Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© everydoghasastory/Shutterstock.com

Despite having shaggy hair that covers its eyes, this dog is known for its watchful gaze when guarding a herd.


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Polish Lowland Sheepdog Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog Locations

Polish Lowland Sheepdog Locations

Polish Lowland Sheepdog Facts

Fun Fact
Despite having shaggy hair that covers its eyes, this dog is known for its watchful gaze when guarding a herd.
Temperament
Playful and a quick learner
Diet
Omnivore

Polish Lowland Sheepdog Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Black
  • White
  • Beige
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
12 to 14 years
Weight
50 lbs

Polish Lowland Sheepdog as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
High
Separation Anxiety
High
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
High
Pure bred cost to own
$2200
Dog group
Herding
Male weight
30-50 lbs
Female weight
30-50 lbs

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The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is so popular in Poland its likeness was featured on a postage stamp.

The history of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog dates all the way back to the 1500s. They originated in Central Asia and became popular in Europe in the 1800 and 1900s. Its parents are the Tibetan Terrier and a Hungarian Sheepdog called the Puli. Though they are smaller dogs, they are confident and alert when it comes to caring for a herd of sheep. These shaggy dogs belong to the herding group.

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This dog is sometimes referred to as a PON. PON is an acronym for the full Polish name of this dog: Polski Owczarek Nizinny. These dogs are playful, energetic, and smart. In addition, they are good with children as well as other pets.

Pictorial summary of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Pros!Cons!
Friendly with kids
These shaggy dogs have a friendly temperament and are gentle with children.
An extensive grooming routine
This dog has a double coat that needs to be brushed at least twice each week.
A good watchdog
The alert nature of these dogs makes them great for watching over a household.
A high energy pet
These herding dogs need at least 60 minutes of exercise each day.
Friendly with other pets
These canines get along with other dogs and pets in a family.
Prone to separation anxiety
This dog loves to be with its family. So, it can become destructive if left home alone for long periods of time.

Size and Weight

Beautiful Polish Lowland Sheepdog playing in the park.

Male

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are slightly larger than their female counterparts



©Bianca Grueneberg/Shutterstock.com

A male Polish Lowland Sheepdog can grow to a height of 20 inches tall at its shoulder while females can be 19 inches tall. Males can weigh as much as 50 pounds, fully grown whereas females weigh up to 45 pounds. Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies that are 7 weeks old weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. These dogs are considered fully grown between 12 and 18 months old.

Health and Entertainment for your Polish Lowland Sheepdog

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Height (Male)20 inches tall
Height (Female)19 inches tall
Weight (Male)50 pounds, fully grown
Weight (Female)45 pounds, fully grown

Origins

The recent history of these affectionate, fluffy balls of energy can be traced back to a single ancestor Dragon (Smok), into the 1950s.

In other words, the tale of this breed like so many others, is one which was brought back from the brink following World War Two.

But to get to that point, we need to reach even further back in time to its earliest beginnings.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is believed to be the descendant of the Tibetan terrier, a long-haired canine used to run errands on the Tibetan mountainside.

The Puli is another of its forebears. This clever, agile canine noted for its trademark corded coat is believed to have been brought to Hungary during the 9th century.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is believed to have first emerged in Poland in the 13th century. It is also believed to have reached Scotland in the 16th century thanks to Polish seamen who swapped the long-haired breed for other animals.

Following the Second World War and the reversal of its fortunes which followed, a plucky vet Dr Danuta Hryniewicz bred her beloved Smok in hopes of establishing the breed. And the rest, as they say, is history. The canine was responsible for no less than 10 litters during the decade following the end of World War II. The breed was well on its way and by the end of the decade in 1959, it was recognized by the Belgium-based Fédération Cynologique Internationale.

Common Health Issues

A cute black and white Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppy sitting on the grass.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are prone to hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia

©KawaiiS/Shutterstock.com

Like other dog breeds, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog has some common health issues. One of those issues is known as hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia occurs when a dog’s hip joint doesn’t fit together properly. Hopping and limping are two signs of this condition. The treatment for hip dysplasia depends on how severe it is. Some dogs can improve with physical therapy while others need surgery.

Another common health issue is progressive retinal atrophy. Progressive retinal atrophy occurs when the retinal tissue begins to deteriorate. The tissue continues to deteriorate throughout the dog’s lifespan. A dog that has trouble seeing at night may be suffering from this condition. Unfortunately, there’s no treatment for progressive retinal atrophy.

Hypothyroidism is another common health issue of this breed. Hypothyroidism happens when there’s a reduction in thyroid hormone levels. Hair loss, lethargy, and itchy or flaky skin are all symptoms. Fortunately, hypothyroidism can be treated with medication. Common health issues include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism

Temperament and Behavior

Polish Lowland Sheepdog sitting on the beach among logs.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are renowned for their friendly, playful disposition

©everydoghasastory/Shutterstock.com

This shaggy dog has a cheerful, friendly personality. They are suitable for families with or without children and other pets. The behavior of this dog is energetic and playful. This pooch likes to have fun!

Loyalty is one of this dog’s most valued traits. They love to be around their family no matter the activity. These dogs are known as excellent watchdogs because they are always alert to what’s happening in their environment. They are not shy about barking to let their family know someone is on their property.

How to Take Care of a Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Learning about the diet, exercise requirements, grooming routine, and healthcare needs of a dog or puppy is a big part of being a responsible pet owner. Look at some specifics regarding the overall care of these dogs.

The Best Dog Food for Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

Polish Lowland Sheepdog walking in the park.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs require a diet which is low in carbs and filled with lean protein to ensure optimal health

©Piotr Zajac/Shutterstock.com

Not surprisingly, the food an owner feeds a Polish Lowland Sheepdog can contribute to its health. Of course, puppies and adult dogs need different diets. Check out the details:

Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppy food: Lean protein is important for the developing joints, bones, and cartilage of a puppy. This is especially true for a breed prone to hip dysplasia. Fat in the diet gives these puppies the energy they need to jump, run and explore their surroundings. Calcium supports the growing teeth, bones, and claws of a young herding dog. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to healthy brain and eye development in these active puppies. Also, fatty acids help maintain this puppy’s beautiful double coat.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog adult dog food: Chicken, turkey, and fish are all lean proteins that support strong joints and cartilage as well as healthy tissue in adult Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. Fat in a limited amount is necessary for this dog’s diet. A limited amount of fat allows them the energy they need to run and play while not adding excess pounds to their small frame. Vitamin A helps to maintain healthy vision and the antioxidants in vitamin C help to repair damaged cells. Fiber assists in proper digestion in both adult dogs as well as puppies.

A-Z Animals’ favorite for the best dog food for Polish Lowland Sheepdogs is Stella & Chewy’s Wild Red Classic Kibble Dry Dog Food.

This low-carb turkey, chicken, and duck blend combines everything your dog needs and leaves out unnecessary extras. The natural glucosamine and chondroitin from real meat ingredients support joint strength. Plus, the taurine and vitamin A are great for keeping the eyes sharp.

You can buy Stella and Chewy’s Wild Red Classic kibble on Chewy and Amazon.

Best Overall
Stella & Chewy's Classic Kibble
  • Packed full of protein with beef, pork, and lamb
  • Crafted without legumes or poultry
  • 81% of protein is from actual animal sources
  • "Whole prey” ingredients including muscle meat, organ meat, and cartilage
  • No fillers, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or preservatives.


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Maintenance and Grooming

How much do these dogs shed? They do a moderate amount of shedding. That’s why brushing them twice a week can help to reduce the amount of shedding they do on the sofa!

A pin brush is an excellent tool to help an owner work through the shaggy hair of this sheepdog. Be sure to check between this dog’s toes for small mats or tangles. An undercoat rake can help to remove any tangles further down in its thick hair. A soft hair brush with boar’s hair bristles can be used on the dog’s face.

Remember that itchy, flaky skin can be a sign of hypothyroidism in this breed. So, an owner should be on the lookout for those signs while working through the grooming routine. A veterinarian will be able to determine whether the dog has hypothyroidism or skin allergies.

Training

Polish Lowland Sheepdog at a herding trial rounding up stock sheep.

As a result of having been bred to be in charge Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are known to have a mind of their own

©GoDog Photo/Shutterstock.com

These dogs are relatively easy to train. Though they are smart they can be independent and stubborn. After all, they were bred as herding dogs in charge of large numbers of sheep. So, it’s important for an owner to be confident when putting this pooch through its obedience lessons.

Australian Shepherds are herding dogs that also respond to a confident owner during obedience training.

Exercise

This high-energy, shaggy canine needs 60 minutes of exercise each day. These dogs need regular, daily exercise to maintain their health as well as their happy temperament.

Hikes in the woods, walk in the park, games of chase or fetch, and visits to the dog park are all great ways to give this dog exercise.

These herding dogs need to be able to stretch their legs in a large area. So, they aren’t good candidates for apartment life. A home with a medium to large size yard would be ideal for this lively dog.

Puppies

When it comes to these dogs it’s important to start the socialization process early. A responsible breeder begins this process soon after a litter of puppies is born. Since they were bred to herd sheep, these canines like to be in control. Socialization at an early age lets them know the owner is in charge and makes them a welcome addition to a household.

Children

After purchasing one of these dogs from a breeder or adopting one from a rescue organization, it’s best to monitor its interactions with children. These are herding dogs and may try to push small children in certain directions simply out of instinct. Once again, socialized puppies are less likely to try to herd the kids.

Dogs Similar to Polish Lowland Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is similar in appearance to the Polish Lowland Sheepdog although it is larger in size

Other dogs similar to the Polish Lowland Sheepdog include the Australian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, and Belgian Sheepdog.

  • Australian Shepherd – This dog and the Polish Lowland Sheepdog share a lot of the same coat colors. Also, they both have a friendly, affectionate temperament. But Australian Shepherds are larger in size.
  • Old English Sheepdog – These dogs have a shaggy coat and sweet temperament just like the Polish Lowland Sheepdog. But the Old English Sheepdog is bigger in size.
  • Belgian Shepherd – Though this dog weighs more and is taller than a Polish Lowland Sheepdog, they have some things in common. Both breeds are alert, friendly and have a gentle temperament making them good with kids.

Popular names for these dogs include:

  • Max
  • Molly
  • Scout
  • Casey
  • Mara
  • Katie
  • Echo
  • Teddy
  • Bear
  • Cooper

Famous Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

These adorable, shaggy dogs have shown up in the entertainment world. A Polish Lowland Sheepdog played the character, Paul Anka, on the popular show Gilmore Girls. The dog’s real name: Sparky.

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About the Author

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Polish Lowland Sheepdog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does a Polish Lowland Sheepdog cost?

The cost of purchasing this dog from a breeder is around $2200. They can also be adopted from a rescue organization at a much lower cost.

The yearly veterinary cost for this dog ranges from $400 to $500. The lifespan of this dog goes up to 14 years so the yearly cost of veterinary services may increase as it gets older.

An adult Polish Lowland Sheepdog eats about two and a half cups of food per day which adds up to a monthly food budget ranging from $30 to $50.

Is a Polish Lowland Sheepdog good with kids?

Yes. This shaggy canine is gentle and playful with kids and adults alike.

How long does a Polish Lowland Sheepdog live?

The lifespan of this dog is 12 to 14 years.

Do Polish Lowland Sheepdogs shed a lot?

In terms of shedding, they drop a moderate amount of hair.

How much are Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies?

The cost of Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies from a breeder is around $2200. Of course, someone interested in adding this dog to their family can look into the details of adopting puppies or adult Polish Lowland Sheepdogs from a rescue organization.

Do Polish Lowland Sheepdogs make good pets?

Yes, they are fun dogs to have around!

How big do Polish Lowland Sheepdogs get?

A male Polish Lowland Sheepdog can reach a size of 20 inches tall with a weight of up to 50 pounds. A female can be as tall as 19 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 45 pounds.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources

  1. American Kennel Club / Accessed July 16, 2021
  2. APONC / Accessed July 16, 2021
  3. Wikipedia / Accessed July 16, 2021