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Polish Greyhound

Polish Greyhound_Ewelina Lesik_Shutterstock
Height: 27 – 31 inches
Weight: 60 – 70 lbs
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: Black, Tan, Blue, Beige
Suitable for: Active families, experienced owners
Temperament: Self-assured, active, protective, loyal

The Polish Greyhound is a sighthound formerly used for bird hunting and a favorite of Polish nobility. When hunting with them was outlawed, the Polish Greyhound was almost driven to extinction. Thankfully, the breed was revived in the 70s and has become a fast favorite amongst dog lovers worldwide.

The Polish Greyhound has the characteristic long legs and slim build that we associate with sighthounds but is generally more muscular than the average sighthound. They also have a thicker coat than the average greyhound for hunting in the winter. Their double coat also features a brush on the tail and culottes on the thighs.

Polish Greyhounds are protective and loyal. They can be standoffish to strangers and tend not to be fond of other dogs. Their aggressive nature and stubborn temperament make them a challenge for inexperienced owners.

Polish Greyhounds also need to be exercised and will thrive best in an active family. However, Polish Greyhounds can be a polite and gentle dog to have in your household when appropriately exercised.

The AKC currently doesn’t recognize the breed, but the United Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale or “International Kennel Federation.”

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Polish Greyhound Puppies: Before You Buy…

Energy:
Trainability:
Health:
Lifespan:
Sociability:

What’s the price of Polish Greyhound Puppies?

Polish Greyhounds start at about $750 when buying from a reputable breeder. The price will scale up with both the breeder and the prestige of the lineage. Polish Greyhounds are a pretty rare dog. They were almost extinct until about 50 years ago. So, they’re just starting to make a comeback on the dog scene.

One of the most challenging parts of finding a Polish Greyhound is the lack of oversight by governing bodies such as the AKC. Since the AKC does not recognize the breed, it’s hard to find breeders with reputable credentials.

When buying a Polish Greyhound puppy, make sure your breeder can produce more than just champion information. While champion information might be shiny and exciting, genetic testing and breeding information is more important.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Polish Greyhounds

1. They are not related to the English Greyhound.

Though they are similar in appearance, the Polish Greyhound has no ties into the English Greyhound lineage. The Polish Greyhound is a descendent of the Asiatic Greyhound. Even within the resurgence in the last 50 years, no notable crossbreeding between the Polish and English Greyhounds has occurred.

2. They were headed for extinction following WWII.

After World War II, the breed suffered a severe decline that led them to the brink of extinction. Fanciers of the Polish Greyhound, probably led by Stanisław Czerniakowski, made it their mission to bring the breed back onto the world stage in the 1970s. Czerniakowki began reviving the breed when he purchased Taiga, Struska, and Elbus, who have championed the breed.

3. It is illegal to hunt with the Polish Greyhound in Poland.

Though the dog was a famous hunting dog in the olden days of Poland, it is now illegal to hunt with the Polish Greyhound in Poland. The dog has become a popular breed for track racing in modern days.

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Temperament & Intelligence of Polish Greyhounds

Polish Greyhounds are known to be challenging for inexperienced dog owners. They are highly intelligent and loyal but highly stubborn. They struggle with socialization. So, it’s critical to start early with socialization.

The Polish Greyhound is also known for being very standoffish with strangers. However, they are loyal, affectionate, and gentle with their family. They are highly protective dogs who will take care of their families.

Are they good with children? 👪

Polish Greyhounds might need to be supervised when interacting with young children as they won’t tolerate being mistreated. They are gentle and affectionate, though. So, once the children have learned to interact respectfully with them, they’ll do everything they can to protect them.

Are they good with other animals?

Polish Greyhounds aren’t the best choice for people with other pets. They’re known to be dog-aggressive and, even with training and socialization, are usually not interested in playing around with other dogs.

With small animals and cats, Polish Greyhounds can be outright deadly. They’re sighthounds with strong prey drives and will chase—and usually catch—anything that activates their hunting drives.

Polish Greyhounds pick up hunting and chasing very young and don’t usually need to be trained to do it well, threatening other animals in the household.

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Things to Know When Owning a Polish Greyhound

Food and Diet Requirements 🦴

As part of the Greyhound family, the Polish Greyhound features a broad, deep chest and thin waist, giving them some unique dietary requirements. Their body houses their large heart and lungs and leaves little room for the remaining internal organs.

Food will need to be divided into smaller meals to help avoid gastric torsion. Gastric torsion is a serious, sometimes fatal illness when gas builds up in a dog’s stomach. Smaller meals and avoiding vigorous exercise immediately after eating can help reduce the chances that a dog experiences gastric torsion.

Exercise 🐕

As hunting dogs, Polish Greyhounds need an enormous amount of exercise. These dogs are fast and have strong prey drives that they need to get out to be happy. They won’t be satisfied with just a 15-minute walk once a day, and an under-exercised Greyhound can quickly become destructive.

Polish Greyhounds need a lot of space to run around in. They didn’t get a reputation for track racing from nowhere. They like to run long distances and will be best suited to a family with a big yard for them to run around in.

Just being let out to run around isn’t enough, though. Polish Greyhounds need plenty of playtimes and mental stimulation to be happy as well. They’re bred to train and win races and previously to help with hunting. Even though they make fantastic companions, they can’t go without something to keep their minds busy as well.

Training 🎾

The Polish Greyhound can be remarkably difficult to train. They are proud and dignified dogs who train well but can be stubborn. Their prey drive comes naturally, and their inclination to hunt leads them to learn it without instruction. However, this drive also makes them difficult to train on basic obedience tasks.

Polish Greyhounds are also known to be aggressive towards other animals and strangers, which can make training sessions difficult. They may become fixated on a passing stranger or animal and bark at them or want to chase them. You should try to avoid punishing your Polish Greyhound when they experience these drives, as they’ll associate the punishment with the object of their fixation, not the fixation itself.

Training the Polish Greyhound requires patience and consistency to be successful. Inconsistent training will leave the Polish Greyhound feeling like they control their owner and may become defiant.

Polish Greyhounds is often next to impossible to call off the chase. Once they’ve fixated on a target, they will usually chase it until the target escapes or dies. Keeping your Polish Greyhound on a leash is imperative for the safety of themselves and other animals alike.

Grooming ✂️

Polish Greyhounds are a generally low-maintenance breed. They rarely, if ever, require professional grooming. Polish Greyhounds will require regular brushing and nail trimming, but only an occasional bath.

Due to the relative rarity of the breed, there are few reports, but none mention a particular problem with shedding.

Health Conditions 🏥

Due to the breed’s recent revival, there have been no formal health studies on the Polish Greyhound. The lack of proper health studies makes it hard to identify breed-specific health issues for owners to look out for.

Polish Greyhounds are naturally inclined towards and love running and vigorous exercise. These activities can make them prone to musculoskeletal injuries that can impede their movement in later years. However, a Polish Greyhound can easily live up to 10-12 years with a good diet and attentive care.

Minor Conditions
  • Gum Disease
  • Allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Cardiomyopathy

Serious Conditions:

Bloat is a condition that sounds minor but is pretty severe. Bloating in dogs is similar to humans, but bloating can result in gastric torsion for many large breed dogs. Gastric torsion is when the stomach and intestines twist over themselves. Gastric torsion cuts off the blood supply to the tissues of the stomach and intestines and can lead to death. A dog suffering from bloat will have a swollen, hard stomach.

More commonly called heart disease, cardiomyopathy can either be dilated or hypertrophic. Dilated cardiomyopathy results in enlarged vetricles or atria and leads to fluid build-up in the heart and thinning of the heart’s walls. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy thickens the heart’s walls, resulting in smaller ventricles and decreased blood flow.

Regardless of the type of cardiomyopathy, it’s a serious concern, and the prevalence in the breed means that owners should get their Polish Greyhound’s heart checked yearly.

Minor Conditions:

Gum disease is an uncomfortable issue that is caused by poor dental hygiene. Bacteria lurking below the surface of the tissue of the gums. Because the disease starts underneath the gums tissue, the disease is usually not noticeable until it is an advanced stage.

Allergies are a familiar and usually non-threatening issue for dogs. The most common signs of allergies are itching and skin rashes. Recurrent skin and ear infections are another common sign of allergies. While humans usually outgrow allergies, allergies tend to get worse in dogs as they age. So, owners of dogs with allergies will have to stay on top of the allergy for their dog’s entire life.

Male vs Female

Male Polish Greyhounds tend to be taller on average than their female counterparts, though they usually have similar weights. There are no other notable differences between the sexes of these dogs.

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Final Thoughts

Polish Greyhounds are fantastic sports dogs for those active families. These dogs are still relatively rare outside of Poland. However, their resurgence is going strong, and they’re being introduced to new countries all the time. While they may be pretty hard to find without importing, there’s a growing love for Polish Greyhounds worldwide.

Experienced owners looking for an active sport dog that is a fantastic, loyal, and protective companion will love the Polish Greyhound’s energetic nature. Still, new dog owners and those who prefer staycations will probably want to consider other breeds.

The Polish Greyhound’s territorial and aggressive nature can be a challenge for new dog owners as well. So, only those prepared to handle the challenges that come with this breed should consider adding one to their family.


Featured Image Credit: Ewelina Lesik, Shutterstock

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