Polish Tatra Sheepdog, or Polski Owczarek Podhalanski, is a very old livestock guardian dog from the Tatra Mountains of Poland. The Polish Tatra Sheepdog dog breed probably shares some ancestry with mastiff breeds that came to Europe from Asia. The breed almost disappeared during World War II.
These big white mountain dogs stand between 23 and 27 inches tall and weigh 110 to 150 pounds. The head is broad with a long muzzle, the eyes are dark, and the ears are dropped. The body is slightly longer than tall, and the tail is long and profusely feathered. The white coat is thick and either straight or slightly wavy. There is a thick undercoat. The coat should be brushed at least twice weekly for most of the year. When the undercoat is being shed, usually in the spring and fall, the coat needs a thorough brushing, making sure to get through the undercoat to the skin, every other day.
Although Polish Tatra Sheepdog puppies can be rowdy and playful, for the most part this is a calm breed. Daily walks and a chance to run and play will satisfy the exercise needs of most dogs. As with most livestock guardian dogs, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog was bred to think for herself and to solve the problems she faced on a daily basis. When training this breed, the owner must be the dog’s leader and then must convince the dog that what she is doing is important.
When properly motivated, the Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are quick, eager learners. Socialization is very important, as these dogs are natural guardians and can be quite territorial. The Polish Tatra Sheepdog is not for the first-time dog owner; this breed needs someone who understands the nature of livestock guardian dogs. This is also not a city dog; she will bark loudly at any perceived threat. She is wonderful with children, although she will not be happy about rough play with your kids’ friends. The Polish Tatra Sheepdog is good with other pets (although she may try to herd them) and is not as dog-aggressive as some other livestock guardian breeds. The primary health concern is hip dysplasia.