5 Things to Know About Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

These active herding dogs are loving and happy, but make sure you socialize them from a young age to nip stubbornness in the bud.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are great for apartment dwellers, believe it or not. Photo: Vojtěch Ohera
AKC GroupAKC Group
30-50 lbs.
18-20 in. (male);
17-19 in. (female)
Life ExpectancyLife Span
12-15 years

1. Key Characteristics of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are also called PONs (Polski Owczarek Nizinny).

These medium-sized, muscular working dogs have high-set ears and  eyes that come in colors of hazel, brown or blue. They have naturally short or docked tails and cute oval feet with arched toes.

The double coat is long, thick and wiry, and the undercoat is soft. The American Kennel Club’s standard colors for this breed include beige, black, black and white, brown, chocolate and white, gray, gray and white, tri-colored, and white.

2. Where Polish Lowland Sheepdogs Came From

Before the 1500s, the Puli and another dog — possibly a herding dog for the Huns — were crossed.

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog appeared in Poland and Pomerania in records from the same time period, providing evidence of the breed’s origin.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs appeared in Scotland after a ship from Poland docked to trade grain for sheep. A Scottish shepherd wanted to keep the ship’s dogs to herd the sheep. Three Polish Lowland Sheepdogs (1 male and 2 females) were traded for a ram and a ewe, and the remaining dogs returned to Poland with the flock.

The first breed standard was written in 1959, the same year the European kennel clubs recognized the breed.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) added the breed in 2001.

Trim between the paws and in the ears to protect your Polish Lowland Sheepdog against matting. Photo: Pleple2000

3. How Friendly Are Polish Lowland Sheepdogs?

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are happy, alert, clever and fearless.

They have a good memory and are intelligent, making them easy to train. That said, they need firm and consistent training that begins in puppyhood. Be warned: Polish Lowland Sheepdogs have a stubborn streak that could become a lifelong habit.

Socializing your Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a must because these dogs can be wary around strangers. Properly trained and socialized Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are great with children, other dogs and non-canine pets, although they may assert dominance over other dogs.

They may display herding behavior, such as nipping at the heels of family members.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


HIGH: These active and agile herding dogs have a lot of energy and appreciate having a job to do. Walk yours daily and exercise them — both mentally and physically — whenever possible.

The small size makes Polish Lowland Sheepdogs ideal for apartments, but they need to get rid of all their energy — otherwise, negative behaviors may develop.

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Grooming Needs


MEDIUM: Although this breed sheds little, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs can “blow their coats” seasonally, usually twice a year. Brush yours thoroughly at least once a week to prevent matting. Bathe occasionally.

During the grooming routine, trim the hair between the paw pads, remove hair from inside the ears and remove excess moisture from the ears.

Health Problems


HIGH: Many websites — including the AKC’s — list these dogs as generally very healthy, although there has been a notable incidence of diabetes among Polish Lowland Sheepdogs in recent years. The problem is being studied.

Other potential problems in Polish Lowland Sheepdogs include:

More Stats About Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

Friendliness ★★★★☆
Ease of Training ★★★★☆
Barking/Howling ★★☆☆☆
Shedding ★☆☆☆☆
Tolerate Being Alone ★★★☆☆
Very Good With Kids ★★★★☆

Here’s a whole litter of PON puppies having a blast:

YouTube player

5. How to Adopt a Polish Lowland Sheepdog

You probably won’t find a Polish Lowland Sheepdog to adopt anytime soon — they’re pretty rare. If you contact a breeder, insist on getting a copy of the health testing, as well as copies of tests done on the parents. 

Read this list of puppy mill warning signs to ensure the breeder is reputable.