Polish Lowland Sheepdog Guide

Herding Dog Breeds

The PON is a cobby, medium-sized dog, slightly longer than tall, giving it great agility. It is strong and muscular, enabling it to control livestock. It has a fluid gait, with long stride, allowing it to trot effortlessly for hours. It is inclined to amble, which can act as a reconnaissance, energy-efficient gait. Toeing in is considered natural. The coat is long, dense, shaggy, and double, providing great protection against the elements. The PON is shown naturally, without scissoring.

Lively and loyal, the PON has been shaped by centuries of work as a shepherd. This is a territorial breed that is often wary of strangers; however, to those it knows it is very affectionate. A PON's bark is one of its best friends, and the typical PON shows it off often. The PON has an independent and even willful side. It learns quickly, but sees no use in following commands blindly. Despite its shaggy dog look, the PON can be a serious dog. PONs are good with considerate children, most other pets, and most other dogs, although if challenged by a dog, they will hold their own.

AKC RANKING 135

FAMILY Livestock, Herding

AREA OF ORIGIN Poland

DATE OF ORIGIN Ancient times

ORIGINAL FUNCTION Sheep herding

TODAY'S FUNCTION Sheep herding, companion

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18 - 20 Weight: 30 - 35

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17 - 19 Weight: 30 - 35

OTHER NAME Polski Owczarek Nizinny, PON

Energy level High energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Hard to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance High tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

The PON is not a cuddly overgrown lapdog, but a serious worker that needs a job to be satisfied. This dog needs to exercise its body and mind daily. It flourishes when allowed to herd or learn agility. The PON does not accept extended confinement, but does best living inside and working and playing outside. Its coat needs considerable care, preferably brushing every couple of days.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: hip, eye
• Life span: 10-14 years
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is known in much of the world as the Polski Owczarek Nizinny (pronounced "pole-ski off-chair-ick na-gin-nee"), and even in America it goes by its nickname, the PON. The breed's origins probably reach back to Central Asia from one or more Tibetan breeds, such as the Tibetan Terrier, which were probably introduced to Eastern Europe by Tibetan traders. The long-coated Tibetan dogs were likely interbred with corded-coated Hungarian sheepdogs introduced by the Huns in the fourth century. While large flock-guarding dogs staved off large predators, the smaller PONs worked with shepherds to move and control sheep, and also kept watch against intruders. Unlike larger dogs, they didn't scare the sheep and they could work all day. They worked on the Polish lowlands for centuries until interest in purebred dogs and livestock swept through Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This, combined with Polish national pride following World War I, created interest in promoting and selectively breeding the PON. Several PONs left the plains to live and work on large estates. In 1924, PONs were shown at a Warsaw poultry and dog show. PONs breeders were in the midst of starting a registry when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Most dogs had to be abandoned, but legend has it that a Warsaw PON named Psyche was valued for her ability to predict incoming bombs, alerting people to take cover in shelters. Only about 150 PONs remained after World War II, but several fanciers sought to reconstitute the breed. The first PONs were registered with the Polish Kennel Club in 1957. A PON named Smok was influential in modeling the breed standard, which was approved in 1959. PONs were exhibited at the World Dog Show in 1965, exposing them to dog fanciers from around the world. In 1987, eight fanciers formed the American Polski Owczarek Nizinny Club. In 2001, the PON was admitted to the AKC under the English translation of its name, Polish Lowland Sheepdog.