Heritage and Registry
Dutch Shepherds originated in the Netherlands. They were traditionally bred as working dogs on the farm. They were reliable herding dogs and were strong enough to be cart pullers. They also acted as guard dogs of vast farming lands, especially against wild animals and trespassers.
It was observed that the population of the Dutch Shepherd dwindled over the years due to the emerging development in farming. Currently, although you won’t see much of the Dutch Shepherds in the farmlands, many of them are still involved in one service or another. Due to their innate intelligence and sharp instincts, they are well-sought of as police dogs and active participants in different dog sports.
Dutch Shepherds are often mistaken for German Shepherds. This is not surprising because if you are not familiar with the former, at first glance, the two shepherd dog breeds look very much alike. If you look closely, however, you’d realize that they are very much different starting from their coat, the size, and even the shape of the head.
The breed of the Dutch Shepherd is not formally recognized by the American Kennel Club. It was only recorded under its Foundation Stock Service since 2012 and was included in its Miscellaneous Class since 2017.
Nevertheless, the breed of the Dutch Shepherd is recognized by the following:
- United Kennel Club
- Fédération Cynologique Internationale
- Australian National Kennel Club
- New Zealand Kennel Club.
General Information on Dutch Shepherds
- Height21.5 to 24.5 in
- Weight42 to 75 lb
- Lifespan11 to 14 years
Active, Intelligent, Loyal, Protective, Eager to please
Active single fur parents and families with or without small kids, house with a fenced-in yard, or big apartments
Dutch Shepherds are categorized under medium-sized dog breeds. They can grow up to 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weigh up to 42 to 75 pounds. They are quite muscular too which suits them right being bred historically as herding dogs.
Dutch Shepherds have intelligent almond-shaped eyes that are normally dark brown in color and black noses. They have upright ears on the top of their heads. They also have long tails.
The coat of a Dutch Shepherd can come in 3 different types – short, long, and wire-haired or rough. All of these types are paired with an undercoat which is effective in helping protect their body against heat or cold.
The coat of a Dutch Shepherd normally comes in brindle in various shades of gold, and sometimes even with a mix of black and white.
There is no significant difference between the appearance of male Dutch Shepherds and their female counterparts.
The grooming needs of your Dutch Shepherd would depend on the type of coat it has. The shorter the hair, the lower the maintenance it needs.
If you have a short-haired Dutch Shepherd, you can expect that it would only need as often as once a week brushing using a bristled brush. A long-haired Dutch Shepherd would need as much as daily to every other day brushing. On the other hand, wire-haired Dutch Shepherds would not need any brushing at all to manage their look. They still need combing from time to time, however, to remove the dirt and dead hair that got stuck on its coat.
Dutch Shepherds have coats that shed. As such, it is recommended to increase the frequency of its brushing routine during shedding seasons to prevent the accumulation of dead hair on its coat. This also would stop the dead hair from scattering all over your place which can be annoying.
It is ideal to bathe your Dutch Shepherd every three to four weeks especially if you have the rough-haired one. Using dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner can help make its upkeeping manageable. You can even use one with detangling properties to help you out if you have a Dutch Shepherd with a coat that is on the long side.
Just keep in mind that human products should be a no-no.
When you bathe your Dutch Shepherd makes sure that its ears and eyes are protected from the water. Dry this with a clean cloth after bathing just to be sure.
When you bathe your Dutch Shepherd, you can also take time to check its skin for any wounds or abnormalities. Check also for fleas and ticks and if there are any, immediately address this.
Other Grooming Needs
Other grooming requirements that are often overlooked include trimming of nails, cleaning of ears, and brushing the teeth of your Dutch Shepherd.
Many owners have reservations about doing this. They are scared that they may hurt their fur baby and may cause unnecessary injury.
While this is a bit daunting at first, like any task, you’ll get used to it when you are already regularly doing this.
You can seek guidance from your vet if you are not sure how to proceed. They would gladly give you the pointers you need especially if you are a first-time owner. Another option also is to bring your Dutch Shepherd to the groomer for a thorough pampering.
Food and Feeding
Dutch Shepherds can be bottomless pits. They are very fond of eating which when not properly regulated could result in unnecessary weight gain. Because of this, it is important to impose a healthy lifestyle and a strict feeding schedule at a young age.
Dutch Shepherds would need a high-protein diet given their athletic built. Carbohydrates should not be but a small portion of their regular meal because otherwise, this would just cause them to develop fat they do not need. They also need certain vitamins to keep them looking healthy and strong all the time.
There are many dry and wet dog food available commercially that can meet this dietary requirement. Just be sure not to pick a brand of dog food with fillers because Dutch Shepherds would reap little to no nutrition from these. Try those organic ones or even dog food made up of whole grains.
There are also fur parents who prefer their Dutch Shepherds to eat cooked food or dry food. That is okay too as long as it contains all the ingredients it would need daily. Just be mindful also that these may take time to prepare.
Ideally, Dutch Shepherds consume 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food daily. This should be divided into a twice-a-day feeding schedule.
Dutch Shepherds would have different dietary requirements throughout the different stages of their lives. This should be taken into consideration also as you go making the dietary plans for your fur baby.
Dutch Shepherds are extremely trainable. They are highly intelligent which enables them to learn commands easily when done with consistency. It is because of this that this dog breed is among the first picks for a police dog and military dog training. They function well also as service dogs for those with disabilities because of their versatility.
It is recommended to start training any dog breeds as young as possible.
For a Dutch Shepherd, you can start with simple obedience training when it is already 7 to 8 weeks old. You could also do side by side with it potty training and socialization training so you can hit several goals at once.
Potty training is important to prioritize because it provides a backbone in instilling discipline in your fur baby. You won’t also want to stumble into a smelly “accident” as you go from one room to another doing your daily chores.
Socialization training, on the other hand, would help your Dutch Shepherd build its confidence in a different setting. It will curb its tendency to be aggressive and it will help your Dutch Shepherd to get along with other people and other animals as well. It would also help teach it how to behave in front of other people.
If you are thinking of letting your Dutch Shepherd join any dog sports or high-level doggy competition, advanced training can start when it is already on its 6-months old. Would you like it to develop its watchdog potential or do you want it to be more agile?
All of these would be easy to learn when your Dutch Shepherd already has the foundation of obedience training.
You shouldn’t have any difficulty training a Dutch Shepherd if you are used to training similar dog breeds. If you are a new owner, then you should know that you need to establish your place first in the hierarchy. You need to be particularly confident during training because otherwise, it would push you around or think that it is the one in charge which doesn’t bode well during training.
There are owners who equate establishing themselves as a leader to their Dutch Shepherd to intimidation and sometimes even negative reinforcement. This is not recommended because contrary to what many believe Dutch Shepherds do not respond to this kind of training style. This may even do more bad than good because it may cause unnecessary fear to the pooch that could ruin permanently its disposition.
If you think you cannot meet the training requirements of a Dutch Shepherd, there are trainers out there that could help you out. This is a great step to take rather than cause problems between you and your fur baby that both of you cannot come back from.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Being traditionally bred as working dogs, Dutch Shepherd is used to high-intensity physical activities. Thus, it would need plenty of exercises that would stimulate it both physically and mentally for it to be happy and well every day.
A Dutch Shepherd is also an athletic dog. Because of this, a normal stroll in the park may not be sufficient for it.
You would need to be creative in planning for your doggo’s activity. Make sure that it is challenging and would contribute to its conditioning. Be careful also that your Dutch Shepherd won’t get overexerted because this may do more bad than good, and can even result in injuries.
You can give a Dutch Shepherd at least an hour of exercise daily which you could divide into two or three sessions. Start with brisk walking or jogging in the neighborhood. You could also bring it to a dog park for a game of fetch or catch.
If you have an active lifestyle, a Dutch Shepherd would be a good companion too especially on hiking expeditions or even swimming.
A Dutch Shepherd can start doing exercises at a young age of 8 weeks, but not more than short walks. You can modify the length and intensity of the exercise as it grows older.
The need for a regular exercise of a Dutch Shepherd mustn’t be overlooked. Doing so would impact its physical condition and would weigh on its mind. It would start getting bored, depressed, and restless which won’t bode well for the furniture you have at home.
It would also tend to develop bad behaviors such as non-stop barking even for no reason which won’t be good if you have close neighbors. This can also be annoying to you as a fur parent no matter how much you love your Dutch Shepherd.
If you think you are not giving your Dutch Shepherd enough time outdoors, then you can supplement this also with some interactive toys while indoors. There are playthings for dogs that would be suitable even if you don’t have much space.
If you have an enclosed backyard, that would work too. You can just give your Dutch Shepherd some time there to play with a ball or on its own. You’ll realize that even when alone, Dutch Shepherds would find something to do to entertain themselves.
You’d be happy to know that Dutch Shepherds are technically healthy dog breeds. They are even considered to be one of the healthiest breeds out there.
But as an owner of one, you should also know that they can be susceptible to the following health conditions:
This is a skeletal condition that although mostly affecting big dogs, can also impact the small ones.
It is characterized by the inability of the ball and socket joints of a dog to fit well together causing partial or full dislocation. Dutch Shepherds suffering from this can be observed to exhibit lameness on their hind legs. They also have more muscled chests and half-upper bodies because these hold the most pressure as they move around.
While there is no absolute way to cure Hip Dysplasia, there are medications to manage especially the pain. Sometimes, surgery is also needed for this type of disorder.
Like Hip Dysplasia, this also affects the skeletal system of Dutch Shepherds. The only difference is that while Hip Dysplasia impacts the rear end, Elbow Dysplasia impacts the front end.
This is when bones comprising the elbow joints do not work as they should. Lameness is observed on the front limbs of a dog suffering from this condition and usually, they have a problem carrying their weight as they move around. There is also extreme pain involved which can be addressed by pain medications. Likewise, there are also times when surgery is needed.
This is an eye condition that is observed to affect Dutch Shepherds that have wire-haired coats. It is when there is a fluid accumulation in the eyes caused by the disrupted outflow. Those Dutch Shepherds that have this condition normally suffer from permanent loss of vision.
It is still unknown if this health condition is hereditary.
There is no way to predict what diseases would could your Dutch Shepherd suffer from.
What you can do instead is to ensure that it gets a healthy lifestyle so any of the health issues it could suffer from won’t be aggravated. It is also recommended for your Dutch Shepherd to regularly be screened by a veterinarian to check if it is suffering already from any health conditions. In that way, symptoms could be immediately addressed from the onset.
The average life expectancy of a Dutch Shepherd dog breed is between 11 to 14 years. However, there are also those that lived beyond that.
The secret to the long life of Dutch Shepherds is of course a healthy lifestyle. This should be maintained starting from puppyhood to adulthood.
It is easy sometimes to give in to the whims of your fur baby. But if this is not good especially on its health, then might as well put a stop to this immediately.
Dutch Shepherds are working dogs so expect that when you get one, you are in for an active and independent dog breed. They are used to doing things on their own and make sure to excel on it which is great if you have Dutch Shepherds train for a particular work.
Dutch Shepherds are also very intelligent. They are intuitive and alert which is reflected in the way they seem to observe everything around them. Even when they are just lounging beside their owners, it seems as if nothing can get past their watchful gaze.
Because Dutch Shepherds are extremely loyal too and protective especially to their family, they have the making of great guard dogs. This can only improve further if they are exposed to the right training and socialization starting from a young age.
Dutch Shepherds are not naturally aggressive. They can have inhibitions around strangers but they don’t just bite. Their reliability in assessing danger correctly when properly trained is among the reasons why this dog breed is tapped for police and military work most of the time.
Dutch Shepherds could be playful also. They seem to be packed with energy and untiring in their endeavor to entertain themselves and their family.
Dutch Shepherd Dogs as Family Dogs
There is nothing not to love about Dutch Shepherds. They have a good temperament which allows them to be great family dogs. They are adaptable too which makes them easy to integrate into any type of family.
Even if you are an active single pet owner or a fur parent with your own family because you would enjoy having a Dutch Shepherd around. Its athletic built guarantees that it can keep up with any type of adventure.
A well-trained and socialized Dutch Shepherd would also be a good fit even if you have small kids in the family or other dogs as pets. It is not too fragile, unlike those other dogs that are on the smaller side so there should be no overcompensating needed during playtime.
As long as the interaction with young kids and other dogs is supervised to prevent potential accidents, then there should not be that much of a concern.
Dutch Shepherds are also not habitual barkers. They are only known to bark when threatened but otherwise, this shouldn’t be bothersome with your neighbors. They could be apartment dogs also as long as there is sufficient space for them.
Needless to say, they don’t need much as long as they are exercised daily.
The Cost of Getting Dutch Shepherd Dogs
A Dutch Shepherd dog is not as easily available in the market as other Shepherd breeds. As such, if you are looking into owning one, you should expect that it won’t come cheap.
Buying a Dutch Shepherd puppy would cost you USD1000 to USD2500 on average. Among the factors affecting its price includes the age, pedigree, and the reliability of the breeder you are going to source it from.
For instance, an adult Dutch Shepherd that has undergone some basic house training and can perform tricks would have a heftier price tag compared to those puppies that you need to train from the start.
It is also more expensive if you would prefer to buy show-quality Dutch Shepherds compared to regular ones. More so, if these Dutch Shepherds are from champion lines that are backed with legitimate registrations and other supporting documents.
There are also many reasons why Dutch Shepherds coming from reputable dog breeders are pricey.
They do not compromise when it comes to the quality and they abide by a strict vetting process for the parent breeds that will be crossed. They are not in the business for just the bucks. Instead, they are dedicated to doing business ethically and finding forever homes for the litters they produce.
Reputable breeders even take care of the health of a Dutch Shepherd puppy from birth up until it is released to its would-be fur parents. Thus, when you finally bring your pup home, you know that the price you paid is worth it.
You won’t get the same satisfaction when you buy a Dutch Shepherd from a backyard breeder or a puppy mill. So don’t be enticed by the promise of a much lower price.
Like with other dog breeds, bringing home a Dutch Shepherd is a serious commitment. As a responsible dog owner, you should ensure first that you can cover the cost of having one before getting it and integrating it into your family.
So what are these costs?
These primarily include the dog food they need daily, dog accessories (dog bed, bowl, leash, chew toys, etc), and medical care. There are also miscellaneous costs such as the money paid for a grooming service, training, and other related expenses.
These are not inexpensive costs and a fur parent needs to be able to afford this throughout the life of a Dutch Shepherd to give it a good life.
Conclusion: Why Pick Dutch Shepherd Dogs Over Other Dog Breeds?
You’d love to have a Dutch Shepherd dog over any other dog breed especially if you have an active lifestyle. This is one dog breed that would enjoy the great outdoors with its athletic nature. You wouldn’t worry about it not being able to keep up on your hiking trips particularly if it undergoes daily exercises that help condition its muscular physique.
Getting a Dutch Shepherd is also like hitting two birds in one stone. Not only would it give you a forever companion, but it would also work as your guard dog wherever you go. It is even known to get along even with kids and other pets so that is another plus point when you decide to get one. Not to mention, it is a healthy dog breed and can be low maintenance as well.
Just keep in mind that getting a Dutch Shepherd, or any type of dog breed, is a big responsibility. You must be prepared to embrace the responsibility and the cost before deciding to take home one.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Are Dutch Shepherd good family dogs?
A: A Dutch Shepherd has the making of a good family dog. It is even-tempered, loyal, protective, and intelligent which bode well for any type of family. It is not naturally aggressive too although it can have reservations when around strangers.
Q: What breed makes a Dutch Shepherd?
A: It is said that the Dutch Shepherd has the same herding dog origin as other Shepherd dogs such as the German Shepherd. This may also be the reason why if you are not familiar with a Dutch Shepherd, you would mistake it as a German Shepherd. Nevertheless, there are many ways to tell these two dog breeds apart such as the distinct difference between their coat.
Q: Can a Dutch Shepherd be a pet?
A: Dutch Shepherds make great pets. They can even double as guard dogs too due to their protective instincts. They are excellent whether you are a single fur parent or a fur parent with a family and small kids. They thrive in a home with an enclosed backyard or a big apartment as long as you give them sufficient exercises that would keep their body and mind conditioned every day.
Q: How do you tell if your have a Dutch Shepherd dog?
A: It is not hard to spot a Dutch Shepherd if you know what you should be on the lookout for. For instance, compared to a German Shepherd, a Dutch Shepherd has a slightly smaller built. It also has a brindle coat and a wedge-shaped head which a German Shepherd does not have.