PON (Polish Lowland Sheepdog): Characteristics and Care

Polish lowland sheepdog

With a stocky physique and thick, shaggy double-coat, the Polish Lowland sheepdog—or PON, short for Polski Owczarek Nizinny—is a popular Polish watchdog and livestock herder. The PON, which is tenacious, vivacious, and confident, requires a committed owner who is ready to cope with their high-maintenance fur and hard training disposition. Still, if you persevere and provide them with the necessary training, exercise, and grooming, they'll become a wonderful companion and dependable worker in a variety of settings.

Breed Overview


Height: 17 to 20 inches

Weight: 30 to 50 pounds

Coat: Thick, long, and shaggy

Coat Color: Beige, black, black and white, brown, chocolate and white, gray, gray and white, tricolor, and white. 

Life Span: 12 to 14 years

Temperament: Confident, intelligent, lively, active, loyal, attentive, peaceful

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Poland

Characteristics of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog

The Polish Lowland sheepdog is an energetic and driven breed that enjoys having a "work" to do. It was originally bred for herding animals. They are easy-to-care-for dogs with a calm and attentive nature that makes them wonderful companions, despite their high-maintenance coat.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding High

History of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog

The PON was born in what would later become Poland. According to legend, Asian traders reached Eastern Europe in the 1300s, and their dogs (such as the and Lhasa Apso) crossed with local dogs, resulting in the PON. Larger dogs spooked the sheep and were too violent with young animals, thus the breed's drive and determination made it the ideal medium-sized companion for herding. Because of its work ethic and determination, the PON was eventually mated with Scottish herding dogs to produce the Bearded Collie, which is the more popular and accessible of the two. The breed was first recognized by the Polish Kennel Club in 1959, and then by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2001.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog Care

A PON owner should be committed to investing a lot of time with their dog because to their intransigence, strong energy, and mop-like coat that requires regular care. The PON, on the other hand, may be a hardworking, loyal, and beloved friend for the proper household.


The PON, like other herding dogs, has a lot of energy that has to be channeled. To keep PONs from getting bored and destructive, they need both physical and cerebral exercise. Their intellect is strong, and activities that involve mental effort, like as puzzle toys, agility, and nose training, are excellent tools for controlling the PON's drive. They are happiest when they exercise for at least an hour every day. Taking your dog for lengthy walks in the woods and allowing them to smell is a wonderful way for both of you to unwind. Most dogs are really easier to live with after going for a nature-filled sniffing stroll rather of pounding the concrete, so it's worth it to go for a longer walk than simply around the block.


The PON is not the breed for you if you're seeking for a low-maintenance grooming regimen. To avoid matting, the breed's long, thick, shaggy coat must be brushed frequently. The lengthy coat tends to gather up detritus like as twigs and dirt, despite the hair being mainly water resistant. Seasonal shedding is to be expected because the PON has a strong undercoat.

At the very least, many dog owners clip the fur around their dog's eyes and ears. Brushing your dog as a bonding exercise is fantastic. You might be able to locate a regular groomer who will maintain your PON's coat short otherwise. Keep in mind that frequent trimming means less brushing, but it also means more grooming trips. It's not an option not to brush this dog: Matting in the undercoat may be excruciating to remove once it has progressed.

Other aspects of your PON's grooming regimen must also be attended to. once a month and once a week, looking for odd redness or appearances that might indicate an infection. Brushing your dog's teeth many times a week is also recommended.


Early socialization and obedience training are essential for a PON's development. Early socialization in puppyhood might help ease this breed's inclination to be distant and suspicious of strangers. Though the PON is extremely bright, they are also quite obstinate and require careful but strong training. They may be quite confident among other dogs, therefore they shouldn't be left alone in places like dog parks where they can encounter an unfriendly dog.

This dog's genetic makeup predisposes them to be a watchdog, so keep in mind that you're working with genes that tell your dog to be watchful of strangers. If you punish your dog for this behavior, it will only get worse. Instead, concentrate on praising your dog for positive behavior and putting them in settings where they can succeed. If you're having trouble getting people to train, rethink what you're providing as an incentive. Using force or intimidation to overwhelm your Polish lowland sheepdog will most likely destroy your bond and backfire on your training aims.

Common Health Problems

The PON is a reasonably healthy breed with no significant genetic issues. PONs, like most medium to big dogs, should be checked for symptoms of joint problems as they become older, and very active canines should be checked for stress injuries such muscle rips. Keep a look out for the following health problems with your PON:

Diet and Nutrition

A high-quality dog diet, either made or cooked at home under veterinary supervision, should help your PON function effectively. A high performance or working dog meal may assist PONs employed for flock herding and sports. This energetic breed need constant access to fresh, clean water.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Check your local animal shelter or a sheepdog rescue group in your state if you wish to adopt a PON. Given the rarity of this breed, you're unlikely to find a pure bred PON if you go the rescue route. If this particular breed isn't available, they may be able to refer you to another shelter or rescue group that has comparable dogs looking for forever homes.

It's critical to conduct your homework before purchasing a dog from a breeder. Responsible breeders don't have many litters and make sure both parents have the proper medical checks. Adopters should be able to meet the dogs' parents and observe that they are kept in a comfortable, secure environment. Because PON pups are uncommon, you may have to travel a long distance or pay a premium to obtain one from a good breeder.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog Overview

  • Intelligent

  • Playful

  • Dedicated

  • Stubborn and can be difficult to train

  • Daily grooming required

  • Highly energetic

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before introducing any new animal into your life, do your homework. Talking to existing owners of a breed as well as breed groups is a smart idea, especially for breeds like the Polish Lowland Sheepdog, which require a little additional training and attention.

Because this breed is uncommon, take additional precautions to meet many and make sure they're the right fit. Talk to a number of owners and breeders, and be ready to explain why you're interested in this specific breed.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Polish lowland sheepdogs good family dogs?

    For the proper household, Polish lowland sheepdogs may be a great dog. They're better suited to households with older children who can assist care for them because they require a lot of grooming, exercise, and training.

  • Are Polish lowland sheepdogs aggressive?

    Polish lowland sheepdogs are not aggressive, despite their reputation as an excellent watchdog breed. They are apprehensive of outsiders, although this usually displays as standoffishness rather than violence.

  • Are Polish lowland sheepdogs good apartment dogs?

    No. Lowland Polish sheepdogs are best suited to bigger households with plenty of outside area. Aside from the fact that they require a lot of energy and space to wander, they dislike strangers and may be bothered by the constant coming and going that comes with apartment life.