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Polish Lowland Sheepdog - pons - pon the dog





 Dr. Danuta Hryniewicz and her beloved Pons








I first met Danuta in 1971, a year after I purchased my Polon z Kordegardy. The dog was sent to me by train so I didn’t meet the breeder personally. The following year I was spending a holiday on the seaside  and I decided to drop by and see the kennels. At that time Danuta was living in Leba, a small and remote seaside town, later turned into a fashionable holiday resort. The redbrick house was situated in the main street. My knocking on the gate was answered by deafening barking and howling. The gate opened and I saw a woman. Before I explained who I was, she shouted “Come later! I am bathing dogs!!!!!”


I came later and never regretted it. A somewhat scary woman turned out to be one of the most interesting and friendly persons I have ever met.

She was born in Harbin, north of China. Danuta did not have any Russian roots. Many specialists from Poland (which was at that time, a part of the Russian Empire) were employed in building the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Bejing and Vladivostok and some of them later found jobs in Harbin which was rapidly developing as an industrial centre. They returned to Poland when the Bolshevik Revolution started. In case of Danuta's family , her father was an engineer and their way to Poland was through Persia (now Iran), Turkey and the Mediterranean sea. Later her family moved to Lvov where she studied veterinary medicine  and was one of the first women to graduate. It was then that her interest  in pure bred dogs started. Her first breed was the Tatra. Her favourite dog was shot by the Nazis just in the beginning of the World War II.


After the war, when the boundaries changed, she found a job as a vet in the north of Poland and there she found a local type of shaggy, medium sized dog, used by the local shepherds, and eventually purchased a puppy, named Smok. She had already established her Kordegarda kennels of Smooth Dachshunds, Wire Fox Terriers, German Shepherds and Tatras.


During the years there were also other breeds at her residence. Although Danuta became famous as the “mother” of Pons, her favourite breed were always Fox Terriers.


Her house and yard were full of dogs. Dachshunds took over the bedroom and the bed itself, and they burrowed in the sheets and pillows, while other dogs were kenneled. She never cared much about herself and her lifestyle must have been difficult to share.


For several years many people used to spend holidays and weekends with Danuta, trying to put things in order but the task was hopeless. As far as her way of life was concerned, she was very stubborn and didn’t like any changes.


She had a great sense of humour and – more important- never suffered from kennel blindness. She was always very honest, open minded and critical about the quality of her stock. And that was probably the main reason that she achieved so much.


Shortly after I met her, she developed severe arthritis that eventually put her into a wheel chair, yet it was not possible to persuade her to reduce the numbers of dogs.


Some years ago, she sold the property and moved to the south of Poland where she spent her last years well cared for by a Terrier breeder. It was a great relief to all who loved her. If she hadn’t done so, her life would have been miserable, indeed (and shorter as well). Spending all  her days in her bed, she enjoyed meeting old friends and new Pon enthusiasts.


Danuta’s long line of top quality pons is well known to anybody who studied the history of the breed and there is not a single Pon in the world whose pedigree cannot be traced to Kordegarda. SMOK was undoubtedly the father of the breed, which was quickly established due to strong inbreeding.


Many of us will always remember Danuta not only as a talented breeder, but as a personality never unsurpassed. May she rest in peace – I am sure she will, always in a company of her beloved dogs.



Miroslaw Redlicki



Copyright Miroslaw Redlicki - 2007