Dutch Shepherd Dog

Group 5: Working Dog
Male: 57 – 62 cm
Female: 55 – 60 cm

Energy Level:  Moderate to High
Original Function: Herding
Lifespan: 12 – 14 yrs

Recommended for: People experienced with dogs and willing to put the training into them.

Note: Not many in Australia

Dutch Shepherd Dog

About This Breed

Originally the main function of the Dutch Shepherd Dog was that of a shepherd’s dog in the countryside. From early times, the Dutch had an arable culture that was, among other things, maintained by flocks of sheep. The dogs had to keep the flocks away from crops, which they did by patrolling the borders of the road and the fields. They also accompanied the flocks on their way to the common meadows, markets and ports.

At the farm, they kept the hens from the kitchen garden; they herded the cows together for milking and pulled the milk carts. They also alerted the farmers if strangers entered the farmyard. Around 1900, sheep flocks had for the greater part disappeared in the Netherlands. The versatile skills of the Dutch Shepherd Dog made him suitable for dog training, which was then starting to become popular. Thus he started on a new career as a police dog, as a search and tracking dog and as a guide dog for the blind. He is however, still capable of herding sheep. The breed’s first standard dates from 12 June 1898.

General Characteristics

Appearance: A medium sized, middle weighted, well-muscled dog of powerful and well-balanced structure. A dog with lots of endurance, a lively temperament and an intelligent expression. Depending on the coat the breed is distinguished in the following varieties; short, long and wire haired.

Temperament: Very loyal and reliable, always alert, watchful, active, independent, with persistence, intelligence, prepared to be obedient and gifted with true shepherding temperament, The Dutch Shepherd Dog works willingly together with its owner and deals independently with any task which is assigned to him.
When herding larger flocks he must have the capacity to work together with several other dogs.

Colour: Brindle: The basic colour is golden or silver. Golden can vary from light sand-coloured to chestnut red, the brindle is clearly present all over the body, in the ruff, breeches and tail. Too much black is undesirable. A black mask is preferable.

Grooming: Short haired variety needs just the occasional combing, with the exception during the shedding period in the spring and fall when a daily thorough brushing is needed. 
Long haired variety needs to be groomed about once a week, or more frequently depending on work and environment. 
Wire hair variety needs to be thoroughly brushed once a week, and twice a year the dead hair will need to be hand stripped. Over-bathing should be avoided to prevent dry itchy skin.

Coat: Short Hair: All over the body, quite hard, close-fitting, not too short coat, with woolly undercoat. Ruff, breeches and tail plume are clearly visible. 
Long Hair: All over the body, long, straight well fitting, harsh to touch, without curl or waves and with a woolly undercoat. Distinct ruff and breeches. Tail abundantly coated. Head, ears and feet and also the hind legs below the hocks are short and densely coated. The backsides of the forelegs show a strongly developed coat, shortening in length towards the feet, the so called feathering. No fringes at the ears.
Wire Hair: Dense, harsh tousled coat and a woolly, dense undercoat all over the body except for the head.
The coat should be close.  Upper and lower lip should be well-covered with hair, the whiskers and beard, and two well defined, coarse rough eyebrows that are distinct but not exaggerated. Furnishings are not soft. The hair on the skull and on the cheeks is less strongly developed. In profile it seems as if the head has a more square appearance. Strongly developed breeches are desirable. Tail is covered all round with hair. The brindle colour may be less pronounced because of the tousled coat. The wire hair coat should be hand plucked on an average twice a year.

Exercise: They need exercise and organized activities, being eager to work. They need socialization, training and exercise.