Dutch Shepherd: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


The Dutch Shepherd breed is active, intelligent, docile and very easy to train. It is a great alternative to other better known breeds, to which must be added the guarantee that it has the most stable temperament. One of the most valued protection dogs in the world. At Petlifey, we explain the characteristics and behaviour of the Dutch Shepherd.


Character of the Dutch Shepherd breed

The behaviour of the Dutch Shepherd is very docile, it is attached to its owner, obedient, alert, hard-working, very faithful and trustworthy. Modest, highly resistant, always attentive and active, it is endowed with the qualities of a true sheepdog.

The specimens of this breed need to go outdoors to be able to run freely and practice a lot of exercise. Thus, they can live in an urban environment, but they need to go to the park or the country quite regularly.

The Dutch Shepherd puppy will soon become a dog devoted to its family, loyal, affectionate and tender, as well as a fierce, resistant and faithful guardian, like its mother.

Influenced in its appearance and usefulness by its close relative, the Belgian Shepherd, the Dutch Shepherd was selected in the South of Holland at the end of the 19th century and, paradoxically, as has happened with other breeds of Shepherd, it has been its lower popularity that It has contributed to keeping its character and qualities intact.

  • Energy: Very high level. It is a dog that needs to burn a lot of energy, so it must get regular exercise.
  • Temperament: It is obedient, hard-working, docile, lively, very faithful and trustworthy. Modest, always attentive and active, it is endowed with the qualities of a true sheepdog.
  • Adaptability: Medium. It prefers open spaces and does not adapt very well to urban life.
  • Sociability: High. It is an extraordinary companion dog, docile and fun, friend of all members and friends of the family.
  • Health: Good. No trace of hereditary diseases.
  • Longevity : High. It can live up to 14 years if it is well cared for.
  • Utility: Very versatile. Thanks to its good character, it can be used as a herding, guard and defence, companion dog, and in obedience, ring or agility .
  • Use: Grazing.

Is it easy to educate?

Above all the qualities of the Dutch Shepherd, the strength of its character and the enormous capacity for learning that it possesses stand out.

Endowed with great energy, physical power, speed and extreme courage, qualities that are combined with faithfulness and an uncompromising attachment to its master, this dog has all the necessary virtues to excel in disciplines as varied as obedience competitions, ring, defense and protection or agility , especially now that it is being used less and less for its original grazing function.

Can it be kept indoors?

The Dutch Shepherd is an extraordinary family dog. It is affectionate and fun, very easy to handle by any member of the family it lives with, and it is careful and gentle with the elderly and children, although its living with them must always be supervised by an adult.

With strangers it is suspicious; it notices their presence at first and is suspicious, but as soon as the visitors join the group, it accepts them with the same pleasure as the members of its own family.

Can you have it in an apartment?

In general, it adapts well to modern life, even when it comes to doing it in an apartment, but as long as the daily exercise needs are guaranteed. Therefore, if it is educated in coexistence from a puppy, it will never be a problem dog.

Is it a recommended breed?

The Dutch Shepherd is a recommended breed for those who can offer you the possibility of being able to exercise daily. You must run, jump, and don’t settle for a simple walk. It is not recommended for sedentary or elderly people.

It is one of the most efficient shepherd dogs in the world, but also one of the most unknown. Eclipsed by the popularity of its splendid close relative, the Belgian Shepherd , it has hardly been known outside of its original borders.

But for a few years, it has excelled in sports work to become one of the favourite breeds of lovers of this kind of competition.

The Dutch Shepherd shows its functionality at first glance: it is an athletic, symmetrical and muscular dog, with a long muzzle provided with strong jaws and teeth, which allows them to carry out its task with dexterity.

Active, vital, obedient and highly intelligent when tackling almost any task, the Dutch Shepherd makes an excellent working dog that is gradually gaining more followers among fans of the canine world.


Characteristics of the Dutch Shepherd

Medium to large in stature and build , the Dutch Shepherd is a muscular dog with a strong and well-proportioned body structure.

He has an intelligent expression and a lively temperament. Its movement is fluid, flexible, agile and natural, it covers a lot of space.

There are three varieties of this breed that differ only by the type of hair. Otherwise they share the same and highly valued morphological and character characteristics.

The coat can be of several colors, although the most common is the brindle in different tones and shades, which sometimes has a small white spot on the chest and feet.

The best-known variety of all is the short-haired one, perhaps because it is the most valued, since it is an eminently working dog and has the added value of its easy maintenance.

For the same reason, the next in popularity is the wire-haired one, and the long-haired one is the least known and, therefore, the rarest of all.

Short haired dutch shepherd

In short-haired specimens the coat is quite hard. Relatively long, especially on the body, and with abundant undercoat. The collar, the “pants” and the feathered tail are clearly visible.

Long haired dutch shepherd

In those with long hair, the coat is smooth on the body, close together, rough to the touch, without waves or curls, with abundant undercoat. The head, ears, feet, and hindquarters below the tibia-tarsal joints are covered with long, dense hair.

The back of the forelimbs shows a highly developed coat, which is longer in its lower parts (the so-called “feathers”).

Wirehaired Dutch Shepherd

In the hard-haired specimens it is dense, hard, abundant; with the exception of the head, with dense undercoat. The coat is very dense.

The upper and lower lips are covered with abundant hair (commonly called mustache or goatee), rough and well parted. The prominent eyebrows are covered with shaggy hair.

Dutch Shepherd breed standard

  • General appearance: Muscular, with a strong and well proportioned body structure, intelligent and lively temperament.
  • Other names: Dutch Shepherd Dog / Berger hollandais / Hollándischer Scháferhund / Hollandse Herdershond.
  • Origin: Holland.
  • Varieties: Short hair, long hair and wire hair.
  • Size: Large.
  • Height at the withers : 57-62 cm (Male) and 55-60 cm (Female).
  • Weight: 25-30 kg (Male) and Weight: 25-28 kg (Female).
  • Body: It is a muscular dog, with a rectangular body structure, strong and well proportioned.
  • Head : Of a size well proportioned to the body and rather elongated in shape, it is compact, without folds and lean. In the wirehaired variety it appears a bit more square, although it is only an optical illusion.
  • Skull: It is flattened.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): Little marked.
  • Muzzle: It is a little longer than the skull, the muzzle is straight and parallel to the upper line of the skull.
  • Truffle: It is black.
  • Jaw : The jaws are strong and the teeth are white and complete, with a regular scissor bite.
  • Eyes: Medium in size, the Dutch Shepherd’s eyes are almond-shaped and set slightly to the sides of the head. They are dark in color.
  • Ears: They are rather small and are inserted high on the head. When alert or nervous, the dog keeps them erect and directed forward.
  • Neck: Not very short, it is thin and without dewlap, and it is inserted in gradual transition in the upper line of the body.
  • Back: It is short, straight and strong.
  • Chest: Deep, but not narrow, with slightly arched ribs. The lower line of the rib cage continues gradually towards the line of the belly.
  • Forelimbs: They are strong, with good muscles and solid bone structure. They are practically vertical, but with sufficient suspension at the carpal joint.
  • Shoulders: They are oblique and well attached to the rib cage. Forearms and arms: They have good length.
  • Hind limbs: They are strong, well muscled and with solid bones. The legs are strong and straight and the knees: Well angled.
  • Feet: They are not long; They have the fingers very close to each other and arched. The nails are black and the pads are elastic and dark in color.
  • Tail: It is quite long and is covered with abundant hair. If the animal is at rest, it carries it straight or hanging, but in movement it elegantly stands it upright.
  • Skin: it is well adhered to the muscles.
  • Hair: In all three varieties it is dense, hard and abundant, with a collar, trousers and a bushy tail. Double-layered, it has an abundant undercoat. The coat of the short-haired specimens is quite hard, and that of the long-haired ones is rough, well glued and smooth, without undulations.
  • Color: In the short-haired and long-haired varieties, it is more or less brindle over the basic brown color (golden brindle) or grey basic color (silver brindle). The stripes extend all over the body, including the collar, the hair on the thighs, and the tail. In wire-haired dogs, greyish blue and salt and pepper colors, golden or silver brindle predominate, although in this variety the brindle is less marked.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 223 – GROUP 1 – Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs). Section 1 – Sheepdogs

Dutch Shepherd Education and Training

To keep the Dutch Shepherd healthy and happy it is essential to guarantee them the high doses of daily exercise it needs.

Only in this way will it be possible to raise a physically and mentally balanced dog, since it is an animal that does not settle for a simple walk but, on the contrary, it is highly recommended to enrol it in some type of organized activity.

In fact, it is almost an obligation to work in depth with this breed to, in this way, be able to express its qualities to the fullest, which will also redound in their physical and mental health.

When it is carried on a leash, it must be taught to walk next to the foot of the person who is leading it, since in this way the dog assumes its role and understands who its leader is and, therefore, who marks the path to be followed.

Active dog par excellence, it is a great companion for those who like to go for a run or ride a bike, because, among other things, it enjoys accompanying bike rides to the race.

Due to its active nature, it is also advisable to give them the option to run freely, always in a safe space, and it is good to take advantage of such occasions to force them to jump, go up, go down, dribble and do as many exercises as possible, either by chasing a frisbee or fetching a ball or some other long-distance lure.

This dog is not considered a fashionable breed and therefore its owners must be people who know its virtues as a useful dog and who approach it to get the most out of it, not for mere aesthetic criteria.

The short-haired variety is by far the most popular, especially since it has been adopted as the preferred dog of the Dutch army and law enforcement.


Dutch Shepherd diet and health

The Dutch Shepherd is generally a long-lived and healthy dog. It easily reaches 14 years of age and does not present major health problems.

The diet of the Dutch Shepherd must be sufficiently rich in protein in order to keep its strong muscles in perfect condition, an essential aspect for such an active dog.

Precisely because of its conformation and because of its high activity, it may be necessary to divide the target intake in two, to avoid possible digestive problems or stomach torsions and, as a precaution, it should never be fed immediately before or after exercising.


Dutch Shepherd care

In all three varieties, the breed’s maintenance and hygienic routine are quite basic. Even long-haired and wire-haired specimens only need a good regular brushing to remove dead hair.

On the other hand, none of them require an aesthetic fix. But, nevertheless, it is convenient and necessary to keep their feet and hands clean of excess hair, and the condition of their nails should not be neglected.


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