Dutch Shepherd – A Versatile and Intelligent Canine Companion

Dutch Shepherd

Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by Fumipets

Dutch Shepherd – A Versatile and Intelligent Canine Companion


The Dutch Shepherd is a versatile and intelligent breed known for its remarkable abilities as a working dog and loyal companion. Originating in the Netherlands, this breed boasts a distinctive appearance, combining athleticism, strength, and agility.

Dutch Shepherds are valued for their sharp instincts, adaptability, and unwavering loyalty, making them well-suited for various roles, from herding to protection, search and rescue, and even family life.

Their unique coat patterns and their exceptional capacity for learning and bonding set them apart as a cherished breed that excels in both professional and domestic settings.

Dutch Shepherd

The Dutch shepherd is a rare breed of dog from the Netherlands that was once on the verge of extinction. At first sight, it’s easy to mistake the Dutch shepherd for his German cousin, although the two breeds vary noticeably in terms of appearance and temperament.

The Dutch shepherd is a dog that is very clever, immensely loyal, and amazingly self-reliant. It was originally bred to guard sheep and calves. These perceptive, active, and highly trainable dogs are ready to please, whether you need a farmhand or a devoted family member.


Dutch shepherds and German shepherds may be distinguished from one another most easily by their coats since only Dutch shepherds have brindle coloring.

According to the Dutch Shepherd Dog Club of America (DSDCA), both male and female Dutch shepherds measure around 2 feet tall and weigh between 45 and 75 pounds, making them smaller than their German counterparts.

Dutch shepherds are just as well-muscled as German shepherds, but they have a little stockier build and sometimes a more boxy-looking head.

Back to that coat, however. There are several hues that the brindle pattern may take on. In reality, the coat is described as “appearing in any color” in the original 1898 breed standard criteria. Since then, coat color has been improved to the darker end of the color spectrum, with the most frequent hues being black, gray, silver, and rust, while a rare white variety is also available.

The coat’s availability in three hairstyles—short, long, and rough—is significant as well. 

The short-hair coat is close fitting across the dog’s entire body and is paired with a wooly undercoat.

The long-hair coat is made up of straight, thick hair that can be harsher to the touch and the same wooly undercoat. 

The rough-hair coat is a dense, harsh, tousled coat with a wooly, dense undercoat all over the body except for the head.

Although each coat provides a distinctively different aesthetic aspect and necessitates a different grooming routine, they all keep the Dutch shepherd warm and dry in the same manner.

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You’ve discovered a strong candidate if you’re seeking a dog to train. The Dutch shepherd is a very clever dog that may be trained to do tricks and compete in agility or flyball events. Because Dutch shepherds are very intelligent, it is preferable to teach them in brief sessions with minimum repetition.

These dogs will return for further training as long as it is interesting and different. Once you get beyond the fundamentals of obedience, you’ll discover that they become more enthusiastic about training as your signals become more complex since they love cerebral stimulation.

“General tips for training a high-energy dog, such as a Dutch shepherd, include using positive reinforcement, incorporating play and problem-solving, and giving your dog plenty of exercise as an outlet for their energy level,” advises Emily Singler, DVM, staff veterinarian for Fetch by The Dodo.

Avoid using punishment in any way since it won’t assist a dog learn new habits, will only increase tension and anxiety, and might harm the link between people and animals.

However, you may want to choose a different breed of dog if you don’t want to devote much time to training. These naturally independent dogs are likely to become stubborn and unruly if they are not properly educated to heed directions. 

“A potential adopter should think about their lifestyle and living arrangements to see if they are a good fit for a Dutch shepherd before bringing one home,” advises Singler. “Those who have land or the ability to lead an active lifestyle with their dogs, as well as those who are able to devote time and energy to training and exercising their dogs, will be well-suited to care for a Dutch shepherd.”

Dutch shepherds, who were originally bred for agricultural labor, later found a second career as police and military dogs. Due to their intelligence, trainability, and inherently strong drive, Dutch shepherds that have successfully completed accredited training via the Royal Dutch Police Dog Association are highly sought after by police agencies all over the world. 

Living Needs

Dutch shepherds need a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation. A farm or home with a fenced-in yard is best, but you may have a Dutch shepherd there (so long as he can receive enough regular exercise time every day). Dutch shepherds are strong and resilient enough to go all day long, and they will joyfully run or trek with their owners. 

Similarly, the Dutch shepherd is the ideal breed if you’ve ever wished to enter dog sports events. They are huge and powerful enough to do tracking, herding, and weight hauling while being agile enough to compete in agility and flyball events. But bear in mind that if you don’t give them something to do every day to keep them engaged and interested, they’ll probably start developing their own hobbies and stop responding to your signals.

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Although they aren’t often employed for the job anymore, Dutch shepherds still have a natural inclination to herd animals, thus they get along well with other dogs and animals in general. They may not be cat-friendly, but because of their relatively low prey drive and early training and socialization, they are unlikely to find cats to be particularly entertaining to pursue.

Due to their extreme loyalty and desire to please their owners, Dutch shepherds are suitable for most family situations, particularly those with young children. However, puppy playing must always be monitored, according to Singler.

As high-energy canines, Dutch shepherds “might want to engage in more vigorous play than is appropriate for some children or other animals,” the author explains. “Always proceed with caution when introducing a dog of any breed to other animals, and don’t leave them alone until you are sure they will get along without endangering either one,” the advice goes.

Seniors may find them to be enthusiastic and dependable friends as well, but since they are an athletic breed with a high degree of stamina, consideration must be given to their physical requirements.


The kind of coat your Dutch shepherd has will have a significant impact on how you should care for him. Short-haired dogs just need a quick brushing every week and a half or so. On the other hand, Dutch shepherds with long hair need weekly brushing. Both varieties will need more brushings during the seasons when their undercoat sheds, which are spring and autumn, as well as sporadic baths.

A little more work is required to care for rough-haired shepherds, who need to be brushed twice weekly and bathed every three to four weeks. Regular brushing won’t suffice to preserve their undercoat throughout the shedding seasons because of how thick and textured their coats are; instead, you’ll need to hand strip them, which involves removing the hairs at the root.

Exercise is a crucial component of your Dutch shepherd’s care, along with grooming. These canines need far more heart-pounding action than a regular stroll can provide.

To be happy and healthy, Dutch shepherds “need to be able to run, play, and maintain a high level of physical activity,” according to Singler. “They also need cerebral exercise. This may take the shape of games where kids must solve problems, sports like agility training, or even jobs like herding animals on a farm.


According to Audrey Ruple, DVM, Fetch by The Dodo Veterinarian Advisory Board Chair, Dutch shepherds are generally a healthy breed and are unlikely to have major health issues.

In fact, Ruple notes that Dutch shepherds are far less prone than Belgian and German shepherds to have cardiac arrhythmias, tumors, elbow or hip dysplasia, or gastrointestinal problems, such as those that result in vomiting and diarrhea.

However, compared to their Belgian and German counterparts, Dutch shepherds are more prone to suffer from skin diseases such atopic dermatitis and skin allergies. 

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According to Michelle Beck, DVM, CCRT, CVA-Veterinarian at the Backlund Animal Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska, “knowing the pedigree of the dog is also helpful.” Any competent breeder ought to be able to do so for each puppy they are selling.

Maintaining a lean weight and feeding your Dutch shepherd suitable food will ensure their best health. 


The American Dutch Shepherd Association (ADSA) claims that Dutch shepherds have been a part of Dutch culture for generations. Dutch breeders started adding foreign genes to the breed in the 19th century to increase the dog’s strength, speed, and agility without sacrificing any of its innate intellect or independence.

Although the initial breed standard, written in 1898, said that the dogs might be “any color,” by 1914 Dutch shepherds had adopted a uniform brindle coat to set them apart from their German and Belgian relatives.

By the turn of the 20th century, the Dutch shepherd—almost solely used as a farm and shepherding dog—was suddenly a breed without a job as industrialization and land reclamation in the Netherlands almost removed big sheep herds. Both the popularity and utilization of the breed decreased over time. Due to this and the Netherlands’ almost complete cessation of dog breeding during World War II, the Dutch shepherd was on the verge of extinction by the 1950s. 

The dog started to make a return in the second part of the 20th century, not only as household pets but also as service animals. Dutch shepherds are still an uncommon breed, although they are now often seen working as search and rescue dogs, as part of police K-9 groups, and as seeing-eye dogs. Sheep will also be led by them.

Questions & Answers:


What does a Dutch Shepherd’s appearance typically look like?

Dutch Shepherds have a medium-sized, well-proportioned build with a striking coat. Their coat can be short, dense, and brindle in pattern (mixed brown and black stripes) or solid colors like gold or silver.

Are Dutch Shepherds good family dogs?

Yes, Dutch Shepherds can be excellent family dogs. They are affectionate, protective, and loyal, forming strong bonds with their human family members.

What roles do Dutch Shepherds excel in professionally?

Dutch Shepherds excel in various working roles, including police and military work, search and rescue, service dogs for individuals with disabilities, and herding.

How much exercise do Dutch Shepherds require?

Dutch Shepherds are highly energetic and require substantial exercise to stay content. Regular physical and mental stimulation, such as playtime, training, and outdoor activities, are essential.

How trainable are Dutch Shepherds?

Dutch Shepherds are highly trainable due to their intelligence and eagerness to please. They thrive on learning new tasks and commands, making them a favorite among dog trainers.

The Dutch Shepherd’s combination of versatility, intelligence, and strong work ethic positions it as an exceptional breed for various roles and lifestyles.

Whether working alongside professionals or forming a close-knit bond with a loving family, Dutch Shepherds offer unwavering dedication and companionship.

If considering this breed, it’s important to provide the mental and physical engagement they require to thrive and lead fulfilling lives.





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