Other names: Hollandse Herdershond, Berger Hollandais
Affectionate, obedient, intelligent, docile, vigilant, trustworthy and courageous, the Dutch Shepherd is not very demanding or resistant. They are always attentive, active and endowed with a true shepherd dog nature. They are very friendly with their masters and have difficulties being alone. Their great sensitivity sometimes leads them to become aggressive towards strangers. They are excellent guardians.
Key facts about the Dutch Shepherd
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Affectionate Playful Intelligent
Origins and history
This dog’s origins are rather vague, some refer to a cross between the German Shepherd and other Dutch shepherds while others speak of a descent from the Belgian Shepherds, to whom this dog resembles (including the three varieties of hair). Originally from the Netherlands, this shepherd dog was (and still is) the ideal partner for Dutch shepherds. Indeed, their versatility as herding and guard dogs make them very well-rounded working dogs. It is only since the 20th century that this dog has become part of the home as a lively and sporty companion dog. Their intelligence and docility even led them to join police and army brigade ranks.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Dutch Shepherd
Female : Between 22 and 24 in
Male : Between 22 and 24 in
Female : Between 44 and 55 lb
Male : Between 55 and 66 lb
The coat is brindle, with a golden (light sand to brownish red) or silvery background. A black hair dominance is seen as a defect; however, a black muzzle is favoured.
Type of coat
The coat can be short or long, depending on the variety of Dutch Shepherd.
The short-haired variety has a coat with coarse, dense hair and a woolly undercoat; the long-haired variety has straight hair (which is neither curly or wavy), flattened and rough to the touch with a woolly undercoat; The wire-haired variety has a thick, coarse, tousled coat with a dense, woolly undercoat. Their heads have bushy eyebrows, beards and whiskers.
The eyes are dark in colour.
The Dutch Shepherd is a medium-sized and medium-weight dog, with a muscular body and well-proportioned build. Their expression is intelligent and their temperament lively. The eyes are dark, medium sized, almond-shaped, slightly oblique and never round. The ears, small rather than large, are erect and carried forward, set high. The tail, at rest, hangs straight or slightly curved: it reaches the tip of the hock. During movement, it is elegantly raised and never rolled up; never falling back on the dog’s sides. There are three different varieties of Dutch Shepherd: short-haired, long-haired and wire-haired.
Good to know
The most common variety is the long-haired one, but this breed is almost unknown beyond the Dutch borders.
Dutch short-haired shepherd
Dutch long-haired shepherd
Dutch rough-haired shepherd
The Dutch Shepherd is completely devoted to his/her masters, which makes them very good companions on a daily basis. One must be careful, however, as they can at times become too needy, it is therefore recommended to encourage a progressive detachment in order to avoid any over attachment.
This sheepdog loves children, he/she enjoys playing and spending time with them, especially as it allows this dog to keep an eye on them.
This watchdog is very active, and always on alert.
Simultaneously intelligent and sensitive, the Hollandse Herdershond, as they are known in their native country, are excellent shepherd dogs. They are autonomous without being too independent, they know how to show initiative and carry out the tasks entrusted to them with enthusiasm and reliability.
This Dutch dog is a herding dog, a sheepdog, and sometimes even a very good guardian, but under no circumstances a hunter. When they detect other animals, their only instinct will be to group them together or deter them if they feel a threat, no more, no less.
Fearful / wary of strangers
A worthy cousin of the Belgian Shepherd, the Dutch Shepherd is wary of people he/she does not know. Their particularly strong sense of territory can sometimes even lead them to become aggressive if their attempts at deterrence are not enough.
They need time to trust a stranger and it is preferable that their master be present to make proper presentations. If an intruder wishes to enter the property in the absence of this dog’s master, then their reserved nature will turn into strong distrust.
Moreover, the Dutch Shepherd rarely forgets anything, one bad experience with a human can have serious repercussions on their relationship.
Like many sheepdogs, this Dutch dog has eyes only for his/her master and is keen to please and be of use. Indeed, this dog does not enjoy independence, although autonomous in the accomplishment of their missions.
Behaviour of the Dutch Shepherd
Often shown to be very attached to his/her masters, this dog cannot stand to be alone. They are highly devoted to their master and despite their autonomous temperament, when they are left alone without any particular mission, they may quickly turn to deviant behaviour (destruction, excessive barking, etc.).
Easy to train / obedience
Sheepdogs such as the Dutch Shepherd are often considered to be highly intelligent and docile, and this is indeed the case for this dog. However, their training requires discipline, consistency and coherence in order for them to reach their full potential.
It is not uncommon to see behavioural troubles amongst sheepdogs due to their owners simply not being aware of the work involved in training the highly obedient sheepdog we imagine.
In fact, the Dutch Shepherd will only be cooperative if their master's attitude is one of respect and consistency. If they perceive a fault, then they will no longer feel safe with their master, and as a result of this the relationship between dog and master will suffer greatly.
The Hollandse Herdershond make extensive use of their vocal cords, particularly as part of their guard duty, to deter intruders, but also to express their suffering when they find themselves alone and isolated without having received sufficient attention.