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German Shepherd VS Dutch Shepherd

german shepherd vs dutch shepherd

Most people know German Shepherds well, while fewer people know what Dutch Shepherds are. From the name of these breeds, however, it is clear that there is a common link. At the same time, it is obvious that there are also some differences.

If you are ready for some clarification on Dutch and German Shepherds, then this is the post for you. Here you can find out how similar or different these two breeds are.

German Shepherd Vs Dutch Shepherd: The origins and classification

Now, finding out the origins of these dogs is quite simple, it is clear from their names. However, let’s take a closer look at how these breeds originated.

What is quite interesting about the Dutch Shepherd is that it was a natural land breed discovered in the Netherlands. This is one of the most versatile breeds out there. As the name suggests, these dogs were created to keep livestock in check. As such, they kept chickens away from kitchens and livestock.

At the same time, it was not unusual to find these dogs pulling carts, babysitting, or even acting as watchdogs. For a long time, they were grouped in a miscellaneous category but were assigned to the herding group more recently.

German Shepherds are also in the herding group, hence the name of these dogs. And, yes, they originated in Germany. The ancestors of the German Shepherd were used for herding cattle. However, there was quite a bit of variation between them.

This was until Captain Max von Stephanitz decided to create a single race. With the help of other owners, he crossed various strains from the northern and central districts of Germany to produce the dogs we know today.

Like Dutch Shepherds, German Shepherds are versatile dogs. Although they have started herding animals, their role has developed quite a bit over the years.

Popularity of the German Shepherd Vs Dutch Shepherd

Now when it comes to popularity, German Shepherds are the clear favorites. This breed is consistently voted one of the most popular breeds in the world. It currently ranks second on the American Kennel Club’s list .

So why is this? Well, German Shepherds have always been in the spotlight. In the early days, they even starred in movies, helping to increase their popularity. Due to their versatility, they are often viewed in society as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even guide dogs.

Unfortunately, Dutch Shepherds are not that popular. This has nothing to do with their physical or personality traits, they are wonderful dogs! Rather, there aren’t too many breeders up to the task, resulting in fewer dogs.

There is also the fact that many people are not aware that this breed exists. This has also led to fewer owners. The good news, however, is that awareness is increasing. As more people learn how amazing this breed is, the more popular it will become.

Physical appearance and traits

Let’s take a look at how these breeds are similar or different in terms of appearance between German Shepherd vs Dutch Shepherd:


The average Dutch Shepherd weighs between 20 and 35 kg. Most German Shepherds are quite a bit heavier than this. Male German Shepherds weigh around 30 to 45 kg. German Shepherd females, on the other hand, can weigh between 20 and 30 kg.

German Shepherds are taller too. Many Dutch Shepherds are between 57 and 62 cm tall. German Shepherds, however, are 60-65cm tall, and female German Shepherds 55-60cm tall.


When you look at a Dutch Shepherd from above or in profile, you will notice that they have a wedge-shaped head. The head tends to be proportional to the rest of the body. The head and muzzle are of equal length.

Dutch Shepherds are strong, well-muscled dogs. Although they are solid boned, they are not heavy. Rather, they tend to have a long, slim look to them. His medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes are dark in color. In some cases, they can be yellow or blue. This dog often has an intelligent and lively expression.

The head of a German Shepherd is one of the most notable elements of the dog. It is often described as noble and chiseled. German Shepherds have strong faces, with a composed and intelligent expression to match. They have long, strong snouts. Their pointed ears are a fairly familiar trait as well.

Like Dutch Shepherds, this breed is quite muscular, although they are not bulky. They have a lean and rancid appearance, although their fur adds some volume to their build. These dogs almost always have very dark, almond-shaped eyes.


There are three types of fur for Dutch Shepherds. This includes short, long, and coarse hair. Short-haired dogs have uniformly stiff hair that is close to the body. The long-haired Dutch Shepherd has long, straight hair that can feel hard to the touch. Rough-haired dogs have dense, shaggy, rough fur that is disheveled. All dogs have a thick undercoat.

In terms of color, these dogs can be golden or silver brindle. This means that the base color is either gold or silver. The brindle can be black or brown and is the most prominent color on the body.

German Shepherds have a double coat. The outer coat is of medium length, wavy and lean. It is also quite thick and dense. The hair on the front and back legs tends to be longer. Now the most common colors for German Shepherd coats are tan and black. At the same time, dogs with completely black, gray, sable, red and black, or black and silver fur can be found.

Personality traits

Despite being working dogs, German Shepherds are quite suitable for families. Once they have bonded with their humans, they will be devoted, loyal, and courageous. However, they are not very good with other dogs.

Now left to their own devices, a German Shepherd can be aloof and cautious, particularly when dealing with strangers. Because of this, early socialization is needed. Otherwise, they can treat most strangers as a threat. However, they are unlikely to be aggressive.

German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs, which makes them quite trainable. However, this also means that they will have to take care of the company, the tasks or the exercise. If not, they can start acting.

Dutch Shepherds are great family dogs that do incredibly well with children – they are probably even better than German Shepherds in this role. What’s more, they are very friendly with other dogs as well, which makes them suitable for a home with other animals.

Like German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds are not good with strangers. They may bark or act distant with strangers. In this way, they make good watchdogs. At the same time, this breed needs to be properly socialized to avoid behavior problems.

Although they are not as intelligent as German Shepherds, this breed is very intelligent. What’s more, they are incredibly trainable, which makes them suitable for most owners.

German Shepherd Vs Dutch Shepherd: Health

The Dutch Shepherd is a much healthier breed than the German Shepherd, which is clear from their greater longevity. On average, the Dutch Shepherd enjoys four years longer than his German cousin.

The Dutch Shepherd and the German Shepherd are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. If you are thinking of taking in any of these breeds, you should get their parent’s hip scores for sure. The long-haired Dutchman is prone to thyroid disease, and the wire- haired Dutchman is prone to gonodysplasia . Aside from these concerns, there are not many other common conditions.

Many German Shepherds have a sloping back, which has a detrimental effect on their hips. This is more common on American German Shepherd lines compared to European lines. This is something that should be discussed with your breeder. You are also at increased risk for degenerative myelopathy, which is a progressive disease of the spinal cord.

Although this is not a health concern, it is worth knowing that the Dutch Shepherd is very sensitive to anesthesia. They are a rare breed, so when you visit your vet for surgery it is worth reminding them.

Exercise needs

Dutch Shepherds were bred to be working dogs. As such, their bodies are built for high energy and require considerable amounts of exercise. This means that they will need to organize at least one long walk a day. To meet the exercise needs of your Dutch Shepherd, it is best that he adapts to vigorous play.

Of course, you shouldn’t just stop at exercising their bodies. These intelligent dogs also respond well to mental exercises. Keeping them active and busy can greatly reduce the risk that they will behave or become destructive.

German Shepherds need more exercise than Dutch. These dogs have a fair amount of energy to burn and need to be taken on long walks as well as individual playtime. Trips to dog parks are a good idea too.

For a really satisfied German Shepherd, take agility courses. This helps them work their minds and stay mentally stimulated at all times. Again, this can discourage them from getting bored and becoming destructive or overly vocal.

Appropriate living spaces

These are not dogs that you should have in an apartment. They are medium in size, with a lot of energy. Therefore, they should live in larger houses where they have plenty of room to walk and move. A patio or garden is certainly a bonus. If you don’t have an outdoor space for your dog, make an effort to take him to a dog park regularly.

Now, Dutch Shepherds tolerate hot and cold weather equally well. Therefore, you should be able to have your dog with you regardless of the weather. German Shepherds, on the other hand, don’t do as well in hot weather. However, they adapt to cold weather without any problem.

Grooming the German Shepherd Vs Dutch Shepherd

German Shepherds tend to shed quite a bit. However, if you brush them every other day, you should have this under control. What is quite complicated is that they have two shedding periods. This means that hair loss will increase exponentially. Again, regular brushing will help.

Shorthaired Dutch Shepherds do not require much grooming. Occasional brushing is fine, but you will need to brush them daily during the spring and fall when the shedding season begins. As for those with long hair, you only need to brush and groom them once a week.

Wire-haired Dutch Shepherds require the least maintenance. They need to be combed only once a month. However, their fur will have to be peeled by hand once a year.

German Shepherd Vs Dutch Shepherd Training

German Shepherds have a lot of potential. That is why it is necessary to start training them at a very early age. It’s just as important to start socializing them at an early age, too. In particular, you should focus your efforts on obedience training. This will ensure that your dog is well behaved and more adaptable.

With German Shepherds, consistent training is key. At the same time, make sure he engages in positive reinforcement and that his training techniques are reward-based. This will leave your dog happy and eager to please you.

Dutch Shepherds also respond well to training. Although they are quite obedient, they do enjoy a challenge. Their intelligence means that they are capable of learning quite a few skills. Here, it is better to invest in shorter training sessions. This will ensure that your dog is fully engaged at all times.

This breed tends to be quite independent. Because of this, it is necessary to start training them when they are quite small. The same goes for socializing too.

Social function

As they are intelligent, trainable, and have been bred to work, both breeds perform various jobs. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Search and rescue
  • Application of the law
  • Field training
  • Guide dogs

Also, German Shepherds are often deployed in the military. They can be used as bomb sniffer dogs or be on active duty with other soldiers. As for Dutch Shepherds, they make excellent watchdogs, providing personal protection for their families.

There are as many similarities as there are differences between these breeds. However, it is interesting to see what each breed brings to the table. It doesn’t matter which dog you choose, as it is guaranteed that you will end up with a loving and loyal partner.


Price is another significant factor to consider because, in America, a Dutch Shepherd puppy is priced higher than a German Shepherd puppy. This is because it is much more rare and difficult to obtain. The German Shepherd is the second most popular dog in America, which is why there are many reputable breeders available. But you can expect to travel and be put on a waiting list when it comes to the Dutch Shepherd puppy.


The Dutch Shepherd and the German Shepherd are very similar, but there are many more differences than meets the eye. The German Shepherd is much more people-oriented, and although this makes him a more intense dog, he is easier to train. The Dutch Shepherd is more independent and more work oriented, which means that he is better suited for an experienced dog owner.

The Dutch Shepherd is more expensive to buy because it is much rarer, but it is also much healthier than the German Shepherd breed. Their grooming schedules are relatively equal, depending on the type of hair that is chosen for each one. The German Shepherd is the more protective puppy of the two, but they both make excellent watchdogs.

Whoever you decide to choose, make sure you can check their boxes, otherwise both can be problematic. But if you can, know that many years of fun, love, and loyalty await you.

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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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