Meet the Breed: The Dutch Shepherd



  • Height: "21.5 - 24.5”
  • Weight: 50-70 pounds
  • Historical function: Sheepdog
  • Modern function: Police, service, search and rescue, companion, guard dog
  • AKC classification: Foundation Stock Service, Herding Group

A long-haired Dutch Shepherd

Physical Characteristics:

The Dutch Shepherd is a medium-sized, well-proportioned, well-muscled dog, with a powerful, well-balanced structure. The head is wedge shaped with a flat skull. The nose is dark. The teeth are strong and have a scissor bite. The eyes are dark, almond shaped and slightly slanting and the medium-sized ears are carried high and erect. The length of the body exceeds the height at the withers. The tail is slightly curved. The chest is deep and the belly slightly tucked up.

The Dutch Shepherd has three coat types: short coat, long coat, and rough coat, but all three coat types must be in a brindle pattern. A small amount of white is permitted on the chest and toes. A dark mask may be present and is preferred. The short-haired Dutch is the most common followed by the long-haired version. The wire-haired Dutch Shepherd is rare to the point of being endangered.


A wire-haired Dutch Shepherd

History of the Breed:

The Dutch Shepherd is native to Holland. It was utilized originally as a sheepdog, and was also used by Dutch farmers as a general purpose farm dog. After sheep herding became less common around 1900, the breed was used for other services such as police work, tracking, search and rescue, and as a guide dog for the blind.  The Dutch Shepherd is very similar in coat types and physical characteristics to the Belgian Shepherd Dog, except for coat color, which must be brindle in the Dutch Shepherd. This breed is experiencing a resurgence in popularity in its homeland as a companion and guard dog.


The Dutch Shepherd has an intelligent expression and a lively temperament. This is an alert breed that will be devoted to his owner, obedient, and eager to please with a pack-leader owner. Otherwise, this breed can be slightly obstinate and independent. He is a good guardian, is very faithful and reliable, undemanding, with plenty of stamina. He is vigilant as a watchdog, active and is gifted with a typical shepherd temperament, which means he needs regular mental and physical exercise. This breed may be somewhat reserved with strangers and should be well socialized. The Dutch Shepherd is an excellent candidate for obedience, dog sports, herding, tracking, search and rescue, and as a police and security dog. The herding instinct has been retained as well. 

  • Best suited for: Active families, joggers, hikers.  
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers having a job with plenty of mental and physical exercise. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Both the long and short-hair versions require regular brushing and rare bathing. The wire-hair version must be professionally stripped twice yearly. Can be lightly groomed with a wide-tooth comb.  
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk or jog, as well as mental puzzles to solve.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: 

Breed Club Links: The Dutch Shepherd Dog Club of America Perfect Pairings: WalkyDog Stainless Steel Bike Leash

Have any stories about a Dutch Shepherd? Please share!

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia commons. 

This entry was posted by Mary.
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