Otherwise known as the Polish Owczanek Nizinny, the precise nature of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog's origins are uncertain. Some suggest it was developed in the 15th century in the lowland plains of Poland, being the result of crossing between Tibetan dogs and local sheepdogs. Others theorize a much earlier origin, with the dogs arriving in the lowlands in the 1200s, accompanying the nomads travelling from the Caspian Sea. Whatever the reality, it is clear the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a breed of old, having descended from Tibetan dogs, including perhaps the Tibetan Terrier and Lhaso Apso, being crossed with native sheepdogs such as the Hungarian Puli. These Tibetan dogs were favoured in trade and were widely exchanged across Asia, being brought to Europe in subsequent years. Nearly made extinct following WWII, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog was resurrected by the efforts of careful breeding by Dr Danuta Hryriewicz.
The original herding dog, this breed retains its early instincts to work livestock, inclining towards herding smaller animals. In order to discourage this inclination, consistent training and early socialisation is beneficial from an early age. The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is characterised by a heavy-boned build, densely covered in hair, with strong legs, a broad head, large hanging ears, and a natural bobtail that may otherwise be docked. The profuse coat of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog would have served to insulate the breed from the harsh climate of the Polish lowlands, whilst acting as protection against predator bites and rough terrain.
Adapting quickly to new situations and people, the breed is highly trainable, responsive and obedient, rendering it well suited to the domestic setting. Inherently intelligent, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog benefits from both physical and mental stimulation to showcase its pleasing potential. If you are looking for a dog that is gentle with children, mannered and fun-loving, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is the breed choice for you. Curb herding behaviours from an early age and you have a relaxed and polite companion dog, eager to please its master. On average, a healthy Polish Lowland Sheepdog will weigh 14-16 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years, although it is not uncommon for the breed to outlive this expectancy.
Relatively healthy, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is not prone to any serious genetic or breed-specific diseases. Hip dysplasia and associated orthopedic complaints are identified in the breed, as are optical disorders such as progressive retinal atrophy. These appear with no great prevalence. Otherwise, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a low maintenance breed choice when it comes to ensuring complete health. Due to the relative rarity of the breed, its susceptibility to diseases can often be difficult to determine.