Currently the least known of the Continental Shepherds outside of their homeland is the Dutch Shepherd.
As with the Belgian Shepherd, the Dutch has varieties that are recognized based on their coat length: short haired, long haired, and rough or wired haired.
Unlike the Belgian Shepherd, the Dutch Shepherd has a brindle overcoat. The brindle color can be gold or silver shaded. The Dutch Shepherd may have a black mask but the mask is less noticeable than on the Belgians due to the darker background coat colors of the Dutch Shepherd.
Like their Continental cousins, the Dutch Shepherd is an intelligent, athletic breed who are very trainable and do best with a job to do. These dogs are multipurpose dogs in Holland, capable of shepherding, police work, and trained for services dogs. They have a reputation of being healthy and reasonably long lived for a breed of this size.
Their robust health probably owes something to the fact that they've never been over-breed, thanks to limited popularity.
This breed is still basically used for working reasons.
Interestingly, in the U.S. as more police and military units are looking for an alternate to the over-bred German Shepherd, (which has a high incident of hip and joint problems), one of the "new" to the U.S. breeds being experimented with is the Dutch Shepherd...they are showing up on city police departments and I even found an example of one working with a university police department.
Part of this high visibility on police departments is owed to a kennel and breeder who works hard to provide already started dogs for such working purposes. This kennel has also trained service dogs for disabled people.
In my opinion this is a sign of a very flexible and intelligent breed that can work drug and bomb sniffing, serving the disabled, and tracking down suspects in crime cases.
This is also, in my opinion, the earmarks of a breed who require an experienced dog handler who has trained dogs and is up to providing the structure and routine that a smart breed require.
If you are looking for an individual dog who can do almost anything though, the Dutch Shepherd is certainly a breed worth considering.
In addition to being a flexible, intelligent, trainable breed, the Dutch is a handsome breed with three coat lengths - once again something for a lot of different tastes in this one breed.
they have a sense of humor....
Keep your eyes open - I think you're going to see a slow but steady increase in the presence of Dutch Shepherds in the areas of agility, obedience, sporting, and of course police work outside their homeland.
|Working Dutch Shepherd|
The Dutch Shepherd does enjoy small scale popularity in Holland where there are trial competitions which combine obedience and personal protection skills. Dogs and handlers obtain points during trials until the top winners are identified.
If you're ever in Holland and get a chance to check this out I'd love to hear about it!
If I ever get to Holland, I would love to check this out....
Perhaps we'll even get lucky and some of our readers who have experience with this kind of competition can give us more information about it. Or perhaps someone living with a Dutch Shepherd will stop by and share pictures or information...doesn't hurt to hope :-)