Hryniewics managed to save this breed by breeding it, and the first puppy was brought to the USA during the 1970s. Even though it is still not very popular there, it is known as the unofficial national dog of Poland. The American Kennel Club recognized this breed officially in 2001.


The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a dog breed of medium size. The males and females are 17 to 20 inches tall and weigh 35 to 55 pounds. The life expectancy is around 12 years.

Personality and Character

This interesting and unique dog is hardworking, active, playful, intelligent and energetic dog breed that loves learning and exercising. He can be really stubborn and strong-willed at times, and that is why he is not recommended for novice owners. Having in mind his working and herding heritage, the PON can have both good and bad habits, and that is why you must exercise him both physically and mentally.

This dog needs regular activities to keep him busy otherwise he becomes more than destructive. If you take him on hiking and dog sports then he might not pick up barking and chewing. However, keep in mind that he is more suspicious of strangers, so you must train and socialize him from an early age.

Health and Potential Problems

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a generally healthy dog, but there are a couple of conditions that his breed is prone to, and they are:

  • Canine hip dysplasia can be common in almost all breeds and it is an inherited condition. When the thighbone does not fit into the hip joint properly, then that can create pain and lameness in a dog, which is usually diagnosed via X-ray screening. Sometimes even arthritis can develop if the dog is older.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is eye disease, or a family of eye conditions that involve the deterioration of the retina. It is usually followed by night blindness, but in extreme cases the dog can go completely blind as well.
Care Features

Speaking of care features, the basic needs of a Polish Lowland Sheepdog are almost the same as for all dogs and it includes dental, nail care and regular bathing and checking for injuries, especially because this breed is very active.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a dog breed that can adapt well to both apartment and yard living because he is not very sensitive. However, he does have high energy levels so he should be walked and exercised on a daily basis otherwise he will become destructive, which is something you would rather avoid.

You should always check your PON carefully after each walk to make sure there are no fleas, ticks, cuts, bruises or some other kind of injury on his body or skin, this breed is has a very thick and shaggy coat. There is also regular brushing, bathing, brushing teeth, nail clipping and grooming that should be part of your regular PON’s care.

Feeding Schedule

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a dog of medium size but since he is a dog of high energy who also happens to love to eat, his diet should be of high quality and filled with vitamins and low proteins but the meals should not be large.

Speaking of recommended daily dosage of food for a PON, it should be 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dog food per one day, which is usually divided into two meals. Your cute PON depends on you to always buy him food of high quality and include vitamins, vegetables and low proteins, otherwise your beloved pet might develop health problems later on. All in all, even if your dog is very active that does not mean that you are allowed to overfeed him – this dog loves to eat so much that he is really prone to weight gaining, which you should avoid at any cost.

Coat, Color and Grooming

Speaking of coats, this dog breed has a specific, shaggy, long, dense and thick coat which consists of a soft undercoat and a dense topcoat. When it comes to colors, it really comes in a variety of colors – black, white, gray, brown, including all of the markings and patches on it. Puppies are usually darker and as they grow their coats become lighter.

The grooming is difficult and must be done regularly – because you must free your pet of tangles; however, the natural look has always been in and trimming is discouraged. When it comes to brushing and combing, it should be done at least twice per week because the coat can get messy, especially if your dog spends much time outside.

Additionally, since he gets dirty often, you should bathe him at least once a month. Make sure to check your dog’s ears, eyes and nose after each walk so you do not miss an infection.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

If he is raised with them, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog can be a great friend to both children, other pets and dogs. He is naturally very suspicious and aloof, but if he either grows up with them or he is trained and socialized from an early age, he turns into a devoted friend. He can warm up to your friends and distant family members, but he will most likely be still suspicious of them.

You should remember that you should also teach your children how to behave around dogs of this size and that they should never pull or beat them, because dogs can defend themselves. If they are well-mannered, everything will be fine.

To sum up, you are now familiar with this interesting dog’s physical traits, health issues, grooming problems, personality quirks and most importantly – his basic needs. Having in mind that the PON is a very energetic and active dog, an apartment might not be the best thing for him, but he is very tolerant of his environment.

You will need to provide both mental and physical walks on a daily basis so he would not become bored and destructive, because if he is left alone, he might start barking, yapping and chewing on anything that comes in his way.

The PON is a very intelligent, energetic and interesting dog who can be both a great companion and a working dog. He can also be a great sports dog that can compete in agility and herding games. He loves playing and going out, so if you are an active person who has time to keep up with this beautiful breed, then you definitely deserve each other.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.