Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Perceptive, territorial, and clever


Perceptive, territorial, and clever

With a long moplike coat, hair falling over the eyes, and a bouncy, spirited personality, the medium-sized Polish Lowland Sheepdog resembles the classic shaggy dog.

Known as the Polski Owczarek Nizinny, (PON for short), or Nizinny as he’s called in his native Poland, belongs to AKC’s Herding Group. He’s adaptable and comfortably makes the transition from country living to apartment life, but needs outdoor exercise to keep busy.

People believe that the PON originated from Central Asian dogs, similar to Tibetan Terriers and Lhasa Apsos, and is related to the Puli. Around 1514, a trading ship with six PONs sailed from Poland to Scotland. A Scottish shepherd admired the dogs and traded two sheep for three PONS. Bred to the Scot’s Highland Collie, these PONS became the ancestors to the Bearded Collie.

The good-natured and intelligent PON fearlessly protects his flock, exhibits a remarkable memory, and shows devotion to his family. ~Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz

Breed Standard

Official Standard of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog

American Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club

General Appearance: Medium-sized, compact, strong and muscular with a long, thick coat and hanging hair that covers the eyes. He is shaggy and natural in appearance with a docked or natural bobbed tail. His herding and working ability is attributed to an intense desire to please and compatible nature. He is lively but self-controlled, clever and perceptive. The breed is well known for an excellent memory and the ability to work independent of his master.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Well balanced due to a strong skeleton. Height at the withers for an adult dog is 18 to 20 inches and 17 to 19 inches for a bitch. It is not desirable to diminish the size below the Standard for this multi-purpose working breed. The silhouette is rectangular due to the abundance of coat on the chest and rear. The height to length ratio is 9:10 making the dog off square. Height is measured from withers to ground and length is measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks.

Head and Skull: The medium-sized head is in proportion to the body. The profuse hair on the forehead, cheeks and chin make the head look bigger than it actually is. Expression is lively with a penetrating gaze. Eyes are of medium size, oval and brown in color. It is natural in a dog with chocolate pigment to have a lighter eye. Eye rims are as dark as possible within the coat color. Disqualification – blue or yellow (bird-of-prey) eyes. Ears are heart-shaped, drop and set moderately high. They are medium size in proportion to the head and are covered with long hair which naturally follows the shape of the ear. Skull is moderately broad and slightly domed. The forehead furrow and occiput are palpable. The stop has a pronounced indentation but never as pronounced as a round-skull breed. The ratio of muzzle to skull is 1:1. A little shorter muzzle is acceptable. The topline of the muzzle is straight and parallel to the skull. The muzzle is well filled all the way to the end. Teeth – Strong white teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The jaws are strong. Disqualification – overshot or undershot bite. Nose should be large and black or brown, depending on the coat color. A pink nose or a nose partially lacking pigment should be penalized.

Neck, Topline, Body: Neck, of medium length, is muscular and strong. It is broad without dewlap and carried not more than 45 degrees to the ground when moving. Profuse hair and a large head optically make the neck look shorter than it actually is. The back should be neither too long nor too short for proper balance and movement. Withers are well pronounced and broad. The chest is deep, of medium width, with forechest well-defined. Depth of chest is to the elbow, approximately 50 percent of the height of the dog. The ribs are well sprung, neither barrel chested nor slab-sided. The topline is level. The loin is well muscled and broad giving the impression of being short. The croup is slightly cut but only to a small degree. The belly is slightly drawn up. Tail is short, set low and no longer than two vertebrae. Tails are naturally short or docked. Severe Fault – Tail that changes the shape and appearance of the silhouette must be penalized so severely as to eliminate the dog from competition.

Forequarters: The shoulders are heavily muscled and well laid back. The legs are straight and vertical with heavy bone. The pasterns are slightly slanting in relation to the forearm and flexible without weakness. The feet are oval and tight with the front feet larger than the rear feet. Toes are arched.

Hindquarters: Large, heavily boned, and well muscled with well bent stifles. In normal stance, the bones below the hocks are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. The hind feet fall just behind a perpendicular line from the point of buttocks to the ground when viewed from the side. Feet are oval with tight, arched toes. Pads are hard. Nails are preferably dark.

Coat: It is doubled coated. The entire body is covered with a long, dense, shaggy, thick coat that is reasonably straight. The outercoat should be crisp with a water resistant texture. The undercoat is soft and dense. Different coat colors will have different textures with the black coat having little or no coarse outercoat and less undercoat. Characteristically, long hanging hair covers the eyes. A slight wavy coat is acceptable. Fault – A curly, short or silky coat. Lack of undercoat. A fly away or thin, wispy coat that easily “flies” over the dog when in movement. The Polish Lowland Sheepdog must be shown naturally with an “unkempt” but clean appearance – any scissoring of the coat must be penalized so severely as to eliminate the dog from competition. Only the hair between the pads may be trimmed. Severe fault – Any coat that appears to be visibly scissored or sculpted.

Color: All coat colors are acceptable. The most common colors are white with either black, gray or sandy patches and gray with white, or chocolate. Most carry a dominant fading factor genetically, which results in puppies being born darker in coat color than they will appear as adults with the exception of those puppies born white.

Gait: The gait should be balanced, efficient, and appear effortless. Leg movement should always be in two parallel lines without crossing or departing from one line. There is a slight and natural tendency to converge in the front and rear when significantly increasing the speed of trot. The neck is carried not more than 45 degrees to the ground when moving. With the correct shoulder angulation, the forward reach of the front leg should be fluent and to the dog’s nose. This length of stride propels forward movement with less fatigue. The greatest source of his forward drive is derived from good rear angulation. When viewed from behind, the back legs should be parallel to each other and not too close.

Temperament: He is stable and self confident. He needs a dominant master and consistent training from the time he is very young. If this is not provided, he will tend to dominate the master. When not used as a herding or working dog, he can be a magnificent companion as he seems to fit into any type of lifestyle. He is extremely loyal, but somewhat aloof and suspicious of strangers. Faults – Nervous, cowardly, or extreme vicious behavior.

Faults: The foregoing description is that of the ideal Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.

Disqualifications: Blue or yellow (bird-of-prey) eyes. Overshot or undershot bite.

Approved May 12, 2009 Effective July 1, 2009

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