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Dutch Shepherd: The Ultimate Guide

By Kerry
Updated on

You will need to consider many things when you are thinking about getting a new dog, and the Dutch Shepherd is no exception to this rule. They come with their own list of pros and cons, and it is important to look at both sides before you make your decision. This will help to ensure that you are both prepared and informed.

The Dutch Shepherd is one that has a history of herding and, you guessed it, has Dutch origin. These are versatile dogs with few demands, and they are able to adapt well to different situations. Dutch Shepherds can make great family dogs, but they do also require a lot of exercise and can be hard work at times. 

Dutch shepherd

To help you figure out if this is the right breed of dog for you, we have created this ultimate guide to the Dutch Shepherd breed, so you can find out everything there is to know about them. We will be looking at the good and bad sides of owning this breed, so you can make a well-informed decision.

Dutch Shepherd Key Facts

Before we get into all of the information that you need to know if you are considering a Dutch Shepherd dog, it can be really beneficial to take a look at some of our key facts about these dogs, including their lifespan, exercise needs, monthly costs, and more.

Average Lifespan

Dutch Shepherd dogs will typically live between 11 and 14 years.

Minimum Exercise (Per Day)

Something that you will need to know about the Dutch Shepherd is that they are an active and athletic herding breed. The exercise requirements of a Dutch Shepherd are fairly high because of this, and they will require at least an hour of exercise per day.

You can exercise your puppy when they are 3 months old by taking them on short walks, and you can increase the lengths of the walks as your dog grows.

However, these are also really intelligent dogs, so they will need a variety of daily activities that will condition them both physically and mentally. These dogs also make good jogging and bicycling companions as well.

Ensuring that your Dutch Shepherd is getting enough daily exercise is essential. They are known for having a strong work ethic, and they constantly feel the need to be doing something. 

Without consistent and regular activities to do, these dogs can become anxious, disobedient, and destructive.

Coat Length

The Dutch Shepherd can have three different coats: short hair, long hair, and wire hair. Short haired Dutch Shepherds are the most commonly used for police work, and wire haired Dutch Shepherds are quite rare in general.

Minimum Cost (Per Month)

You can expect to pay at least $75 a month to care for a Dutch Shepherd, including expenses like food, insurance, treats, and other items. These are larger dogs that require more food than, for instance, a smaller dog. So, they typically cost more money.


Dutch Shepherds are muscular and medium-sized herding dogs that come from the Netherlands. They have wedge-shaped heads and almond-shaped eyes, and their ears stand upright. Their tails hang down with a slight curve at the end when they are resting.


Dutch Shepherds are typically classed as a medium-sized dog breed, and as with most other breeds, the males tend to be larger than the females.

Average Height

Male Dutch Shepherds will typically stand at between 22 and 25 inches, while females are usually between 21 and 24 inches.

Average Weight

This dog breed can grow anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds in weight. Even though their height and weight are considered standard, some individuals in the breed may be larger or smaller.


If you are looking for a dog that you will be able to teach, this is a great breed to choose. These are incredibly intelligent dogs that can learn tricks with ease and participate in various different competitions. Due to their high intelligence, it is usually best to train your Dutch shepherd in short bursts with little repetition.

These dogs are known for getting bored easily if they feel that they are not being challenged enough, so keeping their activities varied will help to ensure that they keep coming back for more.

These are also dogs that thrive on mental stimulation, so once you get past the obedience basics, you will probably notice that they are getting more excited about training as your commands get more complicated.

Dutch Shepherds are also known for their natural independence, and if they are not trained properly and stimulated regularly, then they can easily develop their own independent streak and not listen to a single thing that anybody else says. If you do not have the time, energy, and patience required to own these dogs, you might want to consider another breed.

Even though they are not used for this purpose anymore, Dutch Shepherds still have great herding instincts that come from when they worked as herding dogs. This is why they typically work and live well with other dogs and livestock.

They might not get on well with cats, but they do have a relatively low prey drive, which means that they probably aren’t going to chase them around either. Early training and socialization can help ensure that your Dutch Shepherd gets on well with other people and animals.

One of the best things to know about these dogs is that they are deeply loyal and eager to please, which is why they typically work well in family households, even in homes with children. They can also make eager and steadfast companions for seniors as long as their physical needs are still being met. It is worth keeping in mind that they are an athletic breed with a high stamina level.

This breed was largely brought in from farms, and they found a second life as police and military dogs, further highlighting their intelligence and loyalty. They are a highly sought-after breed in the police force as they are intelligent, easy to train, and they have a high territorial drive that provides them with the desire to protect their human companions. These are just some of the many wonderful qualities of a Dutch Shepherd dog. 

You might even find that Dutch Shepherd dogs become excellent watchdogs in your home, as they are alert and can learn patrol patterns.

Apartment Living

Dutch Shepherds are highly adaptable dogs who can do well with apartment living. However, these are medium-sized dogs, so you will need a fairly spacious apartment that has plenty of room for them to roam around. You will also need to be sure to take them for walks and ensure that they get their required daily exercise.

Good for Novice Owners

The Dutch Shepherd is not typically recommended for first-time owners as they require a lot of exercise and training. They require both physical and mental stimulation to prevent them from getting bored, and this might be challenging for someone without any previous dog experience.

Sensitivity Level

Dutch Shepherds have been known for their sensitivity from time to time, but they are not particularly over-sensitive. Their sensitivity can sometimes make them weary around strangers, and they do not like being scolded.

Tolerates Being Alone

Some Dutch Shepherds will tolerate being alone more than others, but they will generally do fine if they are not left alone for too long. One of the biggest issues with this breed being left alone is that they can easily get bored if they don’t have anything productive to do. There are also some Dutch Shepherds that can develop separation anxiety if they are left alone for too long.

Tolerates Cold Weather

The Dutch Shepherd can typically tolerate cold weather well, or their coat keeps them warm.

Tolerates Hot Weather

These dogs can also tolerate warm weather, but their skin and coat may need extra attention in dry climates.

Affectionate With Family

Dutch Shepherds are very affectionate, especially when it comes to their family. They are very devoted to their owners and can make excellent companions. They love to show their families affection in lots of different ways, but this can sometimes become unhealthy. On occasion, Dutch Shepherds have been known to develop an over-attachment to their owners, which is why many opt for practicing steady detachment. 


Dutch Shepherd dogs are great with children as they are very friendly, tolerant, and affectionate. This is why they tend to do well in families with children, although all interactions with young children should still be supervised. As well as this, all children should be taught how to interact with a dog correctly.

Dog Friendly

More often than not, this breed will get along well with other dogs. Early socialization with other dogs and animals when they are young will help to ensure that this is the case. Without proper socialization, it is possible for them to become weary or aggressive around other dogs.

Friendly Toward Strangers

These dogs have been known to be weary around strangers, which is why they make great watchdogs. It might take them a little bit longer to get used to strangers than some other dogs, and it is important to introduce new people to them slowly and calmly.

Health And Grooming

Dutch shepherd

While it is really important to learn about the temperaments, traits, and characteristics of Dutch Shepherd dogs, it is equally as important to learn more about their health traits and grooming requirements. We will explain more about these subjects below.


Dutch Shepherds will shed either once or twice per year at the changing of the seasons. They will also blow their coats, and this period of shedding is likely to leave hair all over your house. For these reasons, these dogs are not considered to be hypoallergenic, so they are not suitable for households with allergies to animal fur.


Dutch Shepherds are a breed that is not typically associated with excessive drooling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they do not drool at all. They can drool in certain circumstances, but this will vary from one dog to the next.

One of the most common reasons for these dogs to drool is when they are anticipating food. If it’s coming to that point in the day, or they see you preparing their food, they can start to drool. If you find that your dog is drooling excessively, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.


When it comes to grooming, the short and long-haired coats need regular brushing to remove loose or dead hairs, especially from the undercoat. The wire-haired coat should be groomed by a professional twice a year and should not be brushed, though it can be combed from time to time. Dutch Shepherds should be bathed as needed, as it removes the skin’s natural oils.

General Health

Dutch Shepherds are generally a very healthy breed. There are some instances of Dutch Shepherds developing hip dysplasia, but these instances are rarer than in similar breeds, such as German Shepherds.

Common Health Problems

Some of the most common health problems for Dutch Shepherds to suffer from are:

  • Hip Dysplasia – A debilitating orthopaedic condition that leads to chronic osteoarthritis as an animal ages
  • Elbow Dysplasia – A condition that encompasses several abnormalities that can occur in the developing elbow
  • Atopic Skin Disease Affected dogs tend to suffer throughout their life with flare-ups of varying intensities, including itchy skin, rashes and watery eyes
  • Masticatory Myositis – An inflammation of the muscles near the mouth that leads to jaw pain and difficulty opening the mouth.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease – When inflammatory cells infiltrate the gastrointestinal system, food is not properly digested, and dogs may vomit, develop diarrhea, and lose weight.

Goniodysplasia – A very rare condition that causes fluid to build up within the eye and may ultimately result in blindness.

Potential For Weight Gain

These dogs do not typically gain too much weight.


Now that you are familiar with some of the different health conditions that these dogs can develop and how they need to be groomed, it is time to look at their trainability and everything that you need to know about it.

Easy To Train

Thankfully, these dogs are very intelligent, which makes them much easier to train. However, you will need to ensure that you keep their training interesting, new, and exciting, as they can easily get bored.


As we have previously mentioned, these dogs have high levels of intelligence which just makes their training that much easier. They will be able to quickly pick up new things and learn a whole bunch of new tricks without too much difficulty. They thrive when learning the more difficult tasks as it challenges their intelligence.

Potential to Bite

Dutch Shepherds are very unlikely to bark as they are so loving and affectionate.

Tendency To Bark Or Howl

While Dutch Shepherds are not known for excessive barking, they are more likely to bark if they encounter something unfamiliar or they come into contact with a stranger.


Dutch Shepherds were traditionally used as herding dogs and would direct a large number of sheep flocks within the Netherlands. A large amount of the farming land was arable, and so they were used to stop the sheep from standing on and eating the crops. 

They are a highly versatile breed, and they would also guide the sheep to new grazing pastures and markets, pull carts, and act as guard dogs for the farmer and their family. The entire breed actually went into decline when conventional farming methods went out of fashion, and farm dogs were replaced by technology. 

This breed also suffered during World War II, when a large number of animals died from hunger or were taken over the border to Germany, pausing the breeding within the Netherlands.

Given that so few Dutch Shepherds were available for breeding, it was decided that other breeds would contribute to the population for a while. Both the Malinois and Laekenois dogs were used to increase breed numbers.

Even today this breed is quite rare, even in their native Holland, so they are not spotted very often. They have mostly been kept as companion animals, but they are also valuable members of the community. Some of these dogs act as guide dogs or assist the local police.

They are driven by nature and can be highly trained. This is why they are commonly found participating in a variety of competitive activities, including obedience, agility, nose work and even weight pulling.


Dutch Shepherd puppies can range in price from $1000 to $2500. Trained adults can range anywhere from $2500 to $20000.

Dutch Shepherd Fun Facts

  • These dogs were first bred in the 19th century
  • They almost became extinct at one point in time
  • These dogs are a rare breed
  • They were originally used for farm work in the Netherlands
  • These dogs have retained their herding instincts after all this time


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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.