Polish Lowland Sheepdog (Polski Owczarek Nizinny)

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all colours and patches are acceptable
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great watchdog
  • friendly
  • loves children          
  • need a lot of daily exercises
  • suspicious of strange people
  • can «herd» other animals and children

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog originated in Poland where it was predominantly used for herding and guarding. Many dog specialists believe that its descendent already existed as early as IV century. This docile and highly loyal dog is endowed with good-natured and lively temperament and has potential of becoming an excellent family pet.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is considered to be a truly ancient breed, which has been living in Poland at least since XVI century. Modern theories propose that the breed was created as a result of crossing the Puli (Hungarian herding and livestock guarding dog) with such breeds from central Asia as the Tibetan Mastiff, the Tibetan Spaniel, the Lhasa Apso, and the Tibetan Terrier.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog was of a great value in its motherland thanks to its crafty but at the same time gentle handling of the stock. Gradually the dog proved to be really versatile and carried out the duties of vigilant watch dog and sweet home pet.

There is a curious story as to how the breed arrived to the British Isles for the first time. In 1514 Kazimierz Grabski, a polish traider, delivered over sea a shipment of grain to Scotland. He planned to barter the crop for a flock of sheep so the trader was accompanied by a few Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, which were supposed to drive sheep from an inland territory to the moored boat. While executing this mission the dogs have been spotted by local Scottish shepherd, who had been under a big impression from their skills and agility. He talked the merchant into exchanging two female dogs and one male for a horned ram and an ewe. Over the next few centuries, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs were interbred with native Scottish dogs to create a number of Scottish herding breeds (for example, the Bearded Collie).

The Second World War tremendously exhausted the resources of Poland both human and natural. In the wake of this war the population of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog was so depleted that it can be considered as virtually extinct. It’s believed that only 150 specimens outlasted the hardships of the war times. The group of Polish breeders recognised the problem and started an intense work to re-establish the dog’s former positions. The acknowledged leader of this group was a veterinarian from Northern Poland, Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz. She combed Poland in search of high-quality dogs, which were suitable for breeding purposes. Dr. Danuta managed to detect eight good breed members, which served as a base for the survival of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog.

One of these dogs was named «Smok» (which means «dragon» in Polish) and its ideal appearance and sweet temperament served as a pattern for the initial written breed standard. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognised this standard in 1959.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog was brought to America in 1979. It was popularized there by Kaz and Betty Augustowski and presently the breed is often used as a pleasant companion and trustful watch dog in this country. The American Kennel Club (AKC) granted the dog its acceptance in 2001.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a frisky and good-natured breed, which zest for life is really contagious. It’s also highly concentrated on its duties of guardian and herding dog and strives to always have some work at hand. It usually forms a tight bond with its human family and perceives it as its herd that has to be protected from any possible danger. The breed is exceptionally good with children and handles them with appropriate gentleness and care. But it tends to nip them by their heels if the dog thinks that they are going to escape from the herd.

Due to its natural protectiveness the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is wary of strangers preferring to act in front of them with caution. Having said that, properly socialised dog will be quite polite with newcomers and greet them with reserved dignity. This alert breed will make an outstanding watchdog, which won’t hesitate to resort to violence if necessary. You can also train it into reasonable guard dog since it possesses a powerful territorial instinct.

Most of the Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are trustworthy with non-canine animals under condition that the dog has been introduced to them since the puppyhood. This breed will surely co-exist peacefully with a home cat if they have been brought up together. On average it puts up with the presence of the unfamiliar dog if it hasn’t crossed the border of its territory or threatened its master and his family. Some males may also exhibit the same sex aggressiveness but it’s not a general rule for this breed. Nevertheless timely socialisation is a key to resolving all possible issues with any sorts of dog’s aggression.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia (CHD);
• eyes problems;
• diabetes;
• hypothyroidism.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdogs’ fur is surprisingly easy to maintain considering its thickness and length. The coat of the breed is prone to be matted and tangled and therefore it should be brushed at least twice a week. This procedure will also help to get rid of dead hair and minimize the amount of shedding.

On the whole the breed sheds rather lightly and can be recommended for allergy sufferers. It’s important to keep the dog’s nails short and teeth and ears clean so your pet will always be in a good health.

The ease with which the Polish Lowland Sheepdog can be trained highly depends on the personality of the trainer and training methods he uses. This breed is known to be intelligent and obedient if it trusts and respects the handler. It’s able to learn basic commands with minimal efforts and usually shows outstanding results in obedience events, agility competition and herding trials.

The training sessions should be short and frequent since the Polish Lowland Sheepdog has limited memory span. You should apply only mild persuasion and tasty treats in the learning process otherwise your dog may reveal its hidden stubbornness and refuse to oblige your commands.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog has high reserves of energy, which it should spend on the everyday basis. This breed should be taken for a walk twice a day at the very minimum but at it will happily accompany you in your trip to the park. It is worth to consider that the dog’s mind also requires regular stimulation otherwise your pet can become bored and amuse itself at the cost of your possessions.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is more appropriate for countryside than for small city apartment but if you are capable to provide it with enough exercise in urban surroundings than this dog will become an excellent family pet.