Dutch Shepherd Ultimate Guide: Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

An all-around buddy, Dutch Shepherds are smart, highly-trainable dogs who have a positive can-do attitude, that’s why they learn and excel in almost everything in no time! They’re also the best companion for protection as they’re always ready to be there for you in case of trouble arises.

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History

Dutch Shepherds were originally bred to work, specifically to help on all kinds of tasks on farms, such as herding sheep, chickens, and other livestock.

Because of the development of farming techniques, this breed became unnecessary for farm works, thus losing its popularity. In fact, in the 1940s and 1950s, this breed was almost considered gone!

During World War II, the breeding of Dutch Shepherds in the Netherlands completely stopped. Sadly, countless numbers of dogs died from starvation, while others were taken away by the German military because they knew that this dog would highly benefit them in the armed forces. After the war, the breeding began again, with Dutch Shepherds being bred with dogs of unknown origin.

Today, while Dutch Shepherds are still considered rare, they are popular for being excellent police dogs, search and rescue, and guide dogs. They also love to compete in canine sports, such as agility training and obedience competitions.

Appearance

Looking at the Dutch Shepherd, you may observe an evident resemblance with German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherds – that’s because these cousin breeds came from close lineage. For the past 100 years, today, the breed has developed a more diverged distinction other than its coat color.

Dutch Shepherds come in three varied types of coats:

The short hair has a wool-like undercoat. Dutch Shepherds with this type of coat are typically used for police work.

Just like short hair, wire hair, which is also known as rough hair, has a wool-like undercoat but is denser and more coarse. This type of coat is rare compared to the other two.

The last type of coat is long hair. It is straight, yet a bit rough to the touch.

All of these coats are brindle with various colors, such as gold, silver, and red chestnut. However, too much white or black in the coat is generally seen as a fault.

Their coats, regardless of the type, keep them comfortable in either hot and cold weather.

Size

Male Dutch Shepherds typically stand between 22 to 25 inches, while females range from 21 to 24 inches. On average, males are a bit larger than females. This breed weighs between 50 to 70 pounds.

While these are the known standard sizes for this breed, some dogs may be larger or smaller, depending on their parents.

Life Span

Being a medium-large size dog, Dutch Shepherds have a life expectancy of 11 up to 14 years. As with all canines and pets, they need regular check-ups from their veterinarians, as well as at-home care from their owners to keep them healthy and joyful.

Shedding

Dutch Shepherds earned the nickname “Dutch Shedders” because of how often and how much they shed.

They shed from light to moderate all-year round since hair falls out on both their outer coat and undercoat. Once or twice a year, a Dutch Shepherd will experience what we call a “blowing coat” – a shedding period wherein your dog loses so much hair from its body.

When we talk about grooming this breed, regular brushing is needed for those dogs with short and long hair types of coat. However, dogs with wire-haired coats need professional grooming twice a year. They should not be brushed, although they can be combed once in a while.

Baths should only be done when necessary, as regular bathing will result in the removal of skin’s natural oils.

Temperament

Dutch Shepherds are known for being active and devoted dogs. Their high intellect and all-around competency made them reliable, watchful, and alert companions.

This breed is gifted with a true shepherding personality. Combine this with their strong character and proper training, they can deal with almost any task assigned to them.

Intelligence

Dutch Shepherds are very intelligent dogs that they excel when it comes to obedience competitions, guard duties, and field or agility training. They love challenges and are more driven as the job becomes more mentally stimulating.

However, because of their high intellect, you must establish your role as the leader. This dog needs a firm owner since they can be stubborn most of the time.

Agility

As mentioned, Dutch Shepherds are known for being good at everything, and that includes agility competitions, obedience, flyball, dock jumping, disc dog, tracking, weight pulling, you name it! As a matter of fact, this breed is considered the most competent of all shepherd dogs.

While they are still used as herding dogs in the Netherlands, they are now known in canine careers, including police and military dogs, service animals, and a family companion.

Exercise

Dutch Shepherds are active dogs, which means that they have a high-energy level. Remember that they are bred for hard work. A long walk per day, along with vigorous and high-energy play sessions is essential to keep this breed healthy.

Because they are smart dogs, they also need mental stimulation aside from physical exercise, or they will become bored and eventually, destructive.

Dutch Shepherds make an excellent companion with an active family.

Trainability

Dutch Shepherds are smart and naturally trainable dogs. They are eager to learn new commands, and positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards, treats, and praises should be used instead of aversive methods that may reduce their self-esteem.

However, because they are intelligent dogs, they may be stubborn at times and will require a firm owner who can properly lead them, make the training fun, and create a harmonious relationship.

If not properly trained, this dog may become independent and make its own decision until it won’t listen to you anymore. Patience, combined with a proper training approach ensures that your dog grows to be a respectful dog.

Socialization during their puppyhood will keep Dutch Shepherds still and undisturbed from the presence of new animals and people.

Good With Family

Dutch Shepherds are known for being loyal and excellent watchdogs, thus making them a good family companion. Not only these, but they are also affectionate and great with children and other family members in the house, including other pets. No matter how trained a dog is, children should learn to safely play with dogs and make sure that playtime is supervised at all times.

If properly trained, they can also help you with daily chores since they are originally bred to work. They enjoy playing or working with you. Lack of things to do may result in boredom and eventually, developing bad and destructive habits.

Apartment Living

Dutch Shepherds are able to adapt to both apartments and houses, provided that they get the daily physical exercise and mental stimulation they need. Since they are loyal and extremely devoted to their human family, they may bark or act aloof, though not often, to strangers and unfamiliar animals.

If there is an incoming danger, you can rely on this breed since they can transform from a gentle dog into a protective beast, especially when their family’s safety is at stake.

Separation Anxiety

Just like with every other affectionate and loyal dog, Dutch Shepherds are extremely loving with their family. Being left alone for long periods is not advisable since they may suffer from separation anxiety and may develop destructive behaviors, such as excessive barking.

So, as a responsible pet owner, make sure you give your dog enough time to provide him his daily needs.

Health Issues

When we talk about health issues, Dutch Shepherds have relatively few health conditions compared to other shepherd breeds. But, it does not mean that you should ignore its regular health check-ups just because this dog is generally considered a very healthy breed.

Dutch Shepherds may suffer from hip dysplasia, allergies such as atopy, masticatory myositis, pannus, cryptorchidism, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Make sure to visit your dog’s veterinarian regularly to keep your dog in healthy shape.

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