The Dutch Shepherd, or “Dutchie”, is a breed that is bred to be versatile and often known as the “jack-of-all-trades”.
Breed name: Dutch Shepherd
Lifespan: 11 to 14 years
Height: 21.5 inches to 24.5 inches
Weight: 42 to 75 lbs
They excel at adapting to new conditions, which makes them ideal for dog sports. The Dutch Shepherd is an amazing companion if you are willing to put the time and effort into caring for their needs.
They are loyal, reliable, and love to work with their people. This is not a weekend warrior dog and not a dog that is content with living in an apartment with no access to being worked.
While the original purpose of the Dutch Shepherd was to tend flocks of sheep as a herder, in modern times, they are often bred for police or bite work. This means they like to use their mouths! They need proper outlets so this characteristic doesn’t escalate into a dangerous behavior or a general nuisance.
The American Dutch Shepherd Association, Working Dutch Shepherd Association of America, the Dutch Shepherd Club of America, and North American Dutch Shepherd Rescue are all good resources for those interested in Dutch Shepherds.
All three organizations have several pieces of information that illustrate the breed standard, the history, and other important links about owning Dutch Shepherds for those that are interested.
In this article, we’ll hear from Hannah and her insight into the Dutch Shepherd based upon her experience with her Dutchie Pando. You can follow Pando and the rest of his pack on Instagram here (@groenendaze).
Dutch Shepherd Pros
There are three coat varieties of the Dutch Shepherd: the short hair, the long hair, and the rough hair. While this pro is mostly a pro for the long hair, which is the most common variety, the Dutch Shepherd coat overall is fairly wash and wear. Their coats overall are very striking.
Their adaptability makes them the ideal adventure companions. These dogs are ready to go and will have fun exploring new environments. This is what makes them so great as police dogs or in SAR, in addition to sports dogs and adventuring companions.
This question will pop up in the Commonly Asked Questions section but to emphasise the point – ‘are Dutch Shepherds intelligent?’ – yes! These are intelligent dogs. They were dogs originally bred to make independent decisions when tending sheep, and later when they were used as military dogs. This is a trait that carries over to modern-day – these are dogs that can problem solve and are good at everything they put their mind to.
These dogs are super fun to train! Their intelligence often leads to being quick learners and they love to train with their people. There is a reason that they are a common breed for dog trainers to own and common to see in obedience sports.
Dutch Shepherd Cons
Not ‘Dog Park dogs’
Dutch Shepherds are generally dog-selective. This means they are not dogs that will want to be friends with every dog they meet and it’s important to understand when your dog is uncomfortable in a situation with another dog so it doesn’t escalate.
High Energy And Drive
Dutch Shepherds are a lot of dog, especially for someone who is looking for just a pet. Their high energy requires lots of physical and mental stimulation. As stated before, these are not weekend warrior types of dogs and instead are dogs that love to work and love to be active as often as possible. They also have very high drive, especially toy drive, and prey drive. These are dogs that would love to catch and kill small, fluffy things, so it is important to watch out for outdoor critters and also animals such as cats.
These dogs are naturally aloof. They are not typically social to people outside their person. Aloofness is common, but they should not show fear or viciousness toward anyone. In order to achieve this, proper socialization is needed.
Needs proper socialization
The Dutch Shepherd is a dog that needs socialization very early in life to avoid developing behavioral issues such as reactivity towards other dogs or people. With proper socialization, these are great, stable dogs that can easily adapt to environments without issue. Without that socialization, a dog will be set up for failure and may not adapt to new situations with the fearlessness that Dutch Shepherds should have per their standard.
Dutch Shepherds, will push boundaries. This is the consequence of intelligence and trainability. These dogs like to find loopholes in training and will cheat the system in any way they can. This is where having a good bond and engagement with your Dutch Shepherd comes in handy – along with a good motivator for rewards!
Dutch Shepherds Commonly Asked Questions
Is a Dutch Shepherd a good family dog?
They can make good family dogs for those families willing to put in the work and effort into making sure they are properly enriched with both mental and physical enrichment, as well as care and management. They are strong dogs and have drive and energy that is likely not the best for a family looking for just a family pet – but could be a fit for a family was committed to doing more with their dog.
How protective are Dutch Shepherds?
Dutch Shepherds are known to be vigilant watchdogs. If someone is on your property or even someone walking their dog in front of your house, they will let you know! As for protectiveness, they are supposed to show some form of protectiveness but it often depends on the individual for the level of protectiveness shown.
How fast can Dutch Shepherds run?
Dutch Shepherds tend to be very speedy! The top lifetime dog in FastCAT, a coursing ability test, is currently 32.10 mph. They are powerful dogs and it reflects in their speed and stamina.
How smart are Dutch Shepherds?
They are known to be very smart! Even better, they love to work with you. If you find the right motivator and are willing to put in the time and effort to create a bond with your dog, they will do almost anything. However, their intelligence is often used to cause trouble – they are mischievous and will keep you on your toes.
What age do Dutch Shepherd’s ears stand up?
Ears will depend on the individual. Puppy ears will go through phases where sometimes they are up, sometimes they are down, and sometimes they are all over the place. Their ears don’t completely set until their adult teeth are fully in.
Anything Else To Consider?
I do want to add – between the puppy and sub-adult stage (around 0-2 years old) are the most difficult times of a Dutch Shepherd. It is often the reason most Dutch Shepherds are between 1-2 years old when given to a shelter. If people are interested in a Dutch Shepherd but are not sure if they can handle this difficult stage, rescuing from a breed-specific rescue is ideal!