Dutch Shepherd – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Dutch Shepherd is often confused with famous German Shepher, although these are two separate breeds. Read on to discover what makes them so similar, but yet so different.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
21 to 25 inches
50 to 70 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Standing up to 24.5 inches and weighing up to 75 pounds, this breed tends to live between 11 to 14 years.

This athletic and alert breed has a slightly independent mind that can be easily handled if you have some dog experience. This is an active breed that can spend the majority of the day being active and running.

This endurance is reflected in his physique and structure. Today, they can mostly be found living in rural areas. The Dutch Shepherd is a hard-working dog with a wolf-like appearance.

Dutch Shepherd is not a widely known breed but is definitely worth thinking about getting Dutch Shepherd. This breed will do great in dog sports, herding, and tracking.

Dutch Shepherds are great as family dogs, even with smaller children and other pets especially if they are raised with other animals from puppyhood.

As active dogs, they need a fair amount of exercise, both mentally and physically. Otherwise, they may become bored and destructive and this is something that shouldn’t be seen in any dog.

Since their biting is a force of 224 psi they can easily make a mess of your living room if left alone for too long.

All dogs should be trained properly, while the most powerful ones should be handled only by experienced dog owners, including the Dutch Shepherd.

Quick Facts

Real name: Dutch Shepherd
Other names: Dutch Herder, Hollandse Herdershond
Origin: Netherlands
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
Height: 21 to 25 inches
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 6 – 10 puppies
Color: Brindle
Coat: Both short-, long-, and rough-haired varieties

Dutch Shepherd History

Dutch Shepherd is a breed originally from The Netherlands. This breed was loved by many, as farmers needed an all versatile breed to help them with everyday activities.

Farmers needed a breed that adapts well and can be highly active. They needed an almost tireless breed that will adapt nicely to harsh living areas.

Their primary job was to herd cattle all day long, and they were beyond excellent performing that task.

Over time, their responsibilities grew, and some of their new duties included keeping the kitchen garden safe from other animals, alerting farmers when strangers would approach, or simply watching the children.

Interestingly, the first standard of this breed isn’t that far away. In fact, the first breed standard dates from June 12, 1898.

According to this standard, many coat colors were allowed, but that all changed by 1914. In 1914, the breed’s standard was reshaped and it strictly stated that the only allowed color in this breed is brindle.

The main reason why this change was made involved confusion with other breeds.

The Dutch Shepherd should be only brindle, because this is the most effective way to separate it from other similar breeds, such as German Shepherd and Belgian Shepherd.

As industrialization started tooking over the manual workaround 1990, shepherd dogs started being replaced with machines.

This lead to a significantly lower number of this breed. However, this breed started being used for different tasks than herding, similar to the development of the German Shepherd.

Since this breed was highly versatile skills-wise, dog lovers could easily put them in other jobs.

As result, the Dutch Shepherds started working as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs for the blind.

Although their jobs have changed, their herding instincts are still active. Their herding ability is what makes them stand out even today.

Dutch Shepherd Physical Appearance

This breed is still often mixed with German shepherds. Although they are similar in appearance size and body-wise, the best way to distinguish them is by the coat.

Only Dutch Shepherd is allowed to have brindle coloration.

Plus, Dutch Shepherds are still smaller in size compared ot their famous cousin German Shepherd, with females being slightly smaller than males.

Compared to their famous cousin, the Dutch Shepherd comes with a stockier appearance. Also, the head in Dutch Shepherd is more of a boxy appearance.

The Dutch Shepherd is usually between 21 to 25 inches at the shoulder, and between 50 to 70 pounds. When provided good conditions and proper care, this versatile dog can live up to 15 years.

Depending on their coat there are three types of Dutch Shepherds:

    Short-haired. Always covering the entire body. Comes with a woolly undercoat and plum tail.

    Long-haired. Long and straight hair harsh to the touch. The undercoat is woolly, and the tail is rich in hair. There are no fringes at the ears.

    Rough-haired. Dense coat with harsh undercoat over entire body, except for the head. The hair on the skull is soft and less strongly developed. The tail is entirely covered with hair.

As mentioned above, the brindle in this breed is the only acceptable color. However, there could be variations.

The basic color is usually silver or golden and can vary from there. A true silver brindle type is really rare because having too much white is a fault.

Also, having too much black coat color is far from being desirable. However, a black mask is desirable.

White markings are often present and will be tolerated for a certain amount. However, heavy white markings are not desirable.

Dutch Shepherd Personality

If you are passionate about training dogs, then this breed is for you. However, before you let Dutch Shepherd take your home and heart, make sure that you can handle owning this breed.

This breed isn’t for first time dog owners. These are physically powerful dogs who need to be trained properly.

Well-trained Dutch Shepherd is a dog who will respond to the command ‘sit‘ in the blink of an eye.

Highly intelligent dog breeds demand experienced dog owners who will know their way around dog needs.

To have a well-behaved dog investing your time and energy in terms of training is a must.

Important: If you don’t have enough time within your day to spend on training this breed, you might think about getting another breed.

The Dutch Shepherd is an intelligent and determined breed with a mind of his own.

This is a highly devoted breed, eager to please people he respects. They are highly obedient toward their owner and full of affection toward the rest of the family members.

This is a loyal dog who will perform the role of a watchdog perfectly. All in, this is a reserved breed, especially toward strangers.

As such, the Dutch Shepherd is considered to be a fairly reserved breed. As a highly loyal breed, they need human interaction to thrive.

Dutch shepherds will do fine in households with children, as long as children are well-educated on how to behave around dogs.

They can also be suitable pets for elderlies, but in this case, it’s important, to be honest, and see dogs’ needs can be met at a significantly slower pace.

After all, this is a highly athletic breed that needs a fair amount of training and exercise to remain mentally satisfied and physically active.

Living With Dutch Shepherd

Dutch shepherds are highly active dogs. As such, they need a significant amount of exercise.

Next to enough exercise, they need proper mental stimulation as well. This breed will do fine in a city apartment, as long as you provide enough space for running and other activities.

They need regular exercise every day. A house with a fenced-in yard would be perfect for this breed. Once they claim a part of the living area as theirs, they will stick to it.

As a general rule, they aren’t prone to wandering off, as they love to stick to their corner of the yard.

As such, they can be trusted not to chase smaller animals or people, although they still have strong hunting instincts.

If you want to be part of the exciting world of dog sports, this is the breed to have. They are strong enough to have long training sessions and exercise time.

Plus, they are athletic enough for agility competitions, while being agile enough to do tracking. They won’t back away from weight-pulling as well.

Don’t forget that when not competing, this breed will need something to keep them active every day. Otherwise, you might experience what it feels like to have a bored dog.

When bored, dogs tend to spend that energy, and when not directed the best way they will show destructive behavior.

Dutch Shepherd Training

Training is what makes a well-behaved dog. Using positive reinforcement methods is what will help you have a proper canine citizen.

Dutch Shepherd is a highly intelligent breed, meaning that he can learn fast.

Training should start as soon as you bring your Dutch Shepherd puppy home. Puppies are capable of mastering basic commands as of eight weeks of age.

Use vaccination period to train your dog to master basic commands such as ‘sit, ‘come’, and ‘no’.

Dutch Shepherd is a work-driven dog and you should use this trait to make them great obedient dogs. When you have a dog who is work-driven it means that you should use treats to keep your Dutch Shepherd motivated and mentally stimulated to perform various tricks.

Obedience training is highly recommended with this breed. They are packed with true shepherd temperament, making them great for many work duties, including herding, scent detection, and scent tracking.

This breed will excel in agility training as well. Sicne they are highly intelligent, they will try to outsmart you.

Do your best to keep training sessions regular, fun, and packed with treats.

Dutch Shepherd Exercise

Having a high-energy breed such as Dutch Shepherd means that you will spend a lot of time outdoors.

Be 100% sure that you can meet the breed’s needs because they will need a lot of exercises. Otherwise, you just might discover how it feels like having a dog who demonstrates destructive problem behaviors.

This is an all-purpose farm dog, who is today busy being full-time police and military dog.

As such, the Dutch Shepherd has been bred for hard work for a long period. This is a dog to follow you around, and make adventure time more precious.

Dutch Shepherd isn’t for long in-house playing sessions. Plus, they do not like being left alone. If neglected they may develop separation anxiety, a condition that is common in dogs who find it hard to be on their own. All in, this is a condition you do not want to see in your dog.

Dutch Shepherd Health

Overall, Dutch shepherds are healthy dogs. Like with any other breed, certain health issues may appear. This is why working with responsible breeders is so important.

They will screen puppies for the most common health conditions and you will know if your puppy comes to you healthy and how much.

Once you get your Dutch Shepherd you are directly responsible for his weight.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise and you don’t want your Dutch Shepherd to be part of these statistics. Make sure that you know for sure how much you should feed your dog and how often.

Larger dog breeds should have two meals per day in smaller amounts, so they can avoid bloat: a life-threatening condition commonly seen in larger breeds.

If you provide regular veterinarian check-ups and proper nutrition, your Dutch Shepherd should reach his senior years without major worries.

No matter how much training and exercise you provide, any shepherd breed can still have joint issues.

This is why it’s important to enable proper exercise. Some genetic disorders are linked with this breed, including various allergies, pannus, and cryptorchidism. Hip and elbow dysplasia are often seen in this breed as well.

Is Dutch Shepherd For You?

Dutch Shepherd is a breed with a warm personality and calm temperament, making him a great choice for larger families with dog experience.

They are best known for their work ethics, obedience levels, and strong need to engage with their humans.

For inexperienced owners, this breed would be too much work, so if you are just thinking about becoming a dog owner, think about getting a dog that is more suitable for first time dog owners.

On the other hand, if you already have dog experience and you want a dog who is energetic, loyal, and go-getter this bred might be for you.

Even with experienced dog owners, this breed can be a lot of work. Doublethink if you can invest enough resources in keeping this breed happy and healthy in the long run.

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