The Polish Lowland Sheepdog has a long, dense coat with a soft under layer. All colors are acceptable, although the most common colors are white with black, gray, chocolate, or sandy patches, and gray with white, or chocolate and white. The color of almost all will lighten with age due to a genetic fading factor. The hair falls over the dog's forehead, cheeks, and chin. Beneath all that shagginess is a strong cabby dog with a lively and intelligent gaze in its oval-shaped eyes. The tail is short; long tails are generally docked. Ears are hanging, heart-shaped, and medium-sized. Teeth meet in either scissors or level bite.
The general shape is rectangular, with a strong, muscular neck and shoulders, deep chest, and level topline. The dog has a long, fluid, extended gait that propels him well forward (although he's capable of a leisurely amble as well). History:
In its native Poland, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is called the Polski Owczarek Nizinny, or PON. The dog's roots stretch back to the Middle Ages, when other herding dogs were developed. As a cross between the Hun herding dog and the Hungarian Puli, the PON has always been a widely renowned herder. But during World Wars I and II, the PON breed was nearly decimated because bombing ruined the breed registries and wartime deprivations made it impossible for people to feed the animals. (Some Polish people were even forced to eat their own dogs.) Only 125 PONs survived WWI; only eight breedable PONs survived WWII. A Polish veterinarian, Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz, worked to save and reestablish the breed after the war ended; as one breeder notes, "all PONs today owe their lives to her efforts."
The first PONs arrived in the United States in 1979. Moira Morrison, a Bearded Collie breeder, set about introducing the breed to the United States. Morrison was interested because it is widely believed that the Bearded Collie resulted from a sixteenth century cross between the PON and a Rough Collie. Betty Augustowski took over in 1982. Four years later, she founded the American Poland Lowland Sheepdog Club. The dog remains rare, however, with only about 2,000 living in North America and perhaps 10,000 found around the world. The AKC admitted the breed to the Herding Group in 2001.