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Dutch Shepherd: Complete Guide to the Dutch Shepherd


The Dutch Shepherd is a relatively rare but beautiful breed of dog, with a herding background . Males tend to measure between 57-62 cm at the withers and females 55-60 cm, while their weight is approximately 30 kg .

Los Pastores Dutch can be loyal, intelligent, sweet and active , but they need a lot of training as well as physical and mental exercise.

If you think this could be your next pet, read on to find out more.

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Where does the Dutch Shepherd come from?

The Dutch Shepherd has its roots in the Netherlands, where it was a herding dog.

This breed was bred to keep flocks of sheep away from crops by patrolling the edges of fields. They accompanied sheep to their destinations, kept chickens away from gardens, herded cows for milk, pulled milk carts, watched over children, and alerted farmers to anyone approaching the farms.

So basically this versatile dog was good at a lot of field tasks.

By 1900, flocks of sheep had disappeared from the country, and Dutch shepherds began to be used as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs.

Their breed standard was created in 1898. By 1914, it stipulated that these dogs had to be brindle in color, which set them apart from other similar northern European herding breeds such as the German and Belgian shepherd.

But they became much rarer, in general, as a result of the increased use of modern breeding techniques. World War II caused a decline in dog breeding and sent many dogs to Germany for use in the military.

This caused many bloodlines to die out, and Dutch Shepherds were in danger of dying in the 1940s and 50s. In 1959, the Dutch Shepherds were mixed with the Belgian Laekenois to create a type of rough-haired Dutch Shepherd .

They are still rare. The Dutch Shepherd is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and has been able to compete in the American Kennel Club Miscellaneous Class since 2017.

Fun facts

The Dutch Shepherd is a natural herding dog and was often entrusted with the task of taking sheep out in the morning and bringing in flocks at night without any human assistance.

If a Dutch Shepherd dog meets the minimum requirements of the purebred standard, the experts really encourage their breeding. That’s because genetic diversity needs to be fostered to return these dogs to a stable and healthy population.


These medium sized dogs are well muscled and balanced.

Males tend to measure between 57-62 cm at the withers and females 55-60 cm, while their weight is approximately 30 kg.

They resemble their northern European counterparts, the German Shepherd and the Belgian Shepherd, but are said to have some more wolf-like facial features.

Their faces are also distinguished from the other races. They are wedge-shaped and quite elongated.

There are three types of hair in Dutch Shepherds: short hair, wire hair, and long hair. In the wire-haired type, the brindle markings are difficult to see because the hair is very curly.

Standard colors include gold tabby, silver tabby, and yellow. The golden tabby ranges from light sand to brownish red.

The brindle is usually quite light all over the body, and Dutch Shepherds can also have a black face mask to go with that.


Dutch Shepherds are said to be smart, athletic, energetic, and loyal. They are a reliable and vigilant breed with persistence and independence built into their nature.

These dogs are also loyal and have the ability to work with other dogs as well as people.

However, they may have a bit of stubbornness in their personalities.

Their stamina is quite high and they can run all day. They have a well-developed herding instinct.

Training your Dutch Shepherd

These dogs love mental and physical stimulation. They are smart and obedient, and they do well with short training sessions.

Positive reinforcement is the key!

The owners say that Dutch Shepherds become more driven the harder the task is.

But they do have a streak of independence and can be stubborn, which can be made worse if they aren’t properly trained. They are sensitive, but not necessarily outgoing.

With these dogs, obedience and socialization training is very important. If you have one who would like to be a good companion, consider herding, smell and agility training as ways to enrich the life of your Dutch Shepherd .


Dutch Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, according to the American Association of Dutch Shepherds .

They don’t suffer from too many hereditary or genetic problems, but being larger dogs they are still prone to hip dysplasia.

Therefore, you will need to make sure that any pups you get have been tested for that. They are also genetically prone to gastric carcinoma, a form of stomach cancer. You will also need to test for eye problems.

Also, the wire-haired Dutch Shepherd is prone to gonodysplasia. This condition occurs when fluid from the eye does not flow as easily as it should. It can eventually cause blindness. The link between goniodysplasia and heredity is not yet well understood.

You should know that Dutch Shepherds as a breed are sensitive to anesthesia. So if your dog needs surgery for any reason, tell your vet.

In the Netherlands, where these dogs are from, half the usual dose of anesthesia is normally used when necessary.

The expected lifespan of a Dutch Shepherd dog is 12 to 14 years.


As with all dogs, grooming is an important part of health. Because Dutch Shepherds come in three hair types, each type will require different grooming regiments.

Shorthaired Dutch Shepherds simply require occasional brushing, except during the spring and fall shedding periods. Long-haired dogs will require weekly brushing or maybe more depending on their activities.

Long-haired ones comb their hair once a month, but their fur requires that they be removed by hand a couple of times a year. Show dogs require their skin to be removed by hand more often.

This requires your fingers or a paring knife to pull out the dead hair by the roots to allow new hair to grow.

Otherwise, your dog’s coat may become dull and dull, because by trimming you are only removing a top layer of hair.

A hairdresser is the best person to do this, at least initially. Instruction and practice can help you learn to do it yourself.

Do Dutch Shepherds Make Good Family Dogs?

If your family is energetic and has experience with dogs, a Dutch Shepherd may be a good choice.

These dogs need a lot of activity, and they like to work with humans and other dogs, so be sure to provide them with the kind of stimulation that keeps them healthy and happy.

Many Dutch Shepherds are fine with children, but be careful when looking for your dog. Those that come from lines that have been bred for work or sport compared to those bred as companion dogs may have different qualities.

Some Dutch Shepherds raised for work or sport may not be as suitable for families with children due to high prey or herding urges.

Rescuing a Dutch Shepherd

Because they are rare, rescuing a pure Dutch Shepherd can be more difficult than with other breeds.

Dogs that can be found in rescues may be those that failed police work or other jobs, meaning they may have been trained to show higher levels of aggression.

You should know that some bailouts are not adopted for organizations or departments, only for individuals. They tend to expect you to use these dogs as family dogs rather than working dogs.

However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t find the Dutch Shepherd rescue of your dreams, and there are definite advantages to the rescue! For example, adopting an adult dog means that you can get good information about health problems that appear after puppyhood.

However, keep in mind that when looking for a rescue, you may not have as many options when it comes to your dog’s health or personality traits.

How to find a Dutch Shepherd puppy?

When looking for a new puppy, avoid pet stores and puppy mills. Rescues are a good option, and so are qualified and responsible breeders.

How are the breeders and rescues found? Your first line of research could be the Internet. Do a Google search, but remember not to give too much thought to the results you get until you’ve done your research in other ways.

Talk to your friends and family about your experiences with breeders and rescues. Get into a Facebook group in your neighborhood and ask where they got their puppies from and how they felt about the experience.

And of course, research the breeders yourself as much as possible. Visit them in person, if you can. Ask questions. Obtain medical information about the potential puppy’s parents.

It is very important that the proper medical tests are performed for the breed.

If you’re looking for a puppy of any breed, our puppy search guide has information on that, so check out tips on each step in the process.

Pros and cons

First, let’s look at the cons:

  • Dutch Shepherds are quite energetic dogs with a touch of stubbornness in their nature.
  • They require stimulation and like to work alongside humans.
  • Exercise is a high priority, they need a place to run!
  • Large herding urges can be a problem with young children.

On the other hand, there are some definite pros!

  • These dogs are smart and loyal.
  • They are generally quite healthy, and they make good companions for active families.
  • Dutch Shepherds have drive and stamina and can be used for different tasks, such as guarding and protection.

Similar breeds

Breeds that are like the Dutch Shepherd include the German Shepherd , the Belgian Shepherd, and the Belgian Shepherd Malinois .

All of these breeds are similar in size and appearance, and have similar herding backgrounds. They come from similar places in Northern Europe.

To make them more distinctive from each other, breeders called on Dutch fry herders.

However, since then they have diverged a bit genetically, so if you are looking for a similar type of dog be sure to do your research on what you want.

Another breed of European Shepherd that you might want to take a look at is the Russian Bear Dog !

Is a Dutch Shepherd Right for Me?

Only you can decide if a dog is right for your home, family, and lifestyle.

These are medium to large dogs with high activity requirements, so you’ll probably need a fenced yard to do their romping need justice.

Dutch Shepherds can do best in homes that have a little experience with dogs. They are generally healthy and independent dogs.

If you think you can handle a Dutch Shepherd, and you’ve fallen in love with those ears like us, you might consider this for your next pet! Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Photos of the Dutch Shepherd 

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I love the animals. Reading and writing about them, their customs, their peculiarities or the attention they require is exciting, and I also believe that it makes us better people. I share articles that solve the questions that dog caregivers face on a daily basis.

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