Work Hard, Play Hard: The Dutch Shepherd Dog Breed

Reading Time: 4 minutes

group of smiling dutch shepherd puppies

If you are a fun-loving, energetic sort of person, the Dutch Shepherd will steal your heart. These dynamic dogs are clever, trainable, and full of energy. Their talents stretch from agility to police work and everything in between!

A Short History of the Dutch Shepherd Dog Breed

The origins of the Dutch Shepherd Dog, or Herdershond, go back to the 1800s. It was about this time that the Dutch breed started diverging from its European cousins. There are many similarities between the Dutch and German Shepherds, and the three Belgian Sheepdogs (Belgian Malinois, Laekenois, and the Belgian Tervuren). All of these breeds are highly intelligent, energetic, and have a wonderful work ethic.

The Dutch herder was originally bred as a “Jack of All Trades” for 19th-century farm life. They herded livestock, chased chickens from kitchen gardens, protected the family and property, and pulled milk carts to market.

In the early 1900s, the sheep flocks in the Netherlands dwindled. Industrialization was taking hold and farmland claimed for other purposes. The valuable skills of the Herdershond made them useful in other walks of life. For example, search and rescue, as guide dogs for the visually impaired, and most popularly, as police dogs.

The Appearance of Dutch Shepherds

The first clue is the brindle coat color! You might think that you are looking at a brindle German Shepherd or Belgian Shepherd. But this is not so. The brindle coat color is completely unique to the Dutch version of this herding dog.

The Dutch Shepherds are smaller than their Belgian and German counterparts. In addition, they are stockier and well-muscled. A Dutch herder is alert with a relaxed and natural carriage.

Their Average Weight and Size

These medium-sized breed doggos weigh in at between 40 and 75 pounds (18 – 35 kg). Female Dutchies measure to a height of 21.5 – 23.5 inches (53 – 59 cm) at the shoulder. The males, a bit taller, measure to a height of 22.5 – 24 inches (56 – 60 cm).

two dutch shepherds in a forest

The Coats and Colors of These Brindle Beauties

Any color, as long as it is brindle! The brindle base color can be gold or silver. The golden color can range between a light sand to a chestnut red.

There is little variation in coat color. But there are three different types of coat. Short hair, long straight hair, and curly (or wire hair) coats. In some cases, the wire-haired Dutch herders appear to be less brindle because of the dense, tousled hair.

Brushing requirements depend on the coat type. Long haired hounds will require more frequent grooming (once a week). Short-haired Dutchies will get by with grooming once a month. However, in the seasonal shedding times, daily grooming is necessary to remove the molting undercoat.

What About Their Temperament?

Because of their intelligence and trainability, the Dutch Shepherd is one of the top dog breeds chosen for police work.

They are alert and incredibly loyal. As a result, they make for wonderful protection dogs and family pets.

Dogs with as much to offer as these dynamic herders are best suited to an environment where they receive both mental stimulation physical challenges. Left to their own devices for any length of time, these doggos will become bored and destructive.

Are They Good Family Dogs?

Short answer: Yes!

These pups have a wonderful temperament! They are fiercely loyal. As a result, they will bond closely with you and the rest of the family. Dutch Shepherds get along well with other dogs and household pets too.

Because of their high energy levels, Dutchies are best suited to busy families and people with active lifestyles. They do need early socialization and positive reinforcement training with a confident and consistent trainer.

Working Shepherd Breeds are Happy Shepherd Breeds!

These working dogs were bred to work and work they should. Dogs with as much energy and intelligence as the Dutch Shepherds must keep busy. Fortunately, they are easy to train too. Anyone willing to put in a bit of effort to train their Herdershond will reap the rewards of a lasting friendship and a super canine companion.

adorable dutch shepherd dog peeping through log

Like All Types of Shepherd Dogs, These Dogs Need Jobs!

Long walks, runs, and hikes are great exercise. Playing games such as fetch and frisbee are super ways to burn off energy. To keep their minds stimulated, brief positive reinforcement training sessions through the day will give them some food for thought. When you can’t be hands-on, puzzle toys and treasure hunts will keep your working dog mentally engaged for a while.

  • Dutch Shepherds are popular among law enforcement officials as police dogs, as well as for search and rescue.
  • Their athleticism makes them splendid candidates for agility training and competitions.
  • In addition, they excel in obedience and, obviously, herding!

Getting Your Shepherds Diet Right is Important!

By nature, these Dutch herders are active dogs. Depending on your dog’s fitness and activity levels, you will need to adjust the energy intake accordingly. For such an active canine, you will want to feed a veterinarian-approved, well-balanced dog food. A protein-based diet with a good balance of fats, vitamins, and minerals is important for keeping muscles, ligaments, and bones in good condition.

3 Health Problems Common in Shepherd Dog Breeds

In general, this is a wonderfully healthy dog breed, with very few health issues. Dutch Shepherd dogs have a life expectancy of 11 -14 years.

Thanks to Dutch breeding rules, this breed has remained healthy and untainted for the most part. In addition, the fact that it is a lesser-known breed means that there has been limited inter-breeding.

  1. However, as with most medium and large dog breeds, one should keep a lookout for hip and elbow dysplasia.
  2. Other conditions to keep in mind are thyroid issues, especially within the long-haired Dutch Shepherd.
  3. Angiodysplasia (a defect in the fluid drainage in the eye) in the wire-haired Dutchies.

Dutch Shepherd for Sale? How Much Does a Dutch Shepherd Puppy Cost?

Looking to invest in a Dutch Shepherd puppy? You can expect to pay anything between $ 1000 and $ 1500. The cost of these dynamo puppies depends on several factors. This breed is not yet so well known. Therefore, not as easy to find. Different breeders will have different standards for raising their puppies. Subsequently, different costs. The cost of a Dutch Shepherd puppy will also depend on its pedigree and the championship status of their parents.

Make Sure You Find Responsible Dutch Shepherd Breeders!

When choosing the right breeder to select your puppy from you will want to do your due diligence:

  • Make sure that the breeder is willing and able, to answer all your questions about the puppy’s health. In addition, the health of your puppy’s parents. A responsible breeder should be able to show you health check certificates and genetic testing for diseases such as hip dysplasia, thyroid issues, and angiodysplasia.
  • The environment in which your pup grows up must be clean, hygienic, and loving.
  • You should be allowed to meet the dam, as well as the sire. Certainly, the rest of the litter too.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) site is a good place to start your search for reputable breeders.

cute dutch shepherd puppy lying on hay bale

Not Looking for Dutch Shepherd Puppies? Adopt an Older Dog!

Many people don’t realize what it is to make a life with highly intelligent, high energy canine. As a result, several of these dog breeds end up in shelters or rescue organizations. If you are looking for a Dutch Shepherd and happy to skip the messy, chewy, craziness of puppyhood, then look to a Dutch Shepherd Rescue group.

The American Kennel Club has local breed clubs in almost every state. There are also more than 450 American Kennel Club rescue network groups across the United States!

Common Questions About the Dutch Shepherd Dog

Do Dutch Shepherds make good police dogs?

Are Dutch Shepherds suitable family dogs?

How do Dutch Shepherds differ from German Shepherds?

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.