Ogar Polski, aka the Polish Hound, is a rare, powerful, nearly stubborn, yet a calm and affectionate companion – both at home and outdoors. Gifted with a sharp sense of smell and notably deep, yet a sing-song and clear voice, this breed is primarily a persistent hunter, capable of effortless tracking in treacherous terrain and weather.
The origin of this indigenous breed from Poland, the proud possession and hunting companions of local nobility and elite between 13th and 18th centuries, is however quite ambiguous. While some believe it to be a descendant of the Hound of Tatars, others note an unmistakable influence of the St. Hubert Hound, most likely cross-bred with German hounds. Threatened to extinction in the 19th century, the breed was revived post WWII to develop two different lines, and the one bred by Col. Piotr Kartawik was officially recognised as Ogar Polski in 1966. The breed is still rare in present times, hardly found outside its native terrain.
Though a strong and sturdy hunting hound, Ogar Polski has a pleasant and calm temperament, making it a great friend of the family as well. They get along quite well with kids and other pets at home. They are territorial and quick to defend any encroachments on their space; however, their otherwise passive disposition may render them unsuitable for guarding homes. Intelligent, wary as well as affectionate, loyal and protective, they are any day excellent companions and some of them can put up a fight when challenged. Intrusions rarely go unannounced; however, the resonant bark and commanding presence can prove effective deterrents.
On the hunting trail, Ogar Polski is resilient and capable of tracking prey even in the harshest of climes and terrains. A distinct gallop and characteristically resonant clear barks are tell-tale signs of the hound following a scent.
Bred mainly for hunting, Ogar Polski can grow up to 22 to 26” in height, and weigh around 55 to 71 pounds. A dense, short undercoat and medium length outer coat are characteristic, while coat colours in various shades of grey and brown are common. A sturdy muscular build with a thick, low set tail, long ears, gentle yet sharp eyes, strong jaws and a sleek head are but a few distinguishing aspects of the breed’s frame.
Females of the breed are distinctly sleeker from the males that sport a relatively heavier build and are distinguishable from the high-pitch of their bark.
Health and Care
Ogar Polski enjoys a lifespan of 13–14 years on an average. Healthy food is an integral part of its health care regimen. Ear infections are more common if the pendulous ears aren’t cleaned regularly. Moderate brushing and wiping the coat with a moist cloth is enough to rid the dead hair and keep it in good health. A light shedder, the breed doesn’t demand any elaborate care.
Ideally an outdoor breed that is used to vast, natural spaces, Ogar Polski can easily adapt itself to urban living conditions. Long walks could just suffice to keep it healthy and in good spirits. These dogs can also be specifically trained for search and rescue purposes, given their exceptional natural tracking abilities. Their affectionate nature also makes them great therapy dogs. Polish Hounds also respond well to obedience and agility training and can emerge winners during the rare occasions when they do participate in competitions.
An amicable mix of tenacity, perseverance, loyalty, gentleness and affection, Polish hounds make lovable pets that can easily fit themselves into different environments without much fuss. Easy to care for and with no elaborate training needs, unless to meet specific objectives, Ogar Polski is still a rare breed outside Poland.