Dogs have long been a part of Polish culture, and have been used there since medieval times to hunt and guard the land.
Sadly, during WWII, many Polish dog breeds were shot during the invasion, as “no dogs were to be left alive”.
The good news is that, though many native Polish dogs did face near extinction, some did remain, and it was enough to reestablish breeds within the area.
Start Watching (or Reading):
Today we will talk about five dog breeds originating in Poland and discuss:
- Breed highlights
- Interesting facts about each breed
- Breed temperament
- Breed overviews
- And Frequently Asked Questions about each breed.
Let’s jump right in…
1. POLISH GREYHOUND (Chart Polski)
Highlights: Loyal, Child-friendly, Protective.
The Polish Greyhound is a type of sighthound that is native to Poland. For centuries this breed was bred primarily for hunting, and today their natural hunting abilities remain apparent in their likelihood to hunt and attack prey.
Though we know that the Polish Greyhound is an old breed, we don’t actually know how old because they date back to a time before written records were kept of dog breeding.
With that being said, the first definitive record of the breed dates back to 1690 in a book called “Riding and Hunting” by Gostomski.
Throughout time this breed has also been strongly revered by Polish nobility and was often kept on large estates for their unique and strong hunting abilities.
Today the breed is still considered an avid hunter and therefore doesn’t do well in households with other, smaller animals.
With that being said, the Polish Greyhound does do well with children and tends to bond intensely with its family members.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Despite the misleading name, Polish Greyhounds are not actually directly related to Greyhounds. Rather, it’s likely that they originated from Saluki-type Asiatic sighthounds.
- The Polish Greyhound came close to extinction in the events of WWI and WWII
- The Polish Greyhound was mentioned in the scientific journal “Sylwan” in 1823.
- Its appearance is very similar to the English Greyhound.
Though the Polish Greyhound bears a striking resemblance to other sighthounds, its personality is really quite different.
While most sighthounds are considered gentle and mild-mannered, the Polish Greyhound has a strong protective and prey instinct that makes them more territorial and aggressive.
Though the breed tends to bond intensely with their family (including children), it doesn’t do well in homes with other pets.
In situations like these, the natural prey drive of the Polish Greyhound will set in, and they are likely to attack other pets.
Because of their strong personalities, Polish Greyhounds can be somewhat dominating and are not recommended for first-time owners.
They are also extremely energetic and require plenty of exercise and stimulation to prevent hyperactivity and behavioral concerns.
Get to know dogs from other European countries below:
|Suitable for:||Families, couples, singles, households with no other pets|
|Size/Height:||Large/ 27-32 inches tall|
|Color:||Beige, black and tan|
|Daily exercise:||Regular walks, runs, and playtime, A large backyard is recommended|
|Diet:||High protein, high quality, dry dog food diet. Active or working breed formula is recommended|
|Known health issues:||Cardiomyopathy, Gastric Torsion|
1. Is the Polish Greyhound Difficult to train?
The Polish Greyhound has a strong, dominant personality that requires solid training.
Because they are pack dogs, the Polish Greyhound needs to understand where they fall in the family hierarchy and who the leader of the pack is.
They can be trained, but also tend to be quite stubborn. Solid training, patience, and mutual respect are required for the Greyhound to obey dog commands in Polish or other languages properly.
2. Can you socialize a Polish Greyhound?
The Polish Greyhound can be socialized, but don’t ever expect them to play well with others.
This breed of dog has an extremely strong prey drive, and they can fall back into their instincts at any time.
As such, regardless of how socialized the Polish Greyhound is, they should never be left alone with smaller animals.
Care also needs to be taken when the Greyhound is outside alone, as they will hunt and kill any smaller animals (rabbits, birds, squirrels) that enter into their territory.
3. Can the Polish Greyhound be kept in an apartment?
Polish Greyhounds can adapt to apartment life, but due to their high energy levels, they tend to do better when they have a yard to run in.
If you are going to keep a Polish Greyhound in an apartment, plenty of exercises and mental stimulation will be required throughout the day to prevent boredom and behavioral issues.
2. POLISH HOUND (Ogar Polski)
Highlights: Gentle, Eager to please, Good with Children
The Polish Hound is a mid-sized breed of dog that is strong, sleek and has an extremely athletic body.
They were originally bred for hunting, the first records of the Polish Hound date back to the 14-18th centuries when they were bred specifically by noble families for the hunt.
Originally there was no breed standard for the Polish Hound – all they needed was a good nose and a sturdy build.
But after WWI, when show dogs became more popular, a new standard was set by Colonel Jozef Pawuslewicz.
Today the Polish hound is considered to be the ideal family dog and has a reputation for being gentle, friendly, and affectionate.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Following WWII, the Polish Hound almost went extinct. Had it not been for the effort of two Colonels, Colonel Pawuslewizc and Colonel Polski, to revive the breed, we would not still have the Polish hound as we know it today.
- The FCI officially recognized the Polish hound in 1966, but to this day remains a rare breed outside of Poland.
- Polish Hounds developed through Bloodhounds and local hound cross-breeding. in the Middle Ages.
The Polish Hound is often described as the ideal family dog because they are each loyal, friendly, and affectionate.
Because they are so loyal, they can often become protective of their properties and families, making them excellent guard dogs.
While the breed may attack if they feel that their family is threatened, they are otherwise considered unaggressive, gentle, and safe to be around children.
The breed is also extremely intelligent and easily trainable. With that being said, they do tend to mature slower than many other breeds and may maintain some puppy tendencies well into their second or third year of life.
Despite their puppy tendencies, the Polish hound is considered to be a relatively calm breed, and easy to handle in the home.
|Suitable for:||Families, singles, couples, new owners|
|Size/Height:||Mid-size breed/ 21-24 inches tall|
|Color:||brown and tan, brown and red, or black and tan|
|Grooming:||Low maintenance, regular brushing is required|
|Daily exercise:||Regular walks, runs, and playtime|
|Diet:||Regular walks, runs, and playtime|
|Known health issues:||no known health issues. Due to their size, however, they may be prone to conditions like hip dysplasia and bloat|
1. What is the average litter size of the Polish Hound?
Polish hounds are known to have relatively large litters of puppies and can have up to 14 puppies in one litter.
2. What is the best way to train a Polish Hound?
Because Polish hounds tend to hold on to their puppyhood for longer than most other breeds, they require a great deal of patience and persistence when it comes to training.
With that being said, the Polish hound is also extremely intelligent, and with clear boundaries and consistent expectations, the breed can learn quickly.
Always remember that early socialization is also an important part of the training, especially for Polish hounds that can easily grow fearful or anxious in novel situations.
The more exposure your dog has to different situations, the less anxious they will be in adulthood.
3. Do Polish Hounds Bark a lot?
The Polish Hound has been known to be a very vocal breed. Barking and howling are both to be expected with this breed. Also, when they are lonely or bored, they have been known to “sing”.
3. POLISH HUNTING DOG (Gończy Polski)
Highlights: Strong, Courageous, Intelligent, Easy to Train
The Polish Hunting Dog is a large breed of scent hound that has been primarily used for its tracking abilities.
With his acute sense of smell and his long legs, the Polish Hunting Dog has been known to track down prey that is miles away.
The breed was first mentioned in Old manuscripts that date back to the 13th century, and it’s no surprise that it was a popular choice in medieval times when food could be difficult to find.
Even after WWI, the breed was still used for hunting but was now mainly contained in the mountains where the terrains were more difficult to maneuver.
Today the breed maintains its sporty and athletic personality and is best suited to homes with an active lifestyle.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The first breed standard for the Polish Hunting Dog was set by a famous Polish Cynologist named Josef Pawuslewich and was first officially registered by the Polish Cynological Association.
The Polish Hunting dog is often described as both brave and courageous and makes a tireless and devoted companion.
The Polish hunting dog is each kind, gentle, and affectionate and does well with young children. Having said that, they are not tolerant of rough play, so it is important to teach your child how to behave around your dog.
The breed is tolerant of strangers but may be slightly wary at first.
Because Polish hunting dogs have long been bred for their hunting abilities, they do have a great deal of energy.
As such, they are best suited to families with an active lifestyle where they can participate in long runs, walks, or outdoor playtime.
The Polish Hunting dog is a breed that is eager to please their owners, and therefore relatively easy to train.
With that being said, they do best with patient, gentle methods, as opposed to harsh training strategies.
|Breed type:||Scent Hound|
|Suitable for:||Families, singles, couples, new owners|
|Size/Height:||Mid-size breed/ 20-22"|
|Color:||Black, or black and tan|
|Grooming:||low maintenance, regular brushing|
|Daily exercise:||Running, jogging, hunting, and playing fetch|
|Diet:||High quality, large breed, dry dog food diet.|
|Known health issues:||no known health issues|
|Price:||$600 - $800USD|
1. Is the Polish Hunting Dog easy to train?
In most circumstances, yes. The Polish Hunting dog is extremely intelligent and does well when trained with reward-based methods.
With that being said, the Polish Hunting dog is full of energy and requires plenty of exercises to prevent them from becoming distracted during training sessions. Allow them to burn off the energy first, and then work on training afterward.
2. Can I train my Polish Hunting dog to dance?
Yes. Because Polish Hunting dogs are so receptive to training, they make good candidates for things like dance training, agility training, and obedience training.
3. Do Polish Hunting Dogs play well with other animals?
When socialized from a young age, Polish Hunting dogs can get along with other dogs and can live together with other dogs.
Smaller animals like cats and birds may be looked at like prey. Unless they have been raised together, the Polish Hunting dog should not be trusted around smaller animals or pets.
4. POLISH LOWLAND SHEEPDOG (Polski Owczarek Nizinny)
Highlights: Shaggy coated, confident, clever
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is often referred to as the Polski Owczarek Nizinny and sometimes goes by the nickname of PON.
The history of the breed dates back to the Roman Empire when the Huns were part of the tribes that invaded Europe.
During this time, many believe that Polish Lowland Sheepdogs were a result of breeding Hunnic dogs with the native dogs in what is now Poland.
While they were never large enough to protect the flock, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs were long used to move and control flocks of sheep, as well as to warn of intruders.
Later down the line when Germany invaded Poland, many of the Polish Lowland Sheepdogs had to be left behind, and the breed almost went extinct.
Luckily, the breed was renewed, and the Polish Lowland Sheepdog gained recognition with the Polish Kennel Club in 1957.
In 2001, it was also officially recognized by the AKC.
DID YOU KNOW?
- During the war, many Sheepdogs were left behind, but the people highly valued one dog named Psyche. According to local legend, Psyche was able to predict the occurrence of bombs, and people used the dog as an alert to take shelter.
- One Polish Lowland Sheepdog named Morris made the news for his uncanny ability to comfort those who need a friend. He was given a job at the Baker Funeral Chapel in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, to comfort those at a loss – and he is paid with biscuits
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a loyal breed of dog that is loving and affectionate with family members but may be wary of strangers.
The breed can be territorial and tends to bark when unknown people or animals are near.
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog is intelligent and quick to learn but also has a willful and stubborn streak.
They require a strong, dominant owner and training early in puppyhood. A Lowland Sheepdog that is not trained at a young age can grow to be defiant and domineering.
|Suitable for:||Families, singles, couples, strong owners|
|Size/Height:||Mid-size/ 17-20 "|
|Color:||Black/White/Black and tan/white with gray, black, or sandy patches/Gray with white or chocolate patches|
|Grooming:||regular brushing and bathing required|
|Daily exercise:||Regular walks, runs, and playtime, at least two-hours of exercise a day|
|Activity levels:||Very high|
|Diet:||High quality, dry dog food diet. Should be fed twice a day|
|Known health issues:||Hip dysplasia, Retinal Atrophy|
|Price:||$1200 - $2000USD|
1. Do Polish Lowland Sheepdogs do well with children?
Yes, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are excellent with children. Having said that, don’t be surprised if they try to assert their dominance, or if they try to herd your children.
Common herding behaviors like nipping at the heels of children or other family members is common.
2. Can you raise a Polish Lowland Sheepdog in an apartment?
Yes. Because Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are relatively small in size, they tend to do quite well in apartment settings.
They are also considered an active breed of dog, so they will require regular walks and playtime sessions to expel their excess energy. Failure to regularly exercise your Sheepdog could result in destructive behaviors.
3. Should I clip my Polish Lowland Sheepdog coat?
Despite the Polish Lowland Sheepdog’s shaggy coat, they don’t require many trips to the groomers.
To keep their shaggy appearance, most Sheepdog owners don’t trim their dog’s fur at all.
With that being said, Lowland Sheepdogs do require regular brushing to prevent matting. If intense matting occurs, you may have to take them to the groomer to have it cut out.
5. POLISH TATRA SHEEPDOG (Owczarek Podhalanski)
Highlights: Highly intelligent, Adaptable to all weather conditions, Gentle and Mild Mannered
While labeled as a Sheepdog, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog doesn’t really resemble a sheepdog at all – it looks more like a white-coated Great Pyrenees.
Having said that, like other Sheepdog, the Polish Tatra is very talented at herding and is a very independent and hardworking breed.
Also referred to as the “Polish Mountain Sheepdog”, this breed has long been working in the Polish Mountains.
While the exact origins of the breed are unknown, it is known that they originated in the region of Podhale in Southern Poland.
Though the breed was originally bred for guarding livestock, they have also been used for personal protection, as well as for military and police work, and as guide dogs.
The UKC officially recognized them on January 1, 1995.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Jogi, the Tatra Sheepdog, made the news when he bonded with a tiny little bunny found in his backyard. According to the owners, the bunny was trembling and scared, and Jogi carefully carried him into his garden at his home in Piskorka, Poland. The two instantly bonded, and despite attempts by the owner to free the bunny, the two continue to come back to one another.
- Unlike many herding dogs that nip at sheep’s feet, the Polish Tatra is known for simply nudging them on their way.
The Polish Tatra Sheepdog is an even-tempered and mild-mannered breed of dog that is devoted and loyal to their family members.
The breed does well with children but may be reserved around strangers. Though they are likely to bark at strangers, the Tatra Sheepdog would not bite unless pressed to do so.
The breed is extremely intelligent, independent, and has no problem thinking for themselves.
They are okay to be left alone but do require lots of space for exercise. Because of this, the Tatra sheepdog is not well suited to apartment living and should be left for owners with a large yard.
|Suitable for:||Families, singles, couples|
|Grooming:||self-cleaning coat, no professional grooming required, daily brushing required|
|Daily exercise:||Long regular walks, loves being outdoors|
|Diet:||High quality, large breed dog food diet|
|Known health issues:||Hip dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Gastric Torsion, Epilepsy|
1. Can the Polish Tatra Sheepdog withstand cold weather?
Yes. The Polish Tatra has a heavy, dense undercoat that is covered by an even heavier outer coat.
This strong coat protects them from the elements and makes them resistant to cold weather.
Even in the cold winter months, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog loves to be outside.
2. Should I shave my Polish Tatra Sheepdog in the summer months?
No! Shaving your double-coated dog in the summer may sound like a good idea, but it’s important to remember that this coat is there to protect them from all of the elements, not just the ones in winter.
Though it may seem contradictory, shaving a double-coated dog will not help to keep them cool. In the summer months, this hair helps to deflect the sun off of their skin, thereby regulating their body temperature.
Aside from the fact that shaving your dog can make them hotter, it can also expose them to harmful UV rays that can result in heatstroke and serious burns.
So unless there is a valid medical reason, you should never shave your Polish Tatra in the summer months.
3. Do Polish Tatra Sheepdogs play well with other animals?
Yes. The Polish Tatra is used to being around other animals like sheep and is considered friendly with other animals and unlikely to bite.
more European Dog Breeds below:
These are the five dog breeds that survived the War in Poland.
Today, while most of them are no longer used as hunting or herding dogs, these breeds are welcomed into family homes as both companions and protectors.
If you are interested in buying a Polish breed of dog, be sure to read their descriptions carefully, as each breed has its unique traits, and some may be better suited to you than others.
Trust me. It’ll all be worth it.?
1. [^] “Breeds by Year Recognized.” American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/press-center/facts-and-stats/breeds-year-recognized/.