Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are stable and self-confident. They have an excellent memory and can be well trained, but may dominate a weak-willed owner. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs adapt well to various conditions, and are popular as companion dogs for apartment dwellers in their native Poland. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs require a moderate amount of exercise daily.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a muscular, thick-coated dog. The double coat can be of any colour or pattern; white, grey, and brown are most common, with black, grey, or brown markings. It is common for colours to fade as the dogs reach adulthood. The undercoat is soft and dense, while the topcoat is rough and either straight or wavy, but not curly. The hair around the head makes the head appear to be larger than it actually is, and typically covers the eyes. Males are 45 – 50 cm (18 – 20 inches) in height at the withers, while females are 42 – 47 cm (17 – 19 inches).
Males typically weigh between 40 – 50 lb, females, 30 – 40 lb. The body is just off square, it appears rectangular due to the abundance of coat on the chest and rear; the ratio of the height to the body length should be 9:10 (a 45 cm tall dog should have a body 50 cm long). The tail is either very short or docked in the United States. European countries have banned docking for the most part and many Polish Lowland Sheepdogs now have tails of varying lengths.
Known in its present form in Poland from at least the thirteenth century, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is most likely descended from the Puli and the herding dogs. Kazimierz Grabski, a Polish merchant, traded a shipment of grain for sheep in Scotland in 1514, and brought six Polish Lowland Sheepdogs to move the sheep. A Scottish shepherd was so impressed with the herding ability of the dogs that he traded a ram and two ewes for a dog and two female dogs. These dogs were bred with the local Scottish dogs to produce the Scottish herding dogs, most obviously the Bearded Collie. Almost driven to extinction in World War II, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog was restored mainly through the work of Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz and her dog, Smok (“Dragon”), the ancestor of all PONs in the world today, who sired the first ten litters of PONs in the 1950s. In fact, Dr. Hryniewicz considered Smok to be the epitome of the breed, with a perfect anatomical build and a wonderful temperament.
Smok set the standard and type that was emulated by Polish Lowland Sheepdog breeders for generations to come, and from which the first official standard for the Polish Lowland Sheepdog was finally written, and accepted by the FCI, Fédération Cynologique Internationale, in 1959. He is considered to be the ‘father’ of the modern Polish Lowland Sheepdog. His moderate build lends itself to working effortlessly all day long, running with ease to herd the sheep.