Let's talk Dutch Shepherds

With their almost wolf-like good looks, the Dutch Shepherd is a real beauty of the canine world. Intelligent and obedient, they are also incredibly versatile animals. Hailing from the Netherlands, they were originally used as sheepdogs, but now assist with everything from police work and search-and-rescue to serving as guide dogs for the blind. Both gentle and affectionate, they make an excellent companion, too. The looks of a wolf, the stamina of a sheepdog and the heart of a lion (well, metaphorically at least)... it must be hard having it all.

Official name: Dutch Shepherd

Other names: Dutch Herder, Hollandse Herdershond

Origins: The Netherlands

Close-up of Dutch Shepherd looking at the camera in black and white
 Drooling tendencies

Low

Warm weather? Low
 Shedding level Medium
Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Energy Level * High Family Pet? *
High
 Compatibility with other pets High
Can stay alone?* Low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. 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.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Inline Image 15
Illustration of Dutch Shepherd
Mâle
57 - 62 cm Taille
12 - 25 kg Poids
Femelle
55 - 60 cm Taille
12 - 25 kg Poids

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 15 months
 Adult age 15 months to 5 years
 Mature age  5 to 8 years
 Senior age  From 8 years

Dutch Shepherd running with stick in its mouth

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Get to know the Dutch Shepherd

All you need to know about the breed

With their powerful bodies, pointed ears and intelligent, quizzical expression, the Dutch Shepherd bears more than a passing resemblance to both the German Shepherd and the Belgian Shepherd. So, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn that all three share a common ancestry.

In the case of the Dutch Shepherd, which is distinguished by its beautiful brindle coat in shades of silver or gold, they first emerged in the Netherlands in the late 1800’s. There, they have traditionally been used as sheepdogs, being consummate herders. The Dutch Shepherd quickly adapted to a range of other tasks, too, from protecting the flock to guarding the farm. They also proved to be dependable companion animals.

Today, while unfortunately a relatively rare breed, the Dutch Shepherd is a delight all round. Regarded as a very healthy and robust dog, they are also adept at training – hence the many other working roles they now perform. Intelligent, affectionate and loyal, Dutch Shepherds form strong attachments to their human pack, too, and are good with kids, once trained. The fact they are hard to come by just makes them all the more special.

Side view of Dutch Shepherd on grassy hill

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2 facts about Dutch Shepherds

1. Hair of the dog

Within the Dutch Shepherd breed, there are actually three different varieties. Depending on the length of the coat, the breed can be distinguished as short-haired, long-haired or rough-haired (sometimes called wire-haired). For tips on grooming your Dutch Shepherd, keep reading.

2. Adopt if you can

Though the Dutch Shepherd is a relatively rare breed, even in their native homeland, there is nonetheless a small but growing number elsewhere, including in the U.S. If you’re interested in adopting one there, you may wish to have a look at the North American Dutch Shepherd Rescue, a non-profit that specialises in finding homes for the breed.

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History of the breed

Originating in the Netherlands in the late 1800’s, the Dutch Shepherd was traditionally known there as a sheepdog. However, their versatile skills meant they were soon helping out with many other aspects of farm life too. Formally recognised in 1898, the Dutch Shepherd breed could initially be any colour, but this was later limited to brindle to distinguish them from the German and Belgian Shepherds.

Unfortunately, as time went on, modern farming techniques meant the Dutch Shepherd was no longer in such demand. Coupled with the pressures of World War II, they looked in a precarious position for a while. However, while still a comparatively rare breed, numbers have since recovered somewhat.

Nowadays, the Dutch Shepherd is used as everything from police dogs and search-and-rescue animals to guide dogs for the blind. They can also do well in canine sports such as herding, agility and obedience. The Dutch Shepherd has been recorded by the American Kennel Club in its Foundation Stock Service since 2012.

Close-up of Dutch Shepherd looking at the camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Dutch Shepherds

1. Head

Pricked ears, intelligent expression and alert, bright eyes.

2. Body

Powerful, muscular body, deep chest and long, curved tail.

3. Coat

Brindle coat can be short-haired, long-haired or rough-haired (wire-haired).

Dutch Shepherd lying on dirt in front of yellow flowers

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Dutch Shepherd
Dutch Shepherd leaping with tongue out

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Caring for your Dutch Shepherd

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The grooming process for your Dutch Shepherd will depend on which type of coat they have. While the short-coated dogs require only an occasional brushing, the rough-haired variety will need a gentle combing more often (plus sessions at the groomer) and the long-haired type should have a good brushing at least once a week. During shedding season, your Dutch Shepherd will also require extra attention. All three types should have their teeth brushed daily, claws clipped as required and ears checked regularly. A dog that loves to be on the move, the Dutch Shepherd will need a good amount of exercise each day. This can be divided between activities such as walking, running and swimming, games in the garden and canine sports. Hugely intelligent, Dutch Shepherds pick up commands quickly and easily, so training is generally a pleasure. Just watch out, though, for their independent streak as this is a dog that knows their own mind. The key is to keep them interested and engaged, so avoid overly repetitive activities. As with all breeds, puppy-training classes and early socialisation are strongly recommended.

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All about Dutch Shepherds

Though similar breeds, there are some important differences between the Dutch and German Shepherd dogs. Most notably, Dutch Shepherds are slightly smaller in size, have a more wedge-shaped head and have distinctive brindle coats. In terms of their temperament, however, both breeds share many of the same traits. Like German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds tend to be intelligent, loyal and dependable.

A very versatile breed, along with all their other various skills, the Dutch Shepherd makes an excellent watchdog. So, while it’s true that they will bark to sound the alarm if a stranger enters their territory, they are not otherwise known to be overly vocal dogs.

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Sources

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/