While the Dutch Shepherd might not be as well known as it’s German Shepherd cousin, these dogs are actually one of the easiest Shepherd dogs to bring into a family. Energetic and active, this pup makes the perfect playmate for everyone — families, children, seniors and individuals included — and their loving an affectionate nature ensures they will become your trusty companion. Even better, they’re so intelligent that they’re a dream to train; perfect if you’ve never had a dog before!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Dutch Shepherd and want to see whether they are the right dog for you, keep reading.
History Of The Dutch Shepherd
An intelligent breed that is always eager to learn and please, the Dutch Shepherd makes both a great working dog, excelling in agility and obedience competitions, and a great family companion that’ll stand by you and your children day to day.
Originally used as a herding dog, this breed is still recognized as a herding dog by Kennel clubs, much like their other Shepherd cousins are. Nowadays, these pups are often used by law enforcement to help tackle crime.
The Dutch Shepherd is recognized by the United Kennel Club and the FCI as a herding dog. They have not yet been registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in a specific breed class, however they are classified in the miscellaneous class because of their growing popularity. There are two official Dutch Shepherd breed clubs — the Dutch Shepherd Dog Club of America and the American Dutch Shepherd Association.
The Dutch Shepherd breed is originally from the Netherlands and, in the 1800s, began to differentiate itself from the German and Belgian Shepherd breeds. These dogs were originally used for herding and controlling livestock, before then becoming military and guard dogs.
Since 1898, when this dog first appeared in the United States, this breed has changed very little. This is unlike the other Shepherd breeds that have been bred with many other breeds over the years to create the dogs we know today.
Characteristics Of The Dutch Shepherd
The Dutch Shepherd is a medium breed of dog that has many similar characteristics to it’s Shepherd cousins. You will need to be careful when buying a Dutch Shepherd puppy — ensure that they have not be crossed with any other Shepherds because they look very similar.
A Dutch Shepherd puppy is normally born in litter sizes of 6 to 10 puppies. These pups can cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500, although if you adopt from a shelter they can be anywhere between $50 to $500.
At eight weeks old, the Dutch Shepherd will weigh between 11 to 17 pounds and should be no taller than 9 inches. They will fully mature around two years old, at which point they could weigh between 40 and 75 pounds, with a maximum height of 24.5 inches. Males are normally bigger than females.
The Dutch Shepherd is smaller and stockier in size compared to other Shepherd breeds. They are very muscular and they have a wedge-shaped head, almond eyes and pointy triangular ears. Their body is also slightly longer than it is high.
The Dutch Shepherd’s coat can come in three different types, although all have a wooly undercoat. They could be short-haired with a smooth coat and a feathered tail. They could also have a long coat that is thick and straight, with feathered legs and a well coated tail. Lastly, the Dutch Shepherd could be wire-haired with a thick and rough coat with some medium length curls.
The coat type they have will depend on the type of coat they inherit from their parents.
One way to ensure that the puppy you are buying is a Dutch Shepherd puppy is the color of their coat. The brindle coat is completely unique to the Dutch Shepherd, so you will be able to tell whether your pup is a Dutch or not.
The brindle color can either come in gold or silver, which can appear in a variety of shades. The gold can look more red or it could be sandy, while the silver appears more dark.
The Dutch Shepherd is a very loyal and friendly dog that bonds closely to their family. They are extremely sociable and love to be around people, which can result in some separation anxiety if they are left alone for too long. You will need to think about putting them in a doggie day care if you are going to be out for long periods of time.
Incredibly intelligent, the Dutch Shepherd has an excellent work ethic. They also love to please their owners and excel in obedience training and agility. They need to be kept entertained at all times otherwise they will become bored.
A very active dog, Dutch Shepherds love to be outside. Remember that they were once a herding dog and, while they don’t do so much herding these days, this trait can still remain sometimes. This means you may often see them chasing a squirrel. They can also sometimes find it difficult to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening situations but, luckily, they are friendly with almost all strangers (making them bad watchdogs!).
The Dutch Shepherd has a relatively long life expectancy and can live, on average, anywhere between 11 and 15 years.
Known Health Issues
The Dutch Shepherd is one of the healthiest Shepherd breeds, especially in comparison to the German Shepherd. However, this doesn’t mean that they are immune to all health problems and can, unfortunately, still be susceptible to some.
The most common issues within this breed are elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. This is common in large dog breeds and is when the elbows and hips weaken and become arthritic. It can be the result of quick growing.
They can also be prone to a condition called Goniodysplasia where there is a build up of fluid within the eye and it can cause extreme blindness. Another eye issue is Pannus where a grey-pinkish film covers the eye and can also cause blindness. However, it can be treated if caught early enough.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced. Trusted breeders will do health checks on both parents and will not breed if there is a chance of passing on any issues to offspring.
Now we know all about the characteristics and temperament of the Dutch Shepherd, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day-to-day basis is actually like. Read on below to find out about their food and diet, their exercise needs and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
The Dutch Shepherd has high activity levels and therefore needs a lot of food! You should be feeding your pup roughly three to four cups of kibble a day, which equates to around 2000 calories. You should always check the back of the food packet to make sure how much of a particular food you should feed them a day based on their weight.
As a puppy, you should feed them four meals a day, spread throughout evenly. At six months this can be reduced to three meals a day and at 12 months you can feed them two meals a day.
Try to feed your Dutch Shepherd high-quality food. Because they like to exercise, they will need a large amount of protein in their diet to keep their muscles healthy. Finding a food that is formulated for high energy dogs is advisable.
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We recommend the High Protein dog food from Taste of the Wild for the Dutch Shepherd. As an active dog, this breed needs a large amount of protein in their diet and this recipe contains 32% protein. This helps to keep your pup’s muscles lean and strong and also ensures an optimal amino acid profile.
Alongside the protein, there are also vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables as superfoods for hardworking antioxidants, and fatty acids that help to promote skin and coat health. Proprietary probiotics are also present, surviving and thriving in the GI tract. All the ingredients are highly digestible and there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
We have mentioned above that the Dutch Shepherd has high energy levels and therefore has fairly big exercise needs. These pups should be exercising for around 30 to 60 minutes a day and it should be in the form of both physical and mental stimulation. You can take them for a walk, but try to incorporate playing games with them such as “fetch” or playing with toys such as a frisbee. They are a very intelligent dog and need to be kept entertained, otherwise they can begin to exhibit destructive behaviors.
The Dutch Shepherd will also happily accompany you on hikes or runs and love to do agility training and flyball. Letting them off the leash in public should not be an issue, because they are very sociable dogs.
Dutch Shepherds make an excellent family dog. They also make a great pet for those who live by themselves and for couples. These dogs love all animals and people, children included, and will show them lots of love and affection. They also make excellent playmates for children and just love to be around their family!
With their herding nature, they can sometimes be a little wary of small wildlife and may chase smaller animals. With proper socialization this can be fixed. Remember, the Dutch Shepherd doesn’t like to be left alone and will suffer from separation anxiety, so you should be able to dedicate your time to them before buying this breed.
Because of their intelligence and trainability, everyone can get involved with training these pups. They can also accompany you on hikes and runs and love to be outside playing with their family. They especially thrive in a home with a yard, so they can exercise any time they want due to their high energy levels.
Out of all the Shepherd dogs, the Dutch Shepherd is the most intelligent dog. This also means they are the easiest to train. These dogs live to please their owners and they’re incredibly active, so keeping them engaged and entertained while training is not difficult.
Your Dutch shepherd will respond best to positive reinforcement training, with reward based training too including verbal praise and treats. Playing games with them is another way to bond, keeping them entertained and occupied so they don’t get bored.
The Dutch Shepherd is a naturally very sociable dog who gets on well with other animals and humans. That being said, socialization should still take place from a young age so they are introduced to lots of different things. You should introduce them to new sights, sounds, smells, places, people and animals so they understand there is nothing to be afraid of.
Unfortunately, no matter what coat your Dutch Shepherd has, they will shed. This means that they are not the pet for those with allergies. However, the type of coat they have will affect how much they shed and how often you’ll need to brush them. If your Dutch Shepherd has a long coat, they will shed the most.
For short-haired coats, occasional brushing will suffice until shedding season when you will need to brush them everyday. For long-haired coats, you’ll need to brush them at least once a week, although maybe more if you think they need it. If your Dutch Shepherd has a rough coat, you should comb them twice a month and hand stripping to remove the dead hair is advised twice a year.
The Dutch Shepherd does not require frequent baths as their coats are water resistant. You will only need to bathe them when they are really dirty, such as when they have been rolling in mud!
Try to remember to trim their nails as and when it is needed. You should also clean their teeth a few times a week to help prevent dental decay and disease. You can use dental chews as well to help with this issue.
Dutch Shepherd FAQ’s
How much does a Dutch Shepherd puppy cost?
A Dutch Shepherd puppy can cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500. Always check you are buying from a reputable breeder. If this is too far out of your price range, you may be able to find a Dutch Shepherd puppy at your local shelter for $50 to $500. There are lots of dogs out there who need a forever home!
Is a Dutch Shepherd the same as a German Shepherd?
No. They are related, but they are not the same breed. The Dutch Shepherd is not quite as well known as the German Shepherd. They have some very similar characteristics, but also some different ones. The Dutch Shepherd is smaller than the German and the brindle color they exhibit is unique to the Dutch.
The Dutch is also more intelligent than the German and is more affectionate and friendly, making them less of a working dog and more of a family dog. However, both breeds excel as working dogs for law enforcement and both make excellent pets!
While the Dutch Shepherd is the lesser known Shepherd in comparison to the German, they certainly shouldn’t be. This loving and affectionate dog fits right in to any family, whether you have experience with dogs or not. They love all children and animals and just want to play and spend time with their family. As an intelligent breed, the Dutch Shepherd needs to be kept entertained but they also just want to please their owners, making them a delight to train. With high activity and energy levels, make sure you can keep up with this pup and they’ll be your best friend!