Bred to herd and guard, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog temperament is lively, even-tempered, and agile.
PONs (as they are called) also exhibit intelligent, self-confident traits and do not easily trust strangers. Therefore, if you are considering a Polish Lowland Sheepdog it will serve you well to get to know this breed's temperament before you bring a puppy home.
Polish Lowland Sheepdog Temperament and Personality
They are extremely intelligent
Polish Sheepdogs are very intelligent and perceptive with an excellent memory. Their owners remark on their ability to remember what they learn – both good and bad!
Keep this breed on their toes by regularly throwing them challenges. They love agility training and obedience classes.
If you have a farm where they can herd livestock, this is a great way for them to exercise their mental (and physical) muscles as well.
Read our article to learn over 10 fun ways to stimulate your dog.
They love their families
Polish Sheepdogs have a devoted and loyal temperament when it comes to their humans. They make great companions for both individuals and families, but they don't always come that way naturally.
As with many breeds, you get out of this breed what you put into it. With a lot of hard work and patience, you can make a fantastic housedog out of this breed.
They get along with kids and animals
When raised together, Polish Sheepdogs do well with children and other animals. However, don't be surprised if your Polish Sheepdog asserts his dominance over other dogs he doesn't know, especially dogs of the same gender.
They are wary of outsiders
Due to their herding and guarding heritage, this breed is naturally apprehensive around people they don’t know. While Polish Sheepdogs may be aloof with strangers, they will warm up to friends and other pets when socialized.
The positive side of this is this breed makes a fantastic watchdog. You just have to help them mold it, else it can lean toward the extreme and make them permanently suspicious or shy.
They are adaptable
While they are best suited for life on a farm, the Polish Sheepdog can adapt to apartments or houses without backyards as long as they receive enough exercise.
Not only that, but they are much calmer dogs who are easier to work with and who can settle down better indoors once you have met all their needs.
They have a reputation as a thief
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are, in a word, thieves. They love to steal items around the house – like towels, shoes, or tools – and stash them away.
Don’t be surprised if you can’t find a shoe only to spot it at your PON’s favorite stash spot days later!
Some have a strong prey drive
It's not a widespread trait across the entire breed, but some Polish Sheepdogs may exhibit a higher prey drive than other Polish Sheepdogs. Some will even take after “prey” as small as a butterfly. It all boils down to the temperament of the individual dog.
If you have one of those Polish Sheepdogs with a higher prey drive, be sure to keep him on a leash at all times, and make sure you properly fence in your yard.
They are incredibly stubborn
This breed is an incredibly stubborn one.
So stubborn, in fact, that if you don't help them get it under control while they're still young, it can develop into a lifelong habit.
That is certainly not something you'll want to have to deal with forever!
A Brief History of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog
An old breed, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog (a.k.a. the Polish Sheepdog, Valee Sheepdog, Lowlands Herder, or Berger Ploanis de Vallee) has herding and guarding in their blood.
They originated in Poland and their name is a translation of their Polish name, “Polski Owczarek Nizinny”.
Both Poland and the United States call them “PONs”.
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs almost became extinct post-World War II but made a comeback during the 1950s.
While they are relatively rare in the United States, they are popular in Poland. In fact, they are the unofficial national dog of Poland.
How to Train a Polish Lowland Sheepdog?
Strong Consistent Leadership match their Smarts
This highly intelligent, hardworking dog loves to learn, but they need an owner who will provide consistent leadership.
This breed wants to solve problems, and for them, a “problem” may be how to overcome your rules so they can engage in the bad behaviors that interest them.
You must stand your ground with them to prevent them from walking all over you.
Use Positive Reinforcement
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog’s exceptional memory makes them fairly easy to train. But they can be stubborn and willful.
Consistent, positive reinforcement training is your best bet with this breed. Use praise, treats, and toys during training to get the most out of your session.
Use Physical and Mental Challenges
Thanks to their working heritage, the Polish Sheepdog likes to stay busy – both mentally and physically.
They will need activities that challenge them, such as herding, hiking, agility, or tracking, to keep them busy.
Socialize Them Properly
And above all, make sure you socialize this breed as much as you can, and as early as you can.
Frequent socialization will prevent them from becoming overly shy, suspicious, and aloof with those they don't know. Plus, it will make them more manageable when they get older.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan a world-class Dog Trainer from New Zealand is worth taking a look at. This online resource has hundreds of fun informative dog training videos that can help you learn the basics and more.
What Does a Polish Lowland Sheepdog Look Like?
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog weighs between 30-50 pounds, stands between 17-20 inches tall and lives between 12-14 years.
As for colors, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog can be black or black and white, as well as brown, beige, or grey. They can also come in tri-color.
Caring for a Polish Lowland Sheepdog
1. How Do You Groom a Polish Lowland Sheepdog
If you’re not into a lot of grooming, then this is not the dog for you. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs have a dense, long topcoat with a soft, thick undercoat. While their coat comes in different variations, the most common coat is white with grey, black, or tan patches.
Their coat needs quite a bit of grooming to keep it tangle-free. However, trimming is not necessary or recommended. Twice weekly brushing is best along with a bath every two months.
Polish Lowland Sheepdog shedding is non-existent. The Polish Lowland Sheepdogs hypoallergenic coat makes them ideal for those with allergies.
And don’t forget to check their ears weekly and clean them if necessary. Else, they can develop ear infections due to their hair constantly hanging over their ears, which traps moisture inside.
Shaggy Equals Messy
Something you must know about this breed, however, is that if you are a germophobe, then this is not a good breed for you.
The Polish Sheepdog's shaggy coat consistently brings the outside in with him, like leaves and mud. Be aware that you will be cleaning up after him often including giving him more baths when it's messy outside.
A good way to stay ahead of the curve on this one is to keep the PON’s coat regularly clipped. If their coat is shorter, it won’t be long enough to drag in the mud, for one thing, and it will be easier for the dog to shake debris like leaves and grass free before he comes in the house.
2. Staying Healthy: What Health Issues to lookout For?
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are a relatively healthy breed, but they are prone to specific diseases and conditions. They can develop:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia
- Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinosis (inherited neurological disorders)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy(degeneration of the retina)
Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your dog will love you for it.
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are active dogs and need a moderately high level of exercise. They are certainly not couch potatoes. This breed enjoys having a job to do and has a strong work ethic.
Long daily walks or hikes, or a one to two-hour play session in the backyard is just what Polish Lowland Sheepdogs need to keep them happy and healthy. Just be sure to keep them fenced-in to harness their potentially strong prey drive.
PONs love to be with their family and would enjoy nothing more than to join them on hikes or long walks.
Finding the Perfect Polish Lowland Sheepdog
If you’re ready to add the Polish Lowland Sheepdog to your family, it’s time to decide how to find the perfect one.
First, consider your lifestyle. Are an active person or family with time to spare? A Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppy might be best for you. Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies require a lot of time, dedication, and patience. If you’re a busy person or family, a puppy might not be right for you.
If you do have a busy lifestyle with no extra time to spare, consider adding an adult dog to your family. Polish Lowland Sheepdog rescues will have adult dogs for adoption. Adults are great for families or individuals who don’t have the time to dedicate to raising a puppy.
Whether you are looking for Polish Lowland Sheepdog breeders or rescue, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club of America should be your first stop. They have information on breeders as well as resources for Polish Lowland Sheepdog rescues.
Polish Lowland Sheepdog Puppies for Sale
Purebred Polish Lowland Sheepdogs for sale will cost an average of $1500-$2000. A Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies price depends on litter availability, breeder location, and whether they are AKC registered.
Polish Lowland Sheepdog price for rescue will cost between $200-$400, depending on your location as well as the rescue organization. The adoption fee covers any necessary medical attention, spay/neuter, and microchipping.
Polish Lowland Sheepdog Rescue and Adoption
If you’ve decided on adoption, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club of America has resources to find a Polish Lowland Sheepdogs available for adoption.
Because the breed is so rare in the United States, there are very few Polish Lowland Sheepdogs in local rescue organizations. However, be sure to call and let the shelter know to notify you should a PON become available.
Polish Lowland Sheepdog Breeders
If you have decided that a Polish Lowland Sheepdog from a breeder is for you, start researching local breeders and plan visits.
Before visiting, prepare a list of questions to ask the breeder. Ask them about any potential health or temperament issues as well as questions on the breed itself. A good breeder will be knowledgeable about the breed.
Reputable breeders should also ask you questions about your lifestyle to make sure the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is right for you.
In addition to the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club of America, the AKC Marketplace is a great place to search for PON breeders.
Conclusion: Why the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Temperament?
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog has a confident, intelligent temperament. While they can be aloof with strangers, they are devoted to their families and get along well with children.
They are very adaptable dogs. So if, say, you have to move from an apartment to a house, or vice versa, this dog will be more than happy to join you for the ride with little to no qualms about it.
While they are exceptionally smart and have incredible memories, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs can be stubborn and willful. Early and consistent training is absolutely necessary.
If you’re looking for a cheerful, even-tempered, lively breed, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog will make the perfect companion.
Kailyn has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2012, and during that time she has written about nearly every dog breed imaginable. Her mother loved Collies, and so Kailyn grew up with three of them throughout her childhood – including a blonde one who was half-blind! Now her home belongs to her first official dog, Macho, a Dogo Argentino rescue.