It is permanently happy, considers itself the protector of the home and family, it’s intelligent, it has an extraordinary memory, it wants to love and be loved and it keeps it herding instincts strongly intact.
It’s name in Polish is Polski Owczarek Nizinny (pronounced Pol’ski Avtsa’rek Nizi’nny), in English Polish Lowland Sheepdog, in Greek Poloniko’ Pimenico’ Pedia’das and is descended mainly from the northern coast of Poland. (There is also the Owczarek Podhalanski or Polish Mountain Dog which is the Polish shepherd of the mountainous regions.) Affectionately it is called “Nizinny” or PON. In contrast to the Podhalanski which is a sheepdog guardian/protector, the Nizinny is a sheepdog guardian/herder.
It’s roots are thought to be in Tibet – it’s has an uncanny resemblance to the Tibetan Terrier. Hundreds of years ago, traders returning from their trips to the Far East brought back with them dogs which they used in trading. In continuation they were bred with local dogs, resulting in the Nizinny. The Nizinny “helped” established other breeds such as the Dutch Schapendoes, the Bearded Collie, the Old English Sheepdog and others. It is also related to the Puli and the Commodore.
From its outset, it was the right hand of the farmer as it was used for hunting (it has very keen sense of smell which made it a good scent dog), guarding and as a sheepdog. In continuation, it “specialized” as a sheepdog. The basic reason it is such a good sheepdog –apart from the fact that it can use its judgment- is that it wishes to please its owner and it is just another way to show its affection.
During World War II, the breed almost became extinct but, a vetinarian, Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz used 2 males and 6 females (which she selected from the 150 remaining in Poland) in order to revitalize the breed. She extensively used in breeding the male “SMOK Z KORDEGARDY” who was considered to be very close to perfection (according to the standard of the breed). Apart from correct formation, it was a very good working dog. Due to the large amount of love the Poles had for this breed, they ensured that they kept alive its herding instincts, and not only its correct morphology, so as to ensure it remained a correct working dog. It continues to be used in this function in its country of origin. Even today, it is considered to be a rare breed in many countries such as the U.S.A. and the U.K.
As Poland’s history is full of tragedy and conquest, the Nizinny learned to work for hours on end with very little reward other that the love and respect of its owner. As a result, its demands in nutrition are lower than other breeds of the same size and requires basically foods low in proteins – as long as it easily digested and easily assimilated by its organism. This, however, does not mean that you must not hide anything edible where it can be easily found – they will eat anything and in great quantities and is a very good thief of provisions.
It has an excellent memory. It remembers every good or bad deed which has been done to it as a puppy until the day it dies. It is also very intelligent and as a result, has a personal opinion on everything. This means that in training, it learns commands with great ease but uses its own judgment as to whether it wishes to execute them or not. It must learn as a puppy who is the leader otherwise it will assume the leadership. It responds very well to steady guidance and affection. It will never bite the hand that feeds it (it generally does not bite) but will use various ruses, wiles and flirtations in order to avoid doing something it doesn’t want to or to ensure its will is enforced. It is very creative and, because it is so adorable, it is very easy to fall into the trap of spoiling it. With the proper guidance and using games, food and affection, training becomes fun and whatever it learns, it does not forget. The only problem is that it tends to pull on the leash. Although it is very obedient when walking free, you may pull a muscle in your arm when walking it on a leash. A little patience and persistence and the problem will be solved.
It is naturally wary with those it does not know, but not aggressive. As with all breeds, it is good to properly socialize it with other people and animals. It is a very good guard dog and will certainly give you fair warning if there is danger. It is not aggressive with other animals but can defend itself if the need arises.
It is very good with and protective of children. As a true sheepdog it will protect them and play fearlessly with them for endless hours without ever harming them. It shows it affection readily (it follows its owner everywhere and its ideology is: “I will lick you till you melt”), but also demands that you show it your affection in return. If you do not pet it, it will ask to be pet by putting its head under your hand or by nudging you with its paw.
Although a sheepdog, it can readily adapt to life in the city and residing in an apartment. It has proven that it has great patience and that it adjusts quickly to a new environment and seldom shows anxiety or apprehension. It needs its regular exercise but will not protest if sometimes you have to limit its walk – its chief concern is that it spend time with its owner. It appreciates any type of activity outdoors and in all weather. It enjoys playing and likes to show what it has learned.
Its disposition is always a happy one – as is its appearance. Even its walk is happy. Don’t try to find its eyes. Although they are large enough, penetrating and very beautiful, they hide under a curtain and it does not like it if you try to lift it. Its coat (as its general appearance) is very similar to its first cousin, the Old English Sheepdog. All the colours (or combination thereof) are acceptable but the most common one are white with gray/black markings, black with white markings and gray. Its body is rectangular (9:10) and the rear legs are well angulated. The belly draws up slightly. The head is of medium size, not very heavy, with a lot of hair on the forehead, cheeks and chin. The skull forms a slight dome. It has a perceptible stop. The top of the muzzle is straight and the jaws are strong. The Nizinny is characterized by a large, flat nose which must be as dark as possible in relation to the colours of its coat, and with large nostrils. The lips close tightly and are the same colour as the nose. The teeth are strong and close in a scissor or level bite. The eyes are of medium size, oval and do not protrude. The colour is dark brown or hazel (as with the nose, must be as dark as possible in relation to the colour of the coat). The ears are medium size, alert, heart shaped, large at the base, a little high on the head, hanging and the ends are close to the cheeks. The neck is muscular, medium length, with no hanging jowl and is kept rather level. The gait is usual smooth or canters. It tends to amble. The coat is long and dense with a soft, thick undercoat. Long hair characteristically covers the eyes. A soft wave is acceptable. The males are 45-50 cm high and the females are 42-47 cm high. Faults are considered an overshot or undershot jaw, light coloured eyes, weak rear, long legs, too wavy or curly coat and character which is timid, cowardly, anxious or phlegmatic.
It is not considered a dog which loses a lot of hair despite the length and amount of its coat. It does not require special haircuts and it is shown in its natural state. It does require a good brushing 2-3 times a week to be maintained without knots. If its coat is regularly brushed, it does not require time consuming care. Take care as to the type of brush used. Use a “pin brush” (the brush women normally use – the oval one with pins). In such case that there are knots, it would be good to “break” them (using your thumb and pointer) before you brush it or you may wind out removing a portion of its coat. In such case you cannot break the knot with your fingers, you can use a scissor to cut the knot at a right angle in order to dissolve it. Also, it must learn from an early age the care its coat requires or it will not sit still – it will lie on its back and will pretend to be a clown in order to avoid being brushed. It would be good to brush the puppy 2-3 times a day – when you have it on your lap and you are busy spoiling it – it helps immensely so that the Nizinny can be effortlessly ed when it becomes adult. It can be bathed after it has finished its vaccinations. Once a month is enough as a good brushing cleans the coat. Bathing too often can lead any breed to acquire dermatitis and dry skin.
Care should be given not only to the coat but also to all points – as is true of all breeds. The inner eye must be maintained clear of tearstains. In case that it is neglected and it hardens, the area must be dampened so that it can be cleaned. Pay attention to the gland under the tail. The vet (it you cannot) can keep it clean and avoid inflammations. The hair in the inner ear must be removed. The ears must be regularly cleaned in order to avoid otitis. As for the teeth, they should be cleaned. Fortunately, the Nizinny is a breed with strong teeth and will not lose its teeth easily however it is up to the owner to ensure their well being.
In general, the dog is joyous, unbelievably loyal, intelligent, has a remarkable memory, protects its home and those who dwell their, shows its affection, is a wonderful companion, is opinionated and adjusts easily to any environments either in the country, the farm or the city.