Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Description. The Polish lowland sheepdog is a medium to large size with the male dogs measuring 16-20 inches in height and weighing 30-35 pounds, and the female bitch being some 42-47cms high and 13-18kgs in weight. They have a double coat which is shiny on the outside, with the undercoat being downy, for warmth and weather resistance. Whereas they can be any colour the most common are, brown, white, and grey with grey, black or brown markings, these colours can fade as the dog ages. These are large boned with a strong skeleton supporting a fairly impressive musculature.
History. As the name suggests these dogs originated in Poland, where they are still quite common. However, in Poland they are known by their correct name, which is the Polish Owczarek Nizinny often shortened to PONS (and with a name like that you can see why). Whilst bred originally as a sheepdog the vast majority are now kept as pets, although in their native Poland some are still kept as working dogs. This breed, as with many others, nearly reached extinction during World War II, but was revived by Polish breeders after the end of the war.
Temperament. These are generally happy dogs, which are quite animated and boisterous, while also being affectionate and intelligent with a good level of obedience. They can be wary and watchful of people they do not know, and will announce the arrival of any of your visitors, in no uncertain terms, at very high-volume. You need to assert yourself over your pet as early as possible, they are bred to look after sheep and have a strong instinct to be in charge, if you do not show this dog that they are number two and you are, in fact, in charge then problems may arise. As long as they are socialised early they will be a faithful friendly household pet, however there herding instinct can surface and you may find that the dog starts to nip at ankles, trying to herd the family. Whilst this can be annoying; you have to admit it is quite funny. If being raised in a family with young children, this trait could be quite handy, if you send your dog out they will be able the round of your children and bring them home (providing great entertainment to their friends, I am sure).
Health issues. As with most medium to large dogs the Polish lowland sheepdog can sufferer from hip dysplasia. Other problems include a possibility of epilepsy, and a risk of congenital deafness. Although overall they are a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
Grooming. Because of their very long shaggy coat, they require grooming at least once a week with a stiff brush and comb, to prevent knots and matting of their fur. They will require bathing fairly regularly, to eliminate the risk of tics and other skin parasites, which tend to like living in this type of fur and can be difficult to remove. Dependent on the surfaces they walk, they will require their nails to be clipped regularly.
Living conditions. This breed will require a good amount of exercise; however, as long as they receive this they are reasonably happy with living in either an apartment or house. They prefer cooler weather, but during summer they can cope providing the area they are in is well ventilated, they could be kept in the garden, if you have one, during the summer daytimes. They are friendly and can easily be accommodated in a house with children, as with all large dogs care must be taken of small children as whilst playing it is easy for them to be accidentally knocked over, especially if the dog gets a little overexcited.