Hardly known outside the Netherlands, this loyal, hardworking breed has become an indispensable herder, especially on local dairy and sheep farms. In appearance, it is very similar to the Belgian sheepdogs, from which it is believed to have been developed.
Because the Dutch shepherd was not as popular as the German shepherd or the beautifully coated Belgian shepherd, this dog remained virtually unknown elsewhere in Europe and in the United States.History
Also known as the Dutch Herder, this Dutch working dog exists in three forms — the Coarse-haired, the Long-haired and the Short-haired. There is little difference between them apart from their coat types. Some authorities say that Dutch Shepherds did not exist before the early part of the 19th century, but it is known that they must have been around since before the early 18th century because it was then that some were exported to Australia.
The formal division of the Dutch Shepherd into three types occurred at the end of the 19th century. Prior to that date there was widespread variability in coat type because the dogs' owners bred for working ability rather than for specific appearance. But then, when dog shows started, it was decided to separate them into the three distinctive forms. Great interest in the three types arose in the 1890s, and a club for all three was formed in 1898.Appearance
A relatively large breed, this dog has a muscular and well balanced body. Its blackish eyes are slightly tilted, the ears are erect, and the long muzzle has strong teeth with a scissorslike bite.
The tail curls slightly and hangs down. Most frequently seen is the short- and straight-haired (smooth) variety. Second in popularity is the hard rough-coated type. Quite rare and facing extinction is the long-haired form. The coat color varies from a yellowish red mixture to a brown tinted with gold, or a silverish brindle.Temperament
The Dutch shepherd dog, besides being physically strong and able to work in all kinds of inclement weather, has a high sense of responsibility, remaining ever-vigilant over its territory. It is a hardworking manager of sheep, cows, and horses, skillfully serving as a trustworthy assistant. An excellent guard as well as an ideal herding dog, it is very obedient to its owner, quickly responding to commands. With appropriate training, this breed has also proven its usefulness as police and seeing-eye dogs.Care and Exercise
Brushing once a week, or every other week if the dog is short-haired, is all the care necessary. Daily exercise is also essential, along with an occasional opportunity to run freely.Puppies
A litter of five to ten puppies is usual, and because this breed is rather alert, the puppies require plenty of training to become used to people.