Dutch Schapendoes

Nederlandse Schapendoes, Dutch Sheepdog

The Dutch Schapendoes, both light and agile, can easily drive flocks of sheep and is still used today in this unconventional trade. The numerous moors of his country allow him to still be useful to hunters. This pleasant, cheerful, gentle, lively and very loyal dog is an excellent herding dog, as well as companion dog. Despite his jovial character and many qualities, he is unfortunately not very known outside the Netherlands.

Height 40 to 50 cm
Weight 10 to 18 kg
Life expectancy 12 to 15 years

Quick Overview of the Dutch Schapendoes


  • Attentive and active
  • Friendly and responsive
  • Observant and intelligent
  • Vigilant and courageous


  • Long coat, but light constitution
  • Flexible look
  • Very harmonious build
  • Long thick and bushy tail


  • No particular pathology
  • Generally in excellent health
  • Rarely ill
  • Good life expectancy

Temperament of the Dutch Schapendoes

Attentive, active, friendly, responsive, observant, intelligent, the Dutch Schapendoes is alert and very brave. In family, he is kind, faithful and very affectionate.

His education is pretty easy, although it must be firm and adequate. His socialization does not cause any problems, except if he has to cohabit with his peers.

This dog, originally used to drive herds in his country, where flocks of sheep are abundant on the moors, is now greatly appreciated as a life companion.

His joie de vivre, constancy, loyalty, adorable presence, natural affection, cheerfulness and great sociability make him an excellent companion dog that can adapt to all family situations.

His great sociability allows him to accept everyone, even strangers. However, if he has to cohabit with his peers, he must learn to socialize very early, because cohabitation can otherwise be complicated.

His socialization must therefore be undertaken very early, and carefully.

Breed Appearance

Dutch schapendoes

This long-haired, but very lightly built dog has an elastic gait, which is what allows him to jump so impressively.

His physique is built to allow him to perform its functions in a remarkable way. This natural herding dog is also very harmoniously built.


Between 43 and 50 cm (16.93 to 19.69 inches) for the male
Between 40 and 47 cm (15.75 to 18.50 inches) for the female


Between 10 and 18 kg (22.05 to 39.68 pounds) for the male
Between 10 and 18 kg (22.05 to 39.68 pounds) for the female


All coat colors are allowed, but preference is generally for a coat ranging from blue-grey to black.


His coat is very dense with an abundant undercoat.

His hair is long, and measures up to 7 cm (3 inches) on the dog's hindquarters. It is slightly wavy, but never smooth.


His head has an almost flat skull, and a clearly marked but not abrupt stop.

His big round eyes are brown. His ears, set high, fall freely, without being stuck on the head.

His nose generally matches the color of the coat. His long, bushy and well thick tail is trimmed with pretty fringes.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 1, section 1 and is #313

Tips About this breed

This excellent herding dog is effective in driving herds of sheep.

Although he is very brave, he is by no means a guard dog.

He can lead herds from one place to another with or without the help of humans, but he is rather very sociable by nature, except towards his canine fellow dogs.

To live anywhere, even in a city apartment, he must be able to benefit from daily exercise time.

He will have no trouble keeping up with the athletes in their daily training, and will enjoy a space to run and exercise.

He loves his family, and enjoys playing and spending time with them, especially with the younger ones that he particularly likes.

The Dutch Schapendoes understands very quickly what is expected of him, which makes his education very easy, even if it must be conducted with firmness, while remaining imbued with gentleness.

An iron fist in a velvet glove fits his upbringing perfectly.

Health of the Dutch Schapendoes

The Dutch Schapendoes breed is not related to any particular pathology, congenital defects or hereditary diseases.

Specimens are generally in excellent health, and are rarely ill. This dog enjoys a very good life expectancy.


Because he has a thick coat, it is recommended to brush its pretty fleece at least twice a week.

An energetic brushing allows him to keep a clean, beautiful and healthy coat.

It is also best to check his hanging ears regularly. However, no other special care is necessary.

History of this breed

This very old breed, appearing in the history of the Netherlands, has no official record of his early origins.

Recognized in the 18th century, the breed is said to be related to the Bobtail, Puli, Briard, Nizinny, Bearded Collie and Bergamo Shepherd Dog.

Belonging to the somewhat disparate group of long-haired sheepdogs with shaggy and hairy faces, he is similar to all these breeds in the varieties found in the Lower Rhine region, the Odenwald and the Hesse region of Germany.

All these related breeds are actually mutations of the mountain dogs, but in miniature.

Sheepdogs are generally larger, so this small dog was greatly appreciated for his agility and lightness.

The shepherds also appreciated his intelligence and hard work. The Dutch Schapendoes was found wherever there were moors where flocks of sheep grazed.

The breed was threatened with extinction for some time, and P.M.C. Toepoel, a dog lover at the time, was responsible for the revival of the breed after the Second World War that nearly wiped out the Dutch Schapendoes.

Between the 1940's and 1945, breeding was limited to the few that still existed in the country. However, in 1945, the reproduction of the breed began more seriously.

In 1947, the breed club was established, and in 1952 he was provisionally accepted by the Raad van Beheer. In 1954, its standard was set, and the breed was registered in the stud book.

In 1971, the final and official acceptance took place, and since then, the breed's kennels only admit officially registered dogs.

This herding dog is still used as such today. The moors, where the herds graze, located in remote areas of the country, require a light, mobile and very hardy dog to perform his functions well.

To be effective, the specimen must remain in all respects a herding dog, i.e. in character, body and spirit.

The dog therefore acts completely independently, endowed with great intelligence and incredible jumping ability, which is very useful in his duties.

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