Polish Hunting Dog (Gonczy Polski)

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black & tan, brown (chocolate) & tan; red with nose black, brown or flesh coloured; fawn-red with black
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Pros Cons
  • excellent hunter
  • great watchdog
  • calm and reserved
  • easy to train
  • suspicious of strange people
  • chases other animals
  • needs a lot of daily exercise

The Polish Hunting Dog is a large scent hound that has been used in Poland to hunt boar and deer since the XIII century. This hardy and hard-working dog is capable of working in the harshest terrains so it presents a valuable asset for any avid hunter.


The Polish Hunting Dog came to existence in the XIII century. Some experts claim that its pedigree can be traced to various Hounds, Pointer breeds and Mastiff though there is no concrete evidence to prove this suggestion.

Back then hunting was one of the favourite pastimes and the Polish Hunting Dog deserved many complimentary reviews in the Poland’s books for hunters. The territory of the country was completely covered with dense forests, which make it a paradise for hunters. Scent hounds accompanied hunters and were used for numerous tasks as tracking, scenting and retrieving (occasionally).

The Polish Hunting Dog also played a role of a reliable watchdog while providing pleasant companionship. During the XIV century the dog was mostly referred in connection with Polish upper class. By the XVII the variation of the Polish Hunting Dog was developed and it was named the Polish Brach. According to some proficient descriptions of the cynologists of the XIX century these two dogs looked much alike but the Polish Brach was more big-boned than the original dog.

The Polish Hunting Dog managed to survive the hardships of the Second World War. After the war was finally over polish breeders initiated attempts to re-establish the number of the breed and set its standard. During the 50s of the XX century Józef Pawuślewicz, the famous polish dog expert made visible contribution in recreation of the former importance of the Polish Hunting Dog in its homeland. In his breeding program he predominantly used dogs from the southeastern areas of Poland. Thanks to the joint efforts of the committed breeders the Polish Hunting Dog was standardized in 1983.


It has been said that the Polish Hunting Dog was developed purely as trustworthy and tenacious working dog. Nevertheless this breed is noticeably less unruly and buoyant in a home environment than majority of other scent hounds. When sufficiently socialised and exercised this dog usually demonstrates calm and reserved demeanour at home and will make a pleasant and unobtrusive company. It is quite delicate with children but it should be taught proper manners in the early age.

As an effective watchdog the Polish Hunting Dog is generally distrustful of unfamiliar people. It will be quite tolerable to the presence of the strangers provided it has been exposed to their company since its puppyhood. This breed can also be turned into a reasonable guard dog considering its developed territorial instinct and booming bark.

The Polish Hunting Dog is known to have dominance issues with strange dogs but it can be corrected with timely training. In the nutshell the dog enjoys the company of other dogs and can be introduced to the households with other canine with minimal problems. This breed is endowed with powerful prey drive and it’s going to chase every stray cat in its sight. It’s highly likely that the dog and a home cat (or other pet) will co-habituate peacefully if they have been reared together. It’s important to mention though that some specimens may never stop harassing it during all its life.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• elbow dysplasia;
• cancer;
• hypothyroidism;
• eyes problems;
• sensitivity to anaesthesia;
• gastric torsion.

The Polish Hunting Dog is relatively undemanding when things concern grooming and maintenance. Its coat should be brushed on a weekly basis and it won’t ever need a visit to a professional groomer. Its fur serves as reliable protection in the most adverse weather conditions and has a waterproofing quality.

The Polish Hunting Dog sheds moderately. This dog doesn’t require too often bathing since this can diminish the waterproofing of the coat. After each and every hunt it’s essential to get rid of any thorns between the foot pads and debris stuck to its hair.

The Polish Hunting Dog responds well to training and as a rule it learns willingly and joyfully. It craves to please its owner and can be taught to perform quite sophisticated tricks. The breed thrives in agility, Frisbee and sport tracking.

The trainer should become indisputable leader for the dog and treat it with proper firmness but without unnecessary abuse. It usually reacts with open disobedience and defiance to the unfair treatment so consider to apply only positive reinforcement and plentiful of foods incentives while working with this breed.

The Polish Hunting Dog is an athletic and active dog and therefore it should get an adequate amount of exercise every single day. Its owner should spend minimum an hour of his/her time on walking with this dog.

If you are not able to fit in daily walks with your dog in your busy schedule then the Polish Hunting Dog won’t become a perfect pet for you. Without sufficient exercise the dog can turned into a nasty creature, which will destroy your property, bark without any obvious cause, pee at home and be overall hyper active.