Polish Shepherd from Podhale: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The Polish Podhale Sheepdog breed is also known as the Polish Mountain Shepherd or Tatra Shepherd. Its character is calm and it is a brave, strong and loyal dog. Tireless worker is an excellent work animal. At Petlifey, we explain the character and characteristics of the Polish Podhale Shepherd.

Character of the breed Polish Podhale Shepherd

Podhales Polish pastor is characterized by a calm character, besides being intelligent and vi-gallant. It is independent, courageous and self-sufficient, capable of surviving for long periods of time in the mountains.

Due to its temperament, this breed has been given the nickname of ” thinking dog “, since it can sit and absorbed for many hours. But that does not mean that it is inactive, on the contrary, it continuously monitors what happens around them and evaluates each situation to act accordingly.

Its excellent behaviour : courage, strength, memory, endurance and devotion to its master, have also made it very popular as an auxiliary dog for the Polish police and military forces. It is even good at working as a guide dog, despite its large size.

It is an indefatigable worker and its many skills lead them to become an essential assistant both in the driving and keeping of livestock, as well as in the defence of the farm and the house, a task in which it is indefatigable, or to help its I love hunting.

When working with livestock, it stays very close to the animals and does not abandon them at any time. It is not surprising, therefore, that many ancient Polish shepherds considered their dog to be the most valuable of their treasures.

It does not even choose to go out in pursuit of possible aggressors, but prefers to wait until they are close enough so that it does not have to leave the herd alone.

Act with patience, wait for the predator to be close so you have more opportunities to catch up, because you know that it is less fast, while in this way does not leave any flank unprotected from which it could receive another attack.

However, the usual thing is that this dog does not work alone, but in well-organized groups of three or four individuals.

  • Energy: Medium level. Needs to run freely and spread out in wide open spaces
  • Temperament: It is a resistant dog, strong, tireless worker and very brave. Always vigilant, it is independent, self-sufficient, calm, good, stable and has a devotion to its master.
  • Adaptability: Medium. It likes to live outdoors, regardless of the weather conditions.
  • Sociability: Medium. It likes to live with family but is rude and distrustful of strangers. You need a strict, strong master with great leadership.
  • Health: Good. Due to its large size, it can suffer from joint dysplasia.
  • Longevity: Medium. Live between 9 and 12 years.
  • Utility: Versatile. It is a good shepherd dog but also an excellent guardian, hunting assistant, companion dog, guide dog or auxiliary dog ​​of the police and army corps,
  • Utilization: Grazing and guarding.

Is it a good family dog?

Despite the professional loneliness often suffered working in the mountains, it is much more adaptable than other mountain shepherds and also much more manageable, which increases its value as a family dog.

It is a sociable animal that likes to see itself integrated into the routine activities of the family home, in the day-to-day life of the home.

How do you behave with children?

As for their relationship with children, this is usually good, but they should never be left alone, without the control of a responsible adult.

It is not because it can be violent, which it is not, but because of its large size and strength, it could accidentally hurt a little one.

Well integrated into the family, the specimens of this breed are sociable, affectionate and very affectionate with children. They also maintain a good relationship with other animals, especially if they are used to living together from puppies, to avoid disputes over the hierarchy.

Can you live in an apartment or in the city?

It is not a recommended dog to live in the city or in a small apartment. Something similar to what happens with the Polish shepherd of the plain.

Despite their great adaptability, the specimens of this breed like to live outdoors, regardless of the weather conditions, since their nature has prepared them to withstand extreme temperatures.

They can live together with man, but in their daily life they have to always be under control, since they are good and stable animals but also brave and extraordinarily strong, so their reactions to certain types of situations can be, not only unpredictable, but also very difficult to control.

Physical characteristics of the Podhale Polish Shepherd Dog

The general appearance of a Podhale Sheepdog  is that of a strong and compactly built animal , denoting power and good mobility . Rectangular in structure, it has muscular, robust legs with strong bones.

How is the Podhale Polish Shepherd breed physically?


It is a dog with a robust body, compact with a broad and very muscular back, and with well poised and strong legs.

The body is shaped like a rectangle, as its length exceeds the height at the withers (about 67 cm in males and about 63 cm in females). It is curious to note that the body of males is a little shorter than that of females.

Their feet are oval in shape and compact. They are endowed with strong, hard and dark colored pads, like nails, which are also sturdy and blunt.

The tail is of medium implantation, it is quite long and the tip is usually slightly curved. One of the peculiarities of this breed is the size and use it makes of its tail. It always carries it very high, on the dorsal line, in order to make themselves visible to its master even when crossing areas of thick undergrowth.


The head is of a size proportionate to the body, it is thin, with a broad skull and a well-marked stop, without being abrupt. The muzzle is strong, rather long and with a medium black nose

The eyes are medium in size and dark brown in color, like the rim of the eyes. They are set slightly obliquely. All this makes the look of this dog very expressive.

Their ears are quite thick , of medium length and triangular in shape. They are drooping, well covered with hair, and the pinna is quite mobile.


The coat is abundant, thick, hard to the touch and smooth or slightly wavy , it has a dense undercoat. The hair is longer on the body and neck, with an abundant mane, and on the tail, where it forms a tuft. It is a beautiful white color , sometimes with cream-colored spots.

Podhale Polish Shepherd breed standard

  • Origin: Poland
  • Other names: Tatra Shepherd Dog / Berger des Tatras / Tatra-Scháferhund / Polski Owczarek Podhalanski
  • Size: Very large.
  • Height at the withers: between 65 and 70 cm for males and between 60 and 65 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 38 and 45 kg for Males and between 30 and 37 kg for Females.
  • General appearance: Strong and compact, it is a dog that denotes power and mobility.
  • Head: It is thin and of proportionate size. It carries it to a moderate height, both when the dog is in action and when it is at rest.
  • Skull: The cranial vault is slightly convex in profile and the frontal groove is poorly marked.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): It is clearly marked, but without abrupt cut.
  • Muzzle: It is strong and gradually refines Its length is somewhat greater than or equal to that of the skull, and the nasal bridge is wide.
  • Nose: Medium in size, with wide open nostrils and black.
  • Jaws: The teeth are strong and all the teeth are regularly implanted. The joint is scissor-shaped, although some specimens have a pincer bite.
  • Eyes: Medium in size, slightly oblique and highly expressive. The iris is dark brown in color and the edge of the eyelids is also dark.
  • Ears: They are set at the level of the outer corner of the eye, or a little higher, are of medium length, quite thick and have a triangular shape. They are well covered with hair and the outer leading edge slightly touches the head. The pinna is mobile.
  • Neck: Muscular, of moderate length, without dewlap and abundant mane. The upper line of the neck is raised above the line of the back.
  • Body: It is long and solid, with a broad back and a slightly sloping rump.
  • Back: It is straight and wide.
  • Chest: Deep rib cage, ribs are sloping and somewhat flat
  • Tail: Set at medium height, the dog usually carries it low, and when it falls it reaches the hock. When it is active it lifts her over its back, without hunching her over.
  • Forelimbs: They are muscular, with strong but not heavy bones. Seen in profile, they are well poised.
  • Shoulders: They are slightly oblique and are close to the body. Forearms and arms: They are somewhat inclined.
  • Hindquarters: Seen from behind, they are vertical, but moderately angular in profile.
  • Legs: Vertical.
  • Feet: They are compact and oval, like a relatively large fist. The spaces are provided with hairs. The pads are strong, hard, and darkly pigmented, and the nails are strong, blunt, and also dark in color.
  • Coat: It is short and dense on the head, the muzzle, the front of the forelimbs and on the hindlimbs, from the hock downwards. On the neck and trunk, on the other hand, the hair is long and dense, straight or slightly wavy, hard to the touch. The undercoat of hair is profuse. On the neck, the mane is abundant. The thighs are also covered with long hair, as well as the tail, where the hair forms a tuft.
  • Color: These dogs are always solid white, sometimes with small cream-colored spots.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 252. Group 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs). Section 1 – Sheepdogs.

Podhale Polish Shepherd Training

This is not a suitable dog for novices and will always bring out the best in them with well-directed and expert training. Your master or guide must have the leadership skills and strength to always keep your dog at bay.

In this sense, it is essential to do a good job of socializing with them at an early age, especially to smooth their rough edges towards strangers, with whom they can trigger attitudes close to physical aggression.

Health and nutrition of the Trata Pastor

They are basically a healthy, vital, active and very energetic breed that needs to exercise on a daily basis. Their life expectancy ranges from 10 to 12 years.

For all this, and because it is a large dog with robust muscles, its diet must be rich in energy supplies and have the right supplements to keep its joints in perfect condition.

Care and hygiene of the Trafficking Shepherd

Regarding the hygiene and care of the coat, despite the large size of the dog, it is relatively easy, since it only requires an intense routine brushing, which has to be done more frequently during the period of its extensive melt, and a bathroom when dirty.

Thus, the Polish Podhale Shepherd is an animal of easy care and maintenance, of very efficient service and of calm and faithful temperament, which is why its owners consider it one of the best shepherd and working dogs that they could have.

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