Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Going by the name ‘Polski Owczarek Nizinny’ in their native homeland, affectionately shortened to ‘Pons’or PLS. The breed has a long history and derives from the Hungarian Puli and native long-coated herding dogs of Poland. They have been working dogs since at least the 1500s but almost became extinct after the Second World War, when Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz a veterinary surgeon, revived the breed.
A relative newcomer to Britain, the first imports arriving on these shores in 1985.
Originally a herding watchdog, they are adaptable and easy to train. However, having an excellent memory, they learn good and bad ways with equal enthusiasm. Therefore a firm but fair owner is required, who will set ground rules from day one, as a PON can be quite wilful, especially during adolescence. They are exceptionally fond of children and make lively playmates; although care should be taken there is equal respect from both sides. Their stable temperament and medium size make them an ideal family pet, provided time is taken to train and socialise them as they grow up.
Regular grooming is required to keep their shaggy, thick coat free from becoming matted.
Polish Lowlands are a sturdy generally healthy breed. In the early days after importation breeders made sure they had their dogs hip scored and only bred from those with the lowest scores. This is still the case today with most having a score of 12 or lower.
Although there is not deemed to be a problem with eyes in the UK, some European countries are reporting cases of PRA (progressive retinal atrophy). Annual eye testing of breeding stock is always carried out by responsible breeders, and has been since they first arrived in this country.
In their native Poland, the PON evolved to utilise their food very well, being fed on meagre rations. Care should be taken to emulate this to a degree, as they can soon become overweight when fed a high protein diet (or just too many titbits), leading to health problems such as scratching, skin problems and diabetes.