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  • Temperament: Confident, Clever, Lively
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 169 of 194
  • Height: 18-20 inches (male), 17-19 inches (female)
  • Weight: 30-50 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Herding Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog standing outdoors on fallen leaves in three-quarter view
Polish Lowland Sheepdog sitting in three-quarter view facing forward
Polish Lowland Sheepdog

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Medium-sized, compact, strong and muscular with a long, thick coat and hanging hair that covers the eyes. He is shaggy and natural in appearance with a docked or naturally bobbed tail. His herding and working ability is attributed to an intense desire to please and compatible nature. He is lively but self-controlled, clever and perceptive. The breed is well known for an excellent memory and the ability to work independently of his master.

HEAD

The medium-sized head is in proportion to the body. The profuse hair on the forehead, cheeks and chin make the head look bigger than it actually is. Skull is moderately broad and slightly domed. The forehead furrow and occiput are palpable. The stop has a pronounced indentation but never as pronounced as a round-skull breed.

BODY

Neck, of medium length, is muscular and strong. It is broad without dewlap and carried not more than 45 degrees to the ground when moving. Profuse hair and a large head optically make the neck look shorter than it actually is. The backshould be neither too long nor too short for proper balance and movement.Withers are well pronounced and broad. The chest is deep, of medium width, with forechest well-defined. Depth of chest is to the elbow, approximately 50 percent of the height of the dog. The ribs are well sprung, neither barrel chested nor slab-sided. The topline is level. The loin is well muscled and broad giving the impression of being short. The croup is slightly cut but only to a small degree. The belly is slightly drawn up.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are heavily muscled and well laid back. The legs are straight and vertical with heavy bone. The pasterns are slightly slanting in relation to the forearm and flexible without weakness. The feet are oval and tight with the front feet larger than the rear feet. Toes are arched.

COAT

It is doubled coated. The entire body is covered with a long, dense, shaggy, thick coat that is reasonably straight. The outercoat should be crisp with a water resistant texture. The undercoat is soft and dense. Different coat colors will have different textures with the black coat having little or no coarse outercoat and less undercoat. Characteristically, long hanging hair covers the eyes. A slight wavy coat is acceptable.

HINDQUARTERS

Large, heavily boned, and well muscled with well bent stifles. In normal stance, the bones below the hocks are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. The hind feet fall just behind a perpendicular line from the point of buttocks to the ground when viewed from the side. Feet are oval with tight, arched toes. Pads are hard. Nails are preferably dark.

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Polish Lowland Sheepdog

About the Polish Lowland Sheepdog

First, about that nickname: PON is the acronym for the Polish breed name, Polski Owczarek Nizinny. PONs aren’t particularly large dogs, standing no more than 20 inches at the shoulder, but they are muscular and stocky. The rectangular body is covered head to toe with a double coat—long and shaggy on top, soft and dense below, and it comes in several colors. The head’s profuse coat covers the eyes, which convey the keen, penetrating gaze so common in watchdogs and herders.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Find a Puppy: Polish Lowland Sheepdog

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Find Polish Lowland Sheepdog Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The PON’s shaggy, thick, double coat requires a lot of maintenance. The outer coat is crisp, with a water-resistant texture, and the undercoat is soft and dense. A PON kept in full coat will need to be thoroughly brushed at least once a week. A PON who is kept in a puppy or “summer” clip will still need routine brushing to keep the coat free of mats and debris such as grass, weeds, and flower blooms. The ears will also need to be checked weekly and cleaned if needed, and the nails trimmed.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Daily Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

A high-energy, athletic dog, the PON needs ample exercise on a daily basis. At minimum, he should have a large, fenced-in yard to run around in for at least an hour or two daily. PONs bond closely with their owners and love to accompany them on long walks or hikes, or working with their human partner in canine events such as obedience, herdingagility trials, or dock diving.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Calm

TRAINING

PONs are excellent housedogs: accepting of other animals, gentle and tireless playmates for kids, alert watchdogs, and quick learners. The breed can also be dominating, stubborn, and suspicious of strangers, and early socialization and puppy training classes are highly recommended. PONs are affectionate, bouncy, trainable pets for owners who can handle a confident, territorial herding dog.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
May be Stubborn

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Aloof/Wary

HEALTH

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are generally healthy, and responsible breeders test their stock for health concerns such as hip dysplasia and communicate with other dedicated breeders regularly, working together for the health of the breed and preservation of its unique qualities. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog has a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Polish Lowland Sheepdog

History

In the waning days of the Roman Empire, the Huns were among the tribes of Asian invaders who spilled into central Europe. It’s believed that PONs are the result of breeding Hunnic dogs with native stock in the region now known as Poland. PONs were bred to be levelheaded flock dogs by day and fearless guard dogs by night. In the 1500s, traders brought PONs to Scotland, where it’s thought they became a piece of the genetic puzzle that formed the Bearded Collie.

Did You Know?

The first standard of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog was accepted by the Polish Kennel Club and FCI in 1959.
Another name for the breed is Polski Owczarek Nizinny. Polski translates to Polish and is pronounced pol' skee. Owczarek - the w sounds like a v and cz has a ch sound, ahv cha' rek. Nizinny is pronounced ni gi' nee.
In Poland, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are referred to as PONs.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Medium-sized, compact, strong and muscular with a long, thick coat and hanging hair that covers the eyes. He is shaggy and natural in appearance with a docked or naturally bobbed tail. His herding and working ability is attributed to an intense desire to please and compatible nature. He is lively but self-controlled, clever and perceptive. The breed is well known for an excellent memory and the ability to work independently of his master.

HEAD

The medium-sized head is in proportion to the body. The profuse hair on the forehead, cheeks and chin make the head look bigger than it actually is. Skull is moderately broad and slightly domed. The forehead furrow and occiput are palpable. The stop has a pronounced indentation but never as pronounced as a round-skull breed.

BODY

Neck, of medium length, is muscular and strong. It is broad without dewlap and carried not more than 45 degrees to the ground when moving. Profuse hair and a large head optically make the neck look shorter than it actually is. The backshould be neither too long nor too short for proper balance and movement.Withers are well pronounced and broad. The chest is deep, of medium width, with forechest well-defined. Depth of chest is to the elbow, approximately 50 percent of the height of the dog. The ribs are well sprung, neither barrel chested nor slab-sided. The topline is level. The loin is well muscled and broad giving the impression of being short. The croup is slightly cut but only to a small degree. The belly is slightly drawn up.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are heavily muscled and well laid back. The legs are straight and vertical with heavy bone. The pasterns are slightly slanting in relation to the forearm and flexible without weakness. The feet are oval and tight with the front feet larger than the rear feet. Toes are arched.

COAT

It is doubled coated. The entire body is covered with a long, dense, shaggy, thick coat that is reasonably straight. The outercoat should be crisp with a water resistant texture. The undercoat is soft and dense. Different coat colors will have different textures with the black coat having little or no coarse outercoat and less undercoat. Characteristically, long hanging hair covers the eyes. A slight wavy coat is acceptable.

HINDQUARTERS

Large, heavily boned, and well muscled with well bent stifles. In normal stance, the bones below the hocks are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. The hind feet fall just behind a perpendicular line from the point of buttocks to the ground when viewed from the side. Feet are oval with tight, arched toes. Pads are hard. Nails are preferably dark.

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Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BEIGE Check Mark For Standard Color 004
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLACK & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 019
BROWN Check Mark For Standard Color 061
CHOCOLATE & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 271
GRAY Check Mark For Standard Color 100
GRAY & WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 105
TRI-COLORED Check Mark For Standard Color 380
WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 199
BEIGE & BROWN 385
BEIGE & WHITE 387
BLACK & BEIGE 383
BLACK & GRAY 012
BLACK & SILVER 016
BLACK GRAY & BEIGE 384
BLACK GRAY & WHITE 024
BLACK WHITE & SILVER 033
GRAY TAN & BEIGE 386
RED BLACK & WHITE 147
WHITE & APRICOT 200
WHITE & BROWN 204
WHITE & GOLD 208
WHITE & LIVER 212
WHITE & SILVER 216
WHITE GRAY & TAN 382

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
BLACK PATCHES 088
GRAY PATCHES 089
GRAY TIPS 091
TAN PATCHES 090

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