NEW WRITER — Poland: Gone to the dogs?

Polandian reader Decoy has sent us his thoughts about Polish dogs. We already know all Polish dogs are called Hodge Two but it seems there is more to learn.

Decoy describes himself as “An Irish guy in Kraków with his Polish wife and dog, infiltrating an outsourcing operation while pretending not to understand any Polish. My interests include knitting kittens mittens, and taking long walks on short beaches when not aiming for world peace. I’ll be commenting on Poland with a wit so dry, it’ll crumble if you touch it, and I’ll cover such fascinating topics as my escapades in learning Polish, trials and tribulations in Polish working life, and trying to understand why ketchup is such a staple of Polish ‘cuisine.'”

The people of Poland like their dogs. They can be seen everywhere you go, from the daschunds waddling in the streets, to the ubiquituous ‘Uwaga Pies’ signs. They even had their own version of Lassie in the late 1960’s with 4 Panzerists and a dog , where Szarik did his bit to help push back those mean Germans. They provide companionship for Poles, especially for older people, and when the temperatures hit -20, they even act like little ovens with their warmth. In our building of 16 apartments for example, there are (at least) 5 dogs, ranging from a large German shepherd to a tiny 2 month old Chihuahua called Tyson! Even a visit to the vet last week showed the prevalence for dogs visiting, as about 70% of the clientele were of the canine variety, with maybe only 20% cats and ‘others’ such as hamsters, rocks and snakes making up the final 10% of those seeking assistance from the vet.

Having moved here from Ireland, it is quite interesting to see how open Polish people are to dogs being in their lives. If you are renting a place in Ireland, they will often reject potential renters if they wish to move in with their dog. There are not a lot of parks or areas for walking dogs available in Irish towns and cities, so most dogs tend to be owned by those living in the country-side. In Poland, the dog is as much a part of a family as s/he is a pet.

However, even with the love for dogs in mind, it is always disappointing to hear of a dog (or any animal, in fact) being abandoned. Thus, it was somewhat sad to hear of a dog abandoned in the UK by a Polish family, which appeared in the news a few weeks ago . The RSPCA staff handling him realised that they needed to learn some Polish in order for him to follow their commands. (I should give a plug to Pinolona’s blog here since it was there that I read this story initially). It is hoped that Cent will find a new home soon, having also been taught to understand some English phrases. No doubt , the old phrase of “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”, would probably apply here, if it had not already been said a hundred squillion times.

By now, I am no stranger myself to the Polish love affair with dogs, as my wife and I got ourselves a puppy within a few weeks of moving to Poland. Cezar is a 9-month old mops (a pug for those of you that don’t have your Polish-English dictionaries near to hand), and he is a small round barrel. He is stubborn as hell and is an ultimate alpha-male dog who thinks he is bigger than every other dog he meets. He’s a softie really though and not much of a guard dog; he prefers to lick visitors to death rather than scaring them off!


We have somehow taught our puppy to understand Polanglik—the official language of Polandian; a perfect blend of the worst from Polish and English (ed. I don’t remember the meeting where we decided that). With his stubborn streak in mind, he tends to pick and choose what he obeys. Of course, being a puppy, he will often do exactly the opposite of the command given. To give you an idea, the ‘conversion’ table below applies.

Polish command
Chodź tu

English command
Come here

Resulting action
Dog sits still


Polish command

English command

Resulting action
Dog jumps up and licks your face


Polish command
Nie wolno

English command
Don’t do it

Resulting action
Dog goes ahead and does it


Polish command

English command

Resulting action
Dog wanders off


Polish command

English command
Leave it

Resulting action
Dog runs off with ‘it’ in his mouth

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6 thoughts on “NEW WRITER — Poland: Gone to the dogs?

  1. Scatts says:

    We were with some friends on holiday who have two ‘mops’. They said they are fantastic dogs, especially with kids, but they smell pretty bad.

    Is that true?

  2. bob says:


    I remember when I first came to Poland in 1990 my landlord at the time had a large boxer. He would always say ‘siad powiedzilem’. I figured out the siad but not the powiedzilem. For the longest time I thought the dog’s name was powiedzilem.

  3. pinolona says:

    awww he’s cute! thanks for the plug :)

  4. Decoy says:

    Scatts – I think we are lucky enough that our dog does not smell particularly bad. He just smells like any dog does, I suppose.

    Pugs are indeed extremely people-friendly though. He loves jumping all over anyone that visits and hates being alone. Very good with kids too, as long as they are not pulling his hair and so on…

  5. MaterialGirl says:

    Szafik!!! O Boshe! Widzisz i nie grzmisz!!!

  6. Hey, that’s a cute little beast! ;) Mine is a bit of a monster, a Kaukaz. We call her ‘malutki pieseczek – tiniest doggie’. The command results are pretty much the same.

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