They are simply very beautiful to look at, have a distinct intelligence and belong to the herding and driving dogs. In addition, they are very popular with the police because they are usually absolutely reliable. That’s right – the Dutch Shepherd seems to be an all-round talent. He has proven himself in various dog sports and can be kept as an optimal family dog with appropriate, consistent training. Whoever chooses the Dutch Shepherd Dog has always made the right decision! BUT: He is definitely not a dog for beginners. He is too intelligent to be able to forgive the beginner mistakes that are automatically made. He would rather take over the reigns unnoticed. And that would not do anyone justice.
Character of the Dutch Shepherd Dog
This dog is a true gem that is greatly underestimated. He is alert, watchful, loyal, reliable, independent, active, intelligent, shows great stamina and shows great willingness to be obedient. This dog needs a caregiver. He will literally go through fire for this person. Every task given to him by “his human” he will do – independently if necessary. He is also no stranger to working together with other dogs on “larger” assignments.
Herder is well-balanced and extremely affectionate towards people. Hecticness or nervousness are foreign to him. As long as he is physically and mentally occupied, he is an optimal companion dog, but also a great family dog. In order to achieve this workload, it is advisable to start with a suitable dog sport. If you are looking for a perfect service dog, you will also be able to rely on him 150%.
The historical background of the Dutch Shepherd Dog
The correct name of the Dutch Shepherd Dog is “Hollandse Herdershond”, abbreviated “Herder”. One cannot place its origin in a specific century. But the first preserved photos date back to 1895. Since then, the appearance of the Herder has not changed much. It seems surprising that this working dog and companion with “top marks” is not very well known in UK. It is believed that he is closest to the original German Shepherds, from which the German, but also Beglian Shepherds emerged. Unlike many other dog breeds, it has not developed in a negative direction over the decades.
In earlier times, the Dutch Shepherd Dog’s job was to herd the flocks of sheep. They were also used as herding dogs to drive cattle and sheep to the slaughterhouse.
Because of their strength, they were often harnessed in front of carts and even single-person carriages to transport goods, and they were also used as farmyard dogs and watchdogs.
As early as 1874, the Herder was represented at dog shows. In 1898, the official foundation of the breeding association took place in Utrecht.
Due to the great popularity of the German and Belgian Shepherd Dog, the distribution of the Dutch Shepherd Dog was quickly narrowed down. As a result, the number of registered breeders unfortunately decreased. One thing is certain: it cannot be because of the performance, the quality of the breeding results. Character, health and of course performance are unimpeachable. This has not changed until today. It was not until May 1955 that the FCI officially recognised the breed.
Many lovers of German Shepherds turn to the Dutch Shepherd because they are disappointed by the diseases and weaknesses of character that the other German Shepherd breeds now carry and want to exclude these for their own dog. In the Dutch Shepherd Club UK, which operates under the umbrella of the VDH, no more than 100 puppies are born per year.
The colours of the Dutch Shepherd Dog
The hair and coat texture can occur differently, which is why this breed is divided into rough-haired, long-haired and short-haired animals.
For example, the short-haired, also known as the stockhaired type, is considered to have the attributes of being more impulsive and temperamental. In contrast, the coarse-haired and long-haired specimens of this breed are somewhat calmer and more compatible. They all carry the brindle coat. The basic colour is described as gold and silver. It can range from dark chestnut red to a light sand colour. The rough-coated dogs also have the following colour combinations as a speciality: blue-grey and salt-pepper.
What are the requirements of the Dutch Shepherd?
This dog simply does not like to be alone. If you think you can always leave him alone at home during a normal working day, you will have to be prepared for behavioural problems. He likes to bark loudly and persistently or destroy things. There is also the option that he will look for ways to run away. Restlessness and imbalance become widespread.
The Dutch Shepherd is a faithful companion, even when travelling. However, he should be accustomed to travelling and the necessary obedience from an early age so that it works out without problems.
Living together with other animals in a household is no problem. The Dutch Shepherd Dog prefers to grow up with other animals, including cats, poultry and small animals. Getting him used to this afterwards is not always easy. However, as he usually only knows his “duty fulfilment”, but no aggression, it should not be a problem for the main carer to show him what is required of him at the moment and what behaviour would be advisable accordingly.
The Dutch Shepherd Dog and his health
The Dutch Shepherd Dog is extremely robust and physically absolutely easy to care for.
Hereditary diseases are not known. However, the Dutch Shepherd Club UK pays close attention to the temperament and health of the breeding animals. In this way, emerging problems, such as a predisposition to degenerative myelopathy, can already be combated during breeding.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Dutch Shepherd Dog
If you look at the standard of the Dutch Shepherd Dog and talk to breeders, owners and lovers of this dog breed, it seems that there are only positive statements about this dog.
And yet there seems to be one drawback with this dog breed: its extremely independent work. In earlier times, it was necessary for this dog to be able to decide independently what was best for his flock of sheep, how to face a danger. After all, the shepherd was not always present.
He still possesses this quality. This is one of the reasons why he can be such a good service dog for the police, customs and other protection service providers. But whether this should be seen as a disadvantage is something everyone must decide for themselves.
The perfect person for a Dutch Shepherd dog is
- likes to be the dog’s sole caregiver
- an absolute outdoors person who enjoys spending hours outdoors with their dog
- willing to give the Dutch Shepherd a certain amount of freedom in his decisions when carrying out commands
- likes to integrate his dog into his family, to whom he will be very affectionate
- pleased about the extremely robust health of the dog
- proud to own a dog that is rather rare in UK
- ideally owns a small house with a garden and can quickly be with the dog in nature or on the dog sports field
- likes to invest a lot of time in the training and the “sporting” activity of his dog.
- a person who already has a certain amount of experience in dog keeping and dog training
Buying Dutch Shepherd puppies
Anyone interested in a puppy of this dog breed should also think about what it will be like when this dog is fully grown. Certainly this is not easy. But it should definitely be, because this dog can demand a lot from its owner. When choosing a breeder, the most important criterion is that the breeder is organised in the Dutch Shepherd Dog Club UK.
Why? Well, there are many dubious breeders who put puppies of all kinds of breeds on the market. Most of the time they do not care about the health of the breeding animals and also not really about the health of the puppies. Furthermore, they are not able to provide correct papers for the dog!
What is a serious breeder, some may ask. This breeder is very detailed in the report about his breeding animals. He will always have the papers of these dogs handy to be able to show them. He will also gladly show the interested person the health certificates such as vaccinations and regular examinations. In addition, he will give the interested person all the information they ask for. Of course, one can visit the puppies and make the first contacts with them.
You will receive all the tips and tricks you need for the best possible upbringing of your offspring from a reputable breeder. It goes without saying that he is always available to give advice and support to the new dog owners during the first period after the acquisition. Most of them stay in contact with “their” dog owners for the rest of their dog’s life and beyond.
First equipment for the Dutch Shepherd Dog
- Dog collar
- Dog harness
- Dog leash, in addition possibly a drag leash
- Water and food bowl, if possible easy to clean
- Dog bed / blanket for the resting place
- Long hair brush / short hair brush
- Comb / lice comb
- Dog food
- possibly toys
- possibly treats
Dog food for the Dutch Shepherd Dog
No great claims can be noted in this point either. As usual, the reference here is to high-quality food that suits both the dog and the owner.
The Dutch Shepherd is a wonderful dog, both for the individual and for the family. He needs a home where he is left alone very little, where he feels well accepted. Basically he needs a main reference person, but pays the necessary respect to all others in his pack.
This dog needs a person who likes to work with him a lot in the open air and who can challenge him physically and intellectually. It is important to know that this person is not a beginner in dog keeping.
The Dutch Shepherd will make any owner proud. He is a fantastic, loyal dog with whom one can spend many wonderful years.
How much does a Dutch Shepherd Dog cost?
Provided that the Dutch Shepherd Dog is purchased from a breeder affiliated with the Dutch Shepherd Dog Club UK, a price around £1,000 can be expected. When buying, please make sure that you only buy from registered breeders. Dubious breedings or puppies from Puppy Mills should be avoided.
Where does the Dutch Shepherd come from?
As the name suggests, the original home of the Dutch Shepherd Dog is in the Netherlands.
How old does the Dutch Shepherd Dog live to be?
The Dutch Shepherd has robust health and loves exercise, which leads to great fitness. As a result, he can reach a life expectancy of 12 or more years.
What is the size and weight of the Dutch Shepherd?
The size, measured at the withers, is between 57 and 62 centimetres for males. The bitches have a size of 55 to 60 centimetres.
The FCI Standard does not specify a specific weight for this dog breed. Rather, it is described as a medium sized, medium heavy, well muscled dog. The build is described as well proportioned. The average weight is given as 23 to 30 kilograms.
How many puppies does the Dutch Shepherd have?
The average litter of the Dutch Shepherd Dog gives birth to 6 to 10 puppies. Of course, this can vary greatly.
Is the Dutch Shepherd a hunting dog?
The Dutch Shepherd Dog has been classified in the group of herding and driving dogs by the FCI. However, herding and driving are not the only tasks this dog likes to do. Many options are available to it in this regard including working as a draft dog, one of the most difficult tasks that can be given to a dog. Certainly he is an absolute workhorse. To perform at the highest level is his favourite task. That is why he can be used in many areas. However, he is not a hunting dog per se.
Is the Dutch Shepherd a family dog?
The Dutch Shepherd can certainly prove itself as a family dog. However, all family members must be able to cope with the fact that this dog will always stick to the pack leader. He will also behave in a sovereign manner towards the other family members and respect them. However, in his opinion, only his reference person is entitled to call the shots. Even this, however, he will question. He always needs the right motivation and his own personal acceptance for his actions.
With the right guidance, the Dutch Shepherd is a wonderful family dog. However, it should be clearly stated that small children should always be supervised with the dog. Because of his former job as a herding dog, he is used to making independent decisions. This could sometimes go wrong in the family, even though he usually withdraws if the children are too pushy. If possible, he should learn contact with the children as early as possible.
Can the Dutch Shepherd be kept in a (city) flat?
The Dutch Shepherd is not demanding. However, he has quite a pronounced urge to move, which must be accommodated. This can be a problem in the rather narrow and busy city. Also, most flats are too narrow for this dog, so that one or the other mishap can occur.
Certainly, with proper training, the dog can be easily handled in the city. However, BEFORE buying a Dutch Shepherd, you should make a plan for how you want to satisfy the urge to move: dog training, long walks, dog sports. This dog is not a lap dog. Whoever chooses him as a dog should be adventurous and enjoy being out and about with the dog for long periods of time.