Polish Lowland Sheepdog Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Polish Lowland Sheepdog Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013
The AKC Standard calls him "lively but self-controlled, clever and perceptive and endowed with an excellent memory."
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog, sometimes nicknamed PON after his Polish name "Polish Owczark Nizinny") is a vigorous working dog. Strong and durable, athletic and agile, he requires daily exercise and does best with active owners.
Mental stimulation in the form of obedience, agility, herding, or watching over his home is even more important to this highly intelligent breed.
When these needs are met, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is calm and stable and settles down happily indoors.
Somewhat aloof and suspicious of strangers, he makes a vigilant watchdog. In fact, socialization must be early and thorough so that his watchfulness does not become either skittishness or sharpness.
Most Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are dominant with other dogs, especially of the same sex. Those with a high prey drive are not reliable around little creatures that run or flutter.
Like most herding breeds, the PON often pokes or pushes people and other animals in an attempt to gather them or move them along.
These confident dogs were bred to think independently and make their own decisions, and they will do exactly that unless you take charge and establish the rules. They are persistent problem-solvers ("If I can't get what I want this way, maybe I can get it this way.") and can be dominant and manipulative.
The shaggy Polish Lowland Sheepdog is not for the immaculate household. Mud, snow, and leaves cling to his tousled coat, and his beard collects water and food remnants and can become matted and smelly.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium-sized, shaggy, and natural-looking
- Is an enthusiastic working dog, strong and durable, athletic and agile -- thrives on vigorous exercise and challenging activities
- Is calm indoors (with enough exercise)
- Makes a vigilant watchdog
A Polish Lowland Sheepdog may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Suspiciousness toward strangers when not socialized enough
- Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars
- Lots of brushing and combing
- "Shaggy dog syndrome," i.e. debris clinging to the coat, water soaking into the beard and dripping on your floors
- Waiting lists (hard to find) and a high price tag
A Polish Lowland Sheepdog may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog
If I was considering a Polish Lowland Sheepdog, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by destructive chewing. This breed is so intelligent that it's a waste to keep one when all you want is a casual pet. They are much better choices for owners who want to get involved in herding, or agility (obstacle course), or advanced obedience, or tracking, or a similar canine activity. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs were never intended to be simply household pets.
- Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become suspiciousness, which is difficult to live with and could even lead to defensive biting.
- Animal aggression. Some Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Some have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures.
- Stubbornness. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are not Golden Retrievers. The best PONs are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they can be stubborn and manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Polish Lowland Sheepdog to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Polish Lowland Sheepdog Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Grooming. Without frequent brushing, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs become a matted mess. If you can't commit to the brushing, you have to commit to frequent trimming to keep the coat short, neat, and healthy.
- Shedding. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs definitely shed, though some of the shed hair gets caught in the long coat rather than ending up on your floor. Thus, frequent brushing is essential not only for keeping the coat mat-free, but for removing shed hair.
- "Shaggy dog syndrome." Like all shaggy dogs, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a messy dog. Leaves, mud, snow, fecal matter, and other debris cling to his rough coat and ends up all over your house. When he drinks, his beard absorbs water, which drips on your floors when he walks away. When he eats, his beard absorbs food so that when he sniffs your face or presses his head against your leg, YOU end up dirty, too. Big shaggy dogs are not suited to fastidious housekeepers.
To learn more about training Polish Lowland Sheepdogs to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Polish Lowland Sheepdog the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Polish Lowland Sheepdog might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Polish Lowland Sheepdog home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Polish Lowland Sheepdog...
When you're acquiring a Polish Lowland Sheepdog PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Polish Lowland Sheepdogs who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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