PON General Info
What does PON stand for?
Polski Owczarek Nizinny or Polish Lowland Sheepdog (Amazement with four paws). When people ask you "what kind of dog is that?" and you answer "a PON", you are going to get a lot of blank stares (they still won't know).
What are PONs' personalities like?
PONs are very active, being a herding dog they are very protective of their territory and their flock (flock = you and your family). They are excellent guard dogs (of their food dishes). They know when our resident iguanas are sunning on the dock and race each other to be the first to make them jump in the water. We also have a flock of wild parrots and they love to make them fly and get mad when they cannot fly after them. They are extremely intelligent dogs and love to be busy, so training can be fairly easy. PONs tend to dominate, therefore you must be firm but fair and let him know you are in charge (you must be the alpha dog). They also have excellent memories and never forget either bad treatment (they WILL get even) or a kindness (which they return many times over). They are steadfastly loyal to their loved ones. Boris and Natasha live to play ball and will stare at the doorknob, with ball in mouth, every evening waiting for us to pick up their leashes. After their trip to the field, we give them each a bowl of crushed ice for a treat and you would think it was a filet.
How big are they and what is their coloring?
PONs are medium-sized, strong (very) with a long, thick coat of hanging hair that covers the eyes. The PON's herding and working ability is attributed to an intense desire to please. The PON is very lively (but self-controlled), clever and perceptive and is endowed with an amazing ability to be ahead of you most of the time. Owning a PON is like flying an airplane - you have to stay ahead of it and that is hard to do with a PON (flying is easier). They are well balanced and heavy boned and the adult height, measured at the withers, is 18 to 20 inches for a male and 17 to 19 inches for a female. The PON body is a 9/10 ratio rather then square. (9 high x 10 long.) The most common coloring is black and white or grey and white but all coat colors are acceptable. The true chocolate is the rarest of the breed coloring. That is defined as not having any black on the dog and the only dark coloring being brown (spots, eye lining, nose and usually hazel eyes). Many PONs carry a fading factor and will result in the adult being lighter in coloring than as a pup. Some go through a cycle of dark as a pup then lightening up as an early adult and then dark again and this can happen more then once during the lifetime. The PON goes through a change of coat around 18 months from puppy coat to adult coat and can have the greatest change of shading at this time.
What are their grooming needs?
Daily brushing and combing are a must (about 15 minutes daily) or you will have a very matted PON. PONs are non-shedding dogs but you will still have loose hair. The puppy coat is much easier to care for, but at the time of the change to adult coat you will need to be very careful and watch to prevent matting (this is the time of the greatest potential for matting of the undercoat). They will matt like crazy if not cared for properly at this time. Slicker brushes will break the hair and remove too much undercoat. If you show your PON, no trimming is allowed, except for the pads of the feet. (Proper nail trimming and coat care are very important.) We have found the Chris Christensen brushes with a 27mm pin to be the best brush and they are available at dog shows and through some pet catalogs. If you really want to splurge, the Mason Pearson pocket bristle and nylon brush is he best for finishing off. I have only seen them at dog shows or in the Cherrybrook catalog. A small triangular slicker brush is good for fluffing feet, whiskers and the face.
What do they eat?
Basic answer - anything that cannot outrun them. We feed the puppies Science Diet Nature's Best (puppy) with cottage cheese and plain yogurt added and a little cooked rice mixed in to reduce the problem of poop patrol. The adults get Solid Gold Holistique Blendz dry food with the same items mixed into the food. PONs are known veggie lovers - baby carrots, baked potatoes, fruit. (no grapes or raisins) They love cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas, sliced apples and hard boiled eggs.
Do they get along with other dogs and children?
We have five dogs and they get along famously - there has never been a cross bark between any of them (Boris is boss). We have a Bull Mastiff, a Yellow Lab, a Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier and the two PONs. We often find them all snuggling together and have a cute photo of the mastiff sleeping with one paw around Natasha. (Boris was not even jealous.) Boris and Natasha particularly like to herd the wheaten when it is time to go outside and she has to go around the back side of the pool to reach the yard. Boris will not come back in until the last dog is in ahead of him. (Don't think for a minute that PONs can't count either.) When our baby granddaughter comes to visit, Boris will sit by her side the whole time she is here and will not let any of the other dogs except for Natasha get between him and his baby. It is extremely important to socialize your PON (early and often - they are very social animals) If not done - their herding instinct will lead them to be wary of strangers - so it is a good idea to take them everywhere dogs are allowed. We also recommend having your dog take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. It is given at some of the dog shows and when your dog successfully passes, AKC will send you a neat certificate.
Some PONs love to show as they are anxious to do anything to please their owners and they love to show off and some PONs Just Say No. The best way to find out if your PON likes to show is to take handling classes (if you are going to show you will need this anyway) They are fun for both you and the PON - we were all left feet (dogs and humans) when we started and were the joke of the class. Don't take it personally - roll with the punches and enjoy - you will meet some great people and have a blast. The best part of showing is meeting other PON owners at the shows. Boris and Natasha love the road trips and staying in hotels - it is a real treat for them and we would not trade the experience of the last two years for anything.
We are available at any time if you have questions and hope you will keep us updated about your puppy's progress (we want pictures and to hear about how wonderful your puppy is). Above all, relax and enjoy your PON - you are now a member of a very exclusive group: owners of the greatest dog in the world. Speaking of members, I strongly suggest joining the APLSC as we found them to be a great source of information and the other members a great help when we had any questions. Everything that we did not learn from the APLSC - we learned from doing it wrong (or not listening) the first time. You will eventually get it right and your PON will love you anyway.
DO NOT FORGET TO CHIP YOUR PUP. Once you have had your pup chipped - please send us the number as we need it for our records that we must keep for the AKC.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT FORGET TO PUPPY PROOF YOUR HOUSE. Electric cords, household chemicals, plastic bags, etc.
MANY THANKS and you will never regret being a member of the PON FAMILY. There is nothing you have done up to this time to compare to owning a PON (really the PON owns you - but we will keep that a secret between all PON moms and dads.)
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