The Confident, Hardworking Dutch Shepherd is Your Next Best Mate

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

Presenting this rare breed that’s sure to win your heart – the Dutch Shepherd!

Also called Dutchies, these dogs have been taught the value of work at an early age. Their traits are the result of being trained herding dogs and early war soldiers.

These strong canines have a high level of intelligence and stamina. They might be a handful to some, but, with proper training, they’ll definitely make their owners proud.

Get ready because these furry babies will get you moving!

Two long-haired Dutch Shepherds side by side on the ground

What are Dutch Shepherds?

Dutch Shepherds are farm dogs from the Netherlands. They’re a versatile breed, the jacks-of-all-trades that help farmers in their daily work.

These canines can be trained to help out with most farm chores, like watching over the sheep, herding cows, chasing chickens away from crops, or pulling heavy loads.

Dutchies have also proven to be excellent patrol dogs, guarding over property and alerting people of strangers.

Farmers find this breed a breeze to train. These are intelligent dogs that love the physical and mental stimulation of work and training.

Their active nature makes them naturally adventurous, so they’re also excellent pets for outdoorsy people.

A brief history of Dutch Shepherds

Dutch Shepherd with a tennis ball in his mouth and lying in sand
Source: @k9_aceman / IG

No one knows where exactly this breed came from, except that it was discovered as a working dog in the rural areas of the region known today as the Netherlands.

The first breed standard for the Dutch Shepherd was established in 1898.

Many of the dog’s physical features have remained the same for more than a century.

This breed almost went extinct during World War II, which put a stop to dog breeding in the Netherlands.

Many of these canines died from starvation, while others were taken from farms to serve the German military.

Although breeding efforts have been successful, this Shepherd remains a rare breed today.

What does a Dutch Shepherd look like?

A Dutch Shepherd’s eyes are almond-shaped and dark. Its head is naturally wedge-shaped with ears standing upright.

This breed can grow to a medium to large size, reaching 21 to 24 inches (54 to 62 cm) in height and 42 to 75 pounds (19 to 34 kg) in weight. Females tend to be smaller than males.

The Dutchie’s build is similar to those of its cousins, the German Shepherd and the Belgian Shepherd.

Their bodies are strong, muscular, proportionally balanced, and fit for daily work. The only noticeable difference between these breeds is their coat color.

The Dutch Shepherd’s unique coat

Its coat differs a lot from fur of the similar-looking breeds – in fact, it’s their only distinction.

The base of the Dutchie’s coat is usually gray, silver, or golden, but the coloring pattern is always brindle.

There will also be instances when a Dutch Shepherd will have a blue brindle color, caused by a dilution gene.

Dutch Shepherd on a leash standing on grass
The Dutch Shepherd’s brindle coat

The Dutch Shepherd’s brindle coat has actually been part of the breed standard since 1914. The pattern distinguishes this Shepherd from breeds like the GSD and the Belgian Shepherd.

Dutchies’ coats also differ in length and texture. Some of them will be short-haired, with a stiff, close-fitting coat and a visibly feathery tail, while others have long coats, with straight, rough fur.

Many Dutchies can also be classified as wire-haired, with fur that appears to be tousled and curly with a wooly undercoat.

The interesting personality of the Dutch Shepherd

This versatile breed seems to be the best at any work they do, especially around the farm.

Here are just some of the outstanding traits that will make you want to get this Shepherd for your family.

They are intelligent.

Among other herding dogs, the Dutch Shepherd is one of the most intelligent there is. They can grasp an order the first time it’s given to them.

They’re naturally fast learners, which is why many of these dogs can be trusted with important farm chores like herding sheep out to pasture and bringing them back.

They are easily trained.

Anyone who’s owned a Dutchie would agree how easy it is to train them. They can be trained as early as puppyhood and are known to have excellent focus and quick learning habits.

These brilliant furbabies can be trained to serve in the military and in police forces as well.

They are athletic.

Boy, are they fast! Dutchies are trained herders, with bodies that are used to the hard work of running after flocks and herds and chasing away hens, vermin, or strangers.

Their bodies are built to run, jump, and climb, which is why they’re perfect for outdoors enthusiasts.

Check out these Shepherds taking on the agility course:

They are confident.

These dogs are independent, which is why there’s a great chance that they can be stubborn and obstinate.

A confident breed like this should have an owner who knows how to establish his relationship with them as a gentle yet firm alpha.

These dogs need some extra care

Different breeds have different needs, and the Dutch Shepherd may need a little more of your attention and time when it comes to care.

Be ready to spend some time on grooming and training to keep your dog as happy and healthy as possible.

Grooming your Dutch Shepherd

Wire-haired Dutch Shepherd standing on the side of a road
Wire-haired Dutch Shepherd

The best grooming routine for this Shepherd may differ depending on their coat type.

For short-haired Dutch Shepherds, occasional brushing should suffice.

You can brush your dog’s coat more often during its heavy shedding periods: spring and fall.

Dutchies with long-haired coats need to be brushed weekly. Wire-haired varieties, on the other hand, must be combed at least once a month.

Bathe these active canines as necessary, especially if the weather’s hot and humid.

Like with any other dog, make sure to clean your Dutchie’s teeth and ears, too, to prevent infections.

Trim his nails regularly so he can run around without pain. This is especially important for active breeds.

What to feed a Dutch Shepherd

This high-energy breed needs a diet that can provide for its nutritional needs, especially in terms of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

High-quality kibble ensures that your Shepherd gets the best nutrition possible. Giving them dog food that is predominantly meat is highly suggested.

With their activity levels, these dogs need more protein for strong bones and joints and fat and carbohydrates for energy.

You can feed your Dutchie between 2 to 3 cups of premium dog food daily, divided into 2 meals.

The daily recommended calorie intake for your dog will also depend on his height and weight. It’s best to consult your vet to make sure your Shepherd gets all the calories he needs for his size.

Don’t just give your dog the first bag of kibble you see at the store. Make sure your kibble of choice is compliant with the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The AAFCO sets nutrient profiles for various types of dogs.

Training a Dutch Shepherd puppy

Dutch Shepherd puppies may be a handful for owners who are inexperienced in training independent-minded dogs.

These canines tend to have a mind of their own and can be stubborn if not trained properly. Obedience training is a must for this breed, especially during the puppyhood stage.

Establishing your role as an alpha will also help you curb the Dutchie’s willfulness and ensure proper behavior from your pet.

Once your pup grows up, you can try agility training to keep them occupied and give them the physical and mental stimulation they need.

See the incredible agility of this Dutchie pup in training:

This is one of the most intelligent breeds out there. With proper training and socialization, your pup will grow to be an obedient, friendly dog that you can always rely on.

Why crate-train your dog?

Dutchies are too energetic to just stay inside a crate for most of the day, but crate training will definitely be useful in keeping your dog calm and instilling discipline.

By training your dog to stay in a crate, you’re giving him a healthy, comfortable, and safe environment where he can rest.

Crating will come in handy in house training, as your dog won’t want to soil a place where he sleeps.

You can also use a crate to train your Shepherd so he does not feel anxious inside small, enclosed spaces. This makes your dog easier to handle, whether in the car or at the vet’s office.

Adult Dutch Shepherds should not spend more than 8 hours in a crate. It’s actually best to give your dog plenty of space to run and move around in, so he won’t get bored and resort to destructive behavior.

The Dutch Shepherd’s exercise needs

The Dutch Shepherd has a high energy level, and it needs regular exercise to keep boredom and destructive tendencies at bay.

Expect to spend at least an hour every day giving your Dutchie the physical activity it needs.

This dog has a strong and able body, so you can take it with you on walks and runs around the neighborhood. An hour at the dog park can also give it an ample amount of off-leash exercise.

Dutch Shepherd jumping over a hurdle at an agility course

Health issues of the Dutch Shepherd

Here’s some good news: Dutchies are fit as a fiddle! This is one of the healthiest dog breeds you can get.

With proper care, they’ll stay with you for the long haul, with their average lifespan of 11 to 14 years.

There are, however, reported cases of some health issues in this breed that you must be aware of. These are usually genetic conditions that are not fatal.

Hip Dysplasia

This condition commonly affects medium to large-sized dog breeds. Hip dysplasia occurs when hip joints don’t develop properly, resulting in arthritis, among other health issues.


More common in wire-haired Dutch Shepherds, this is a condition where eye fluids don’t flow properly. This is another congenital disease that may cause permanent blindness.

Popular Dutch Shepherd mixes

Because of its intelligence and athleticism, this Shepherd is usually crossed with other breeds to make hardworking, trainable dogs.

Here are some Dutchie crossbreeds worth knowing more about.

Dutch Shepherd and Husky mix

Dutch Shepherd Husky Mix lying next to a destroyed stuffed toy
Dutch Shepherd and Husky Mix

This is going to be one active crossbreed!

The Dutchie and Husky mix is confident and outgoing, every bit an alpha dog.

This crossbreed inherited the strength and energy level of the Siberian Husky and the athleticism and hardworking nature of this Shepherd.

But the good news is that these hyperactive guys will love playtime just as much as work. They’ll make excellent family pets and playmates for kids.

Dutch Shepherd and Lab mix

The intelligence of these two breeds can’t be disputed. Expect the Dutch Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix to be a friendly-family dog who’s always down for some fun.

The Shepherd’s innate intelligence will work wonders with the obedience and gentleness of a Labrador Retriever.

The Dutchie’s brindle coat will make for a fine-looking coat on this dog. In most cases, the Labrador’s charming face will be apparent on this hybrid.

Dutch Shepherd and Lab Mix curled up on the couch
Dutch Shepherd and Lab Mix

Dutch Shepherd and Pitbull mix

The fun and goofy side of the American Pit Bull Terrier combined with the disciplined Dutchie definitely makes for an interesting combination.

Prepare for long hours of active play, with equal time for training.

Like with most crossbreeds, it will be hard to determine exactly how this Shepherd and Pitbull Mix will look. No matter what this hybrid looks like, though, you can expect a loving, intelligent dog.

Dutch Shepherd and Australian Shepherd mix

Dutch Shepherd and Australian Shepherd Mix sitting on a couch
Dutch Shepherd and Australian Shepherd Mix

Two breeds having the same herding instincts will create a hybrid that’s obedient and focused.

The Australian Shepherd mixed with a Dutchie definitely makes for a great working dog.

Farmers will love having this dog around for herding cattle and other chores.

If you don’t own a farm, though, don’t worry. You may even be able to train the Aussie-Dutchie mix to do simple chores at home, like fetching the mail or sorting laundry.

You should also expect to get moving with these guys- these crossbreeds will need plenty of exercise daily.

Dutch Shepherd and Border Collie mix

So what do you get when you cross one active dog with another high-energy breed?

Your home will never be the same again with a lovable, energetic hybrid like the Dutch Shepherd-Border Collie mix.

The Dutchie and Border Collie cross will be a dog with excellent agility and a crazy-high energy level to deal with.

What’s the difference between a Dutch Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois?

Another breed that tends to be associated with the Dutch Shepherd is the Belgian Malinois.

Though the two dogs are not in any way related, a Belgian Malinois looks a lot like the Dutchie. These two have a strong physical resemblance, with almost the same personality traits.

To distinguish these two from each other, observe these characteristics in them:

  • The Belgian Malinois has a short coat while the Dutch Shepherd can have coats of varying lengths.
  • The Belgian Malinois never has a brindle coat.
  • Though they almost have the same height and weight, a Dutch Shepherd is slightly smaller than Belgian Malinois.
  • This Shepherd’s body is more thickset and muscular than the Malinois’.
Belgian Malinois standing in a field of grass with its tongue out
Belgian Malinois

How much is a Dutch Shepherd dog?

This dog’s rarity makes it harder to find – and more expensive – than similar-looking breeds. A Dutch Shepherd puppy may cost from $1000 to $1200 each from reputable breeders.

This might be a rare breed but finding trustworthy Dutch Shepherd breeders should not be a problem. These dogs are AKC-recognized, so you have a lot of options if you want to get a healthy puppy.

  • Aachen Dutch Shepherds (Oklahoma) – For over 30 years, this breeder has produced high-quality dogs fit for work and canine sports. They have a great line of police and military dogs, too.
  • Von Falconer (California) – This is a training facility founded in 1979 specializes in canines from Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the Czech Republic.
  • Car Cher Kennels (Michigan) – Car Cher Kennels specializes in preventing bad behavior problems in dogs. Their Michigan facility has a good selection of police and military dog breeds, including Dutch Shepherd puppies.

Dutch Shepherd rescue and adoption

Adoption is a more affordable option for getting a dog. Depending on where you live, rescuing a Dutch Shepherd may only cost you anywhere from $50 to $500.

Here are some rescue organizations you can contact if you want to get an adult Dutch Shepherd:

  • North American Dutch Shepherd Rescue
  • Malinois and Dutch Shepherd Rescue
  • Malinois Ranch Rescue (Tennessee)

Are you ready for a Dutch Shepherd?

Dutch Shepherd standing in a field

There are plenty of reasons to love the Dutch Shepherd, but this breed is not for everyone.

These dogs are willful and energetic, and they may prove to be a handful for owners who have little to no background in training dogs.

This breed is best suited for people who can dedicate their time and effort to proper training.

The thick brindle coat of this Shepherd also requires regular grooming.

And though it’s considered one of the healthiest dog breeds out there, it’s prone to genetic conditions from its parents.

With proper training, the Dutch Shepherd is a sweet and obedient working dog that you can always count on.

What are your experiences with this energetic dog? Tell us about it in the comments!


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