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The Polish Hound is a medium to large breed from Poland also called the Ogar Polski, Polish Scenthound and Gończy Polski. It was bred to be a hunting dog and as well as having to have a keen sense of smell it also needed a lot of endurance to be able to hunt and thrive in the harsh environments of its home land. As well as being a good hunter it can be a good companion in the right homes and they have a life span of about 10 to 13 years.
|The Polish Hound at a Glance|
|Other names||Ogar Polski, Polish Scenthound, Gończy Polski|
|Average size||Medium to large|
|Average weight||45 to 70 pounds|
|Average height||20 to 26 inches|
|Life span||10 to 13 years|
|Coat type||Long, water resistant, double- coat|
|Color||Brown and tan, black and tan, or red and black, may have white markings|
|Popularity||Not a registered member of the AKC|
|Tolerance to heat||Good|
|Tolerance to cold||Excellent can handle even harsh environments|
|Shedding||Moderate – expect some hair around the home|
|Drooling||Average – there may be some, especially when drinking|
|Obesity||Average – measure its food and make sure it gets enough exercise|
|Grooming/brushing||Moderate to average – brush about twice a week|
|Barking||Occasional – they will bark sometimes|
|Exercise needs||High – active owners needed|
|Trainability||Moderately hard – experience will help|
|Friendliness||Very good with socialization|
|Good first dog||Good but does better with experienced owners|
|Good family pet||Very good with socialization|
|Good with children||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other pets||Moderate to good with socialization|
|Good with strangers||Good but wary so requires socialization|
|Good apartment dog||Low – needs space and a yard|
|Handles alone time well||Low – does not like to be left alone for long periods|
|Health issues||Quite healthy but a few issues include ear infections and hip/elbow dysplasia|
|Medical expenses||$485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance|
|Food expenses||$250 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$685 a year for grooming, license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items|
|Average annual expenses||$1420 as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$800|
|Rescue organizations||None breed specific, check local rescues and shelters|
|Biting Statistics||None reported|
The Polish Hound’s Beginnings
The Polish Hound is a very old hunting hound from Poland, it can be found mentioned in writings from the 1200s. They were developed to be excellent scent hounds able to handle the tough winters and hunt in deep forests. It is believed they were developed using Bloodhounds with local Polish hounds. It was used to hunt large game and its stature and skill made it very popular with nobility and royalty. Its value in such a role was brought up again in works from the 14th century.
After World War I it remained an important hunting dog in the forests but was also used in mountainous regions and was able to handle the hard terrain. Jozef Pawuslewicz from 1903 to 1979 bred and hunted with the Polish Hound and was part of the development of the first breed standard and as a result of his work with the dog it was recognized then by the Polish Cynological Association. However then the arrival of World War II did change things, as with other breeds it had a very negative impact on its numbers.
New Lease on Life
Due to the decline in numbers when attempts were made to revive the dog two types then emerged, a lighter type bred by Colonel Józef Pawłusiewicz and then a brach or heavier type by Colonel Piotr Kartawik. The latter has been recognized by the FCI in 1966 called the Ogar Polski i.e the Polish Hound. In 1983 a new standard was developed and new rules created. While it is a rare dog in the rest of the world it is a popular hound in Poland.
The Dog You See Today
The Polish Hound is a medium to large sized dog weighing 45 to 70 pounds and standing 20 to 26 inches tall. Males are a little larger than females. It is an athletic looking dog with powerful necks, a wide chest, and straight backs. Its tail is long and set low, this is a compact and strong dog that is bred for endurance not speed. Its coat is water resistant, somewhat long and double with an especially thick undercoat to protect it from the cold weather. On the tail, back legs and backs it is longest. Commonly it is bi colored and common colors brown, tan, black, red and there can be some white markings. It has a large head and large skull, the forehead is very wrinkled and it has powerful jaws and a long muzzle. The large nose is wide and it has eyes that are slanted and dark brown in color. The ears are set low, hang down and are pendulous and have tips that are rounded.
The Inner Polish Hound
These dogs are intelligent and friendly and when not hunting should not be aggressive. In the right home it should be an affectionate companion and can be a good family dog too with good socialization. It is a stable dog but it is alert and will bark to let you know if there is an intruder. Whether it will act to defend its territory though can vary from one Polish Hound to another, some will act but in a passive way. With strangers it is wary and should be introduced properly but should not be aggressive, it will just need some time to assess them.
When hunting it has a great deal of stamina, a great nose, a melodic voice and a lot of courage. It is energetic but not overly exuberant and as long as it is well exercised it should be calm and a good house dog. Keep in mind it is a dog that matures a bit slower than some other breeds so you will have it acting puppy like for a bit longer than you might expect. It is good at adjusting to new things and changes in its setting and it prefers to not be left alone for long periods of time. It is very loyal too.
Living with a Polish Hound
What will training look like?
It is smart and enjoys the challenge and rewards in learning new things but it has a very strong and independent mind which means it may not always want to do that how you want to! Make sure you are firm and confident, a clear leader and consistent with it. Keep sessions interesting, short and fun. Be patient, positive and reward it when it has success, offer treats to motivate. As it remains puppy like for longer that may have an impact on the length of training it needs. Also make sure it is socialized from a young age so that it is confident, trustworthy and knows how to react to things like different sounds, people, animals, situations and places.
How active is the Polish Hound?
This was bred to be a hunting dog so it is active and it needs active owners. It is at its happiest when out is out doing what it was bred to do. It has a great amount of stamina so can go for hours so if you are not hunting daily then make sure it is well exercised with a couple of long and brisk walks a day, as well as play time with you, perhaps some canine sport training and play and also some safe off leash time to run free. If it does not get enough exercise, physical and mental challenge too it will be harder to live with, more hyper, and possibly become destructive out of boredom. With the activity it will not be as exuberant or boisterous as some breeds can be indoors. But it is not an apartment dog, it need space and at least a large yard, and it best living in rural settings.
Caring for the Polish Hound
The Polish Hound is not a hard dog to care for, it has average grooming needs so should be brushed a couple of times a week and there will be some loose hair in the home to clear up from its moderate shedding. Use a firm bristled brush to take care of its coat and since it is moderately long there may be some trimming to do now and then, depending on if it is a working dog and companion or show dog. It does not need to have lots of frequent baths and it should not have any shampoo used on it other than one designed for dogs. Owners who do those things tend to have more issues with skin problems as it is drying out the dog’s natural oils. Always check your dog for injuries, burs and such when coming in from a hunt.
Its ears can be wiped once a week using a damp cloth or ear cleanser and cotton balls. Only wipe clean the area you can reach and do not insert anything into them. You can also check at the same time for infection signs like a build up of wax, redness, irritation or swelling. Its nails should be clipped when too long using the right tools and being careful not to cut too much off as you might go into the part of the nail where there are vessels and nerves, which would lead to bleeding and pain. Its teeth need regular brushing, aim for at least two to three times a week using a dog toothpaste and brush.
The Polish Hound will need to eat 3 to 41/2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, and that should be split into two meals. How much exactly will vary from one canine to another depending on its level of activity, metabolism, health, age and size. Always ensure it has access to water that is changed to keep it fresh fairly frequently.
How is the Polish Hound with children and other animals?
Polish Hounds can be very good with children with socialization and especially when raised with them. They can be very affectionate towards them and they can be playful too. If there are children supervision should be given to young ones who are still learning and make sure that you teach them how to approach and touch dogs in a way the dog is happy with. Being a hunting hound it has a high prey drive and sees other small strange animals as something to chase after. A leash is a good idea when out walking. However some can be socialized to be fine with pets in the home, and it is usually good with other dogs.
What Might Go Wrong?
These dogs have a life span of about 10 to 13 years and are a healthy breed in general. There can be a few issues that may come up including ear infections, joint dysplasia and look out for hunting injuries.
In reports that go back over 35 years of dog attacks causing bodily harm in North America there is no listing of the Polish Hound. It is not a breeds noted for being aggressive other than when going after the game it hunts for. It is certainly not a people aggressive dog, but there are not a large number of them in this area, and all dogs have the potential for an off day. Good socialization, training, exercise and stimulation can help it avoid getting into trouble. Also ensure it has the attention it needs, the home it deserves and is fed well.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
Polish Hounds are likely to cost around $800 from a decent breeder for a puppy but it is not easy to find anywhere other than Poland so there are likely going to be waiting lists and other costs like transportation or visits. The very experienced and show dogs type breeders may charge more than that. Try to avoid puppy mills, pet stores and backyard breeders that might offer a quicker and easier solution but should not be in the puppy breeding business. There are dogs in shelters and rescues desperate for a new home, so if you do not need your dog to be full purebred Polish Hound, or even any Polish Hound consider them! Adoption fees tend to run from $50 to $400.
Initial things your Polish Hound will need when is home are items like a collar and leash, crate, carrier and food bowls and the cost is likely to be around $230. There are also health things to be dealt with when it is home and settled such as a physical exam by a vet, shots, deworming, spaying or neutering, blood tests and a microchip. These will cost about $290.
Then another aspect of pet ownership cost are the ongoing needs it has while it is with you, hopefully for the rest of a long life. You will need to cover medical needs, food, toys, license and so on. Annual costs for owning a Polish Hound are likely to start at a total yearly figure of $1420. For this you can expect basic health care like shots, check ups, flea and tick prevention and pet insurance to be an annual cost of $485. A good quality dry dog food and dog treats another $250 a year. Then other costs like toys, grooming, basic training, license and miscellaneous items can be another $685 a year.
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The Polish Hound is an athletic dog who loves to hunt and needs owners preferably who do that with it, or at least keep it very active and mentally challenged. It would be best with experienced owners who know the important of socialization and at least basic obedience training, and ones who can give it the attention it needs. It is a loyal and affectionate dog and along with being a good hunter can become a good companion too in the right home.
Featured Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- The Polish Hound’s Beginnings
- New Lease on Life
- The Dog You See Today
- The Inner Polish Hound
- Living with a Polish Hound
- Caring for the Polish Hound
- How is the Polish Hound with children and other animals?
- What Might Go Wrong?
- Your Pup’s Price Tag