The Dutch Shepherd
The Dutch Shepherd is a rare, hardworking dog breed originating from Netherlands. These dogs were used on farms for herding sheep and other livestock, pulling carts, guarding the farm, etc. After years of being all-purpose farm dogs, as the whole world started modernizing, so did the farms, and that development of modern farming techniques made Dutch Shepherds unnecessary. Because of this and because of the World War II (many dogs were taken from farms to service the German military), the breeding of the Dutch Shepherd stopped and the breed was brought close to the extinction. After the war, the breeding started again, but to this day, the Dutch Shepherd is considered to be a rare dog breed.
The Dutch Shepherd is a medium to large sized dog reaching 21.5-24.5 inches (54 to 62 cm) in height. These dogs usually weight 42-75 pounds (19 to 34 kg). Females are slightly smaller than males. The Dutch Shepherd’s body is strong, muscular, and fit. Their body structure is similar to the body structure of German and Belgian Shepherds which is not something to be surprised about considering that these three breeds are cousin breeds that share a close ancestry. They are well proportioned and the length of their body should be slightly longer than they are high.
The Dutch Shepherd has a unique coat that comes in a variety of colors (from sandy gold to red chestnut color), but the coloring pattern is always brindle. Dutch Shepherds may have some white markings on them, but those are not desirable in a show ring. The Dutch Shepherds can have short coat with wooly undercoat, and with hair that is close to body, or can have long coat that are straight and a bit harsh to the touch. The shorthaired variety is the most common sort for police and military work because it needs less care. There is also a third type of the Dutch Shepherd’s coat – a wire haired (also called rough hair) Dutch Shepherds. The short and long haired coat needs regular brushing to remove dead hair and to keep the coat clean and free of mats (daily brushing is required during the seasonal shedding periods). The wire haired coat requires a little bit more work when it comes to grooming. Wire hair also has a woolly undercoat and should be groomed few times a year by a professional groomer, and not brushed at home. All types of coats are water resistant and do well in both cold and warm climates. Bathing should be done as needed. Nails should be trimmed. Ears should be checked regularly to prevent and avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can cause an infection.
Dutch Shepherds are energetic and athletic dogs that need regular exercise to stay healthy, happy and to prevent boredom that usually causes destructive behavior. Originally bred for hard work on farms and later used as a police and military dogs, Dutch Shepherds are used to vigorous exercise and can run all day long. They excel in just about any canine sport or activity, including agility, herding, field training, police work, guide dog duty, search and rescue. They can live in an apartment, but should be walked regularly, and also have a few play sessions through the day. They do great in active families that love to spend their time outside the house.
Dutch Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs. They are highly trainable and eager to please, learning new commands after only a few repetitions. While training a Dutch Shepherd make sure to organize the training in shorter training sessions (with little repetitions). They will become more driven as the work becomes more mentally stimulating. They can sometimes be strong-willed and independent so owner has to establish himself as an alpha. As for all breeds, for Dutch Shepherds early socialization is very important. Socialization will help Dutch Shepherds' to stay calm around new people and animals.
Dutch Shepherds are affectionate and make excellent family dogs and companions. The bond they make with their owners is unbreakable. They are great with children and other pets. Their natural guarding instinct makes them protective and territorial.
Dutch Shepherds are one of the healthiest breeds. They have an average lifespan of 11 to 14 years, and there are just a few health issues that Dutch Shepherds are prone to. Those health issues are hip dysplasia (you can read more about hip dysplasia here), goniodysplasia (a condition where eye fluids don’t flow properly and can lead to blindness; more often seen in wire haired Dutch Shepherds), and inflammatory myopathy (progressive disease that involves the rapid degeneration of muscles).
As said before, Dutch Shepherd is a rare dog breed and as such, these dogs are harder to find and more expensive. A Dutch Shepherd puppy can cost from $1,000 to $1,500 USD.
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