Did you know?
The nickname “man’s best friend” is believed to have originated in a Missouri courtroom in 1870. The term was coined in a speech by a farmer who was suing his neighbor for shooting his dog.
The reason dogs have so many friends is because they wag their tails instead of their tongues. – Unknown
The Dutch Shepherd is considered a rare breed as he is almost unknown outside his native Holland. This is due in part to the enormous popularity of his cousin, the German Shepherd. Nevertheless, he has been around a long time and can be found in old Dutch works of art dating back hundreds of years.
Originally a sheep herding dog, the Dutch Shepherd’s typical day began early, driving the sheep out to pasture and then bringing them back to the farm in the evening. He is an very independent dog and well able to accomplish this task alone. The main function of the dog was to keep the sheep away from crops by patrolling the borders of the road and the fields. They also accompanied the sheep on their way to the common meadows, markets and ports.
Photos displayed courtesy of Mike McConnery, Baden K-9, Ontario
At the farm, they kept the hens away from the kitchen garden, herded the cows together for milking and pulled the milk carts. They also alerted the farmers when strangers entered the farmyard. Around 1900, sheep had largely disappeared in the Netherlands. The Dutch Shepherd’s function shifted and they became police dogs, search and tracking dogs and guide dogs for the blind.
Similar in appearance to the German Shepherd, the Dutch Shepherd stands up to 25 inches (63.5 cm) tall at the shoulder and weights between 50 and 70 pounds (23 to 32 kg). He generally has a black mask. The Dutch Shepherd has three different coat types: long-haired, short-haired, and the wiry or rough-haired.
The weather-resistant coat is always brindle: black with streaks of gold and grey and may be grey, silver, red, yellow, or gold brindle. Grooming needs are minimal. This colouring was one of the ways to distinguish the dog from his cousin, the Belgian Shepherd.
His temperament is that of a true shepherd. He can work closely with his owner while handling livestock or independently. Loyal, reliable, active, independent, intelligent and intuitive are the qualities most associated with this breed. He makes a good guard dog as he is always alert and watchful and possesses strong territorial instincts.
This shepherd is devoted to his owner and gets along well with children. He will happily follow a firm and fair leader who will ensure he knows his place. Please note that he is quite capable of taking on the alpha role if you do not!
Ahough he is calm and relaxed indoors, he is also lively and a tireless athlete capable of running all day. An enthusiastic and versatile worker, the Dutch Shepherd excels at agility, obedience, flyball, field training, Schutzhund, and herding as well as tracking and search and rescue. He will also engage in sports such as dock jumping, disc dog, and weight pulling.
As he is intelligent and eager to learn, you should begin training early. Because he has an independent soul, he does have a mind of his own. Training will take persistence!
Since he is bred to work, he needs to be active to maintain his physical and mental well being. He does best with a strong, confident, active owner who will take him jogging or hiking, or let him run beside a bicycle.
Today the Dutch Shepherd is best recognized for his role in law enforcement.