The development of the small herding breeds almost certainly ran parallel to that of the large flock guardians, suffering the same hardships and lifestyle and was dependent on the movement of herds along the various trade routes of Asia and Europe over many centuries.
These medium-sized sheepdogs are known today as breeds such as the Pyrenean Sheepdog, the Cao de Serra de Aires, the Puli, the Schapendoes and the PON, amongst others.
A written note from the 16th century confirms the existence of a valuable Polish shaggy sheepdog. The reference is found in P.O.Wilson’s book entitled The Bearded Collie. According to a document from a trade transaction dated 1514, there were six Polish sheepdogs on board a ship that sailed from Gdansk to Scotland. The merchant, Kazimierz Grabski, intended to exchange grain for sheep. The Scottish shepherd was so impressed by the practical working ability of the dogs that he offered to exchange more sheep, and they agreed to trade two bitches and one dog for a ram and a ewe.
In the deeds of the Zamoyski family’s estate, where sheep farming had existed on a large scale for many hundreds of years, there is a reference to herding dogs. There is also written evidence that small sheepdogs worked on the pastures of the great estate of Anna Jablonowska in Podlasie, a region in Eastern Poland. A woodcut from1882 by Stanislaw Maslowski entitled ‘The Shepherd Boy’ shows a boy with a small, shaggy haired short tailed dog.
With the decline in sheep rearing at the start of the 20th century, came the decline of the shaggy sheepdog. But the earlier dogs had not gone unnoticed. Countess Czetwertynska- Grocholska from the Radzyn district had bought a few dogs from farmers to start her own kennel (z Planty). At the same time, Wanda and Roza Zoltowskie from Milanow, relatives of the Countess, established a kennel (Milanowa) using dogs bred by Ms. Czetwertynska- Grocholska. The breed was all but wiped out during the war.
After WWII in the magazine Pies, 1950 the idea of establishing the breed was again proposed. The appeal was illustrated with pictures of the dogs of Milanowa.
The response came from by Maria Dubrowinowa from Bydgoszcz who began searching for and registering dogs of the lowland sheepdog type. In the same region, a registered kennel of PONs, ‘z Babiej Wsi’, owned by Mrs. Kusinowicz, had been established in 1945. The breed drew the attention of another dog fancier – Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz, she had in her kennel a dog called Smok – who was destined to be the ‘founder’ of the post war PON.