Let's talk Nederlandse Schapendoes Dogs

Imagine the classic, long-haired, shaggy sheepdog and that pretty much sums up the Nederlandse Schapendoes breed. Celebrated for being highly intelligent, attentive, affable, and above all, contentedly people-pleasing (making them easy to train), Nederlandse Schapendoes dogs are known to form especially close bonds with their human family members. Don’t mistake their scruffy mane or stocky frame for any hint of laziness; they are incredibly fast and agile dogs, who boast impressive jumping abilities. Although they are natural watchdogs, the Nederlandse Schapendoes dogs are softies at heart that make excellent companions.

Official name: Nederlandse Schapendoes

Other names: Dutch Schapendoes

Origins: The Netherlands

Black and white portrait of a Schapendoes
 Drooling tendencies  Medium Warm weather?  
 Shedding level   Suited to apartment living?   
 *Energy Level moderate *Friendly pet?
 Compatibility with other pets  Very high *Can stay alone?  

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

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Illustration of a Schapendoes
43 - 51 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
19 - 25 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
41 - 48 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
19 - 25 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 - 12months
 Adult age  12 months to 7 years
 Mature age  7 years to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Schapendoes stood on a grassy mound against blue sky


Get to know the Nederlandse Schapendoes

All you need to know about the breed

At first glance, the Nederlandse Schapendoes has somewhat of a goofy, comical appearance with their noticeable moustache and beard. However, their adorably scruffy coat does not take away from their exceptional athletic abilities, notably their high level of endurance, mobility, and flexibility.

With their background as working dogs, the Nederlandse Schapendoes is naturally wired to herd by moving sheep along, and they may try to do the same thing with humans - rounding them up by gently nudging them. While this behaviour doesn’t come off as aggressive, it can be discouraged as soon as it is observed. Otherwise it will continue as they get older–and larger.

Above all, the Nederlandse Schapendoes breed makes for a superb family dog that enjoys their position as an esteemed member of your household brood, including children (once trained) and other pets, even cats. Just remember, given their history patrolling vast areas of land, Nederlandse Schapendoes dogs have retained the need to move around. Your Nederlandse Schapendoes would be more than content accompanying you for long walks and, as soon as their physical batteries are used up, they will be equally content snuggling up next to you, while you go about your day.

Black and a blonde Schapendoes sat next to each other on grass


2 facts about Nederlandse Schapendoes Dogs

1. Light on their feet

The Nederlandse Schapendoes’ coat comes in a variety of different colours (white with blue-grey, brown, or black markings and sometimes full black or beige), but no matter their colour configuration, the fur surrounding their feet is a lighter shade, if not always white.

2. Never climbed the ranks

Even though the Nederlandse Schapendoes dog’s existence spans many centuries, they never attracted the attention of royalty or people of high notoriety in their native Netherlands, so were rarely documented in art or literature. Known as the “dog for the common people,” they were owned almost exclusively by poor farmers who were unable to read or write, which explains the lack of concrete documentation of the breed’s history.


History of the breed

The Nederlandse Schapendoes breed is thought to have originated in Drenthe in the 19th century - a province in the northeast of Holland known for its vast swamps and forests. This explains the ‘does’ in the dog’s name, which derives from the word swamp in Dutch. While this Dutch sheepdog should not to be confused with the Dutch Shepherd (who shares close ties with the German Shepherd), the Nederlandse Schapendoes is believed to be a close relative of the Old English Sheepdog, Bergamasco, the Bearded Collie, and the Old German Sheepdog.

The Nederlandse Schapendoes was perfectly adapted to work in Dutch farmlands due to their exceptional level of trainability, intelligence and athleticism. Their long, protective coats shielded them from the harsh weather conditions in Holland.

Sadly, the breed’s numbers began to decline once Border Collies were imported from the United Kingdom in the 1940s; these dogs were highly sought after for their novelty and adeptness at herding sheep. Their dwindling population was further exacerbated by the onset of World War II, due to the hardships faced by the Dutch people during the German occupation. Fortunately, a P.M.C. Toepoel, or Dutch Inspector, resurrected the breed after the war and they were officially recognised by the Raad Van Beheer Dutch Kennel Club in 1952.

In 2005, the Nederlandse Schapendoes breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club as part of its Foundation Stock Service and has since been assigned the Herding Dog designation. The United Kennel Club recognised the breed in 2006.

Black and white portrait of a Schapendoes


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Nederlandse Schapendoes Dogs

1. Body

Sturdy, rectangular and well-muscled body.

2. Ears

High-set, pendulous ears that covered with fur.

3. Coat

A shaggy double coat, most commonly black, black and white, brown and white, grey and white, blue grey, and tri-colour.

Two black and white Schapendoes puppies sat next to each on a hay field


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Nederlandse Schapendoes
Schapendoes sat in grass


Caring for your Nederlandse Schapendoes

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Given their long, iconic locks, the Nederlandse Schapendoes breed does require a bit of maintenance to keep their coat in pristine condition. They shed pretty substantially, especially seasonally, and will require more grooming during this time. Otherwise, they need to be brushed at least several times a week - with a firm bristle brush - to keep their coat clean. Check their folded ears regularly for dirt and debris brought in from their excursions to avoid ear infections. Nails should be trimmed regularly and teeth brushed often, ideally daily if you can get away with it. Since they were originally bred to work for hours in the field, Nederlandse Schapendoes dogs require a decent amount of exercise to output their high energy levels. Whether it’s long treks outside, or even swimming and hiking, your Nederlandse Schapendoes will take huge pleasure in exhausting their batteries outdoors. The Nederlandse Schapendoes dog is an intelligent breed that is naturally obedient, but it is important to keep things fun and persistent when training. Early socialisation is key, to expose the dog to a variety of different people and environments, i to help counteract their distrust of strangers.


All about Nederlandse Schapendoes Dogs

One big yes. Nederlandse Schapendoes dogs tend to develop tight-nit bonds with their “family pack,” counting all adults, children (once trained), and fellow pets they live with (cats and household rodents included!). Although smaller pets are not usually an issue, early socialisation will certainly help the likelihood of them bonding.

Not generally. Historically, unlike other types of sheepdogs, the Nederlandse Schapendoes breed never developed an overly protective streak since they never had to guard the herd against other predators, such as bears and wolves of Eastern Europe. Although they might let out a bark if alarmed, Nederlandse Schapendoes dogs are naturally very gentle and doting, even to most strangers.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/