The Dutch Shepherd is remarkably similar to their Belgian cousins - the Belgian Shepherds, but with perhaps more German Shepherd Dog blood in its ancestry. In fact the Dutch Shepherds and the Belgian Shepherds are judged by the same standard requirements except for color. Curiously, while the related Belgian shepherds have become well known in the United States and northern Europe, this excellent service dog has not attracted a following outside the Netherlands. Even there numbers are limited, with only around 400 dogs registered each year. Almost unknown outside Holland, the Dutch Shepherd is valued there for its ability as a herder and for its quick reflexes. Originally an all-purpose farm guard, herder, cart-puller, guard, police and security dog. This breed, in its various coat textures, evolved in the early 1800's in the southern part of the Netherlands, especially the province of Brabant, and in neighboring Belgium, which was then part of the Netherlands. Division by coat texture occurred when dog shows began 100 years ago. Puppies with short tails and white markings are frequently born but are not favorable to show people.
The Dutch Shepherd comes in three varieties: long-haired (long, straight, flat and harsh), short-haired (fine and dense) and wire-haired (medium length and wiry). Show dogs should not display much white on their chest and feet. Although the coat types vary, the color possibilities remain the same for each: various shades of brindle, including gray, yellow, silver, red or gold brindle, and blue. The short-haired variety is very widespread in Holland, while the wire-haired is less common and the long-haired is very rare. The body is muscular and symmetrical. The muzzle is long and the teeth are strong and regular. The eyes are dark and slightly slanting and the relatively small ears are stiffly erect. The tail is slightly curved. The chest and belly are deep and not too drawn up. The feet are relatively small and do not have dewclaws. The toes are well arched. The nails and pads are black. Protective hair grows between the toes.
The Dutch Shepherds are among the most competent of all shepherd dogs at such tasks as agility, catch, obedience competitions, guard work, herding, field trailing and companionship. Attached to its territory, and an enthusiastic worker. These affectionate, happy to be around dogs are obedient, sober and very loyal to its handler and family. Friendly, loving, playful and highly energetic. A very happy dog, smile a lot. Cunningly smart. Provided children let the dogs have some peace when they want it, they can also be good friends with them. Unwanted visitors will be stopped in their tracks, while known family friends will be greeted enthusiastically. Dutch Shepherds enjoy the company of their own kind and get along fine with other animals. Intelligent, easy to obedience train and eager to learn - they learn new commands quite easily. This breed makes an excellent watch and guard dog. Active, lively and alert. The short-haired variety is the most common sort for defense/police dog trials. It needs little care and can withstand fatigue and bad weather.
Height: 22-25 inches (55-63cm.)
Weight: 65-67 pounds (29.5-30.5 kg.)
The Dutch Shepherd will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. Their all-weather coat enables them to do well in cold climates.
Dutch Shepherds need to be kept both physically and mentally exercised. Because they want to work, run them through a regular drill at least twice per week. They make great jogging companions. Let it run beside a bicycle, or take it into the woods or open countryside where it can run to its heart is content.
About 12-14 years.
Both long and short-haired varieties require regular grooming with a comb and brush to remove the dead and loose hairs. The wire-haired coat should be plucked professionally twice a year. The hair can be clipped in a few places as a finishing touch. The excess hair on the ears should be removed. The wire-haired variety should never be brushed, although combing is fine in moderation. A coarse comb should always be used. Bathe the all-weather coat only when necessary, as it will remove the natural oils in the skin.