Dutch Shepherd Dog (Hollandse Herdershond)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
brindle, gray brindle, salt & pepper, blue gray, gold brindle, silver brindle
Hair length:
long, short
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • staunch and affectionate

  • tolerates other pets in the house (including cats)

  • excellent guardian and attentive watcher

  • needs extensive amount of physical and mental exercise

  • dominant and requires obligatory obedience training


The Dutch Shepherd is an all-purpose working breed that was invented in Netherland in the early XIX century. For over than a century its main task was to help Holland farmers tending various types of livestock but in the modern world it’s thought to be one of the most effective military and police dog. Docile, super intelligent and loyal, it becomes a great companion animal for active people with responsible approach to the dog’s socialisation and training.


The Dutch Shepherd has very similar ancestry with the Belgian and German Shepherds as it was developed from the same continental herding canines. The breed initially appeared in the southern region of Netherlands and Belgium where it served as a guardian and shepherd of sheep and other livestock. For instance, its duties included driving off the hens from the flowers beds, directing cows for milking and dragging the carts laden with dairy to the market. Moreover farmers heavily relied on this dog when it came to defending their houses and families from unwelcome guests.

The first standard of the Dutch Shepherd was drawn up in 1898 and at that point the dogs of any coloration were admitted to registration. However, in 1914 the changes were made to allow only brindle colour in order to differentiate the breed from the German and Belgian Shepherds. Since then conformation and working characteristics of this dog remained almost invariable.

Advanced farming methods noticeably cut down the need for sheepherding dogs so by the XX century the number of the Dutch Shepherd experienced significant downfall. The World War II had terrible consequences for the vast majority of native canine varieties and lots of separate strains were totally wiped out. In the post-war years the breeding was renewed but the gene pool of the Dutch Shepherd was so scarce that it became a usual practice to use other pedigreed and non-pedigreed dogs in the process of its reconstruction. The Belgian Malinois played an important part in the revival of the breed and in 1959, with approval of the breed club, the Belgian Laekenois was also utilised in order to enlarge the rough-coated population.

Over time awareness about the Dutch Shepherd increased and it became established in other countries as well. Nonetheless it’s still attributed to rare canine varieties although it has already earned itself a name as an excellent search-and-rescue, police and guide dog. Its outstanding trainability alongside with its high energy level caused its popularity as a companion animal among active dog lovers.


The faithful, smart, watchful and dependable Dutch Shepherd gets very much attached to its human masters and in proper hands makes an amazing addition to almost any family. Nonetheless most of these dogs are prone to feel the deepest affection only for one person whom they commonly view as a pack leader. Accurate and early socialisation assumes utmost importance for this breed because of its innate aspiration for domination. It can be kept alongside children although this dog is probably too rambunctious to play unattended with a small child.

The Dutch Shepherd always stays on the alert in the presence of unfamiliar people but it rarely treats them aggressively. Remember that the breed’ specimen that didn’t get sufficient amount of obedience training may fiercely defend its territory even from your friends and neighbours. Apart from being a great guardian this dog will always give voice if it notices some suspicious activity near the house and therefore it makes a very vigilant watcher.

The Dutch Shepherd has strong pack instinct so it easily gets on with other dogs. Of course, it will be endlessly happy to have a permanent canine companion with similarly lively temperament but it will be gentle and careful with toy dogs. This dog was only used to look after the livestock so it’s usually friendly with domestic cats and other types of pets. However, it still should be thoroughly socialised in its puppyhood to tolerate other animals later on.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia.


The Dutch Shepherd exists in three coat varieties: long, smooth, and wiry, which require almost the same amount of care. Daily brushing is essential to prevent mats and tangles from forming in the dog’s hair. It also promotes its overall healthy condition.

The dog with wiry coat also needs manual plucking several times a year. It’s advisable to entrust this procedure to a professional groomer although after some basic training it can be done by the master himself.

Avoid too frequent bathing since it can deprive the dog’s fur of its protective qualities. Once you’ve bathed your pet, let it dry naturally and use vet-approved moisturizer on its skin.


The training of the Dutch Shepherd usually becomes a breeze. This super smart and loyal dog is always eager to please the handler whose dominance it accepts. Make sure that your pet understands its subordinate position within the human family otherwise it will surely try to establish its own rules in the house.

This breed is widely known for its unbelievable successes in various canine sports especially in obedience, agility competitions, herding and tracking trials. Only reward-based training techniques are justifiable in the work Dutch Shepherd as it’s prone to apply to biting if it feels itself abused.


As an industrious and inquisitive dog, the Dutch Shepherd should be provided with a great deal of both physical and mental stimulation. Daily pastime in a properly enclosed yard is an absolute must for this vigorous breed. Lots of commitment and dedication are required to meet this dog’s need for physical exercise. That’s why it won’t make a good choice for a full-time worker or a simply sedate person.

If your Dutch Shepherd lacks outlets for its exuberant energy it will entertain itself by destroying your possessions or by continuous barking.