The Polish Greyhound is a strong, large, well-muscled dog with a slim figure, long legs and a noble, narrow head. Shorthair, occurs in many varieties of color. Confident and balanced. Gifted with a strong hunting instinct, but at the same time susceptible to training.
The Polish Greyhound is a calm, reserved and brave dog. He shows distance to strangers, but he is very attached and affectionate towards his own family. Raised together with a cat, he can live with him at home, but if he sees the cat outside, his hunting instinct will turn on.
It should be remembered that a Polish Greyhound will usually not be satisfied with the chase itself, but it can actually hunt a pet, so in places where free-living cats walk, it should be absolutely kept on a leash. He is usually not offensive to strangers, but as a dog with a strong character, he can get into a fight if provoked. He also has a strong territorial instinct.
The Polish Greyhound was used to hunt various types of animals – it was used that it is fast, very agile and persistent in pursuit. In Podolia, the nobility’s particularly valued pastime was hunting, aimed at catching a wolf alive, for which three greyhounds were used. In turn, two greyhounds were usually used to hunt hares, but particularly talented individuals were able to catch it alone – they reached the highest prices.
Polish greyhounds chased and killed animals, but generally did not retrieve them. The hunter had to follow the dogs on horseback to collect the loot after the pursuit. They also hunted foxes and bustards with Polish greyhounds.
Polish greyhounds were once characterized by – and this trait has remained to them – obedience and punishment. Often hunted with them as from the so-called banded or greyhound greyhounds, that is, those that go loose at the horse, and chase only on command. Laying greyhounds was a great art. They had to chase after a command and return to the rider at the horn signal. Young greyhounds were usually trained alongside older, more experienced ones.
Less obedient greyhounds were conducted in pairs and on a leash – it was a long thong finished with a loop, which the hunter put over his shoulder. The thong passed through the collars of both greyhounds, and its free end rider held in hand with the chiefs. When he wanted to lower the dogs, he threw the end of the leash to the ground, and the greyhound charts released themselves.
In the dialect of the hunting two greyhounds were called “leash”. Dogs from one pair (or three) stayed together, also in the kennel. They were always carefully selected in terms of character, physical abilities and own sympathies. The “leash” had to live in total harmony, the greyhounds had to know and understand each other so that they could cooperate effectively in the field.
Usually, two greyhounds were used for hunting, the third remained at home or – as in the case of wolf hunting – was kept in reserve for the final attack. It was avoided to combine greyhounds from different “leashes” if they were not prepared for it before, as it usually did not give good results during hunting. If one of the greyhounds was indisposed, his companion also did not take part in the hunt. Each “leash” had its own pimp, to which greyhounds would come back on a specific sound signal. Twenty “leashes” were able to take part in the largest hunts.
Currently, hunting with greyhounds is prohibited, but the Polish greyhound performs well on the track, and especially in off-road runs (so-called coursing).
Training and education
Having all the “greyhounds” advantages, the Polish Greyhound is also a balanced, intelligent dog that can be perfectly arranged. Many Polish greyhounds completed the training for the Companion Dog (PT), several of them participated in obedience shows and even in agility competitions. The Polish Greyhound likes to cooperate with people, provided that we do not bore them with repetitions, but diversify the exercises and reward them generously.
The Polish Greyhound is very devoted to its owner, and is properly run “one man’s dog”, an excellent companion in the house and – when the need arises – the watchful guardian of the property.
Who is this race for?
A Polish Greyhound should hit the hands of a person who already has some experience in raising dogs and who will be able to provide him with the right dose of movement. The owner of this breed should be balanced and consistent.
Although this dog will be satisfied with a short but intense effort (e.g. on coursing), it will also willingly undertake other types of activity – e.g. it will accompany a runner or a cyclist. He feels best at home with a garden (he should, however, be provided with walks), but he also adapts to living in an apartment – provided that the needs for activity are met.
Advantages and disadvantages
- has a strong hunting instinct – he likes hunting various animals
- quite independent and stubborn
- it is not difficult to cause aggression in it (especially to other animals, but also to people)
- expensive to maintain
- very attached to the owner
- calm and balanced
- if necessary, he can prove himself as a guardian and defender
- prone to stacking (like a greyhound)
- Suitable for companion runner or cyclist
- easy to care for
- healthy and resilient
Polish greyhounds are very healthy dogs. They are strong, efficient and durable. They tolerate low temperatures well, provided they are in motion. Despite the generous undercoat, they cool quite quickly, because they have thin and well-vascularized skin and a very thin layer of subcutaneous fat.
So far no special predisposition to genetic diseases has been found in Polish greyhounds. A young dog should be given an adequate amount of movement so that his body develops properly. Puppies and young dogs must not be overstrained, and the dog should be introduced gradually into training.
The organism of the greyhound is focused on maximum mobilization in moments of effort. So this is a dog with a fast metabolism, and thus – high nutritional requirements. However, there is not much space in his tucked belly, which is why he should be fed full-bodied and high-protein foods, and if the dog trains intensively, also high-energy ones. In their youth, greyhounds should receive food suitable for large breed dogs.
The short hair of a Polish Greyhound does not require any special care. During the molting period, the dog should be combed once every few days, and less frequent brushing is sufficient. We bathe the dog as needed. In addition, we control the condition of the ears and teeth. If necessary, trim the claws.
For brushing Polish greyhounds, a rubber scraper or a rubber glove with protrusions will help, which will help remove dead hair and, at the same time, provide skin massage.
Polish Greyhound is a very old breed. Already in the galleries of Gall Anonim, there are mentions of the royal court’s expenses for keeping the greyhounds. According to the Old Polish dictionary, in the 13th century, over 300 terms referring to greyhounds were used, which proves that in Poland at that time they were known and popular animals.
The first description of hunting with greyhounds is found in “Hunting with hounds” by Jan Ostrorog, and the first description of the greyhound comes from 1600 (A. Gostomski, “Horse-riding farm”). Another description of hunting with greyhounds can be found in the poem by Tomasz Bielawski “Myśliwiec”, published in 1595.
Finally, “La Nature” from July 13, 1895, describing the visit of Grand Duke Nicholas at the dog show in Tuilleries, gives the following information about Polish greyhounds owned by the prince: “These short-haired greyhounds come from Poland, from where they came to Russia in large numbers along with the expedition of Prince Dymitr from 1505; they are larger than greyhounds , but less delicate and their hair is longer. “
All these data confirm that Polish Greyhound occurred in Polish lands earlier than borzoi and greyhound. The Polish Greyhound has many features in common with saluki – including the coat color that is not found in other short-haired greyhounds or long-haired borzoi. Ointments such as dominoes, black and tan or tricolor are also common in saluki. At the same time, the Polish Greyhound does not have a black coat without arson with white varieties, so common with greyhound.
It is believed that also Polish Greyhounds originate in a straight line from Asian type greyhounds. While the English selected their greyhounds for the speed at which the hares were caught in a relatively limited space, in Central Europe, in the great plain spaces of Poland at that time, in a dry and harsh climate, Asian greyhounds evolved in the direction of larger, persistent and strong dogs used for hunting for all animals, including bustards, foxes and wolves.
Asian greyhounds also reached our territory with nomadic Scythian tribes. Written sources prove that in the 18th and 19th centuries the original Polish greyhound was crossed with other greyhounds, including with a wolfhound and deerhound .
The heyday of Polish greyhounds passed irrevocably at the end of the 19th century, when – as a result of the progressing divisions of land – fences began to disturb in pursuit of animals. A significantly reduced population of Polish greyhounds remained in not many kennels of the nobility who were passionate about tradition, especially in southern Poland – in Podolia and Ukraine. Until World War II, greyhounds were hunted in the Kielce province in the property of the Niemojewski family – Oleszno Kieleckie was the last bastion of the Polish Greyhound.
World War II and the hard post-war years caused almost complete destruction of these beautiful dogs. The fate of this breed after the war was stormy and complicated. In southern Poland, dogs from scattered kennels generally fell into the hands of poachers, so as outlaws they were fiercely exterminated by hunters, forest guards and militia. At that time, everything that was ‘yours’ was methodically destroyed. Despite everything, some Polish greyhounds survived, and the selection conducted in terms of speed, efficiency and “passivity” (dexterity in capturing) allowed to keep the breed clean.
In the 70s, a group of enthusiasts made an effort to save and restore the race. In 1981, an introductory book was opened for Polish Greyhounds. In 1989 the breed was officially recognized by the FCI as the fourth Polish breed.
Polish Greyhound – group X FCI, section 3, reference number 333
- Country of origin: Poland
- Size: desirable height at withers 68-75 cm for males, 70-80 cm for males
- Weight: 25-35 kg
- Coat: hair is elastic to the touch, quite hard, but not wire or silky; uneven length on the torso: longer hair on the withers, shortest on the sides, sternum and limbs, belly covered with delicate and rare hair. On the back of the thighs and on the underside of the tail, the hair is longer but also hard; trousers and a clear pen.
- Ointment: all colors are acceptable; the edges of the eyelids and the tip of the nose are black or dark; only with bleached ointments, such as beige or blue, the tip of the nose isbeige or blue, respectively.
- Lifespan: 10-12 years
- Weather resistance: high
Hunting law in Poland imposes an obligation to obtain a starost’s permit for keeping and breeding greyhounds of all breeds, as well as their hybrids. The application is submitted to the municipal office in the department of agriculture.
For pedigree dogs, the most frequently required documents are pedigree or birth certificate (if the pet is not registered). You will also need data on age, sex, race, color and tattoo or chip number. You must also include an application asking for a permit. Sometimes officials also demand a veterinary certificate on the dog’s overall health.