Polish Hunting Dog

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Polish Hunting Dog
Lukas3 / Wikipedia.org

The Polish Hunting Dog is a large-breed scent hound, who is strong but not rugged. Primarily a tracking dog, his acute sense and long legs equip him to follow prey for many miles. The breed is an ancient one with roots stretching back to the 13th century. Unlike some of his more aggressive, working canine cousins, the Polish Hunting Dog has an enviable reputation for being amiable and more inclined to keep safe by walking away from trouble than squaring up for a fight.

Despite many positive features, such as an even temperament and good health, he does need a special sort of owner. The Polish Hunting Dog must get plenty of exercise and is best suited to active people, prepared to jog with their dog for miles each day. Being a housebound dog, even with access to a garden, just doesn’t cut it for this breed.

About & History

Old Polish manuscripts dating back to the 13th century mention our friend, the Polish Hunting Dog. This is hardly surprising since back then Poland was covered by lush, deep forests, which were bursting with game ready and waiting for an accomplished huntsman.

A good scent hound, who was capable of picking up a scent and following it for miles, was indeed an asset to anyone in medieval times. The dog’s ability to lead the hunter to prey meant extra food on the table, and possibly the difference between eating well or starvation.

The Polish Hunting Dog largely kept to itself for the intervening centuries, and was perhaps a little taken for granted. It wasn’t until around 1820 that his name pops up again in Polish literature. Around about the same time, a breed standard was drawn up so to keep the dogs true to form. This was with the intention of maintaining the breed as a useful working dog, rather than to judge him in the show ring. It wasn’t until the next century that the breed’s look was refined slightly, under the guiding auspices of Jozef Pawuslewicz.


Polish Hunting Dog Large Photo

The Polish Hunting dog is a medium to large sized canine. If you were to compare is looks with a more familiar breed it would be with a Doberman or perhaps even a black and tan Greyhound, such are his height and long sleek lines.

It’s easy to imagine this dog’s long legs covering the miles with ease, and his deep rib cage equipping him with the lung capacity for active running. However, he is not built for endurance in the rugged meaning of the word. Climbing up craggy mountains or surviving in low temperatures are not this dog’s cup of tea.

Indeed, the Polish Hunting dogs coat is a similar texture, colour, and pattern to a Dobermann. A short coat, the colour is either black & tan, red & black, or black and brown.

Physically he has a well-proportioned head, with a long muzzle and drop ears. A deep chest and slim waist mark him as an athlete, topped by a long straight tail, which is used for pointing.

Character & Temperament

The Polish Hunting Hound could be described in character as an honourable dog. He is brave when the need arises, but without looking for confrontation. He is intelligent but without being overly wilful; and wary of strangers, but extremely loving towards those who treat him as family.


The Polish Hunting dog is an intelligent dog who readily takes to reward-based training methods. This ability to learn when correctly motivated makes him a great candidate for competitive obedience events, agility, or dog dancing. These also sit nicely with his need to be active and have a job to do.

However, he does need plenty of exercise in order not to become distracted during training. Attempt to train a Polish Hunting hound that is brim full of energy and you’ll quickly appreciate the folly of the venture. It’s much better to burn off some of that energy first with a long jog, and then enter into a training session.

Despite his size and physical presence, the Polish Hunting Hound doesn’t like harsh correction and will become anxious if trained using old-fashioned, domineering methods. Instead, wise up to reward based training and work in partnership with the dog. Use praise and tasty treats as motivation to make him try that bit harder to earn his next reward.


Happily, the Polish Hunting Dog has a reputation for being a healthy breed with no problems accredited to hereditary factors. However, to keep an active dog like this healthy does require a responsible owner who is mindful of the risks faced by an active dog.

Parasite Control

The active nature of the Polish Hunting Hound exposes him to contact with many external and internal parasites. From scavenging carcases and acquiring worms, to contact with disease-carrying ticks, outdoor dogs face a number of hazards.

It is essential for the well-being of your dog to treat him regularly with products that are effective against the parasitic challenges he faces. This may include a monthly multi-dewormer that works against not just roundworms, but also tapeworms. It also means treating the dog with a flea product, preferably one that also repels or kills ticks.


Dogs that spend a lot of time around water sources, especially standing water, such as ponds, lakes, or puddles, should be vaccinated against leptospirosis. Depending on where you live the vet may vaccinate against lepto automatically, but not all do. Have a chat to your vet about the active nature of your dog, so that you can talk through the risk factors and decide which protection is best for your pet pal.


At the end of an active day outdoors, always check your Polish Hunting Dog over. Be alert for ticks, especially on the paws, behind the ears, or in the armpits or groin. Prompt removal of attached ticks is essential, as this can prevent the spread of tick-borne diseases, such as Babesiosis (prevalence varies depending on your location).

Also, look for debris, such as twigs, burrs, or grass awns, which may become lodged in ears or other crevices. Check daily, because once they pierce the skin, some foreign objects will migrate into the body and cause health problems.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Running, jogging, hunting, and playing fetch: These are all good daily pursuits for a Polish Hunting Dog. However, snoozing all day on a sofa is not. This breed is no couch potato and when not given enough physical and mental stimulation they will misbehave. All that extra energy needs to find an outlet, which will more than likely be one you don’t like. Given that they have a good voice, a number one occupation is barking (much to the chagrin of your neighbours). After that comes chewing (always a comforting occupation for a dog) or digging.

Be prepared to give this breed plenty of exercise every single day. This can include running behind a horse or bicycle, or jogging, but whatever you do, don’t think exercise is optional because it isn’t. When all else fails and you’re flagging but the dog isn’t, play fetch with a Frisbee for several hours.


The Polish Hunting Dog has a water-resistant coat, which equips him for life in wet weather. That short coat sheds moderately and requires little by way of care other than a weekly brush. Be wary of over-bathing this breed, as this can strip out natural oils and remove his protective shield against the elements.

Famous Polish Hunting Dogs

If you’re intrigued by Polish Hunting dogs, you may want to check out this Instagram feed dedicated to the breed.


The Polish Hunting Hound is not a breed that is deliberately crossed with others to make hybrids, although accidental mis-matings are sure to happen once in a while!

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